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For other uses, see Vest (disambiguation).
UK: Vest; US: A-shirt or tank top; Aus/NZ: Singlet
UK: Waistcoat; US: Vest
UK: Slipover or tank top; US: sweater vest

A vest is a sleeveless garment covering the upper body. The term has different meanings around the world.

  • Waistcoat (a sleeveless under-jacket). This is called a waistcoat in the UK and many Commonwealth countries, or a vest in the US and Canada. It is often worn as part of formal attire, or as the third piece of a lounge suit.
  • Cut-off: The Cut-off is a type of vest typically made from a denim jacket with sleeves removed. Popular among bikers in North America and Europe, they are often decorated with patches of logos or pictures of biker related subjects.
A typical Cut-off vest worn by bikers in North America and Europe.
  • A-shirt: Normally worn under a shirt or as athletic wear, this is known as an A-shirt or tank top in the US and Canada, vest in the UK and many Commonwealth countries, and singlet in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Sweater vest (American and Canadian English): This may also be called a slipover, sleeveless sweater, or, in British English, a tank top. In Australia this may be colloquially referred to as a baldwin.
  • Banyan: This Indian garment is commonly called a vest in Indian English.
  • Other sleeveless jackets: Vest may refer to other outer garments, such as a padded sleeveless jacket popular for hunting, commonly known as a hunting vest. Another common variant is the fishing vest which carries a profusion of external pockets for carrying fishing tackle. The term jerkin is also used to refer to this sort of sleeveless outdoor coat.


The term vest derives from French veste "jacket, sport coat", Italian veste "robe, gown" and Latin vestis. The sleeveless garment worn by men beneath a coat may have been first popularised by King Charles II of England, since a diary entry by Pepys (October 8, 1666) records that "[t]he King hath yesterday, in Council, declared his resolution of setting a fashion for clothes.... It will be a vest, I know not well how; but it is to teach the nobility thrift."[1]

See also[edit]