When I arrived at BonneGueule’s, my interest in clothes was to dress with what I liked, without thinking too much about developing my own style. Now, I enjoy trying pieces that I would never put before. The vest is one of those items that I appreciated, without taking the step of the purchase for all that.
A piece with a rich history: the waistcoat
The ancestor of the waistcoat is called “the doublet”, it was a jacket that was placed under the armor to keep warm. In the 18th century, when the wearing of armor was no longer necessary, “the French dress” made its appearance. It consists of an overcoat, a jacket and panties. It is somewhat the ancestor of the three-piece suit.
In the middle of the 18th century, the jacket loses its sleeves for the sake of comfort and gains in ornaments. The waistcoats are decorated with embroidered motifs, the front being often made in a cloth more valuable than the back. Even today, many waistcoats have kept this “tradition”.
Under the First Empire1, The pants become very high and the waistcoats become shorter. It was in 1830 that the vest becomes much more curved , to highlight the size of the man and help him sit up straight, like a corset for ladies. The cervix changes to become less top and flared: it is the appearance of the shawl collar.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the waistcoat widened according to the bellies of the bourgeoisie, which never stopped eating . It is even said that King Edward VII had eaten so much that he appeared one evening without having buttoned his last button; The habit has remained and continues.
But the vest, under its little piece dress, also rooted in the universe workwear . Indeed, in crafts, it allows to have additional pockets to put its tools. It can also protect from the cold, while leaving adequate mobility to work. A little wider than its formal counterpart, it is often in a more solid material.
You will understand: the waistcoat – like the shirt – is a piece that, according to its cut, its material and its details, can be a formal garment or workwear.
How to wear a man waistcoat without resembling a bourgeois or a carpenter?
In general, the waistcoat can:
- Either serve as a link between the various parts,
- Either be the centerpiece.
In a formal outfit, always choose a model close to the body, there is nothing more unpleasant than a vest floating under a jacket. Regarding the materials, it is best to turn to a close cloth clothing being placed on top. A linen jacket will be difficult to combine with a thick wool vest, for example.
However, if the vest is the centerpiece of your outfit, and it not going to be covered, release yourself at the materials.
The best way to choose a formal vest is to buy it directly with the suit, it will combine perfectly with your jacket. You will be able to play on the collar of the vest so that this one contrasts with the blazer.
Here, Luca made the choice of a three-piece suit Purple Louis . Its waistcoat is shawl collar, the neckline is plunging and its buttoning is crossed. It is an elegant waistcoat that is best worn with a tie.
If you want to unpick the vest, choose it in a simple color like blue, gray or beige and, if possible, with a plain back and also wear it without blazer.
My numerous reports on the Pitti made me discover how you Alessandro Squarzi wore. It is one of the people who wear the best vest, whether in dressed or casual looks.
He loves vintage and the waistcoat is just one of those clothes that have gone through history.It is no coincidence that his brand Fortela proposes a wide range. Among other things, he put me in confidence in the wearing of this piece.
max Poglia2 Is also a great lover of the waistcoat. He does not hesitate to wear it with a white tee-shirt to desecrate it.
After a long study of risk taking, I started. We must remember that the vest is not a difficult piece in itself, but it takes time to develop a solid base on which will bring its twist . When you decide to take the plunge and try a room that comes out of its comfort zone, it can be useful to be inspired by other people to own it in turn!
I really had a clear idea of what I wanted: it had to be a denim vest . I think it comes close to a denim jacket, so probably easier to master. Not having the habit of dressing in costume or formal shirt, I wanted a model that could flesh out my outfits by giving them relief.
But before that, I had to find a brand that masters this room … and Luca told me to Hollington .
Hollington: tailoring, architecture and tight clothing
Formerly, the brand was called “Schreiber Hollington” because born of the encounter between Schreiber and Michael Patric Hollington in the 60s.
Michel Schreiber is a couturier who has made his weapons with a tailor, it is by this formation that he begins to make a name. In parallel, he joined a school of interior architecture, which will greatly influence him in the design of his clothes.3
Originally from Ireland, Patrick Hollington spent part of his youth in France in a family in the Basque Country where he learned French. He studied journalism and began a career in Cyprus.Back in France, he works in a purchasing office: his knowledge of French and English allows the buyers of American department stores to establish contact with the suppliers of the Hexagon.
With their experience and their influences, they decided to create a brand that is inspired work wear, making them lighter, more comfortable to wear while healing finishes . They rework the cut with the slogan “comfort”, without forgetting the functional aspect of this type of locker room. They decide to destruct all their jackets by removing the interlinings and the shoulder pads, to increase the mobility of the wearer. Keeping a simple and uncluttered line is all the work of Michel Schreiber and Patric Hollington.
As for the finishes, they add buttons and zips to the pockets and, on some jackets, slanted buttonholes to facilitate attachment. They also desecrated the shirt voluntarily removing his neck , to prevent men to wear a tie. They wanted to free themselves from the codes of classical elegance, believing that one could be elegant without actually wearing the costume.
