Last updated: August 12, 2021

Gilets have established themselves as trendsetters for a reason and are becoming increasingly popular with young people these days. The stylish outerwear not only adorns your outfit with elegance and grace, but also ensures freedom of movement and comfort thanks to the sleeveless design.

Whether for traditional costume parties, balls, weddings or for sports. Hanging a few selected men's gilets in your wardrobe is never wrong and is sure to attract a glance or two.




The Best Mens Gilet: Our Picks

Buying criteria: What you should look for when buying men's gilets

To make the perfect choice for your men's gilet, you should look at the most important buying criteria before you buy to ensure that the requirements for your men's gilet are met:

  • Material
  • Fit
  • Back strap
  • Design

In order to narrow down the choice of gilets and make it easier for you to buy your personal men's gilet, we then list the above criteria.

Material

Men's gilets can be made of different materials depending on the type. The same tried and tested materials are used again and again for their manufacture:

  • Cotton: Cotton is a tried and tested material and there are good reasons for this. Apart from its breathability, it regulates moisture and is gentle on the skin. The easy-care fabric also has a low allergy potential.
  • Polyester: This material is hard-wearing and very easy to care for. It has the property of drying quickly and offers a high degree of warmth, as the microfibres do not allow cold air inside. Polyester is often blended with cotton to prevent wear marks on clothing.
  • Linen: Linen is obtained from flax and is very robust and tear-resistant thanks to the fibre structure. The natural fibres have a bactericidal effect and are therefore suitable for allergy sufferers. In addition, linen has an antistatic effect and is free of lint.
  • Velvet: Velvet is a noble fabric originally made of silk and today mostly made of cotton. The thread pile that is created during processing gives velvet an unmistakable sheen and feels wonderfully soft and gentle.
  • Acetate: This material, which is made from cellulose, can be described as a kind of "artificial silk". Apart from its strong sheen, its shape retention and its dirt-repellent properties, acetate is elastic and hardly wrinkles at all.
  • Down: Down is the feathers of geese or ducks that are equipped with radially arranged feather branches. These give the down a three-dimensional shape that can optimally trap air and thus have an extremely insulating effect.
  • Animal wool: Wool is usually obtained from sheep, goats or angora rabbits. Depending on the region and animal species, there are many different types of wool (merino, angora, cashmere, etc.). Wool has crease-resistant, odour-resistant and water- and dirt-repellent properties.
  • Viscose: This material is obtained from cellulose of wood fibres and processed into a viscous mass (visco) using chemical processes. The visco is then spun into stable fibres that are absorbent and guarantee a pleasant feeling on the skin. Viscose is also easy to wash and hardly needs ironing.
  • Nylon: Nylon is considered to be a very tear-resistant and strong material. It owes this to its stretchy and stable fibres. In addition to its durability, nylon also allows pleasant air circulation and is even machine-washable.
  • Felt: Felt consists of densely woven textile fibres and is especially popular for traditional gilets. Apart from the fact that felt is crease-resistant and pressure-elastic, this fabric can hardly catch fire due to its high heat resistance.

Fit

In order to know which size is the right one for you, you can first orientate yourself on the clothing size.

The 3 most common men's sizes are 48, 50 and 52 in European or Small (S), Medium (M) and Large (L) in international sizing. Depending on chest circumference, waist circumference, hip circumference and back length, these sizes can vary between 44 (XXS) and 74 (7XL).

Men's gilets often come in the following fits:

  1. Tailored Fit: is cut narrower, especially around the waist, and thus offers a slimmer silhouette
  2. Slim Fit: is cut very narrowly and is very figure-hugging because it fits closely to the body
  3. Regular Fit: is cut roughly the same width around the chest and waist, making it comfortable to wear

The back tab is an aid to make the gilet fit even better to the waist and hips.

Back tab

Suit and traditional costume gilets in particular should be equipped with a fabric bar with buckle attached to the back. This strap should be firmly attached to the men's gilet and easy to adjust.

By shortening and lengthening the buckle, you can create or reduce space to fit the gilet perfectly to your body in the lower back area.

Design

The design of men's gilets depends a lot on their type and what you want to use them for.

Suit gilets are often used for weddings, proms and dress code events to add visual interest to the suit. They are often kept in plain white, black, dark blue or to match the suit and have a V-neck. Good-looking lapels and mother-of-pearl buttons add a special touch to suit gilets.

Trachten gilets are often found with beautiful Trachten patterns in a wide range of colour variations. Matching round collars are also not uncommon for this type of gilet. The buttons are often made of stag horn and round off the traditional design perfectly.

A breast pocket allows you to wear colour-coordinated pocket handkerchiefs and sometimes you can even carry a noble pocket watch in a belly pocket.

