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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. A waistcoat provides warmth, an extra layer and extra pockets.
Depending on the waistcoat, characters wearing them can seem especially stylish, pretentious or eccentric. 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.
Also known in Britain as a 'Nodad', as in "No, Dad, don't make me wear that!"
Anime and Manga
- 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 and 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.
- Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
- As well as Will Turner.
- Several in the Harry Potter movies:
- Gilderoy Lockhart in Chamber of Secrets
- Sirius Black in Order of the Phoenix
- Horace Slughorn in Half-Blood Prince
- Harry and Ron at Bill and Fleur's wedding in Deathly Hallows.
- 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 the new 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.
- 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 Saga 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 kimono 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 adaption of The Hunger Games.
- The White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.
- Don't forget, the Jabberwock wears one, too! (only in the illustration, but still...)
- JRR 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!
Live Action TV
- Doctor Who:
- Several incarnations of the Doctor wear waistcoats, mainly the First, Third, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth. The Fifth Doctor wears a rather natty tapestry waistcoat when on holiday in Planet of Fire.
- And it appears that Eleven may be starting to wear one soon too.
- 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.
- Ianto Jones from Torchwood. Jack Harkness wears his fair share as well.
- 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.
- Many of the lawyers in the various Law and 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.
- "The Outrageous Okona" from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Later adopted across the Federation (as of the mid-late seasons of Deep Space Nine) when Starfleet switched from weird jumpsuits to the purple-shouldered jackets with a waistcoat underneath.
- Will Schuster from Glee
- 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 his natty-looking knitted waistcoat.
- 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.
- Adventures in Odyssey: We are told that Eugene Meltsner wears vests. The Animated Adaptation and CD covers have shown his vests with varying degrees of "power", but he did mention that he wore a "dress vest" for his wedding.
- In Final Fantasy XII, Balthier wears one, with corset elements.
- 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's 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 No More Heroes Henry trades his Badass Longcoat in the first game for this in the second.
- Sanae Hanekoma in The World Ends With You pulls off this look nicely.
- Cole Phelps of LA Noire wears several in his outifts, notably the ever stylish Hawkshaw.
- Trilby from Chzo Mythos wears it prominently in Trilby's Notes, and it can be unlocked as an alternate costume 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.
- 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.
- 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 Cats wear these.
- 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.
- 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.
- Matter of fact, Hardin's mode of carry, along with the type of guns he was carrying when he was shot (two double-action revolvers, one with white grips, one with black) made it into Swarthout's famous western novel, The Shootist. It didn't make it into the movie, though.
- Actually the obi that goes around it