Steven Spielberg's Lincoln - Film Premiere In LA

Gulliver McGrath at Steven Spielberg's Lincoln film premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre – Hollywood, LA at AFI Fest 2012

On Thursday was the world premiere of Steven Spielberg’s latest blockbuster film Lincoln. It’s a historical epic which covers the last few years of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. The premiere was at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles and was the closing-night culmination of AFI Fest 2012.

Waistcoats Direct was proud to make a special waistcoat for one of the main actors, Gulliver McGrath, who plays Abraham Lincoln’s son Tad Lincoln. It was our Welsh wool waistcoat, Mr. P, in Hunter’s Green. All our waistcoats are handmade in Somerset, England. You can see from the pictures that young Mr McGrath was looking very handsome. ( He’s already appeared in films such as Dark Shadows and The Loved Ones.)

The film begins after the start of Lincoln’s second term and continues to his assignation. By narrowly focusing on the last part of his life it’s better than making a rambling biopic which could easily happen when dealing with someone with such an eventful and well-documented life. The movie is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”. Spielberg has said a book about the whole of Lincoln’s presidency is far too big for a film.

So as the Civil War rages, America’s president struggles with carnage on the battlefield, he fights many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves. These events have a long implications for US history. It’s not so much a battlefield film but more about the political and personal conflicts. This provides more substantial content for a film audience not compulsively interested in vampires or teen romance. The film attempts to take the audience into the personalities and drama of well-known history and is sure to be an Oscar contender.

The starring role of Lincoln, played by two-time Academy Award winner Daniel Day-Lewis, is attracting rave reviews. He’s supported by other Oscar-winners, Sally Fields and Tommy Lee Jones. The soundtrack is by the impeccable John Williams. With a $50 million budget, as you would expect, the period set design and costume are spot on.

Spielberg has dealt with historical subjects before, for example Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan and War Horse. It will be interesting to see at the Academy Awards in February if Lincoln lives up to it’s reputation as Oscar-bait.

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Gulliver McGrath – Lincoln Premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre – Hollywood, LA at AFI Fest 2012

Gulliver McGrath – Lincoln Premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre – Hollywood, LA at AFI Fest 2012

Photo Credit: Andrew Evans©

Time For A New Waistcoat This Christmas Party Season?

Make an entrance as a waistcoat wearer

Black horseshoe U shape waistcoat - Mr U styleAt this time of year we often have more social events to attend. When make an entrance to a social gathering, first impressions count.  There’s no doubt that dressing up well boosts our confidence and it’s obvious who has made an effort to dress up. Plus, it’s a handy icebreaker when conversation starts. Complimenting guests on their appearance may be unoriginal but it’s fine way to warming up the chat.

Another year on and, if we’re honest, some of us may have grown in girth. Instead of squeezing into an old waistcoat that is familiar to your crowd and seen many times, why not have a new waistcoat made specifically for this year’s parties?

Xmas meals out, Club Annual Awards & Office Parties

A waistcoat gives you extra armor to face the works office party.
Now is often the time of year when clubs and societies, that you are a member of, have their annual dinners. You may be up for award and having stylish attire makes you feel more comfortable and so have more fun.

Don’t forget there may be special meals out with spouses and partners where it adds to the occasion to wear something uplifting. Ditto for birthdays and family parties. (Last Christmas I gave my nephew a flattened out bit of cardboard. He had asked for an ex box!)

The waistcoat allows the wearer to be both smart and flamboyant. This applies to both men and ladies.

This is verified by hundreds of our customers comments. We rely heavily on word-of-mouth advertising and repeat customers.


But what about the expense of a specially made waistcoat? You are paying for a very skilled person’s time and top quality fabric isn’t cheap, especially after recent commodity price rises. Each waistcoat is individually made for you, here in the UK. Our waistcoats aren’t mass produced or imported from the Far East. When what you are wearing fits better, looks better and is more comfortable then you are naturally going to wear it more often. The more occasions you wear it then this increases the real value of your purchase. Sadly, money in our bank doesn’t earn much interest. Compare that to the interest you generate by transforming your persona into stylish waistcoat wearer!

Plan In Good Time

As with so many things, planning is the key to success. It’s important to order your made to measure waistcoat a few weeks in advance of your first event to ensure it arrives in time. The earlier you order, the easier things go for everyone. Plus a Christmas waistcoat, made individually to order, makes for a fine present for a loved one.

Chinese Silk Brocade Waistcoat - Mr. D Style


When times are tough it becomes more important than ever to cherish our fun times.

