The debates surrounding the gilet are numorous, going from questioning whether it’s pronounced gee-lay or gill-ette, to deliberating at what point it would be appropriate (weather-wise) to wear one, to wondering what one should wear underneath? Banish the panic and enjoy our gilet timeline showing you its evolution and explaining why the gilet is still our number one.


A quick Google search shows that ‘gilet’ means ‘vest’ in French, which is where this piece of clothing was originally worn. Tracing it back to the more hands-on members of 15th century society, the sleeveless jacket, which is easy to work in, was usually made from leather until the aristocracy adopted the style in the 16th century making it all about personal expression, introducing padding, embroidery and embellishment.

It wasn’t until the late 19th century, however, that the traditional gilet went viral. With the expansion popular outdoor pursuits such as cycling and fishing, the gilet reigned triumphant, with its ability to retain warmth and its multiple pockets it was unstoppable.

Over the years, it has become an autumn staple and an iconic style for Jack Wills, seen on the backs of ex-1Der Harry Styles and Spice Girl Geri Halliwell. Combining style and substance, we’ve strived to innovate and renew our gilets, maintaining it as an outerwear essential that works year after year. Our latest arrivals come in a range of colours and styles, with fur trim hoods and down-filled padding, both for him and for her.

Just one last thing – it’s spelt with only one ‘l’…sorry Trishna.


Our Knole and Idina jackets are filled with lightweight padding which acts as insulation, trapping in air and helping to regulate your body temperature. The fact it’s lightweight means it can easily be packed away into your backpack in case you get too warm. Plus some of our styles have detachable fur trim hoods (which helps to do the job of a scarf), and our Fluela has a detachable hood for optimum outfit possibilities.


We love that gilets are armless – it means there’s no bulk, so if you wanted to wear it with an overcoat, you can , stay comfy and keep that smooth silhouette. Wear it under your wool coat when it’s extra cold or over a hoodie when autumn’s having its colder moments, hello happy medium.


An easy way to add some contrasting colour into your wardrobe is with our bold gilets. Wear these over simple hoodies and shirts to standout with the colour, or wear it open under a jacket to show off pops of colour in a subtle way.