Outdoor gilets are more about function than design. Nevertheless, they look very sporty and are often worn in bright colours. Outdoor gilets often feature embroidered logos from well-known manufacturers, which lend a certain prestige to their appearance.

Men's Gilets: The most important questions answered

Before you buy a gilet, read the following paragraphs to get a better understanding of the topic of men's gilets. We will then list the most important questions and answer them concisely.

What is a gilet?

The name gilet is French and means "waistcoat". It is a sleeveless outer garment for men. In the past, men's gilets were mainly worn in the form of a three-piece suit and trousers or at a traditional costume party. But nowadays, men's gilets are also worn modernly with jeans, combined in different ways and adapted to different styles.

What types of men's gilets are there?

  • Trachten-Gilet: This gilet is mainly worn with a traditional costume. The combination of leather trousers, a traditional shirt and a matching traditional gilet makes you look casual and elegant at weddings, church fairs and, of course, the Oktoberfest. The gilet is often enhanced with traditional jewellery. Trachten gilets are often made of felt, (tree) wool or velvet.
  • Suit gilet: This gilet is often part of a three-piecesuit. That is, trousers, jacket and gilet. A suit gilet is often matched to the colour of the suit and enhances the outfit immensely. If you want to stand out, the gilet can also differ in colour and be stylishly staged with various designs. Viscose, polyester and acetate are often used for suit gilets.
  • Outdoor gilet: This gilet is mainly used for sporting activities such as hiking or on cold days. An outdoor gilet is usually lined with down to keep the body warm. Quilted gilets offer good insulation through additional air spaces. Outdoor gilets are often made of nylon or polyester to protect against wind and rain.
  • Hunting gilet: Almost exclusively available in brown or green, this gilet is a good way to camouflage yourself when hunting. A Teflon layer offers protection against moisture and dirt. A hunting gilet has low-noise properties and offers plenty of storage space for hunting accessories. The materials used offer breathability and flexibility.

How do I wear my gilet correctly?

If you follow this guide, you will have no problems wearing your men's gilet correctly:

  1. The men's gilet should generally be long enough to cover the waistband of the trousers. However, it should not go below the hips.
  2. As a rule, the lowest button of the suit gilet is worn open.
  3. The back tab is adjusted so that the gilet fits comfortably. It should neither be too tight and stretchy nor stand too far away from the body.
  4. If the men's gilet has a lapel, make sure that it lies flat against the gilet and does not stand up.
  5. If you have a pocket watch with you, the watch is kept in one of the belly pockets and the watch chain is attached to a centre button slot.
  6. Should you be carrying a pocket square, fold it so that a nice lace peeks out half or a third of the way from the breast pocket of your men's gilet.

How do I care for and clean my men's gilet properly?

Basically, you should follow the cleaning instructions that are usually sewn on the inside of the men's gilet. Here you can find out whether your gilet is machine-washable, tumble-dryable and ironable.

If the gilet is not soiled and smells of smoke or food, for example, it is usually sufficient to hang it outdoors overnight and let it air out. If your men's gilet shows stains, you can use gentle stain powders or sprays as well as vinegar or lemon juice.

If they are suitable for the washing machine, make sure you know whether fabric softener can be used. Especially with delicate materials like velvet or expensive wool, your gilet is most likely to be cleaned again in a professional laundry.

Styling tips for men's gilets: The perfect gilet combination for your outfit

Men's gilets can be wonderfully combined with a number of outfits and styles and give the overall look that certain something extra. Below you will find three selected outfit tips for your men's gilet:

  1. For a summer wedding, a grey mottled gilet with white buttons is a good choice. Underneath, a white shirt and a burgundy tie. A blue checked suit complements the colour scheme and spices it up elegantly. Light brown leather moccasins and a brown leather wristwatch complete the outfit.
  2. For the autumn festival, combine a pastel green traditional costume gilet, with hunting pattern, round neck and forest green pocket square. Add a white linen shirt with staghorn buttons. Dark brown leather trousers, a leather belt with a large silver buckle, oatmeal shoes and beige woollen socks complete the traditional look.
  3. For the cold season, a black quilted outdoor gilet with hood is suitable. Wear it with a red fabric shirt in Lumberjack style. A navy blue beanie can be worn with the dark blue jeans. Matt black winter boots guarantee your outfit the extra cool factor.

Conclusion

Men's gilets are an exceptional accessory for any occasion. Whether elegant at a wedding, traditional at an autumn festival or sporty when hiking. With the right gilet, you can add the finishing touch to your outfit.

Especially nowadays, gilets are increasingly being integrated into everyday outfits. The men's gilet simply makes for an extravagant appearance and will continue to secure its status as a stylish companion.

(Image source: Dennis Ottink / unsplash.com)

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