Forget the economy and have a great time at this year’s parties. Cheers!

Waistcoats Direct
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© 2012 Waistcoats Direct. All Rights Reserved.

Royal Ascot changes it's Royal Enclosure dress code for 2012

Royal Ascot Waistcoat

This year’s Royal Ascot racing festival has a new dress code. Waistcoats are compulsory for men. Men must also wear a tie, a black or grey top hat that can not be customised and black shoes.

Ladies can no longer wear fascinators but must have hats with a base of at least 4 inches. And midriffs must be covered!

The exceptions are military personnel who may wear their service uniform and overseas visitors who can wear formal National Dress of their country. Different rules apply to children aged 10-16 who can attend on the Friday or Saturday only.

Organisers maintain the revised dress code is designed to restore formality rather than promote elitism. ( When did elite become a bad word? If someone was an elite athlete or elite intellectual, wouldn’t that be good? ) They think that recently the dress code hasn’t been enforced as rigorously as it should have. Certainly to make the effort to dress formally can be liberating. Donning attire you don’t normally wear makes the experience more fun.

Making the rules crystal clear is in everyone interest. A waistcoat is essential. Unfortunately, each year we get too many last minute phone calls and e-mails from men who’ve left it too late. So for gentlemen who need a new, made to measure waistcoat it’s wise to place your order in early enough to give us time to make it.

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© 2012 Waistcoats Direct. All Rights Reserved.

New Blazer-Style Piped Waistcoats in Bold Contrasting Colours

Here is news about our new, distinctive Mr. B piped waistcoat. The blazer-style piped silk waistcoat has two real pockets and bold contrasting colours and buttons.

Black silk waistcoat with contrasting white piping and buttons

  • We have designed five strong contrasting colour combinations with which you can make an impact: Black with White, White with Navy Blue, Gold with Cream, Navy with White,  Grey with Black.
  • They have a unique and cleverly designed piped pocket and seam detail. Be different with a minimalist, tasteful style.
  • Distinctive handmade covered buttons.
  • The strong outlines are designed to make you look slimmer.
  • The waistcoat is made in beautiful 100% Silk Dupion.

There’s an optional matching tie which has a contrasting piped edge.  An optional handkerchief is available with a different colour on each side. All our items are designed and made in Yeovil, Somerset, UK and only available on this website.

Waistcoats with piping edging in black, grey, gold, navy blue and white

Mr. B Waistcoats with piping edging in black, white, gold, navy blue and grey

Piping has often been used on military uniforms and in clothing in the middle of the last century. It’s a shame it’s so rarely used on waistcoats.

For special occasions and events why not treat yourself to a smart, new, individually crafted waistcoat? All you need to do is get the tape measure out and accurately measure your chest, waist/stomach and back-neck-to-waist. Then order to secure your place in our work queue. Leave the rest up to us and soon enough the waistcoat will be in your wardrobe.

Mr B - Silk waistcoat with piping and handkerchief

Silk Waistcoat and handkerchief

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© 2011 Waistcoats Direct. All Rights Reserved.

The Last Night of the Proms - A Great British Celebration

The Proms are a unique series of over 70 classical music concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London running from the middle of July to the second week in September. It’s considered to be the World’s Greatest Classical Music Festival.

We regularly make waistcoats specially for customers attending the Last Night of Proms. Already it’s that time of year again.

The Proms have been held annually since 1895 when they were know as The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts. Prom is short for promenade concert; when they were conducted outdoors the audience could stroll around the orchestra as they played.

Each year the audiences feast on a wide variety of classical musical treats. The most famous concert is the Last Night of the Proms. It is shown on television on BB2 for the first half then BBC1 for the second half and reaches millions of people worldwide.

Traditionally pieces performed every year are Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (Land of Hope and Glory), Sir Henry Wood’s Fantasia on British Sea Songs, and Thomas Arne’s Rule, Britannia!. The concert concludes with Hubert Parry’s Jerusalem (based on a poem by William Blake), and the British national anthem.

Promming tickets are the same price as for other concerts in the season, but stall and circle seat tickets are expensive due to high demand. To buy a Last Night ticket in advance, you have to have bought tickets for at least five other Proms in the season.

The key to understanding this concert is to realise it is an end-of-term and light-hearted celebration. There is real emotion because it’s the last concert. It’s poignant because of sense of transitory passage of time.

