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Style Advice

Three ways to wear a down jacket

Three ways to wear a down jacket

How many pieces of clothing are as widely embraced as the down jacket? They’re a go-to for city slickers and street style enthusiasts, avid outdoor types and weekend walkers. Yet somehow they still end up as a cold-weather throw-on, or lumped into off-duty wardrobes with little consideration for how they could be worn differently. 

Here to bust the myth that down jackets can’t be stylish as well as practical, Thread stylist Freddie Kemp walks us through three considered ways to wear yours. We’re not saying it shouldn’t remain the hero of your casual winter wardrobe, but if you’ve not explored the style’s true wearability, now’s the time.

1. To bring an element of colour

We’re probably not breaking news to you when we say that down jackets look great in bright colours. “When you think of a down jacket, it’s probably a short, hip-length version with a high zipped neckline that springs to mind,” says stylist Freddie Kemp. “It’s this relaxed shape and size that lends the look to bold shades without feeling inaccessible.” 

Why we love it

If you tend to embrace darker tones in winter, a bright down coat can still slot easily into your wardrobe without feeling out of place. Kings of practical clothing like The North Face and Patagonia design bright-yet-wearable down jackets that stand out for all the right reasons, and don’t look like a fashion fad. You can still wear it over a casual tracksuit or smart grey or navy suit when the cold-weather commute is calling, but the bold down coat has untapped smart casual appeal.

How to wear it

“Pair with tailored trousers and sneakers, and pick colours that complement the tone of the jacket rather than safe neutrals that will make it stand out even more,” Freddie says. A textured knit with tones that pick out the colour of your coat will bring your outfit a cohesive and pulled-together feel that shows you really can wear it with anything.

2. For a longer silhouette

A longer down jacket can be worn like an extra-warm parka when you want to balance out the toasty feel of your favourite winter coat with the lightweight, packable benefits of a down jacket. 

Why we love it

If you want the advantages of down but something different from the usual silhouette, this offers something functional but still flattering and stylish. “It’s like wearing a duvet – what more could you ask for on a cold winter morning?” Freddie says.

How to wear it

Wear a longer down jacket with a hoodie and jeans, or classic pieces like a flannel shirt and cable-knit jumper. It has a true deep-winter feel, so should be worn with similarly wintery pieces to avoid looking mismatched. “Versatile neutral colours leave room for you to experiment with layers and textures,” Freddie says. “So use these details to bring interest to the look without going over the top.” For a personal touch, finish with a simple baseball cap in a contrasting colour that complements your skin tone. 

3. As a mid-layer

If it’s versatility you’re after, you can’t beat a down gilet. You can wear it as outerwear on its own. You can wear it as a mid-layer under your coat. You can even wear it over your coat for a doubled-up indulgence of warmth.

Why we love it

Even on the coldest days, a down gilet will keep you warm without feeling stuffy. When worn as a mid-layer under an overshirt or overcoat, it leaves room under the arms so you won’t feel uncomfortable as you might when layering full jackets and coats.

How to wear it

Although rooted in country heritage, the pervasive gilet has secured its spot in everyday wardrobes. However, it’s easy to style for a more urban edge with a hoodie. ”Make sure it has a high neckline that will keep you warm,” Freddie says. Alternative, opt for an overshirt that frames your face and feels contemporary. 

“If you have that favourite shirt you can’t bear tuck in the back of your wardrobe for the winter, this is the best way to keep it as a main player in your cold-weather wardrobe,” Freddie says. 


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Words: Ella White
Photography: Jack Batchelor
Styling: Freddie Kemp