Waistcoat Wednesday! A fine layer of Universal Workness

Another Wednesday, another waistcoat! And another opportunity to sample one of the waistcoats from prodigious producer of limbless tops of various descriptions, Universal Works. I’ve previously displayed pleasure at their output on a couple of occasions (here and here), though this time I’ve selected a different style for review.


As we enter into the colder period of the year it makes sense to consider the matter of wool layers. Nothing keeps a chap quite as toasty and happy as a bit of wool under the wind-resistant outer, and while a wooly jumper would fit the bill, a wool waistcoat makes things just a little more interesting, a little more stylish, and you get pockets as well. Who can argue against logic of such strength?


100% wool, I’d add “melton” as well, though I can’t be absolutely sure, as Universal Works tend to use a few quite quirky fabrics. It’s certainly nice and soft though, not not an itch to be felt.

Notice something a little different on the rear? No rear cinch. No adjustment at all. A sneaky way to avoid that frightful waistcoat hardware controversy, or just a case of it not being necessary? Probably the latter, but UW have been the victim of my waistcoat-related wrath before for a couple of cases of crudely crafted cinch buckles.


The lining is thoughtfully in a vibrantly checked cotton. To snug things up a bit there is some ribbed cotton around next and lower back. This should keep those back-draughts to a minimum.


Yes, the pockets. The 4 roomy patch pockets. Handy of size and traditional of placement, with a nice bit of design in the off-centre buttons on the flaps. Notice how almost every pocket flap in existence has the button most carefully and exactly placed in the exact dead centre? And how you really don’t pay attention to it? Then notice how different and cool it looks if you just offset them. Simple, inventive and effective.


The signature yellow buttonhole is here as usual, though this time it’s on the bottom buttonhole. Another nice little design feature. No practical purpose at all, it just looks nice.


And then it’s the buttons. Yes, yes, yes, I know I go on about buttons, and I’ll admit I do perhaps give them more attention than a lot of you might otherwise give them. Consider though that they are both a key visual aspect and the primary interface of finger and garment interaction. Would it not be worth splurging a little on them? To my mind yes, and I think UW could have done better on these. Don’t get me wrong, they’re an ok colour, size and design, but utterly lifeless.


I’m thinking this one is a little snug-fitting on me, though it feels really comfy and nice. A legacy of the soft wool fabric, I think, and for layering purposes a close fit is what you’re after. Plus WDG says it looks good, and I trust her judgment implicitly, in most cases.

Also, this is a variant with no adjustment, no rear cinch, the fit supplied is the fit you’ll get. In cases like this it’s not a good idea to go very oversize.


So there you have it, another fine waistcoat from the good folks at Universal Works. And as mentioned further up, Universal Works are a fine supporter of the waistcoats and vests, with a good selection each season, including tweed variants.

Next week we’ll be viewing something bespoke from South of the Thames, and unless I find more waistcoats shortly, this will be the last review of the current run.


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