Over the years many traditions have developed. The people who stand at the front are known as “Prommers”. There’s much humour and camaraderie that starts even in the long queue outside before the concert. Prommers are super keen to join in singing patriotic songs, or with accelerating clapping-along to Henry Wood’s Sea Songs, whistling to See the Conqu’ring Hero Comes or the humming to Home, Sweet Home, bobbing to Land of Hope and Glory and singing Auld Lang Syne after the concert.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s too serious. These people are having fun sending themselves up.

The concert is linked via the Proms-in-the-Park idea whereby there is a large screen video link in Hyde Park in London as well as in parks elsewhere such as Swansea, Glasgow and Middlesbrough. It’s free for anyone to turn up to enjoy the large group atmosphere of a park concert. So why not pack a picnic for a fabulous night out?

Jerusalem – Last Night of the Proms – On YouTube

The politically-correct brigade are always looking to find offence. But if you know a little history then any alleged jingoism will not upset you.

We don’t need to apologise for having a rousing party once a year. It’s about unity, okay? And that’s a good thing. The things that unite us are FAR stronger than the things which would seem to keep us apart.

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The Snooker Legends Tour Rolls Into Town

Snooker Legends Tour

After the snooker world championships in April there will be a Snooker Legends tour in 28 venues around the country. This promises some great nights of fun, snooker and nostalgia. Former world champion, Dennis Taylor is wearing one of our Waistcoat Direct designs we made specially for him. ( And it has to said: what a gentlemen to deal with.) On the night you get see many of the familiar snooker heroes from the past. John Virgo provides a humorous running commentary and does his famed impressions. Dennis will often stop after a shot and tell the audience a funny anecdote. These guys are pro entertainers at working a crowd, well as skilled sportsmen. A real treat for cue sports players and fans. Strolling down memory land, do you remember?…

‘The Whirlwind’ – Jimmy White.
Cliff ‘The Grinder’ Thorburn.
‘The Entertainer’, JP – John Parrott.
He of the Big Glasses, the BBC Commenter – Dennis Taylor.
Mr. Perfection; JV – John Virgo doing his impressions.
‘The Darlin’ of Dublin’, ‘Crafty Ken’ – Ken Doherty.
‘Welsh Potting Machine’, former World Champ – Mark Williams.
Six times world champion Ray ‘Dracula’ Reardon.
Ladies favourite – Tony Knowles.
Kirk Stevens – still in form winning the Canadian championships in 2008.
Also playing on some nights is ‘The Rocket’, Ronnie O’Sullivan
Snooker and Pool Referee Extraordinary – Patricia Murphy.
Professional snooker player and Official Referee – Michaela Tabb.

Those who saw last year’s Legends are unlikely ever to forget seeing Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins bravely play his last ever tournament.

The idea of the Tour came to Premier Stage’s Jason Francis a couple of years ago while he was sat in a first round Crucible match when the theatre was nearly empty. He remembered the glory days of the 1980s when snooker drew big crowds. Jason’s background is in the theatre and he’s familiar with all the venues where snooker used to be played. In a reverie he dreamt up a production were the cast weren’t actors but snooker legends. The idea was to bring snooker back to the big venues by mixing the worlds of sport and entertainment. If golf supports a thriving senior’s tour then why shouldn’t snooker?

The players may be veterans but these guys never really retire and can still produce scintillating snooker. Last year Jimmy White blow the crowd away with an unbeatable maximum 147! Can there be a bigger thrill for a snooker fan than to be there and see a 147 in the flesh? You would be living every single pot. There were over 20 century breaks in last year’s events. In fact, in order to get the tour off the ground the players insisted that the format was competitive. At each event the winner is crowned king and at the following events the others are gunning for the crown.

After you’ve enjoyed watching the world championship snooker on the telly why not be entertained by the past masters of the verdant six-bagged oblong? Here is a full list of the venues.

The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
The Harlequin Theatre, Redhill
The Charter Hall, Colchester
King Georges Hall, Blackburn
Victoria Hall, Stoke
Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury
Hutton Leisure Centre, Weston Super Mare
The Radlett Centre, Radlett
The Barbican, York
Broxbourne Civic Hall, Hoddesdon
The Newport Centre, Newport
The Assembly Rooms Derby
Broadway Theatre, Lewisham
The Waterfront, Belfast
The Dome, Doncaster
South West Snooker Academy , Gloucs
The Plymouth Pavilions, Plymouth
The Albert Halls, Bolton
Venue Cymru, Llandudno
The Brighton Centre, Brighton
The Hexagon Theatre, Reading
Fairfield Halls, Croydon
Penrith Leisure Centre, Penrith
Kelvin Hall Glasgow
Eden Court Theatre, Inverness
A.E.C.C, Aberdeen
The Auditorium, Grimsby

For more details and tickets see

Snooker Legends

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Wear A Waistcoat Instead Of A Jacket To Look Slimmer And Smarter

In recent years people, of all walks of life, have been appreciating that waistcoats can be versatile for formal, business and causal fun occasions.

