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Women's waistcoats are a chic wardrobe staple - shop 10 of my favourites

The suit vest is the epitome of quiet luxury

Best waistcoats
Hollie Brotherton
Lifestyle & Commerce Senior Writer
Updated: May 10, 2024
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They've forever been a key player in suiting and once synonymous with the boho style of Kate Moss in the 00s, but nothing has risen through the fashion ranks in the last few years quite as quickly as the waistcoat.

Now the epitome of quiet luxury, it's a piece every woman wants in her wardrobe.

Paired with linen wide-leg trousers or sleek midi skirts (it's not just a trouser suit thing) they create effortless ensembles that give the illusion you just threw something on while actually looking very chic. 

The perfect middle ground between a tank or crop top and a sweater vest, they're ideal for the warmer weather but can also be worn layered through the transitional seasons, making them one of the most worthy sartorial investments you can make right now.

The best waistcoats at a glance

  • The white waistcoat: M&S Tailored Single Breasted Waistcoat, £35 / $61.99
  • The black waistcoat: H&M Waistcoat, £32 / $39.99
  • The longline waistcoat: River Island Button Up Longline Waistcoat, £45 / $84
  • The striped waistcoat: Mango Striped Linen Waistcoat, £35.99 / $59.99

I spoke to London-based fashion stylist Holly Coopey about her thoughts on waistcoats having a style moment: "Waistcoats are a great transitional piece," she said. "I love when masculine tailoring gives an androgynous look for my clients. What's more, the waistcoat can totally transform the simple jeans and tee look with a directional twist. The waistcoat also works over a printed midi dress for the ultimate 70s vibe."

Celebrity women wearing waistcoats

[L-R Sydney Sweeney, Trinny Woodall, Kendall Jenner, Alessandra Ambrosio]
[L-R Sydney Sweeney, Trinny Woodall, Kendall Jenner, Alessandra Ambrosio]

Always ahead of the game, Kendall Jenner wore a waistcoat and wide-leg trousers in LA in summer 2021. I love a neutral-toned waistcoat paired with black trousers for a timeless look that will take you through every season. 

More recently Alessandra Ambrosio and Trinny Woodall wore waistcoats as part of cream trouser suits at Cannes Festival and out in London respectively. Both completed their outfits with oversized sunnies and platform heels.

Sydney Sweeney is another fan of a waistcoat, pictured above pairing hers to perfection with wide-leg jeans.

How I chose the best waistcoats

  • New-in: Where possible I've included the new-in pieces from team HELLO!'s favourite fashion brands. Check back for updates as the summer collections continue to drop online.
  • Colour: All of the waistcoats in this edit are in black, white or neutral shades so they can be styled with everything and slot seamlessly into your capsule wardrobe.
  • Price: I've chosen pieces to suit a range of budgets from H&M's waistcoat at £32 to more luxury pieces around £200.

The best waistcoats for women to shop now

  • M&S Tailored Single Breasted Waistcoat

    M&S waistcoat

    M&S Waistcoat

    Sizes available: UK 6-24

    Colours available: White, Black, Navy, Blue

    Shipping: £3.99 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £60

    Returns: Free within 35 days

    Made for capsule wardrobes, this is a beautifully cut waistcoat in a white hue. Fully lined, it has a slim, tailored fit and neat button fastenings. Add jewellery and trainers to steer it away from office attire.

  • H&M Waistcoat

    H&M waistcoat

    H&M Waistcoat

    Sizes available: UK 4-22

    Colours available: Black, Dusty Blue

    Shipping: £3.99 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £30

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    Looking for a classic black waistcoat to wear with everything this season? This one from H&M is fully lined and has a flattering tailored fit with an adjustable back tab. Keep makeup and hair fuss-free to stop it stepping into boardroom territory.

  • Reiss Lori Halterneck Waistcoat

    Reiss waistcoat

    Reiss Waistcoat

    Sizes available: UK 4-18

    Colours available: White

    Shipping: £5.95 Next Day Delivery

    Returns: £1.95 within 28 days

    You can't go wrong with summer whites. Make the most of the sun by pairing this white waistcoat from Reiss with a tan and glossy makeup. I love it worn with gold jewellery and matching tailored trousers.

