Why a Downgilet is a Must-Have This Winter

When it comes to cold weather layering, a downgilet is a staple that has long been under the radar.downgilet downgilet It might not have got quite as much runway airtime as a puffer coat, but you'll be hard pushed to walk through central London without seeing half a dozen stylish gilets worn by people who have clearly put some thought into their choice of clothing this season.

A gilet is an ideal way to add warmth and texture to a casual outfit, either slipping it over a knit or tucked into a pair of tailored trousers.downgilet As a bonus, it can also be worn as an outer layer under a heavier parka or raincoat, helping to keep the wearer toasty warm.downgilet

Gilets are traditionally associated with outdoor pursuits such as hiking or skiing.downgilet They're incredibly light, easily packable into their own compression bags and effective at trapping warm air for insulation in harsh winter weather.downgilet The earliest gilets were padded jackets that used eiderdown feathers or balloon fabric to provide insulation, but modern outdoor gear is often made from more sustainable materials like goose or duck down.

Padded gilets were popularised by outdoors adventurer Eddie Bauer, who created a coat encased with down after a dangerous fishing trip in which he nearly died from hypothermia.downgilet These days, a range of specialised fabrics are used in gilets, from lightweight wool and cashmere to waterproof and windproof synthetics. Those looking for the most refined options should consider the offerings from Loro Piana and Brunello Cucinelli, which feature gilets cut from wool and filled with the finest down. Alternatively, there are plenty of trendier padded gilets available, though it's worth bearing in mind that these should be worn with casual clothing rather than tailoring to avoid a burnt-out commuter from the Home Counties look.

A downgilet is a great way to upgrade a pair of jeans or trousers that might otherwise be a bit too casual.downgilet A simple addition of a gilet in a lighter shade will instantly upgrade a pair of chinos to something more suitable for smart-casual occasions and, in the process, add some extra warmth.

For a more formal take on the gilet, try pairing it with a blazer and trousers in a similar fabric.downgilet The soft texture of the gilet will contrast with the stiffness of the tailoring and create a balanced ensemble.

For a more casual take on the gilet, team yours with a hoodie, cargo trousers and combat boots for a weekend spent hiking or climbing.downgilet Alternatively, you could wear a gilet as an inner layer with your favourite parka or raincoat for colder weather activities. A good quality gilet should be easy to pack in a bag or backpack for when you're away from home. It should also fit well over your base layer, with no gaps at the seams or excess fabric hanging down the front. A sleeveless gilet will work best as an outer layer, but can also be worn over a shirt or T-shirt for more warmth in cold conditions.