Closet Classic: The Waistcoat

Yesterday started out as one of those grumpy, frumpy, PMT-fueled days. Exacerbated by grumpy, wumpy kids, and a grumpy clumpy husband. My tummy felt plumpy, and my skin too bumpy. And I had nothing to wear.

In a rush to escape the house, I pulled on my favourite black jeans, a slightly creased white shirt, and a tailored waistcoat I’d bought back in 2007. I then haphazardly buttoned up that waistcoat to cover the shirt’s creases, hoping it’d also disguise my plumpy tum.

And as I rushed to school drop-off, an equally harried mum stopped in her tracks as she was unloading her twins from her car into the double pram and breathed, “Wow, you look great!” Shocked and slightly dumfounded, I flushed with embarrassment and mumbled something about wearing the kid’s Vegemite toast on my jeans.

And at childcare drop off, another mum, rushing to get her offspring into care before she headed for the office raised her eyebrows, smiled and murmured “Gee Andrea, you look so polished.” I had to look behind me to see if there was another Andrea walking in behind me, but nup, she was talking to me! Crike-a-rama!


My “I dunno what just happened, but I kinda liked it” selfie
taken in the car post child-care drop off.  



Two lessons I learnt yesterday:

1) When in doubt, top your outfit with a tailored waistcoat. Think of it as the cheat’s way to looking polished.

2) Always give compliments to other harried mums. It’ll make their day.


5 ways to wear a tailored waistcoat

1. Over a shirt

As per my example above, it’ll hide creases and smooth lumpy bits.


2. Over a maxi dress or skirt

Adds a touch of tailored to all that flowing fabric.

3. Over a tank or singlet

It’s a simple way to add chic to a cheap and cheerful singlet. And perfect for when you’re nursing. A trick I learnt from my friend Frannie when our kids were babies: pop a tailored vest over a breastfeeding singlet to cover up those nursing bra clippy-clips and inevitable rogue milk stains. And try a $7 Bonds Men’s Singlet with a waistcoat, jeans, wide-legged pants, or shorts. As Frannie would say, you’ll be “Cool bananas.”


4. Over a t-shirt

You know those days when a t-shirt feels too revealing? You may be worried about clumps of back-fat poking through from your too-tight bra, or your love handles seem to be peering over the top of your jeans? A waistcoat solves both problems at once, and will give you a streamlined silhouette. Triple win!


5. Top with a blazer

According to Karl Lagerfeld, a blazer is one of the 4 essentials everyone needs in their wardrobe. And no-one’s gonna argue with the Kaiser (least of all because he’s getting bitchier and funnier – depending how you look at it – in his old age.) So top any of the above waistcoat combos with a blazer for a classic, chic look that Karl would approve of.


Where to buy a tailored waistcoat?

Hunt around the menswear section of thrift stores, keeping your eyes peeled for one that can be cinched in at the waist, or pay a few more bucks and have it tailored to fit.

This black waistcoat from is a bargain at $15.61, or try a crisp white waistcoat like this one from Ann Demeulemeester $399.72.  And if the budget permits, invest in this black DOLCE & GABBANA waistcoat $435.63 from



Oh, and following from my other lesson about compliments…this one’s for you:




What’s your failsafe fallback item of clothing for those lumpy, clumpy, grumpy days? 

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