"Dignity, and even holiness too, sometimes, are more questions of coat and waistcoat than some people imagine."For when taking your coat off is too revealing and wearing a trenchcoat is just too much. The waistcoat is an article of clothing that has been around since the Restoration in England. In the United States it is called a vest (in UK English, a vest is the equivalent of the American tanktop). A waistcoat provides extra warmth, an extra layer and extra pockets (for that most important of gentlemanly accessories, the gold pocketwatch). Depending on the waistcoat, characters wearing them can seem especially stylish, pretentious or eccentric. Or all of the above. Wearing a waistcoat in more modern works can strike the perfect balance between being suave and kicking ass. It is often the sign of Tall, Dark, and Snarky. A relative of Badass Longcoat and Badass in a Nice Suit. If it also protects you from gunfire, it is a Bulletproof Vest, and the two tropes may overlap.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Walter C. Dornez from Hellsing.
- In Durarara!!, Shizuo Heiwajima is almost never seen without his bartender waistcoat, given to him by his younger brother. Ripping it is not advisable.
- Sanji from One Piece wears a waistcoat in the Water 7 arc.
- Luffy also wears one 24/7. Until the Time Skip anyway.
- Divine from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, when without his Conspicuous Trenchcoat.
- November 11 of Darker Than Black, being a James Bond expy.
- By the final arc of Digimon Savers, Thomas has taken to wearing a loose, unbuttoned waistcoat.
- Kotetsu of Tiger & Bunny more often than not wears a black and white waistcoat with his regular attire.
- In a rare female example, Kaede in Mahou Sensei Negima! wore one for the first Tournament Arc.
- In Gunslinger Girl Triela teams one with a Conspicuous Trenchcoat.
- Hatori of Fruits Basket.
- Meliodas of The Seven Deadly Sins wears a black waistcoat.
- Nagisa from Assassination Classroom wears a blue waistcoat with his school uniform. Notable for being the only student in class who wears a waistcoat without the blazer (the others wear the waistcoat with the blazer, just the blazer, or neither).
- This is a standard part of almost every male's clothing in Black Butler, considering it's set in Victorian England. Sebastian combines this with a form of Bullet-Proof Fashion Plate, as he's almost never seen without it unless things are really dire.
- The spies in Joker Game often wear these under their suits. The most prominent example is Miyoshi.
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Captain Jack Sparrow.
- As well as Hector Barbossa and Will Turner.
- Part of the official attire for most of the East India Trading Company members.
- Worn again by Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's adaptation of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
- Several in the Harry Potter movies:
- Gareth in Four Weddings and a Funeral is always seen wearing a waistcoat (and never the same one either). At his funeral, his boyfriend suggests that "everyone picture him in [their] favourite waistcoat."
- All over the place in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes adaptation, which would have been accurate for the period.
- In The Boondock Saints, Il Duce has a custom waistcoat that holds three pairs of Throw-Away Guns.
- Part of Han Solo's classic outfit in Star Wars, although his is far more utilitarian.
- Arthur in Inception (pictured above) kicks ass and takes names in a very nice waistcoat. Note that Joseph Gordon-Levitt wears this kind of outfit normally!
- Gangs of New York: "As some of you have surely noticed, our friend and benefactor Mr. Cutting is tonight wearing a waistcoat of certain distinction."
- The Joker in The Dark Knight wears a green waistcoat as part of his curious style. A cop makes note that all his clothes are custom-tailored, with no labels.
- James Bond, fairly frequently.
- Pick a Western. Any Western. Truth in Television since trousers tight enough to ride comfortably in for any period of time will also be so tight you can't fit ANYTHING into a trouser pocket.
- In Superbad, Fogell wears a vest in anticipation of buying alcohol with his fake ID, insisting it makes him look older (he's seventeen and the ID claims he's twenty-five). Evan tells him to take it off because he just looks "like Aladdin."
