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This answer notes that the Chayei Adam knew of (and approved of) French Jews who would wear tzitziot on their waistcoats. However, this section of the Wikipedia article shows that the waistcoats worn in the Chayei Adam's days were significantly different in their form than our modern ones.

Here are images of the waistcoats of the Chayei Adam's period:

18th Century Waistcoat

And the modern era:

20-21st Century Waistcoat

Please note that these garments would still need to be split most of the way up the back to have 4 corners, AFAIK.

Are our modern waistcoats chayav (or at least accepting of) tzitzit?

  • I only see two corners on the modern waistcoat you show. – Double AA May 19 '15 at 15:01
  • @DoubleAA, there should be two in the back. I doubt that it would really be chayav if there were 4 kanfot all in front. However in any case, I couldn't find any photos of the older design from the back when I did a quick search, so I didn't look for ones from the from either. – Noach MiFrankfurt May 19 '15 at 15:02
  • So you have a garment that you cut up the back to make four corners. Why might it be exempt from Tzitzit? – Double AA May 19 '15 at 15:02
  • @DoubleAA, because it's not intended to be chayav, according to some of the opinions which R' Hirsch brings in his notes on the maftir of Shelach. Furthermore, the question still remains as to whether they are chayav, even if they theoretically have four corners. – Noach MiFrankfurt May 19 '15 at 15:03
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    @user6591, would anyone actually be willing to go out wearing just a tallit katan? I for one wouldn't and mine isn't even the minimum shire! (nor is it huge, it's about average) – Noach MiFrankfurt May 19 '15 at 15:29

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