How to wear a weskit

The weskit—or waistcoat—is a very old-fashioned garment that you may be familiar with from local Renaissance festivals or period films (Colin Firth cuts a fine figure in one!). But it’s also an item of apparel that has worked its way into the scrubs marketplace. So what exactly is a weskit, and how can you wear one at work without looking weird?

A Vest by Any Other Name
Traditionally, a weskit is a vest with a lower edge that sits somewhere between the waist and the hip. However, today’s versions of the waistcoat top may have short or long sleeves rather than being sleeveless. The short-sleeve weskit is the most common variety in scrubs fashion. It’s basically a button-front blouse that is meant to be worn out rather than tucked in. The front edges are generally notched to create an inverted “V” shape at the bottom center hem. The garment typically has shaped seams and/or back elastic to provide contouring. Here’s a modern example from Cherokee:

Cherokee Top


What Body Shapes Suit the Weskit?

This short blouse is great for petite women and those with a high waist. The short length of the top makes your legs appear longer. It’s also a good look if you have an hourglass figure—or if you’re thin and want to appear to have more curves. Longer-style weskits (like the one from Cherokee shown here) that reach the hip and don’t have a deep front notch offer structure to cover up a rounded tummy.

Short Sleeve Weskit

Problematic Body Shapes for the Weskit
If you have an “apple-shaped” abdomen or a large bust, the fitted style of a weskit will make the buttons strain and gape in the front. You’ll need to rely on the liberal use of safety pins to keep you contained—or just skip this style altogether. Also, not all weskits work with large upper arms. This button-front “weski” from Skechers is one such example; its cap sleeves have a faux button tab that doesn’t actually allow you to loosen the sleeve to accommodate a larger bicep.

Button Front Weskit


What Should You Wear With a Weskit?
Avoid wearing a scrubs bottom that has an exposed drawstring or that gathers below the waistband in the front. That looks awkward and contrasts sharply with the streamlined look of the weskit. If you tend to wear high-waisted pant styles, a weskit top would be a good choice. A trouser front closure will look most professional, but a wide, smooth elastic waistband will work, too. Here’s one from BabyPhat’s Livin’ Stretch collection that would work with a weskit in a pinch:

Livin’ Stretch Pant

If you have a long torso, the short length of this garment can pose a problem by exposing your belly when you lift your arms up. Layer the weskit over a contrasting undershirt (tucked or untucked) that keeps your abdomen covered. Since many nursing waistcoats are white, you can wear a bold-colored long-sleeve or short-sleeve tee underneath, like this one from Skechers:

L/S Tee

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