- Morpheus, the Twins and the Architect in The Matrix Reloaded.
- Howard Stark in Captain America: The First Avenger. He's alarmingly well-dressed for a benevolent, globe-trotting Mad Scientist.
- Devon Bostick in Sacrifice.
- Predators: Hanzo, the impeccably dressed Yakuza enforcer, wears a waistcoat to complete his powder-blue three piece suit.
- In The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, the Devil sports one as part of his Limited Wardrobe.
- Ocean's Eleven: Terry Benedict's are made of antique kimononote fabric.
- Dr. Cocteau in Demolition Man wears what appears to be several layers of kimono fabric as a "vest".
- Seneca Crane is never without his in the film adaptation of The Hunger Games.
- Apollo 13: In both the movie and Real Life, Flight Director Gene Kranz' wife sews him a vest before each flight.
Jerry Bostick (FDO White): Mrs. Kranz has pulled out the old needle and thread again.Technician: Last one looked like he bought it off a gypsy.Jerry: Well, you can't argue with tradition.(Later, after Gene finally puts it on, with applause from all the technicians)Technician: Hey, Gene, I guess we can go to the moon now!
- Fun fact: Apparently actor Ed Harris was extremely similar in appearance and build at the time of filming to the real Gene Kranz during the Apollo Program, to the point that the vest worn by Harris in the film is the actual vest Mrs. Kranz made for Gene back then, which the film crew were allowed to borrow.
- Sonny Corleone and Tom Hagen in The Godfather.
- In Cloud Atlas, Robert Frobisher borrows one of these from his lover, Rufus Sixsmith, largely so he'll have something of his to keep him company when they're forced to separate. Tragically, dire financial straits and the threat of eviction/arrest drive him to sell it towards the end of the film.
- Frank's usual attire in Byzantium.
- X-Men Film Series: Professor X frequently wears a waistcoat with his elegant suits, and it adds a little extra flair to his aura of academic professionalism while also being an indicator of his upper-class status.
- X-Men: First Class: Xavier's waistcoats as a graduate student and as a newly minted professor of genetics are a touch less formal than in the original trilogy. This subtly conveys to viewers that Charles was more relaxed and carefree during his youth.
- X-Men: Apocalypse: James McAvoy's Professor X hasn't been seen in one since First Class, and the vest he has near the end of film is more polished-looking than the tweed-preppy style of his Oxford days, which signifies that he's now embodying Patrick Stewart's character.
- One of character actor Terry-Thomas' trademarks was wearing a waistcoat.
- In the DC Extended Universe, Lois Lane oftens wears stylish waistcoats are part of her work attire. Also, being a billionaire playboy, Bruce Wayne is often seen wearing a waistcoat with a nice suit - when he's not in his other suit, of course.
- The White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.
- Don't forget, the Jabberwock wears one, too! (only in the illustration, but still...)
- J. R. R. Tolkien's hobbits (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit) have waistcoats as part of their regular male clothing.
- Although it's not stylish, per se; just seen as something they ought to wear because it's proper. To quote the Gaffer when he sees Sam in chainmail: "What's become of his weskit? I don't hold with wearing ironmongery, whether it wears well or no."
- Averted in Sense and Sensibility, where Marianne bemoans the fact that Colonel Brandon wears a flannel waistcoat for warmth. He's practically ancient!
- Psmith always wears a waistcoat, and creasing it is just about the only thing that can get him upset.
- The younger vampires in Carpe Jugulum are noted for their fancy waistcoats. Vlad's is embroidered with peacocks.
- De rigueur for Marathine noblemen in Doctrine of Labyrinths.
- The Verbisoids in the the Thursday Next series have a notable predilection for gaily-coloured waistcoats (and striped socks).
- Doc Savage wore a multi-pocket vest in many of his adventures that served as his Utility Belt.
