That lightweight jacket you desperately want to wear is perilously thin and flimsy, so you’ll almost certainly get soaked through if it rains and quite likely freeze to death too. The problem is, that cosy winter overcoat you probably should wear, feels way too hot and bulky.
Enter the sartorial lifesaver aptly known as a ‘body warmer’ or gilet. Woolly, fleecy, quilted or padded gilets, they are the essential turn-to outerwear piece to weather all manner of storms and keep you warm (just not too warm).
It’s the fabulously functional extra layer you can add on or peel away at whim; perfect for awkward in-between-season times when the weather doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going. Conveniently compact enough to roll up and pack into a bag, a gilet makes an ideal travelling companion too.
The problem is, such a versatile piece of clothing brings with it a multitude of options to dress it with. If the thought of deciding what to wear with your body warmer is filling you with dread, fear not, the fashion gurus at Joules have all the answers.
Because of this aforementioned versatility, the humble gilet can be paired with almost anything, depending on the situation that arises of course. If you’re wondering what to wear with a gilet, you’ve come to the right place.
For the gent who enjoys spending time outdoors with his family, pair a stylish padded gilet with a classic crew neck jumper. This will provide you with enough warmth to stand the brisk autumnal and winter air and has enough flexibility to deal with even the most arduous playfights or hikes.
For something smart casual, try layering your gilet with a bold checked shirt. The exciting and colourful prints work perfectly with the solid colour of a body warmer. Ideal for a semi-formal occasion like a christening or birthday party with friends.
Throw a pair of Chelsea boots into the mix and you’ve got an outfit that’s sure to not only keep you nice and snug, but will be the envy of everyone down at the local pub.
The nights are drawing in and it’s dark when you set off for work in the morning. Thankfully, the gilet can be coupled with your workwear quite easily. Whether you’re a fan of the classic Oxford shirt or prefer the more contemporary slim-fit shirts, a gilet will keep you warm on the way to work without reducing the formality of your outfit.
A fur-trimmed gilet with a hood is perfect for not only keeping you warm and cosy, but for adding a touch of luxury to the relatively simple design of a body warmer. These designs work in tandem with that nautical classic: the striped sweatshirt.
If you’re planning on a walk through the countryside with family, then your gilet will look fabulous alongside that British classic: the wellington boot.
If you’re after something a little more formal, then look no further than the quilted gilet. The stunning diamond detailing lends an air of sophistication that’s perfect for layering up or wearing on its own.
Couple it with a printed shirt for a smart office look that’ll have your co-workers turning green with envy. We might be exaggerating slightly there, but it’s a classic look that’s sure to stay in fashion for the foreseeable future.
The great thing about the children’s gilet is the variety of colours and styles they come in. Perfect to be worn with jeans and a simple t-shirt or a jumper if you’re planning on a brisk walk, they’re both stylish and hardwearing.
Down to personal preference overall, the gilet should ideally fit a gentleman in a similar manner to the waistcoat. The arm holes should be high, and the garment should fit snugly around the body to ensure it can sit nicely underneath a winter jacket.
For ladies’ gilets, the same is true. Ensuring a fit that is comfortable and snug but with enough room to layer correctly is paramount. Whether you wish to wear a sweater or a t-shirt underneath your gilet, there should be enough room to guarantee either would fit without restriction.
Gilets can be machine washed with a normal detergent to ensure any unsightly marks are removed from the material. It’s always best to consult the label on the inside of your garment before washing for the first time however.
This is because different materials will need different levels of care and since body warmers can be crafted in an array of fabrics, this is the only way to confidently know what washing cycle and temperature is suitable.
Aside from line drying, Joules gilets can be put in the tumble dryer on a low heat. If you are line drying, just make sure you double check that the garment has fully dried before putting it back in your wardrobe. The last thing you’ll want is any nasty damp smells emanating from your clothes.
A little fashion history to finish. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the origin of the gilet can be traced back to 15th century France and the word ‘jerkin’. These were pieces of clothing that were often favoured by European peasants during this period.
When the 16th century kicked in, the jerkin was padded by the aristocracy, creating a more modern taken on the gilet that we all know and love today. Believe it or not, Henry VIII was a huge fan of the padded jerkin.
Almost a century later, the jerkin all but disappeared – only worn by land-workers to keep warm during their busy working days. The aristocracy in the meantime moved onto to the fitted waistcoat which during this period of history was an essential part of any gentleman’s fashion routine.
Because it’s sleeveless, a gilet layers perfectly without restricting movement. Add a gilet to the mix and you’ll get the warmth where it counts, without feeling hemmed in. So free your arms (and your spirit) and add a gilet to your wardrobe today. It’s a seasonless essential you won’t know how you lived without.