Sara asked: "I recently bought a nice blazer and a couple of nice dress shirts to wear to interviews.
"I'd like to also get a vest to go with my blazer or just to wear on its own. I've been trying on men's vests but I've had issues with the fabric bunching at my hips. There's an inch or two of extra fabric that wants to keep going but my rather large hips and ass just say no. Any suggestions on where to find a more masculine vest that will better fit my curvy body (I'm a size 16)?"
Some thing folks might not know about men's suit vests is it's often customary to leave the bottom button unbuttoned. (Some people also leave the top button undone, for those reading this having the opposite issue.) Behold, Blake being a vest boss:
Notice though, that Blake's vest here doesn't have any tugging and sits very naturally on her person. If you do unbutton it to allow for a little extra hip room, you don't want the fabric to have any tugging.
Another thing you can do is simply search for shorter vests. It's totally acceptable to have a vest that only just extends past the belt. Also, if you are looking to de-emphasize your hips I'd avoid vests with pocket flaps (just a little trick our friends at Bindle & Keep taught us.) Though, they do look pretty great on Izzy here:
Now for the reality of the situation: Unless you are going to a custom suit maker like Bindle & Keep, if you have curves, you're going to have to sacrifice fit a tad and find vests that are too big in other places to compensate.
One of the best routes might be to thrift something for very cheap and then bring it to a tailor. The tailor can work with the side seams to make it fit your body while also maintaining the look of a men's vest. I've gone to many tailors who have no experience with queers, and I just spoke the language of the straight world: "I want to keep this a men's vest but bring it in at the waist." If they get confused and ask if you want darts, say NO. No darts, just bring the side seam in at the waist. You can always bring a friend your first time if you're scared. Most tailors are just excited about the business and won't give you too much trouble.
If you'd rather not deal with tailors, just try on some different styles and see what fits best. Generally items labeled "straight fit" will work better on hips than "slim fit." In the end, the most important thing is how the vest makes you feel, so just try it on and see what makes you smile at your reflection. Topman is of course my favorite place to shop for vests. Here's a Grey 5 Button Waistcoat that might work for you.
Have fun & good luck!
As Qwear's Founding Editor, Sonny’s work centers around envisioning a future in which the clothing people wear does not dictate their chances of survival. Sonny was awarded 2015 dapperQ of the Year and was the first trans blogger to be sponsored by Topman. In March 2016, Sonny spoke at South by South West's first official queer fashion panel.