Without being told by any fashionista, a significant proportion of men have realised that they can ditch the business jacket and replace it with a waistcoat. The business jacket is typically only worn on the walk from the car park to the desk. As soon at you are at your desk the jacket comes off and is often redundant. Whereas a waistcoat makes a guy look slimmer and smarter than his colleague whose shirt bulks out in just the wrong place in the stomach area and whose tie flaps about.

Guys will spent thousands on getting the right car that gives the appropriate message yet often neglect to make the most of the style opportunities available at a modest price. When getting waistcoats specially made in your exact size then you can wear these garments in both your profession setting at work and when out socially in the evening.

Waistcoats were traditionally worn by all men a hundred years ago, especially if they wanted to make a good impression at work or in society. Today, wearing a waistcoat gives all those traditional advantages, plus it marks the wearer out as a person of style.

In conclusion, you can wear a waistcoat instead of a jacket to look slimmer and smarter this summer!

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© 2011 Waistcoats Direct. All Rights Reserved.

Waistcoats Are Back In Fashion : Here's The Proof

We have been saying for the last ten years that waistcoat are increasing coming back into fashion. But what objective evidence is there to back up that assertion?

Yes, we can prove that our sales are up, but that could be just increasing market share in a declining market. A skeptical person could suggest that we are bound to say that waistcoats are coming back into style because we are biased and have (as the Americans call it) a ‘vest-ed’ interest due to make our living designing and making waistcoats. Now due to Google’s voracious scanning of books we can prove it.

Google have scanned in and processed over 15 million of books and we can now search on terms across the whole database. From the graph below you can see how often waistcoats have been mentioned in literature, magazines, books and all kinds of publications from 1800 through to 2008. That certainly covers the big picture.

We can see that waistcoats were popular throughout the 19th Century when most men worn waistcoats. Waistcoat popularity peaked around 1900 and Edwardian times. If you look at photographs of gentlemen from that period then invariably they will be sporting a waistcoat. The First World War obviously saw a decline due to the appalling loss of life and dominance of horrific battles. During the prosperity of the 1920s waistcoats were on the up. Then, like everything else, there was a decline during the 1930s depression and the Second World War. This decline continued Post-war due to fabric shortages and the public’s demand for more casual clothing.

21st Century: Waistcoats Back Into Fashion

Then at the year 2000 this downward trend was reverses. From 2000 to 2008 we see waistcoats are increasing in popularity. This has been good business for us because we have been selling waistcoats online since 2000. (Shrewd investors always want to join at the bottom of any market!)

For more details about the history of waistcoats see our article
Waistcoat History : How The Waistcoat Has Changed Throughout The Ages


When you decide to don a waistcoat you associate with a long and splendid tradition. Take that kudos. But you’re no old fogey in a declining and obscure clique. No, your are part of an upcoming trend of people with the foresight to invest in the versatile and timeless nature of the waistcoat.

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Why Fake Goods Are Not A Victimless Crime

We all love a bargain but it’s worth seeing the big picture about goods that are sold way too cheap because they are illegal counterfeits.

The Risks of Fakes

If you buy a branded item and believe it to be genuine but it’s not then you are being ripped off.

If the items you buy are fake then you have no comeback from the trader, no guarantee if you subsequently find a fault or the item falls apart. So that’s another piece of junk to recycle or fill up a landfill. You’ve wasted your precious time and now have the trouble of purchasing again which inflates your overall costs.

If people realise that the item you bought is a counterfeit then your display of a designer brand could easily backfire and make you look silly.

If you sell fake goods are are caught out then there will be fines, penalties and loss of reputation.
It’s not difficult for Trading Standard to find traders who sell fakes. Deceived customers will complain and traders who don’t quickly move on will get caught and the fake goods will be confiscated.

Fraudster will sell home to pay back £105K confiscation and costs.

( Yeah, crime doesn’t pay. Does that mean my job is a crime?)

Fake goods suppresses innovation, design and lose UK jobs.

Why take the risk of innovating and the expense of launching a brand if it’s profit is going to be diluted by fake copy-cat importers? In the clothing industry fake goods damage the whole supply chain of the fabric suppliers, haberdashery suppliers, fabric mills, machinists, pattern cutters, designers and retail staff. We pay taxes to help designers get educational qualifications and training but it’s wasted if there’s not enough jobs because people are buying fake. Most fake goods are imported and buying genuine British goods means you are supporting British design and British jobs.

