Wearing a gilet to combat the cold weather is one of the best winter wardrobe hacks we know of. To the naked eye, a gilet might seem like an impractical clothing option for the cold weather. After all, why would you opt for a jacket with no sleeves to stay warm? However, the gilet or ‘body warmer’ was actually created with practicality in mind. The first clothing item that represented a gilet first appeared around the 15th century and was called a ‘jerkin’. The jerkin was a sleeveless jacket, usually made of leather, designed to keep peasants warm without impeding their movement while out working all day.
Now, the modern-day gilet still maintains these practical features, as well as many more, but has progressed significantly in terms of style. With a huge range of new designs to choose from, there is a gilet to suit every taste. Having been previously condemned as impractical and unfashionable, the gilet has made a comeback, being ushered in from the cold to emerge something that now combines both form and function. Whether you prefer tweed or nylon, quilted or lightweight, a basic layering option or a bold statement item. Whatever your preference, here’s how to wear a gilet and ooze style, sophistication and functionality.
When to Wear a Gilet
It’s the essential turn-to outerwear piece to weather all manner of storms and keep you warm… but not too warm. The gilet is a fabulously functional extra layer you can add or take away at whim; ideal for those awkward in-between-season times when the weather doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going. On milder days you can effortlessly throw on your gilet as a lightweight solo piece. Or, for those freezing cold winter days when you need all the warmth you can get, wear it as an extra mid-layer, underneath a cosy coat.
The gilet takes versatility to a whole new level. However, with such versatility comes a multitude of options to pair with it. From woolly jumpers or checked shirts, skinny jeans or chinos, hoodies or long-sleeved tops - the list is endless. So, if you are fretting over what to wear with your gilet, do not worry; this guide will tell you all you need to know about how to wear a gilet.
How to Wear a Gilet: Men
A gilet makes an ideal casual outerwear piece, providing optimum warmth and freedom of movement for all kinds of outdoor activities. Whether you are going fishing, taking the dog for a walk or simply strolling through town, a men’s gilet makes for a stylish and practical choice.
If you’re trying to create a casual cold-weather outfit for men, then you could opt for a padded body warmer or a fleece gilet to provide you with both optimum insulation and an on-trend look. Perfect for taking a walk through the chilly British countryside, you could pair your insulated gilet with a checked shirt layered underneath a classic crew neck jumper. The woolly jumper will add some extra warmth to the outfit for those really cold days but will leave you with plenty of flexibility to stay active and comfortable in the outdoors. The bold check shirt would work perfectly with the solid colour of the body warmer and adds a touch of sophistication to your winter look. For those ultra chilly days be sure to layer your gilet by throwing a warm coat over the top. Finally, grab a pair of leather boots or some wellies depending on the terrain outside and you’ve got a stylish yet practical outfit that’s sure to not only keep you nice and snug but will turn a few heads as you go.
For a more formal look, ideal for meeting friends down the pub, attending a special occasion or even as workwear, why not go for a tweed or wax gilet. Pair with a smart Oxford shirt and some chinos or some moleskin trousers. For the ultimate smart attire, you could even wear a tweed blazer over the top of your tweed gilet. Alternatively, if you want to tone down your formal look but you want to stay warm at the same time, then grab a warm tweed coat instead. Team your tweed or waxed gilet with a pair of leather brogues or Chelsea boots to finish off the look. Not only will you stay cosy warm, you will be the envy of everyone at the party.
How to Wear a Gilet: Women
For casual gilet stylish for women, you might want to opt for a fleece or quilted gilet, paired with a fine knit or cable knit sweater. The padding is perfect for keeping you warm and comfortable and the slim fit design provides a flattering look. The classic diamond quilted design also adds a traditional touch of country, perfect for looking and feeling the part as you stroll through the countryside. If you are in need of some extra insulation from the cold, make sure to add a waxed jacket on top. Team your quilted gilet with a pair of skinny jeans and finish off the outfit with some wellington boots to keep your feet dry.
Alternatively, if you are wanting to style your gilet for a more formal occasion, then you might be better choosing a ladies tweed gilet. Tweed makes the ideal smart winter texture to wear. The thick wool material will ensure that you stay warm, while the classic checked tweed design will ensure you look fantastic. Pair your tweed body warmer with a checked country shirt or an animal print blouse. You could even match your tweed gilet with a tweed skirt for a bold look or opt for a pair of skinny jeans for a more subtle style. To complete your formal attire, throw on a pair of knee high boots or some heeled Chelsea boots.
How Should a Gilet Fit
The ideal fit of a gilet can depend on a number of factors: different gilet styles, brands, what you wear with it and personal preference. As a general rule of thumb though, the armholes should have enough room to comfortably fit different layers underneath, but fitted enough to allow you to wear a winter jacket over the top. The body of the gilet should fit snugly around your waist to ensure a comfortable and flattering finish.
While this is a general rule on how to fit your gilet, the ultimate fit will depend on your preference and how you wear it. Try and think about what you are most likely to wear your gilet for and what with, then determine how much room you should leave to fit all the layers you want underneath or over the top.
Of course, if have any questions regarding any of out gilets for men and women then please be sure to contact our team who are always in hand to help.