So, after a few months holiday, Waistcoat Wednesday is finally back, and back with a rather splendid piece of armless attire as well! I found this one whilst travelling in the UK this summer. Toast is not a brand I’ve really paid much attention to until now, but visiting Kilver Design Village in Shepton Mallet I found myself in the Toast outlet there, and indeed there was good stuff to be found. Hanging there, all alone, was this very nice corduroy waistcoat. They might as well have put a label on it saying “Nick will buy this”.
Corduroy. A fabric of gentlemen, probably second only to tweed on my list of favourites. Especially when it’s coarse and soft, and in a good colour. This one checks all points, and is a pleasing dark browny grey.
The pocket configuration is unusual in that it initially looks like a standard 3-pocket waistcoat. The two bottom pockets are unusually wide though and divided into two, making it a 5-pocket variant. Not that this has any really practical application, mind you, as the depth of the bottom pockets is only about 4″. You could put your phone in there, but to be honest you’d always be wondering if it was about to fall out.
The top pocket though has a better dimension, more like 6″, slim and deep. Perfect for a slimline phone, if you fancy having it sitting there.
Pockets are not really what this is about though, is it? Would you wear a corduroy waistcoat while doing a spot of welding or lathe work? Hardly. This isn’t a workwear item at all. This is a waistcoat that makes the wearer feel good. There is just something immensely pleasurable about corduroy. Notice how mellow you feel while wearing corduroy trousers?
Another feature I like about this one is the buttons. Not specifically the buttons themself, though they are nice enough patterned plastic, but the number of them. Eight buttons down the front, now that is a powerful amount of buttons indeed! Not only in that it takes longer to button up, but it does wonders for how the front of the waistcoat sits on your body. I occasionally see variants trying to get by with a measly 3 buttons and you can tell just from that small number that there will be pulling and it will look poorly made. Eight though, now that is a proper amount.
I do notice that the button stitching isn’t perfect, as after only 2-3 wears I have one button about to drop off. This is something that always annoys me immensely (apart from when I’m wearing corduroy, in those cases I experience only mild irritation). How hard can it be to attach buttons in a manner that will ensure they they there?
While I normally prefer to have the same fabric front and back, I’ll happily make an exception for corduroy. While the cord has many fine and wonderful properties, it does have a high frictional ratio. This means that if the back of the waistcoat was of corduroy, it would be hard work getting a jacket to sit right. Anyone that has tried to put a jacket with cotton lining on over a corduroy shirt will know exactly what I’m talking about there.
So the fairly smooth cotton backing it just fine. And the same fabric is used for the lining. Which is also fine. The waistcoat feels really nice when worn. And that wholesome array of buttons on the front really do the trick.
One anomaly that must be mentioned though is the rear cinch. I’ve previously vented my grief about the awful state of waistcoat buckles, so you might consider me to be something of a pedant in this area. On this one though, what do we find? The cinch has a button. A single button. With one possible hole for the button to sit in. This is almost such a clever solution, until you realise that this does not give the cinch any opportunity for adjustment at all. No adjustment. So why is it even there? A very odd design detail indeed.
Another omission is where the waistcoat has been produced. No word on the label about this at all.
To conclude though, this is a nice waistcoat and well worth my investment. In the future, whenever I feel a spell of rage coming on I will immediate change into corduroy trousers and this waistcoat. If that doesn’t quell my mental anguish, I don’t know what will.
That cinch though. Yet those buttons. Life is full of compromises, eh?