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Vest vs. Waistcoat: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
A vest is a sleeveless garment worn on the upper body, while a waistcoat, in British English, refers specifically to a formal vest, often part of a suit.
Vest vs. Waistcoat

Key Differences

A vest is a general term in American English for any sleeveless upper-body garment, including casual and formal styles, whereas a waistcoat in British English specifically denotes a formal garment worn with a suit.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023
Vests can be functional or fashion items, made of various materials, and are not limited to formal wear. Waistcoats, however, are traditionally made of finer materials and are part of formal attire.
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Dec 05, 2023
In terms of design, vests can range from outdoor gear to sports wear, while waistcoats are characterized by their tailored fit, buttons, and often a back strap to adjust the fit.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023
The term vest in American English is synonymous with the British waistcoat when referring to formal suit attire. However, in British English, a vest can refer to a simple undershirt, which is different from the American usage.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023
Both vests and waistcoats can be accessories in formal fashion, but vests have a broader range of styles and uses in different contexts, compared to the more specific and formal nature of waistcoats.
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Dec 05, 2023
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Comparison Chart

General Definition

Any sleeveless upper-body garment
Specifically a formal garment as part of a suit
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Material and Use

Can be made of various materials, used casually or formally
Traditionally made of finer materials for formal wear
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Design Variety

Ranges from casual to formal, includes various styles
Tailored, buttoned, and part of formal attire
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Terminology in English

In American English, includes formal waistcoats
In British English, refers specifically to formal suit vests
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Functionality

Broad functionality, including fashion and utility
Primarily a formal fashion accessory
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Vest and Waistcoat Definitions

Vest

A sleeveless garment worn on the upper body.
He wore a leather vest on his motorcycle ride.
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Nov 27, 2023

Waistcoat

A tailored vest with buttons, worn over a dress shirt.
He buttoned up his waistcoat for the wedding.
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Nov 27, 2023

Vest

A protective or functional garment.
The construction worker wore a high-visibility vest.
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Nov 27, 2023

Waistcoat

A formal sleeveless garment, part of a suit.
His waistcoat was a key part of his three-piece suit.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Vest

A sleeveless garment, often having buttons down the front, worn usually over a shirt or blouse and sometimes as part of a three-piece suit.
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Oct 19, 2023
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Waistcoat

An elegant, often decorative, upper-body garment.
The vintage waistcoat had intricate embroidery.
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Nov 27, 2023

Vest

A waist-length, sleeveless garment worn for protection
A warm down vest.
A bulletproof vest.
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Oct 19, 2023

Waistcoat

A garment typically worn for formal occasions.
The groomsmen wore matching navy waistcoats.
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Nov 27, 2023

Vest

A fabric trim worn to fill in the neckline of a woman's garment; a vestee.
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Oct 19, 2023

Waistcoat

A classic component of men's formal wear.
His silk waistcoat added a touch of elegance to his outfit.
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Nov 27, 2023

Vest

Chiefly British An undershirt.
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Oct 19, 2023

Waistcoat

A garment formerly worn by men under a doublet.
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

(Obsolete) An ecclesiastical vestment.
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Oct 19, 2023

Waistcoat

Chiefly British A short, sleeveless, collarless garment worn especially over a shirt and often under a suit jacket; a vest.
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

To place (authority, property, or rights, for example) in the control of a person or group, especially to give someone an immediate right to present or future possession or enjoyment of (an estate, for example). Used with in
Vested his estate in his daughter.
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Oct 19, 2023

Waistcoat

An ornamental garment worn under a doublet.
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

To invest or endow (a person or group) with something, such as power or rights. Used with with
Vested the council with broad powers.
Vests its employees with full pension rights after five years of service.
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Oct 19, 2023

Waistcoat

A sleeveless, collarless garment worn over a shirt and under a suit jacket.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vest

To clothe or robe, as in ecclesiastical vestments.
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Oct 19, 2023

Waistcoat

A short, sleeveless coat or garment for men, worn under the coat, extending no lower than the hips, and covering the waist; a vest.
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

To become legally vested
Stock options that vest after the second year of employment.
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Oct 19, 2023

Waistcoat

A man's sleeveless garment worn underneath a coat
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

To dress oneself, especially in ecclesiastical vestments.
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

(North America) A sleeveless garment that buttons down the front, worn over a shirt, and often as part of a suit; a waistcoat.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vest

(British) A sleeveless garment, often with a low-cut neck, usually worn under a shirt or blouse.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vest

A sleeveless top, typically with identifying colours or logos, worn by an athlete or member of a sports team.
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

Any sleeveless outer garment, often for a purpose such as identification, safety, or storage.
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

A vestment.
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Vest

Clothing generally; array; garb.
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

A loose robe or outer garment worn historically by men in Arab or Middle Eastern countries.
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

(chiefly passive) To clothe with, or as with, a vestment, or garment; to dress; to robe; to cover, surround, or encompass closely.
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

To clothe with authority, power, etc.; to put in possession; to invest; to furnish; to endow; followed by with and the thing conferred.
To vest a court with power to try cases of life and death
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

