Styling & Fit Guides

The Ultimate Vests & Gilets Guide

Words by Schöffel Country

September 17, 2022

The Ultimate Vests & Gilets Guide
Here at Schöffel we have a premium collection of vests and gilets to suit your every need, no matter the season. From breathable fleece gilets to lightweight insulated vests, we have options for cold weather, warm weather, and everything in between.

In this guide, we’ll show you what distinguishes the best gilets and vests from the rest, and which are best suited to particular seasons and occasions – think long country walks or spending time at the pub with friends. We’ll even discuss how to wear a gilet and what to style a gilet with.


A gilet is a sleeveless jacket typically worn over clothing and often referred to as a bodywarmer. Gilets come in different styles and materials – some are quilted, some have extra padding, and others are made from fleece – and can be used to keep warm or as a lightweight layer for outdoor activities.


Vests and gilets can be an excellent way to keep things warm and breathable. They’re not as all-encompassing as a jumper, meaning that for those tricky spring and autumn temperatures where it’s too cold to wear just a shirt but still a little too warm for a jumper as well, a vest or gilet can be the perfect choice.

What makes a good vest or gilet?

Our vests and gilets come with a range of features, from breathable, moisture-wicking material with water-repellent properties, to comfortable, four-way stretch softshells that provide excellent freedom of movement but a close fit.

We believe in making long-lasting and versatile vests and gilets using high-quality, premium materials and fabrics. Whether it’s luxuriously soft Italian Pontetorto fleece, quilted insulation, or 100% British-milled traditional tweed, our gilets and vests will keep you comfortable and stylish for every occasion, with none of the itchiness or overheating associated with cheaper fabrics.

A good vest or gilet is also often very practical. Our vests and gilets feature zip pockets for stowing valuables or keeping your hands warm.


Finding the right fit is key when it comes to wearing gilets and vests. The garment should ideally be lightweight, with armholes high and non-restrictive, because a gilet is first and foremost a comfortable and practical layer. When it comes to the neckline, a trim like the Alcantara trim used on many of our gilets is perfect for layering because it sits well over knitwear and long-sleeve shirts.

A fit that is closer to the body will not only bring your outfit together nicely and avoid a baggy look, it will ensure warmth and comfort by keeping cold draughts out. However, it’s also important that the gilet isn’t tight and restrictive, instead allowing full freedom of movement for your outdoor exploits. Before choosing a gilet or vest, it’s important to consider what activity it is for as well as the weather conditions you will be wearing it in.
Men's Vests & Gilets
Women's Vests & Gilets


Whether it’s for a formal event, casual everyday wear, or just dressing up your outfit, we’ve got you covered. As very versatile pieces of clothing, you can layer gilets and vests with all sorts of garments, at any time of year and for all manner of activities.

Fleece Gilets

Designed in Britain and made using the finest Italian-milled Pontetorto Tecnopile fleece, the Schöffel fleece gilet is a true icon of British country life. Our best-selling styles – the Oakham for men and the Lyndon for women – combine a supersoft but hardwearing fleece with clever design and premium-quality details, including two external zip security pockets and a two-way YKK front zip. Our fleece gilets offer thermal insulation, but they are lightweight and retain their shape well over time. Machine washable and quick to dry, they are available in a wide range of colours, feature a smart faux leather trim, and serve as a versatile option for days in the office, running errands in town, going out with friends, or layering under a jacket or coat in the field.

Insulated Gilets

Our diverse range of premium insulated gilets majors on warmth and comfort. Down-filled options like our Bowden Down Gilet or Twickenham II Gilet or Launde Down Gilet use ethically sourced down and feathers and water-repellent fabrics to deliver in the realms of fit, performance and sustainability. Similarly, the gilets in the Schöffel range that use Primaloft, like our Brora Gilet, are highly insulating and bulk free, making them excellent mid layers, too. And we can’t forget the likes of our Hybrid Aerobloc Gilet which is 100% windproof and features a lambswool back for excellent breathability, or the Barrowden Quilt Gilet – the ideal extra layer when the temperature drops. Our insulated gilets are lightweight and ideal for everything from dog walks to horse trials and fishing trips to days in the field.

Tweed Waistcoats

Crafted from British-milled Lovat tweed that uses 100% lambswool, our tweed waistcoats are a refreshed and refined nod to a favourite traditional style. As versatile as they are elegant, our tailored-fit tweed waistcoats excel in both the shooting field and other settings where a smart layer is called for– from the office to a day at the races. Close fitting, with a satin lining, horn button closure and nehru collar, the likes of our Berwick Nehru Tweed Waistcoat, Holcot Tweed Waistcoat, and Millport Tweed Nehru Waistcoat go well with a shirt in milder weather or layered under a jacket when it’s cold.

Velvet Waistcoat

Few materials exude elegance and sophistication quite like velvet. With its flattering tailored cut that cinches at the waist, enhancing your silhouette, our Women’s Nehru Waistcoat is a case in point and features a velvet outer fabric and satin lining, ensuring you feel as good as you look in town or country. Our velvet waistcoats are ideal for everything from garden parties to visiting your favourite restaurant
Men's Fleece Gilets
Women's Fleece Gilets


You can wear a vest or waistcoat in a wide range of situations as well. Here are some tips on how to wear a vest or waistcoat and what to pair them with:

- Casual: Wear a vest over a simple top or t-shirt and pair it with jeans, shorts or a skirt and flats or boots to complete the look.

- Smart-casual: Choose a tailored, fitted vest or waistcoat and layer it over a well-fitted blouse or button-down shirt, and pair it with trousers, chinos or a pencil skirt.

- Country, outdoor or sporty: Style a vest with jeans, boots, or activewear with comfortable shoes.

- Formal events: Wear an elegant vest or well-fitting waistcoat over a shirt or blouse with formal trousers or a skirt.


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