- Pop up in the Village Tales novels. The Duke, the Nawab, Rupert, and James acquired the habit through having been prefects at Eton and members of the Eton Society … i.e., "Pop." They have retained the habit into adult life (and, annoyingly, yet fit into them). Speaking of habits, Canon Paddick has thus far evaded having to wear one, but the Bishop, Dean, and Archdeacon shall have had no choice on State occasions, as Court dress requires a specific kit for bishops, deans, and archdeacons, one including a stylish clerical waistcoat.
Live Action TV
- In Our Miss Brooks, Mr. Conklin's often seen wearing three piece suits (e.g. "Living Statues").
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Nash. And Pearl too, in later appearances.
- Doctor Who:
- Most incarnations of the Doctor wear a waistcoat as part of their regular costume at least sometimes, including the First, Third, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, War, Eleventh◊ and Twelfth Doctors. The Fifth Doctor wears a rather natty tapestry waistcoat◊ when on holiday in "Planet of Fire", and so does the Sixth Doctor◊ when on holiday in "The Two Doctors".
- Derek Jacobi as Professor Yana, the Master in human form, was dressed to evoke the First Doctor, including waistcoat.
- Jenny (the katana-wielding Victorian lesbian crimefighter, not the Doctor's clonebaby) wears a very nifty waistcoat when she's headed into battle.
- As does John Riddell, the Doctor's big game hunter chum.
- Ianto Jones from Torchwood. Jack Harkness wears his fair share as well.
- And The Sarah Jane Adventures completes the Doctor Who trifecta, as Sarah Jane herself is nearly always in a waistcoat.
- Patrick Jane in The Mentalist wears a three piece suit but often takes his jacket off to go around in his Power Vest.
- Archangel from Airwolf
- This pops up in Firefly. Simon in particular, as well as Patience's goon, Two-Fry.
- Alpha in the second season of Dollhouse wears a waistcoat.
- Pretty much everyone in Boardwalk Empire as it is set in the '20s
- Many of the lawyers in the various Law & Order programs wear these as the third part of their three-piece suit.
- Colonel Montoya in Queen of Swords.
- Neal Caffrey of White Collar favors vintage three-piece suits, and looks great in a vest and shirtsleeves.
- Star Trek:
- "The Outrageous Okona" from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- As of the mid-late seasons of Deep Space Nine, when Starfleet switched from weird jumpsuits to the purple/grey-shouldered jackets, one uniform variant was the "captain's vest", as worn by Picard in Star Trek: First Contact, and frequently worn by Sisko under his standard uniform jacket.
- Will Schuster from Glee
- Also Kurt, although his are usually more stylish than Will's.
- Kevin Ryan in Castle has a collection of waistcoats. Not that anyone is complaining.
- Colorful vests seem to be standard issue for Centauri males on Babylon 5.
- Harvey Specter in Suits, so much so that his protegé actually comments on it.
- Nathan Petrelli likes to wear waistcoats on Heroes, and likes to take off his coat so he can show them off, too.
- Ted Mosby in How I Met Your Mother occasionally wears one when he teaches his college architecture class.
- Freddie Lyon (played by the lovely Ben Whishaw) in The Hour is frequently seen in a knitted waistcoat in season one. In Season Two, his wardrobe - and waistcoat - get a style upgrade.
- Most of the men wear them as part of their three-piece suits; Hector and Randall most frequently.
- Anson Fullerton loves to rock the waistcoat on Burn Notice. Some of the other characters even comment on it.
- Mycroft Holmes in Sherlock is rarely seen without one.
- Carly Shay in iCarly wears vests in practically every episode.
- Ally Dawson in Austin & Ally also wears vests in practically every episode.
- James West and Artemus Gordon of The Wild Wild West sport these.
- Sherlock Holmes in Elementary often wears a waistcoat over top of t-shirts.
