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Style Advice

The dos and don'ts of a gilet

The dos and don'ts of a gilet

There was a time when we might have been tempted to leave our gilet behind at the campsite we bought it for. But over the years, this hardworking layer has evolved from a functional dad vest to a stylish piece we’re now proudly inviting into our everyday wardrobes. Despite how versatile they’ve become, there are still a few dos and don’ts to bear in mind when styling your gilet over or underneath (more about that below) your outfit. We asked Thread stylist Toby Standing to give us his tips to ensure you nail this look both on and off the hiking trail.

Do: find a style that suits your aesthetic

“There’s more to the gilet than you might think. Though you may associate it with the great outdoors, there’s also minimal, heritage, workwear, and so many other styles to choose from. The gilet world accepts all, so take your time to find your perfect match.”

Do: get the right fit

“This is important if you want your gilet to look good and do the job it was made to do. Too small and you won’t be able to layer under it effectively. But too big and you might look like you’re going fishing in your dad's old gear – that could actually work as a cool retro look, but if you’re just easing into the trend, it’s best to err on the side of caution and stick to something more fitted..”

Do: make sure it does the job

“The benefit of the gilet is its versatility. In the milder seasons, it can make a handy alternative to a coat, whereas in midwinter you might need it for added insulation. Our advice: get something that works as your outermost layer as well as a mid layer. Think about that seasonal longevity.”


Don’t: get carried away with colour

“Trying to make a statement with a bright colour may end up looking like you’ve just survived a plane crash. So as much as we love bold style, our advice is to go for a simple shade that will match easily with your seasonal basics. You can’t go wrong with black, navy and neutral colours to take you from work to weekend.”

Don’t: go too padded 

“Yes, your gilet should be warm, but it’s no good going for the super puffa look. It will just feel cumbersome, and won’t be practical when you try to layer a coat on top. Plus, some lighter quilt styles can give a cool contemporary edge to your traditional work suit when worn underneath like a waistcoat.”

Don’t: choose form over function

“The thing needs to work as a gilet first, so before you go chasing after trends, make sure it’s as warm, comfortable and versatile as you need it to be.”

Words: Victoria Ferguson
Photography: Jack Batchelor
Styling: Millie Rich
Styling assistant: Toby Standing