This is the final costume part before moving on to the hard armor parts. The Mandalorian armor flak vest will hold your chest armor pieces. Ideally you want to have the vest finished before starting the armor plates so that you can shape/form the chest pieces over the vest. You want a vest that fits you well. Fit the vest to your body, then fit the armor to your vest.
The vest can be of various styles. The classic Boba Fett style ends at about the person’s belly button. The longer Jango Fett style ends at the waist sash/belt or is tucked in. And then the shorter Post-Imperial Din Djarin style ends at the bottom of the ab plate. If you decide on the Jango style it should not bunch up at the waist. Attaching a snap or velcro to the inside of the vest and the codpiece or flight suit may help here. As you can see the 3 versions all have different lengths. Pick the style you like best. People who are more self-conscious about their mid-section may want to choose the longer Jango vest that tucks neatly into the waist rope belt.
Avoid pockets, exposed zippers, and exposed velcro. Use a sturdy fabric that will support your armor plates without sagging or stretching (like duck cloth, cotton twill, leather, upholstery fabric, or quilt fabric). Below you can see Jango’s vest resting on the floor while still maintaining its shape. If you find a fabric you love but it doesn’t look sturdy enough, you can add interfacing to give it more structure. Interfacing even comes in black color and is easily ironed-on. Or you can add a fabric liner for more strength.
The vest shoulder sleeve design is a personal preference. Boba has a fitted sleeve cap design and Jango has a more prominent sleeve cap. Try to avoid making Jango sleeve caps that stick out horizontally too much, looking more like mini-wings. And Din has no sleeves at all. I recommend the Jango sleeve since it makes attaching the shoulder armor easier and allows for better movement than the tighter Boba sleeve cap.
Also, consider whether you want to include a neck seal. Keep in mind neck seals will make your costume hotter. A removable option is nice so you can wash it frequently. Most people just use a balaclava to hide their necks. It’s an easy and cheap solution and has the advantage of hiding your hair also. You could also use a dickie or a cut-up turtleneck. You want to avoid showing any neck skin.
You’ll also want to decide on a closure method and where to place it, velcro works well. The Boba vest and the Din Djarin vest close in the back. The Jango vest has a shoulder opening and side opening. Keep in mind a back opening is not very convenient, it usually requires another person to help you get dressed. But having a back opening allows you to leave your chest armor pieces attached to the vest. You’ll only need to remove the plates when you want to wash your flak vest. I recommend a back opening of velcro (or a lapped zipper if you have some sewing experience).
It’s best that your Mandalorian flak vest is made custom to fit your body. It should fit well, not be baggy, and allow for proper spacing of the chest armor pieces. I think people really under-estimate what a difference a proper fitting kit has. It can transform a good-looking kit to an amazing-looking kit. Detail stitching is also nice, as you can see on the vest Axe Wove wears.
This Amazon Mandalorian Costume looks like it has a suitable flak vest. Keep in mind that the flight suit, flak vest, and cummerbund might be the only useable part of this costume for Mando Mercs approval. The vinyl “armor” pieces should be removed by taking out the stitches.
For females, I suggest that they wear the same bra with their kit. Different bras can create different chest shaping, which you don’t want, especially when the armor is shaped over the vest. A quality, supportive, compression racer-back sports bra is a good choice. You then don’t have to worry about the shoulder straps dropping.
If you can’t sew or don’t have an interest in sewing, you can always find a local tailor to make you a Mando vest. You don’t need to buy from an online vendor. A local tailor can easily make a vest since it’s a basic “bodice pattern”. Show the tailor photos of the front, back, and sides to get a price estimate. Not only will you be supporting your local businesses but they will take your body measurements, so you can be sure they’ll size it correctly.
Now if you have some sewing skills and want to make your own vest, keep reading for instructions on how to make your own custom Mandalorian vest.
Keep Reading: >> Mandalorian Flak Vest Pattern