The Return Of The Quilted Jacket
Autumn’s in full swing and we all know the sad fact that it’s only going to get colder from now on. But every cloud has a silver lining: outerwear is about to get far more interesting. Yes, summer has its bright colours, lightweight layers and garden parties. But so what? Winter has warm hues, textured fabrics and cosy nights by the fire in your favourite country pub.
What’s more, this winter will see the comeback of an old favourite. Yes, from heritage-inspired styles for walks in the country, to contemporary bombers that are designed to make a style statement in the city – AW14 is all about the return of the quilted jacket.
A Bit Of History
Before we look at ways to wear the quilted jacket this year, we thought we’d take a brief look back at where this time-honoured style of outerwear originated from. Although the quilting technique itself goes back far longer, the quilted jacket as we know it began its life in England in 1965, when it was invented by Steve Guylas and his wife Edna.
The first piece of quilted attire Guylas designed was a waterproof vest crafted from quilted polyester, which was created primarily for shooting. The silhouette quickly became popular with Guylas’ club colleagues, so he followed the design up with a quilted jacket. Originally only made in navy blue and olive green, growing demand led to many different styles and colours becoming available.
Once the Queen started wearing a quilted jacket with a brown corduroy collar for riding, several celebrities across Britain and Europe began to sport the design both for practical and fashion purposes. And the rest, as they say, is history.
On The Runways
Burberry Prorsum seemed to predict this trend by showing a range of quilted jackets in their SS14 collection. Proving that the silhouette can be utilised year-round, they were sent down the runway in block-colours such as green and teamed with clashing brights to create a bold, contemporary aesthetic.
At London Collections: Men AW14, British brands Kent and Curwen, Hackett and YMC adopted a more traditional approach, teaming quilted jackets in neutral hues with heritage-inspired pieces such as tweed suits, rugged boots and tailored separates for a refined and timeless aesthetic.
However, our favourite diamond quilt jacket this year actually came courtesy of Italian label Tod’s, who showed a luxurious burnt orange version made from premium suede. Teamed with a rich bottle green roll neck and brown trousers, the look was not only striking but the epitome of autumnal style:
Long Quilted Coats
It wasn’t just traditional field jackets that stamped their mark at the global fashion weeks this year though. Quilting was applied to a variety of outwear styles, with one particularly interesting development being the rise of the quilted coat.
Falling anywhere between mid-thigh and knee length, they came in both overcoat (Balenciaga, Burberry and Canali) and duffle (Christopher Raeburn and Opening Ceremony) form, and certainly made a statement.
Although unconventional, the neutral designs spotted at Balenciaga and Canali managed to retain a sense of refinement and would be ideal for protecting your suiting during the morning commute throughout winter:
Quilted Cropped Jackets
Finally, much like AW13, cropped quilted jackets were extremely prominent within AW14 collections, coming in a variety of colours and cuts.
James Long, Dsquared2 and Alexander Wang looked to the future with sports-inspired quilted bombers in a range of bold hues and shapes, while Thom Browne at Moncler took a left-field approach to the trend, mixing old and new styles with a touch of drama and fantasy – not a look for the faint-hearted.
Elsewhere, J.Crew, Ami, Christopher Raeburn and Giorgio Armani showed a selection of highly wearable designs in classic shades of black, grey, navy and khaki green that would slot straight into any modern capsule wardrobe:
Ways To Wear: The Original
There are many different ways to wear quilted outerwear, depending on your personal style or the occasion.
If you want to take a timeless approach, whether it’s for a weekend away in the country or simply to achieve the much-loved ‘British gent’ look, opt for a heritage design similar to the one Guylas created for his ‘Husky’ brand.
The original Husky jacket was a simple, single-breasted style with a boxy cut featuring a pure nylon exterior and polyester interior. It also had a corduroy collar, five snap buttons and – most importantly – diamond-shaped quilting.
Outdoor specialists such as Lavenham or Barbour should be your first port of call here – the former, in particular, stocks a beautiful vintage quilted jacket collection that features wool, cord and tweed accents. You will pay a bit extra for a Lavenham version, as all of its quilted outerwear continues to be made in Britain (Suffolk to be precise), but it’s an investment worth making for a classic silhouette that will see you through many more transitional seasons to come.
Alternatively, you can find plenty of vintage-inspired styles on the high street, allowing you to try out the trend without your bank balance having to take a hit. Turn to UK brands and institutions such as M&S, Farah, Ted Baker, Joules or Ben Sherman if you want something that truly embodies British heritage style.
