Although you might be unfamiliar with the name, in all likelihood you have worn or will wear a gilet at some point during your lifetime.
Back in the day–say the 18th and 19th centuries–gilets were fitted and embroidered. Women wore them as dress bodices shaped like mens’ waistcoats, as shown below.
Riding jacket, 1750-59. From the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Women’s jacket from the mid-18th century.
Today, the gilet has been transformed into a sleeveless jacket or vest. Either waist- or knee-length, gilets come in myriad fabrics for all seasons. Some are lightweight and some heavier.
Popular in autumn, when temperatures begin to dip, the gilet is worn over long-sleeve tops.
The gilet in the featured image is by Alexander McQueen and retails for $4,995.00 at www.net-a-porter.com.
Here’s one from Mountain Warehouse. It’s currently on sale for $14.99. www.mountainwarehouse.com.
When snowflakes fall, the gilet appears as a puffer vest…often stuffed with goose down for added warmth.
Here is a super cute one from Moncler. It comes in navy and blush. You can find it at http://www.neimanmarcus.com. $995.00. If that is above your budget, head over to The North Face where they have the most adorable puffer in six gorgeous colors (one is called petticoat pink; another is sequoia red) for only $99.
Gilets are also worn simply for fashion sake, offering visual interest in the way of layers. Here are some that are currently in stores and that I find utterly fetching.
This one from Neiman Marcus is clad in leather. This is a classic piece that you will wear for many years. It is currently on sale for $192.00 and comes in both military (shown) and black. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.
Prefer fur? Check out this beauty from Belle Fare. It is made of dyed fox fur and is reversible!!!! Love that–two looks for the price of one. It sells for $995. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.
Wear it like this:
Or like this:
Here is one with faux fur detailing. Currently on sale for $59.99. http://www.zara.com.
Here is a highly wearable one with a cool side vent from Mango. It’s currently on sale for $59.99 but sizes are limited. shop.mango.com.