Waistcoat Wednesday: Universal Works, almost universal approval

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For this weeks Waistcoat Wednesday I’m featuring a cheeky little number by Universal Works. I’m not sure what the model is known as, possibly the “suit” waistcoat, but since buying it this Spring I’ve been using it a lot. This weeks shots are the result of a happy combination of sunny weather, working from home and the self-timer on the camera. For me this works a little better than sullen rain, a mirthful girlfriend cum photographer and hastily snapped photos. I think I need to watch Zoolander again for some posing tips though.

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The style is probably best described as “workwear”, though I have to give designer and owner of Universal Works, David Keyte kudos for inserting enough design twists in it to make it a lot more visually interesting than most waistcoats usually are. The extra orange buttonhole between the two top buttons is a signature Universal Works detail, and works well here. In addition there is the hemming round the neckline, in the same material as the backside is made from. The same hemming also appears partially at the bottom of the front. More of a visual than functional feature, it adds interest. Three decently deep pockets on the front, the top one ideally sized for an iPhone.

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One very nice feature is how the bottom button is placed after the sides of the waistcoat have gone their separate ways. Anyone buttoning up this button will immediately be revealed as a waistcoat neophyte and can be given a stern ticking off!

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While the front is in a canvas-like grey cotton twill that suits the style perfectly, the back is done in a more denim-look, but thin cotton. I’m not so enthused by this aspect, as I feel it would have been a stronger design if the back was in the same material as the front. A nice detail is the piece around the collar in the same material as the front. It’s all in the details! Also, the buckle on the rear is a poor match for the thin cotton cinch and tends to fall off. I’ve been on the brink of just tying a knot on this several times. In an otherwise superb waistcoat, it’s a shame to not spend a little more on getting this important feature right.

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For me, this waistcoat also fits really well. I would naturally have gone for a larger size (this is a medium), but David (the other David) who runs the Universal Works shop in Lambs Conduit Street in London was adamant that the smaller size was right for me. And I have to admit he was spot on in that respect. The fit is very good on this one. The inside is lined with an off-white cotton of a pleasant thickness, and this really rounds off what, despite a couple of shortcomings, is one of my favourites among my waistcoat collection.

If you like the look of this, check out the Universal Works website for more candidates. I know there are a couple more I’d like to add to my collection! Both the light blue Suit waistcoat and the dark blue fishing waistcoat look very nice.

For more Waistcoat Wednesday and painful poses, look here!

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