So how should you integrate a traditional quilted jacket into your own outfit? Again, it depends on how literal you want to be when channelling the country gent aesthetic. If this is what you’re after, try teaming a single-breasted quilted jacket in deep navy with a light blue Oxford shirt, pair of tan cords and stylish brown brogue boots (Northamptonshire-made, of course).
If you’re actually planning on taking this look for a walk in the countryside, just remember to pack a pair of on-trend hiking boots or Wellingtons that you’re not worried about getting muddy:
- Raydon Mens Bb
- J.crew Button-down Collar Cotton Oxford Shirt
- Band Of Outsiders Slim-fit Cotton-corduroy Trousers
- Grenson Fred Triple-welt Pebble-grain Leather Brogue Boots
Another more traditional take on the trend could be to opt for an olive nylon jacket that features a brown corduroy collar and diamond-shaped quilting. Zip it up over a gingham shirt and pair with slim-leg jeans and desert boots for a smart-casual, man-about-town look:
- Polo Ralph Lauren Danbury Corduroy-collar Quilted Jacket
- He By Mango Slim-fit Gingham Check Shirt
- Nn.07 James Slim-fit Jeans
- River Island Stone Suede Desert Boots
- Barbour Chelsea Sports Quilt Jacket
- Blue Harbour Slim Fit Water Resistant Quilted Jacket With Stormwear
- Ted Baker Wadlow Quilted Jacket
- Raydon Mens Fleece Lined
- Ben Sherman Quilted Field Jacket
- Mens Quilted Jacket Bark Brown
- Ben Sherman Quilted Field Jacket
- Denham Mens
- Barbour Chelsea Sportsquilt Quilted Jacket
A Modern Take
As designers proved on the runway this season, not all quilted jackets need to nod to times gone by. In fact, AW14 is set to see the style of outerwear take on a far more fashion-forward form. This doesn’t mean you have to opt for an avant-garde design this autumn, just think slightly outside the box of what is traditional.
For instance, make a bold and modern style statement in a sporty black quilted bomber jacket. Although this will make for a clean and current look, you could still nod to the original design by choosing a bomber featuring a nylon, diamond-quilted exterior or black corduroy collar.
Wear your sporty bomber over a simple white tee and finish with slim-fit jeans/joggers and fashion trainers for an on-trend sport luxe aesthetic that is perfect for days out and about in the city:
- Aspesi Thermore-quilted Bomber Jacket
- Reiss Bless Crew Neck T-shirt White
- Topman Charcoal Marl Skinny Joggers
- New Balance 574 Runner Trainers In Grey
Another way to take a less conservative approach to the trend is by reaching for a leather quilted jacket in black, charcoal grey or bottle green (a key colour for AW14). Leather will instantly give your look an edge, which is perfect for guys who enjoy going against the grain.
Channel a punk-inspired aesthetic by wearing your quilted leather bomber over a red/black check shirt and teaming with skinny jeans and a pair of Dr. Martens:
- He By Mango Quilted Leather Jacket
- Asos Shirt In Long Sleeve With Brushed Buffalo Check
- Allsaints Crow Razor Jeans
- Dr Martens Original 8 Boots
Finally, if you’ve already got your hands on a classic quilted jacket in olive or navy, but still want to try out a modern look, consider wearing it open over an orange shirt and a pair of slim white slacks. Finish the ensemble off with black brogues. This look takes all the best bits from current AW14 trends, bringing a traditional silhouette bang up to date:
- Gant Checked Shirt
- Knutsford Mens Quilted Jacket With Cashmere Blend Lining – Khaki
- He By Mango Slim-fit Corduroy Chinos
- Reiss Rossell Wingtip Perforated Brogues Black
- Asos Quilted Bomber Jacket
- Scotch & Soda Bomber Jacket With Quilt
- Barneys Quilted Leather Bomber Jacket
- He By Mango Waterproof Quilted Coat
- Jonathan Saunders Mens Khaki Quilted Bomber Jacket
- Tommy Hilfiger Dolores Bomber Jacket
- River Island Black Quilted Leather-look Bomber Jacket
- Topman Navy Quilted Bomber Jacket
- Sandro Reversible Quilted Bomber Jacket
Whatever form it’s in, the quilted jacket remains a time-honoured piece of outerwear that will see you effortlessly through autumn/winter. Yes, it might come in new shapes and colours this season, but ultimately the principle remains the same: it’s designed to keep you warm, dry and effortlessly stylish.
But now you’ve heard from us, it’s over to you: will you be sporting a quilted jacket this season? And if so, which style and look will you be going for?
Let us know in the comments section below…