Up until a few years ago, gilets and tactical vests were more often found on weekend fishing trips than on the backs of high fashion models strutting down the shiny runways of Milan and Paris. The meteoric rise of these functional, edgy, and unpretentious garments are thanks to Virgil Abloh becoming one of the biggest design figures in menswear following his debut SS19 collection for Louis Vuitton, which featured a range of contrasting padded neon vests alongside neutrals decorated in the famous embossed LV monogram.
Four years after Virgil's inaugural show, the workwear trend is here to stay. Supreme x WTAPS, A-COLD-WALL* and Stone Island jumped on the trend and debuted gilets as part of their FW21 collections, and The Weeknd was seen closing out Coachella wearing a black tactical vest earlier this year. It's the easy and practical element of this garment that cements its status as a wardrobe staple, as well as adding visual interest to a simple outfit without sweltering under the heaviness of a coat.
A-COLD-WALL and Stone Island Shadow Project FW21
Whether it's a Carhartt WIP canvas layered over a T-shirt for a summer festival or The North Face padded Nuptse thrown over your favourite hoodie during the colder months, we have one major tip when it comes to styling vests - keep it simple. Layering a contrasting gilet over a monochromatic outfit adds visual interest in an effortless way, or go tonal by throwing on a stony grey vest on top of an off white T-shirt and pants to make a subtle statement. For more inspiration, check out some of our top picks below.
This fitted DPM Desert Flak gilet by RÆBURN has been recycled from never worn military garments with function and practicality in mind.
This Pro-Tek Gilet from C.P Company is a statement piece ideal for layering throughout the changing seasons.
This Prentis Liner Gilet from Carhartt is the epitome of warmth and practicality by combining workwear with fleece, making it a wardrobe staple.
THE NORTH FACE
This iconic 1996 Nuptse silhouette from The North Face is a streetwear essential. Style over your favourite hoodie and cargo pants.
Crafted with a smooth Khaki shell that's mesh lined for comfort, this Payton Gilet from Carhartt is a workwear staple.