To place or give into the possession or discretion of some person or authority; to commit to another; with in before the possessor.
The power of life and death is vested in the king, or in the courts.
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

(legal) To clothe with possession; also, to give a person an immediate fixed right of present or future enjoyment of.
To vest a person with an estate
An estate is vested in possession
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Vest

(of an inheritance or a trust fund) To devolve upon the person currently entitled when a prior interest has ended.
Upon the death of the Sovereign the Crown automatically vests in the next heir without the need of coronation or other formality.
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

To become vested, to become permanent.
My pension vests at the end of the month and then I can take it with me when I quit.
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

(obsolete) To invest; to put.
To vest money in goods, land, or houses
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vest

An article of clothing covering the person; an outer garment; a vestment; a dress; a vesture; a robe.
In state attended by her maiden train,Who bore the vests that holy rites require.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vest

Any outer covering; array; garb.
Not seldom clothed in radiant vestDeceitfully goes forth the morn.
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

Specifically, a waistcoat, or sleeveless body garment, for men, worn under the coat.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vest

To clothe with, or as with, a vestment, or garment; to dress; to robe; to cover, surround, or encompass closely.
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind.
With ether vested, and a purple sky.
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

To clothe with authority, power, or the like; to put in possession; to invest; to furnish; to endow; - followed by with before the thing conferred; as, to vest a court with power to try cases of life and death.
Had I been vested with the monarch's power.
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Vest

To place or give into the possession or discretion of some person or authority; to commit to another; - with in before the possessor; as, the power of life and death is vested in the king, or in the courts.
Empire and dominion was [were] vested in him.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vest

To invest; to put; as, to vest money in goods, land, or houses.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vest

To clothe with possession; as, to vest a person with an estate; also, to give a person an immediate fixed right of present or future enjoyment of; as, an estate is vested in possession.
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Vest

To come or descend; to be fixed; to take effect, as a title or right; - followed by in; as, upon the death of the ancestor, the estate, or the right to the estate, vests in the heir at law.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vest

A man's sleeveless garment worn underneath a coat
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

A collarless men's undergarment for the upper part of the body
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Vest

Provide with power and authority;
They vested the council with special rights
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

Place (authority, property, or rights) in the control of a person or group of persons;
She vested her vast fortune in her two sons
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Vest

Become legally vested;
The property vests in the trustees
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

Clothe oneself in ecclesiastical garments
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

Clothe formally; especially in ecclesiastical robes
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Oct 19, 2023

Vest

A casual or formal sleeveless top.
She chose a silk vest for the summer event.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Vest

A fashion accessory in formal attire.
He complemented his suit with a matching vest.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Vest

A garment for additional warmth or style.
She layered her outfit with a knitted vest.
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Nov 27, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is a vest?

A vest is a sleeveless garment worn on the upper body, either as casual wear or part of formal attire.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023

Can vests be casual?

Yes, vests can range from casual to formal in style.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023

Are vests and waistcoats the same?

In American English, a vest is the same as a waistcoat in British English when referring to formal attire.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023

Is a waistcoat a fashion statement?

Yes, a waistcoat can be a key fashion accessory in formal wear.
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Dec 05, 2023

How is a waistcoat defined?

A waistcoat is a formal sleeveless garment, typically part of a suit, with buttons and a tailored fit.
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Dec 05, 2023

Are waistcoats adjustable?

Many waistcoats have a back strap for adjusting the fit.
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Dec 05, 2023

Do vests have buttons?

Formal vests have buttons, but casual vests might not.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023

Is a vest suitable for outdoor activities?

Certain types of vests are designed for outdoor and sporting activities.
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Dec 05, 2023

Are waistcoats only worn with suits?

Waistcoats are traditionally worn with suits but can be styled in contemporary fashion.
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Dec 05, 2023

Are vests part of professional attire?

Vests can be part of professional attire, especially in formal business settings.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can vests be sleeveless jackets?

Yes, some vests are designed as sleeveless jackets for additional warmth.
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Dec 05, 2023

Do waistcoats have pockets?

Many waistcoats have pockets, which can be functional or decorative.
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Dec 05, 2023

What materials are vests made of?

Vests can be made of various materials, including cotton, leather, and synthetic fabrics.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can women wear vests or waistcoats?

Yes, vests and waistcoats are worn by both men and women.
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Dec 05, 2023

Do waistcoats come in different colors?

Yes, waistcoats are available in a variety of colors and patterns.
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Dec 05, 2023

Are there different styles of vests?

Yes, vests come in various styles, including formal, casual, utility, and sporty designs.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can waistcoats be worn without a jacket?

Yes, waistcoats can be styled without a jacket for a more casual look.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023

What is a vest called in British English?

In British English, a vest can refer to an undershirt, while a formal vest is called a waistcoat.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023

How should a waistcoat fit?

A waistcoat should fit snugly, with the bottom resting just above the waistband of the trousers.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023

Is a waistcoat traditional wedding attire?

Waistcoats are commonly worn as part of traditional wedding attire.
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Dec 05, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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