How to style a gilet—6 outfit ideas to help you add a gilet to your closet

Wondering how to style a gilet? We have 6 ways to wear this season's stylish new outerwear

Composite image of two women wearing gilets to demonstrate how to style a gilet
(Image credit: Getty Images / Future)

Learn how to style a gilet from our Fashion Editor, with six ways to wear this stylish and versatile outerwear piece.

Gilets are notoriously hard to style. Is it outerwear? Is it really just an amped-up waistcoat? We're here to help demystify the gilet and show you how to style them to wear as a versatile layering piece. A gilet is a great styling piece all year through as it offers you another outerwear option. Whether you wear it for spring instead of a jacket or work it under one of the best coat trends for 2022 for added warmth in the winter, a gilet should be the item you add to your capsule wardrobe this season.

While some see the gilet as being quite a sporty item, reserved for your leggings outfits, in fact, there are lots of different styles of gilet on the market right now, ensuring you can find both casual and dressier iterations. Think of a gilet like a cross between your best blazer and a cardigan to help you get into the mindset of how you might wear it. 

We've broken down the key six ways to integrate a gilet this season to give you a head start. And if you're still yet to invest, we've even rounded up some of the best gilets too. 

How to style a gilet—outfit ideas from our fashion experts

Add a gilet to your wardrobe this season with these great outfit ideas.

1. Gilet and Hoodie

composite image of how to style a gilet with a hoodie, of a street style shot and a shot of Reese Witherspoon running with a friend

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What you need

  • Puffer gilet
  • Hoodie
  • Leggings

Want to be warm but with less bulk on your arms? Then opt for a sportier style puffer gilet, layered over any of this winter's best hoodies. Sports luxe has continued to be a strong trend across the runway and ready-to-wear markets and a hoodie with an athleisure-inspired gilet means you don't have to sacrifice warmth for style. Let your gilet draw inspiration from the best winter coats, embracing the comfort of a puffer without the added weight. Keep the rest of your silhouette streamlined by tapering your bottom half with form-fitting leggings and flattering knee-high boots.  

A styling tip:

Keep your leggings and boot color the same for a seamless finish. By opting for black leggings and coordinating knee-high boots of the same color your legs will look elongated and endless. 

Our fashion editor recommends...

2. Gilet and Jacket

Composite image of how to style a gilet over a leather jacket or blazer

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What you need

  • Faux fur or wet look gilet
  • Leather jacket or blazer
  • Midi skirt

A gilet is essentially a layering piece and as we head towards spring, you might find your winter coat too heavy for increasing temperatures. A leather jacket or oversized blazer and spring weather go hand in hand, but on those slightly milder days, when a jacket doesn't quite suffice, layering a luxe gilet over the top can add both texture, interest and of course warmth to spring's fave jacket styles. 

A styling tip...

Don't worry about the jacket and gilet having the same hemline, but do try to opt for a gilet with a more luxurious fabrication such as faux fur or wet look finish for a bit more of a glam aesthetic.

Our fashion editor recommends...

3. Gilet and Boho Dress

how to style a gilet composite image of two street style shots of women in gilets

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What you need

  • Shearling gilet
  • Boho dress
  • Suede boots

Cardigans have really enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent seasons, but the fashion trend for billowy and full-sleeved dresses has caused quite a cardi conundrum. So how do you show off your sleeves and keep warm? A gilet of course. 

Layered over an on-trend, flirty boho dress, a gilet can add great texture and a stylish '70s feel. Look out for fringing and shearling detailing, for that '70s feel.

A styling tip...

While a gilet will work over any length of dress, for a '70s feel, try layering over a midi or maxi dress. This style will also look great on summer evenings. 

Our fashion editor recommends...

4. Gilet and Winter Coat

composite image of women showing how to style a gilet with a winter coat in street style snaps

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What you need

  • Slim-fit gilet
  • Tailored coat
  • Shirt dress

A gilet isn't just for casual occasions though, they can be worn for dressier outings too. If you've invested in a great tailored winter coat, such as a camel coat, but find on those particularly icy days that it isn't quite warm enough. Then try adding a slim fit, quilted gilet underneath for added protection. This is the most functional integration of a gilet into your wardrobe, allowing you to beat the chill. You could also try a puffer style over the top of a lightweight trench coat too. 

A styling tip...

Look for gilets that tonally match your winter coat so that even when you wear your coat open, the finish is still seamless.

Our fashion editor recommends...

5. Gilet and Jeans

composite image showing how to style a gilet with two street style shots of two different women in gilets

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What you need

  • Longline gilet
  • Jeans
  • Cashmere sweater

Nail casual weekend style this season with a gilet and jeans combination. One of the easiest ways to inject this trend into your wardrobe is to pair it with your best jeans. Swap out your usual weekend jacket for one of this season's sportier style gilets for a look that will take you from lunch dates, to park strolls and everything in between. Try a longline gilet over your favorite cashmere jumper for a look that's both stylish and practical. 

A styling tip...

Keep it casual and pair with jeans and a pair of trainers for effortless weekend dressing. 

Our fashion editor recommends...

6. Gilet and Checked Shirt

composite image of Kate Middleton and a street style shot showing how to style a gilet

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What you need

  • Diamond quilt gilet
  • Checked shirt
  • Walking boots

Upgrade your 'weekend in the country' wardrobe with a practical, yet stylish gilet. This look draws inspiration from Kate Middleton, who does country chic so well. Look out for figure-fitting gilets that will sit neatly over a checked shirt. Added detailing such as stud closed patch pockets and a double front fastening ensures your gilet is more than just aesthetically pleasing. 

A styling tip...

The main aspects of this look are the checked shirt and walking boots. If you're looking for an outdoorsy outfit, then team this with a trusted pair of fitted jeans that you can tuck into your boots. Want the look without the excursion? Marry this combo with a denim pencil skirt. 

Our fashion editor recommends...

Rivkie Baum

Rivkie is a fashion editor, writer and stylist with over fifteen years' experience in the industry. Having studied design and pattern cutting at the London College of Fashion, Rivkie fell in love with styling and journalism, covering fashion weeks in London, Paris and New York. 


Specialising in plus size fashion, Rivkie has long championed that style is for everyBODY and has been a regular talking head on a host of radio stations and television shows, pushing for greater representation for plus size women and fashion throughout her career.