During the 1970s, they were regarded as the creators who reinvented the men’s dressing room by bringing them unstructured clothes, with simple lines that are even called “architectural”.They begin to dress up designers, painters, architects, actors and even politicians, who find in them a functional elegance in accordance with their crafts. There is even talk of “Schreiber-Hollington snobbery”.
This prejudice still weighs on the image of the brand, which nevertheless knew how to keep its identity by proposing, from the 70s to today, emblematic pieces that have gone through the decades and remain very current.
The other side of the coin: the clientele. Indeed, people dressing at Hollington are relatively old and still continue to dress. Often sturdy, they look for comfort and elegance that they can not find elsewhere.
It is all the current work of the brand to rejuvenate itself to target another clientele. For this, they now offer two cuts: one fitted and one regular .
So I went to see the shop which is located at 7, rue Racine in Paris (6th), to discover their collections as well as their emblematic pieces. I was curious to see the products of my eyes and impatient to be able to appropriate their style to me.
The emblematic rooms of the Hollington cloakroom
All parts in iconic Hollington are available in a selection of very wide fabrics , which runs from wool flax, via the silk and other mixtures thereof. They attach great importance to matters which often come from England, Italy, France, and India. There are finishes that are found on most pieces with sleeves and which make the “signature Hollington”, I will come back to it later.
The Hollington jacket-shirt
The jacket-shirt is a loose fitting jacket, with shirt sleeves and buttoned cuffs. It is often intended for men who are somewhat corpulent, who need to move a lot.
The jacket collar carpenter is directly inspired by the work clothes of the late nineteenth century.The left one, in cotton, has kept all the pockets plated without flap that accentuate its origin. The one on the right, in seersucker, lightened and just keeps the collar.
The “20 pocket”
The “20 pocket” waistcoat is a piece that really comes out of the imagination of Patric Hollington. He was having lunch on the terrace of a cafe and was inspired by the vest of one of the waiters, who had a pocket for each of his tools. He then said that a waistcoat with many pockets would be very useful for an architect and therefore designed this piece, where each pocket has its usefulness. Professionals could put their plans, pens and so on.
So I wanted to test two of Hollington’s emblematic pieces, the “20 pocket” vest and the carpenter’s collar jacket.
Hollington denim jacket “20 pockets” (185 €)
I wanted to test this vest because it suits my style of dress. Little by little, I developed my taste for clothes that have a workwear legacy and this model, by its history but also its material, suited me perfectly.
As the name suggests, this waistcoat has twenty pockets (I counted them, rest assured). What struck me at once was his cut. At first glance, it appears wide and very square but as soon as it is put on, it comes perfectly to espouse the size.
The material comes from Italy. There is a bit of elastane (2%) in the denim composition to enhance the comfort of the room. The supplies are of good quality, as evidenced by the buttons that are perfectly clad and straight: there is no play with the fabric.
nside, there are two pockets:
- A pressure pocket for quick access, while holding objects inside;
- A zipped pocket for more precious objects, which must not come out.
Beyond their utility which is no longer to be proved, the pockets design and structure the whole waistcoat. From an aesthetic point of view, they bring a seal to the piece, almost like a motif.
We really feel the care taken in the entire room , every detail is there to increase its functionality. The waistcoat remains very comfortable while maintaining an optimal bend for the wearing of an overcoat.
Test of the jacket “Lyon” striped with carpenter collar (260 €)
When I arrived in the Hollington shop, Alban – who runs the house alongside Patric – wore this jacket. I immediately fell under his spell. It was a long time since I wanted a jacket working in this style, without ever finding my happiness.
Alban told us the origins of the play and told us that she possessed all the “signature” finishes of the house. That’s what we’re going to see together.
Here again, the cut is very well balanced between comfort and bending. Without padding, the jacket perfectly matches the shoulders. One has the impression of not carrying anything, one feels the importance accorded to freedom of movement. This comes from the material coming from Italy which, like the waistcoat, contains elastane (1%). The fold of ease, which is part of the signature of Hollington, also reinforces the comfort of the room.
There is a care taken to the work of the front pockets: no over-thread, everything is well folded and sewn with a double-stitching.
When the jacket is opened, four interior zipped pockets are discovered, another element of Hollington’s signature. Most jackets are equipped. It is really practical to not lose anything when you are asked to put your jacket a little no matter how. In addition, they are cut in the face, besides very wide on this jacket.
This jacket is really a favorite, thanks to its comfort and its cut. Many think that the scratches are difficult to include in a dress but as they are white and blue, they marry with most parts of my wardrobe.
My opinion about Hollington
With these two pieces, Hollington succeeds in to refresh clothes designed in the 70s . By maintaining strong convictions, the brand was able to create its own signature while at the same time anchoring its values. The quality / price ratio is excellent for the level of finishing and the attention paid to the materials.
Its objective is now to reach a younger clientele, to transmit its history and know-how. If you are looking for a work jacket, with a more creative alternative and a stronger identity, Hollington will impress you with its huge variety of fabrics and patterns .
The icing on the cake, the brand offers a touch-up service on site, ready on the day of your purchase.