If innovators aren’t rewarded then there will be less diversity in the future.

Trading Standards spend a lot of time trying to fight fake goods. Very often pirated goods are sold on eBay, in temporary shops, on market stalls and car boot sales. Strangely, shoppers who don’t care wont be seen dead driving a fake BMW yet will still wear fake designer clothes.

The Cost of Fake Goods

It’s estimated that up to 7% of world trade is counterfeit or pirated.

This enormous scales indicates the trade is supplied by organized criminal gangs. They will use counterfeit goods to launder money and support other violent criminal activities.

When you buy counterfeit goods you are supporting the black market economy. Jobs are lost. Taxes aren’t paid. You pay more tax to subsidize the criminal network that supply the fake goods. They aren’t paying any tax but you do.

Tatty fake goods are more likely to be produced by low paid, exploited workers or child labor because there is no brand company to inspect the working conditions of the supply chain. Brand try to protect their investment and image.

List of Victims

  1. Inventors who come up with new ideas aren’t paid royalties.
  2. Entrepreneurs who launch businesses have their trade stolen.
  3. The workers who make counterfeit goods are victims. They aren’t paid proper wages and work in awful conditions.
  4. The workers who work in factories making genuine goods who then lose their jobs because of counterfeit goods are victims.
  5. Designers, sales people, retailers who lose income or their livelihoods because of counterfeit goods are victims.
  6. The person who knowingly buys fakes damages their moral fibre because they have changed from “Is it right or wrong?” to “will I get away with this?”

We The Consumers Decide

Ultimately it is down to all of us to make the decisions that will form what sort of society we want to have. So why not use our power as consumers to make things better?

Of course there there are some genuinely destitute people who don’t have a choice and have to buy whatever they can afford whether fake or not. But the vast majority of purchases of fake goods aren’t bought by those in real poverty but by people who could save up for the real thing but don’t because they think they can get away with it and nobody will either know or care. They’re wrong on both counts.

Isn’t it better to have the real thing? Become the real person you aspire to be?

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© 2010 Waistcoats Direct. All Rights Reserved.

Christmas Party Season - Time For A New Waistcoat

Christmas Party Celebration

Wearing a Waistcoat Makes a Statement

When you make an entrance to a social gathering it’s clear if you’ve made the effort to dress up. Dressing well gives us extra confidence. Plus it’s fine icebreaker when kicking off conversation. Complimenting people on their attire might be unoriginal but it’s just a way of warming up the chat.

Rather than squeezing into a tired old waistcoat that been seen by your crowd many times, why not have a new waistcoat specially made for this year’s parties?

Office Parties & Award Ceremonies

For facing the works office party a waistcoat give you extra armor in the more formal setting. Also this time of year is often when clubs and societies, that you have joined, have annual dinners. If you think you might be up for an award at your society’s annual dinner then having the right attire makes the experience more memorable.

The waistcoat gives an opportunity for guys & girls to be simultaneously smart and flamboyant.

Don’t talk my word for it: see the hundreds of customers comments. We rely on word-of-mouth as our advertising, and after over 10 years of this web service it pays off.
Chinese Silk Brocade Waistcoat - Mr. D Style


But what about the expense of a specially made waistcoat? You are paying for an exceptionally skilled person’s time and top quality fabric isn’t cheap. These waistcoats aren’t mass produced and imported from Far East, each waistcoats is individually made for you. But when you have a garment that looks better, fits you better, is more comfortable to wear then you will be wearing it on more occasions. By wearing for more occasions this increases the real value of your purchase. What interest is the money earning in your bank account? Compare that to the interest you will generate by transforming your persona into stylish waistcoat wearer!

Beat The Vat Increase

Oh don’t get me started on politics! Politicians should serve two terms: one in office, one in prison. No, I’ll stick to the subject of waistcoats. By placing your order now you avoid the VAT tax increase of 2.5% that’s due in January. So there’s no point delaying purchases to the New Year.

Plan In Good Time

Preparation is the key to success. By ordering your made to measure waistcoat a few weeks ahead of your event then you will have the garment in good time. The earlier you order the smoother the process.


When times are tough it’s more important to cherish our fun times.

Forget the recession and have a great time at this year’s parties. Cheers!

Waistcoats Direct
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© 2010 Waistcoats Direct. All Rights Reserved.