The history of the vest as a dominant piece of clothing worn in the old West is an interesting one. It has gone through many different transformations in length, colors and fabrics.
A vest is typically defined as a piece of clothing that has no sleeves and is worn on the upper body. Most vests are characterized by their close fit and the length which typically ends near the wast. Vest throughout history have either been very simple, or very luxurious. A vest typically has buttons that run up the front to close it, but a vest can also be pulled together in the front with a zipper.
The standard vest actually began as a spin off of the waistcoat which was hugely popular in the 1700’s. Throughout the centuries the waistcoat went through a variety of fashion change including colors, fabrics and length until it eventually became the vest.
It’s popularity rose in the old West because it was an inexpensive extra layer of protection against the elements and did not constrict the the wearer too much. The vest is designed to be worn close to the body so as not to catch debris and other outdoor elements, but can help keep the wearer warm.