  • Frankie Shop Maesa Asymmetric Woven Vest

    Frankie shop waistcoat

    Net-a-Porter Waistcoat

    Sizes available: XS-XL

    Colours available: Army Green, Beige

    Shipping: £7 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £300

    Returns: Free within 30 days

    Understated tailoring is Frankie Shop's forte and not many fashion brands create iconic pieces quite like the New York based brand. The Maesa waistcoat has followed suit, quite literally. This waistcoat has a cool asymmetric cut and a hue that will go with anything.

  • Albaray Cotton Linen Blend Twill Waistcoat

    Albaray waistcoat

    John Lewis Waistcoat

    Sizes available: UK 8-18

    Colours available: Cream

    Shipping: £4.50 or free over £50

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    Made from a cotton-linen blend this Albaray waistcoat is the breezy piece you need in your summer wardrobe. It has a buckle back adjuster for the perfect fit.

  • Reformation Sofia Cropped Linen Vest

    Reformation waistcoat

    Reformation Waistcoat

    Sizes available: UK 4-16

    Colours available: White, Black, Stripe

    Shipping: £6 Standard Delivery or free over £100

    Returns: £6 within 30 days

    Looking for a cropped style? Reformation's Sophia vest waistcoat is giving summer and I'm here for it. The fitted silhouette pairs perfectly with wide-leg linen trousers or a mini skirt depending on your plans.

  • New Look Linen Blend Button Front Waistcoat

    New Look waistcoat

    New Look Waistcoat

    Sizes available: UK 6-22

    Colours available: Black, White, Beige, Blue, Green

    Shipping: £2.99 for Standard Delivery or free on orders over £50

    Returns: £1.99 within 28 days

    This black linen-blend waistcoat is so popular at New Look thanks to its clean lines, relaxed fit and affordable price tag. Wear it over a white tee or poplin shirt for a daytime look.

  • River Island Button Up Longline Waistcoat

    River Island

    River Island Waistcoat

    Sizes available: UK 6-18

    Colours available: Green, Cream

    Shipping: £4 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £50

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    This luxe sage green waistcoat has a longer cut than average, which pairs perfectly with wide-leg trousers. Wear it as part of River Island's trending trouser suit for a gorgeous wedding guest or summer party ensemble.

  • Mango Striped Linen Waistcoat

    Mango waistcoat

    Mango Waistcoat

    Sizes available: XXS-XXL

    Colours available: Striped

    Shipping: £3.99 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £30

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    Mango's linen striped waistcoat is casual and chic. It's the perfect all-rounder to take you everywhere from daytime drinks to date night. It's selling out fast, so you'll need to shop now. 

  • Boohoo Black Tailored Waistcoat

    Boohoo waistcoat

    Boohoo Waistcoat

    Sizes available: UK 8-18

    Colours available: Black

    Shipping: Free with Premier

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    Boohoo's black waistcoat has an adjustable self-tie back so you can wear it with a slim or relaxed fit depending on your outfit. I love it dressed down with a pair of wide-leg jeans.

How to style a women's waistcoat 

  • Unless you're dressing for the office it's all about keeping the humble waistcoat from looking too work-mode. Pair yours with wide-leg trousers or a slip skirt, and most importantly? Channel your inner Kendall Jenner and wear it with confidence. Stylist Holly shared: "If you're looking for an easy way to lean into the suiting trend gently, wear on its own for a chic deconstructed tux look."
  • When you wear a waistcoat in the daytime add a pair of white trainers to help keep the look casual. Keep your hair looking fuss-free - there's a time and a place for a bouncy blow-dry, but this isn't one of them. In fact, wearing your waistcoat with natural makeup and a slicked back bun is also a vibe we've seen on the cool girls of Instagram.
  • For a nighttime look, make it sexy. Think glossy skin, a chic bag (no office-style totes) and a pair of barely-there heels. Channel your inner Parisian.   

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