Why do snooker players wear waistcoats?

SNOOKER players not only have to show off their skills, they also have to dress to impress when around the table.

If you’re a snooker fan, then you will know the sport comes with a strict dress code – and here’s why.

GettyProfessional snooker players often have to adhere to a traditional dress code[/caption]

Why do snooker players wear waistcoats?

More often than not, professional snooker players are seen sporting a waistcoat and bow tie, as well as smart trousers and a long-sleeve shirt, creating a traditional look which first came to prominence in the 1700s.

During this time, the game was born as a variation on the similar pastime of Billiards and was played by the British aristocracy.

Those who wished to participate in the sport were expected to wear a waistcoat and bow tie.

Although some still follow this traditional practice, others have relaxed rules regarding the dress code, with some events ditching waistcoats and bow ties altogether.

Despite being steeped in tradition, not all snooker players agree with the old-aged dress code, with some calling for the attire to be modernised and more casual.

Speaking to Andy Goldstein on Eurosport’s The Break podcast, Northern Irish snooker player Mark Allen said: ”You look at every other sport. Young people look at TV and go ‘I want to have what they’re wearing’.

”And unfortunately snooker’s not like that. It could change definitely.

“You could have the three majors kept traditional and keep it the way it is. But the other tournaments. I think the Shootout is a great example, the players are just so much more relaxed and the standard of snooker when you are relaxed will go up.

“Polo T-shirts are probably more than enough. If people want to wear nice watches or have good tattoos on their arms, people can say ‘I’d love to have that’.

“At the minute, we’re just stifled in what we can do and I would be pretty confident in saying no one enjoys playing in a bow tie and a waistcoat.”

Fellow snooker star Judd Trump has also called for more casual clothing within the sport.

In April 2021, a frustrated Trump lashed out, saying: “Snooker is kind of stuck in a rut…not enough is being done on the whole image of snooker.

“I’ve got the golf on and their clothing is all changing, becoming more lenient for the younger generation.

“I don’t want to be stuck in a waistcoat walking to the Crucible, it’s not cool to be wearing that nowadays.

“If I think that then I know people younger than me won’t want to be dressed like that either.

“To make new stars and make the game popular again in the UK and bring it back to where it was you need to move with the times.

“Keep the trousers, shoes, just maybe polo shirts or something more relaxed and different. You don’t need to be dressed in a five-piece suit every time you go to a game.”

Does it matter what colour the waistcoat is?

Traditionally, a snooker player would wear a white long-sleeved shirt and a black waistcoat on top.

However, recently this rule has been relaxed allowing players to sport different colours other than the traditional white and black, dependent upon the tournament.

Different tournaments will have different rules regarding dress-code and colours.

Why do snooker players wear bow ties instead of ties?

As well as being a staple of tradition, bow ties are also worn for practicality.

If a snooker player was to wear a traditional long tie, this would get in the way when leaning over the table.

However, one player who is exempt from sporting a bow tie is Scottish snooker star Stephen Maguire.

Speaking earlier in his career, Maguire explained: ”I played with a bow tie for my first few years as a professional but developed a neck condition and that really put me off.

”I went to the doctor and he managed to get a letter to allow me to play without it.

”I have really climbed the rankings since then, so I think that was a significant factor.”