Have you ever put on a shiny, new tie that looked really good and tied your whole outfit together only to found it soaked in soup a couple of hours later? I might have a vested interest in telling you this, but the solution to your problem are vests. Or waistcoats if you prefer. By the way, why is it still called a “bulletproof vest” in the UK?
Anyway, vests without a doubt the greatest garment there is, hands down. Ties are constantly in the way, dangling around like the tail of a cow. But not underneath a vest they don’t. And that is only one of the reasons vests are great, and frankly, it is one of the lesser ones. Probably the least one, even. A proper tie pin does exactly the same thing, after all. Or a tie bar. Or a self-sewn button hole right in the middle of the dangly mess.
Why else are vests great? Let us start with something that is not great at all and then compare and contrast: Jackets. Suit jackets might just be one of the stupidest things imaginable. They are restrictive as hell. Have you tried reaching for something that is slightly higher than your elbows while wearing a proper, closed suit jacket? Give my regards to your seamstress for then mending the split back. Suit jackets originally came from riding jackets that were worn half open (hence lapel and the now superfluous button hole in them). They looked dashing and they do make a nice silhouette to this very day. Provided you do not put anything bigger than a ticket stub into the pockets. Which is the next problem they have, really. Have you ever put anything into a suit jacket’s pocket? How did it look? Exactly! Now, a vest can easily accommodate something as big as a pocket watch in its watch pocket (that must be the linguistic equivalent of circular reasoning, methinks).
If you absolutely have to wear a jacket, wear a vest underneath and you can leave the jacket open. Your arms have become approximately five times less restricted all of a sudden. If you wear only the vest without a jacket, your shirt-sleeved arms are more unencumbered, still, and can move about freely, while your torso is tightly hugged by your vest.
A fact that has an amazing corollary, by the way: A vest makes any and every shirt ‘slim-fit’, the best type of shirt. If you have an old, too big shirt that looks more like a circus tent than it does like a proper piece of garment, constrict it into a vest, and boom: silhouette!
Of course, should you happen to be the kind of utter, despicable swine who does not own a clean shirt (i.e.: a bachelor): if the stains are not on the sleeves, a vest does a good job of making them practically invisible. Only in a pinch, of course, I am not advocating wearing dirty shirts all the time. And while we are at it, a vest also elegantly hides the dreaded shirt loop.
Tight in all the right places to make a good looking silhouette, loose enough in all the other right places to guarantee maximum freedom of movement, up to four (!) additional pockets, able to hide away excess shirt-fabric, stains, loops and even accommodates a pocket watch, the best of all watches. And when you wear it with your shirt sleeves rolled up, I have it on good authority that many women will practically melt away. All that, plus: casually pulling one or to coins out of the vest pocket, the one without a watch in it, of course, jut feels strangely satisfying.
So, pluck up some courage, cough up some dough and buy a new addition to your wardrobe. You will not regret this in-vest-ment!
(The picture, by the way, is yours truly making all the points I just spent hundreds of words writing about in a single picture. Somebody should make a saying out of that. The flowers are entirely incidental.)