Waistcoat Wednesday: Nigel Cabourn Farm Vest

This weeks review for Waistcoat Wednesday will be just a little bit different to the usual format, as I will weave in a guest voice in the guise of WDG. She has much experience as a seamstress and gives me valuable insight into fabric choices and construction. As will become clear, this week our differing opinions almost ended in fisticuffs!

Photo 02.09.15, 17.01.04

What we have on the dissecting table is the Farm Vest from Nigel Cabourn. Anyone that knows the brand Nigel Cabourn also knows that apart from anything else, if you’re looking for value of for money, you can stroll on by. And such is really the case again for this weeks waistcoat. There is no doubt about this being a premium priced waistcoat with an original retail price of 385 pounds. Of course I didn’t pay that, that would be insane.

Photo 02.09.15, 17.00.16


What got me about this one was the fabric. The thick 8-whale brown corduroy is luscious, there are few other words that could fully describe it. It’s been quite harshly washed to further soften and weather it a bit, give it a bit of a farm effect, I suppose. That is the front though, and the material on the rear is different.

Photo 02.09.15, 17.01.39

Described as “Deadstock Army wool back” the rear panel is indeed a wool. Not a very thick or soft wool but quite a coarse and thin one, prone to pilling and really not of a weave that makes me think it will hold up over time. Frankly, I’d have very much preferred it to be the same corduroy as the front, or just a nicer material. The lining is described as “deadstock Army cotton poplin”. To me this looks and feels just like any other cotton fabric.

Which brings me to one sticking point. Deadstock. What is the big deal with something being “deadstock”? Doesn’t it really mean it’s just something that has been left lying around because no one wanted it when it was new? Have the intervening years made it better or more attractive in some mysterious way? I’d love to say “yes” and buy into the lore, but in reality it isn’t that easy to do. Deadstock is a term wholly without any sensible meaning other than a way for sly marketeers to justify a higher price. Such silliness.

If you think I sound down on the deadstock, you should the caustic comments from WDG.

Photo 02.09.15, 17.01.24

The design at least is not the same overused one as per usual. I’ve had a few Cabourn waistcoats before and they’ve all been made to the same pattern, be they of tweed or linen. This one is shorter than usual and a different shape, which makes a change. The shorter body is also nice for those of us that are a little shorter of stature (I feel a little like Jeremy Clarkson here, in the way his height becomes a matter of huge conversational interest, to himself).

Photo 02.09.15, 17.01.30

The welted pockets are functional, but a little shallow. The lower ones will hold a smartphone reasonably safely, though I’d jog along after lambs at no more than a leisurely pace. The rear cinch is of a decent design, with a proper metal buckle and ample adjustments. I like the little sewn holes, a nice touch.

There is no collar, and certainly no arms, so really that concludes the design features.

Photo 02.09.15, 17.01.09

The usual horn buttons have been used. 7 of them. Again this is a premium selling point, though I will point out that 7 real horn buttons cost about a pound, so it’s not as if this explains the inflated retail price.

cabourn corduroy farm vest

Which brings us to the fit. For me this is kind of fine, it’s more anti-fit than fitted. It’s a farm vest, vintage workwear style. A bit rough and tumble, found in a barn, worn in a field. The real feel of sweat and toil. Well, apart from being brand new and utterly contrived.

From the point of view of WDG, the fit is terrible. It accentuates the tummy and the contrasts in colour are less than becoming. The 7 buttons do at least ensure that it doesn’t pull between buttons though. The fact that it’s a shorter design than usual works well for those of us that are of less than average height.

  • Made in UK
  • Retailed at 385 pounds, recently 70% discount
  • I’m wearing a size 52



  • Andrew halliday 02/09/2015 at 22:19

    You need a Woolrich Woolen Mills pilot vest in your life Nick…?

    • Well Dressed Dad 03/09/2015 at 09:00

      Oddly, that is a style of waistcoat/vest that I don’t find very compelling. Maybe if I was a pilot, a fisherman, or needed to cary a chest full of “stuff”, but in reality I think it’s the equivalent of cargo shorts. And around here we don’ do cargo shorts 🙂

  • Brandon 08/09/2015 at 16:27

    The cost of Cabourn’s collections are really too bad, as it’s nice stuff with a lot of history behind the design. I don’t know of a designer who’s more open about the history and process behind his brand, which is great, for PR or otherwise. I actually wanted the trousers that match this vest from last F/W but $600+ for OTR casual trousers has no justification. I think the waistcoat looks great on you and I’m generally not a fan of them. If you’re looking for more casual waistcoat options you might consider checking out the many repros/takes on a Brown’s Beach vest.

  • A.J.PUDNEY. 08/01/2016 at 14:02

    over priced tat!

    • Well Dressed Dad 08/01/2016 at 14:06

      Certainly overpriced! Not so much the tat, though value for money is certainly poor.

  • Lars 07/02/2016 at 22:28

    Bare til din info. Nick. Der er en fyr på ebay, som bruger dine billeder med denne vest.


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