- Roger Sterling and Lane Pryce of Mad Men. While waistcoats were out of fashion by the '60s, Roger wears one as an occasional alternative to his equally dated-yet-flashy double-breasted suit while Pryce wears one to distinguish him as a foreigner. In later seasons Peter starts wearing one as well.
- A wardrobe staple of Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin) on Gotham; and also of Alfred Pennyworth.
- A staple of Raymond "Red"Reddington on The Blacklist. Combined with his collection of fedoras, it makes Red into a Sharp Dressed Man.
- Cillian Murphy's character, Thomas Shelby, is rarely seen without one. Most of the cast of Peaky Blinders wears one at some point.
- Nash Bridges tends to wear very colourful or loudly-patterned ones, usually over a collarless shirt or a t-shirt, and he is considered a snappy dresser. His colleague, Inspector Harvey Leek, wears even more gaudy ones over his jacket, which is used by a character in one episode as an example of the police unit's lack of professionalism.
- ADA Rafael Barba of Law & Order: SVU wears these, with or without accompanying suit jacket — he favors three-piece suits as a general rule and can often be seen shucking his jacket and rolling up his sleeves as he starts digging into a case.
- Discussed and subverted in Chuck. Timothy Dalton's character says "My mother always told me to play my cards close to the vest. And always a wear a jacket over the vest so you don't look like an idiot."
- Richard Hammond in the studio segments for The Grand Tour, giving him a more stylish appearance than his older and more eccentrically dressed co-presenters. He occasionally wore them on Top Gear as well, especially the latter series.
- When not in his lab coat, Doctor Steel wears a cool leather waistcoat that buckles in the front.
- David Bowie's mid-1970s stage persona of The Thin White Duke wore a black one.
- Martin Short's character, Irving Cohen, sings a song called "Waistcoat Willie" in an SNL sketch.
- When the boys of One Direction get fancied-up in coordinating but not necessarily matching suits, Liam Payne is often the one in a nice fitted waistcoat.
- David DeFeis of Virgin Steele used to sometimes wear waistcoats in odd colors and patterns (e.g. leopard print) with no shirt.
- Mumford & Sons, at least one of the lads is seen in a waistcoat no matter where they are, and they look incredible.
- In Final Fantasy XII, Balthier wears one, with corset elements. He is, of course, a man of considerable style and flair.
- In Ace Attorney, Miles Edgeworth wears a different waistcoat depending on the time frame. Throughout most of the Phoenix arc, it has a simple black design, but it was a lot more ornate in his younger days (and can still be seen hanging with its accompanying jacket on his office wall in the present).
- Apollo Justice wears a bright red one.
- Ema Skye is a fan of waistcoats too; she wears a different one in each game she appears in.
- Godot has quite the snazzy waistcoat. He also had one during his days as Diego Armando.
- In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, Phoenix Wright himself gets one◊.
- Simon Blackquill wears one as well
- In No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, Henry trades his Badass Longcoat in the first game for one of these.
- Sanae Hanekoma in The World Ends with You pulls off this look nicely.
- Cole Phelps of L.A. Noire wears several in his outifts, notably the ever stylish Hawkshaw.
- Trilby from the Chzo Mythos wears it prominently in Trilby's Notes, and it can be unlocked as an alternate costume in Art of Theft. If you the command prompt to make him examine himself in the former, he states that he would much rather wear his gray blazer, but the summer season is a bit too hot for that.
- In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the main character's employer, David Sarif, wears this◊ stylishly polygonal◊ number.
- The Medic in Team Fortress 2 wears one underneath his Badass Labcoat, as seen in his meet video. The Spy also wears one under his suit, but unless you download a fan-made mod he's never without his jacket. Bigger Bad Zepheniah Nicodemus Mann wore one in the comics, during a flashback to the day his sons were born.
- The Striaton gym leaders have this in Pokémon Black and White, as they're waiters.
- George from Resident Evil Outbreak wears one underneath his suit-jacket.
- Shin Megami Tensei: Persona:
- Akihiko Sanada from Persona 3 wears a bright red one with his school uniform.
