So, Hansen Garments, tiny Copenhagen-based maker of classic menswear. I would say menswear with a flavour of Nordic Heritage, or perhaps more than a nod to vintage styles, but really Hansen is firmly out there in the left field, doing their own thing. No revolutions, just making things better each season, like sensible people do. And Hansen is quite sensible, in that the styles are wearable, the quality is superb, the production is not low cost, and the prices can be related to the former factors without being laughable.
While the “Daniel” waistcoat is back again for AW15, this is the sought after AW14 version. The difference is in the fabric, and where the fabric is used. The later variant is all over in a wool herringbone and the one we have here has a front in a dark grey herringbone slightly slubby cotton and the rear in a delicately striped linen, both sourced from Italy. While I usually prefer my waistcoats to have the same fabric front and rear, in this case it earns extra points.
At a first glance the style appears a typical classic vest, with more of a casual feel than part of a suit. The front has 4 horn buttons, decently spaced to provide a tradeoff between distortion (too few buttons) or more work doing it up (too many buttons). Basic number of pockets, i.e. just the two lower pockets. And that’s sort of it for the front.
At the back the fabric changes to the lovely striped linen. And theres a cinch, a proper working cinch! Anyone that has been paying attention is aware of my issues when it comes to waistcoats and the poor engineering of the vital cinches. Using buttons like this may be basic technology, but a couple of things makes it much more viable than many others: a) it actually works and b) you rarely need to adjust it, so button and forget is a fine solution. Oh, the buttons are metal on this side.
Just saying that there is a different fabric on the back is selling it short though, as this is where the next level construction of this waistcoat comes into show. Whereas a typical waistcoat is made up of three outer parts, two front halves and a rear, this is very much more engineered. An obvious hint is that the grey herringbone covers the sides as well, making for a much more interesting look than usual. That’s right, Hansen have taking the construction of a waistcoat to a new level.
The sewing throughout is top notch, with straight seams and no lose threads. Any open seams are taped to ensure there will be no fraying. This is made to last.
The inside has the same combination of fabrics, partially lined. There is a neat inside pocket, with button closing. This pocket is so neatly finished that it’s a shame only the wearer will only briefly appreciate it.
- Made in the EU
- Fabric from Italy
- Danish/Norwegian design
- Hansen Garments are available direct or from Maritime Antiques & in Copenhagen
In summary, this is probably the finest waistcoat I’ve ever come across. The attention to design and detail is next level and really, if you have this waistcoat you would need no others. Unfortunately this version is long gone, so unless Hansen see sense end produce more, this will be the grail of waistcoats in years to come. Yes, even for me, as mine was obviously a size too small in medium and has already passed on to a new keeper.