The gilet remains one of the most divisive items in men’s fashion today. But after years of bad publicity and poor styling, we’re here to champion this vital item of clothing. A gilet can prove to be one of the best items of clothing you own.
After years of being left out in the cold, the gilet has recently been brought back to life. Whilst it may remain one of the polarizing items of clothing in the men’s fashion world, its recent resurgence suggests that it’s here to stay.
Whilst being highly fashionable in several European countries such as Italy, in Britain it has often been associated with the smell of cow manure and the sound of tractors. But thanks to a sudden surge in popularity, it’s fast become one of the most sort after fashion pieces around today.
The big question surrounding it though is just how do you pull one off? Get it wrong, and you’re likely to look like you are heading down to the boxing day hunt with some chums. Get it right though, and it’ll turn out to be one of the most stylish additions to your wardrobe.
How Should a Gilet Fit?
Whilst famed for their puffy aesthetic, the gilet in recent years has undergone something of a transformation and lighter padded, slimmer fitted gilets are available in most high street stores. To get the right style, a gilet should fit like a waistcoat– cutting slim around the body with high arm holes. This will help it fit perfectly underneath a nice coat or blazer,
alternatively opt for a more padded option if you are using it as your top layer, adding plenty of insulation in the colder months.
A gilet is no longer just viewed as a casual item of clothing. However due to its adaptability, it’s often seen on the high street being worn with a suit, or smart work clothes. A lighter gilet doubles up perfectly as a waistcoat, though if you have a tailored suit it will likely go better over the top. Make sure that the gilet is shorter than the layer underneath in order to style it perfectly.
Done right, the gilet can perfectly compliment any well layered outfit. Whilst famed for being puffy, a well fitted gilet will fit nicely with an overcoat or casual blazer. By removing the stuffiness of the gilet, it can work perfectly as a replacement for a waistcoat, or even a coat, adding a practical layer to your style without ruining your whole look.
If this is the option you go for, then opt for a colour that blends with the rest of your attire- don’t try and be garish about it because it most likely won’t work. Neutral colours tend to work better with gilets, though when used as a top layer, there is more room for extravagance.
Whatever the Weather
In Winter, the gilet can be the perfect item of clothing- proving the difference between being horribly numb and being nice and cosy. In this scenario you should try and opt for a well-fitting quilted gilet, one that goes perfectly with a good piece of knitwear, or underneath a winter’s coat. Once again, try not to be too eye-catching, use it to layer your style, not as the focal point.
On a lukewarm day in Autumn or Spring, the gilet will also work as the perfect replacement for a normal coat. When it is too cold for just a T-shirt or shirt and a coat proves far too stuffy, the gilet perfectly fills the gap; padding around the shoulders can also prove the perfect alternative to a scarf.
One of the best advantages of using a gilet instead of a coat, is that it tends to prove more portable- lighter ones are easily scrunched into a ball that will fit into a travel bag, taking up much less room than a traditional coat. There is a bit more room for experimenting with colours here, however if you are likely to be wearing it with a variety of different outfits, a more conservative, neutral approach may be better suited.
The gilet is an item of clothing undergoing a much-needed renaissance at the moment. Having suffered from bad styling for the best part of the last decade, the gilet is back with a bang and is quickly becoming an essential part of any winter wardrobe. It’s practical, adaptable and increasingly stylish- in short, if you don’t own one, what are you waiting for?
Here we’re wearing the Walker & Hawkes tweed gilet, fantastic insulation and a nice tailored finish. You can shop more of Walker & Hawkes range at Equestrian Co.