- Persona 5: Arsène, a Guardian Entity reflecting the protagonist's stylish Gentleman Thief personality traits to the point it's an Anthropomorphic Personification of Arsčne Lupin, wears a black waistcoat. Party member Makoto Niijima also wears a black waistcoat over her school uniform.
- Francis from Left 4 Dead wears a black leather vest that appears to be a repurposed biker jacket, which coordinates well with the extensive tattoo work on his arms. In his dialogue with other characters (in which he often expresses his hate of whatever they encounter) he proclaims vests as one of the things he explicitly doesn't hate.
- Volkanon and Vishnal of Rune Factory 4 both wear white waistcoats under their dark outer coats. Of course, as butlers, it's to be expected.
- In Grand Theft Auto V both Franklin and Michael have the option of wearing them with their specific wardrobes. Franklin's the only one of the two who can wear them without wearing a jacket however.
- Sleeping Dogs: Big Smile Lee wears one, as do some of his henchmen.
- Sebastian Castellanos and Joseph Oda of The Evil Within both sport snazzy waistcoats, Sebastian's in an elegant pinstripe, while Joseph accessorizes his with badass black leather gloves.
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown has EXALT. Every single EXALT operative wears one.
- Gabriele in This Is the Worst Idea You've Ever Had!.
- Since this is part of the spies' uniform in Cuanta Vida, the protagonist and an antagonist has been seen wearing this.
- As part of the vaguely steampunk-Victorian feel of Girl Genius and the Costume Porn that the authors like to indulge in, these are all over the place. Agatha is sometimes seen wearing a green one, though not in the current story arc.
- Most of the male cast in Lackadaisy wear these.
- In TwoKinds, Natani's latest outfit (made by Kathrin with the remains of Natani's old robes and some spare fabric of Eric's) is a green waistcoat under a black cape/cloak.
- De rigeur on any sort of formal-wear, court-wear, or suits for centuries until the early 20th century. Mostly out of style for suits and street clothes since the 1940s, they've seen small resurgences, in the 1970s and, to a small degree, today (do your part to ensure the waistcoat once more becomes timelessly fashionable!). They've stayed a part of formalwear for some time.
- The UK has seen a bit of a revival of the waistcoat in the last few years, entering into smart casual and even casual wear.
- Generally part of the uniform for waiters at upscale restrauants, boutiques, and attendants at museums. It as the benefit of a) making the waitstaff easily distinguishable from the patrons dressed in full evening-wear, b) by being intentionally less formally dressed, they avoid the possibility of causing a guest the embarrassment of being outdressed by the waitstaff.
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt, of course. He seems to wear one in every photo shoot. And looks amazing in them.
- Christopher Nolan is noted to be one of the few directors in Hollywood who wears them. It fits his persona.
- David Tennant.
- Part of 18th Century European military uniform. These were long sleeved, made of wool, and tight fitting so they could be worn under the (woolen) coat. In many armies the color of the waistcoat was determined by which regiment you were in.
- Although the alternate trope names (Power Vest, Badass Waistcoat) are a better fit, John Wesley Hardin. One of the few Old West gunmen who lived up to his reputation (and may well have exceeded it in terms of viciousness), Hardin's preferred mode of carry was two holsters which he had sewn into his vest.
- Michael Emerson
- Martin Freeman sports one on his TV Tropes page.
- Penn & Teller, though this can be chalked up to pragmatism: More pockets = more places to hide/produce items for illusions.
- Crispin Freeman has apparently taken a liking to them.
- Misha Collins wears these sometimes.◊
- Tom Hiddleston has been known to wear them.
- Almost mandatory within males in the Victorian Goth subculture.
- Steampunk fashion too.
- In a similar vein, very common among Boystyle/Ouji fashion, the Spear Counterpart of Lolita Fashion
- Troy Baker has been known to wear them.