Loro Piana gilet small

The most useful articles of clothing are often those that cover core of the body – waistcoats (knitted or woven), gilets, and to an extent scarves. It is they that make a lightweight outfit warm enough, or enable us to cope with cool mornings and warm days.

I’ve always been a fan of gilets in this regard. They do have to be slim enough, however; a bulky down vest flatters no one, hiding the waist and rounding the shoulders.

I often size down in order to get that slimness. You have to watch out that the length doesn’t come up too much and the armholes don’t become too small, but at least there is no concern over sleeve length. 

I can’t recommend wearing them large over suit jackets. It just looks too artificial.

Like a coat, the best gilets are also in versatile colours, as they need to go with many colours of shirt or knitwear. Brown is usually the best option, therefore – ideally a dark brown, which will go with near anything and be at home with jeans, flannel or linen. The cognac colour I’m wearing above looks wonderful with grey, white and pale blue, but is not so suited to navy and other strong colours. 

Suede of either colour works particularly well with mid-grey wool, as every Italian designer will show you come Autumn/Winter. Here, it is worn with a sweater in that colour from Johnston’s, as well as a blue oxford button-down shirt from Drake’s. 

The gilet is the New Cortina model from Loro Piana, which as you would expect has the highest quality suede you will find anywhere, with a practical treatment to make it water-resistant.

Photo: Luke Carby

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Hi Simon, I find these gilets only really suit those with a slim torso. If like me you have any kind of stomach a gilet often makes your middle look bigger and can give a very ‘stocky’ look. Do you have any tips or suggestions how your curvier readers can wear a gilet without looking as if they’re wearing a lifejacket?


That is a stunning piece. Any affordable recommendations?


The idea of a gilet is interesting. Are there any companies that make merino wool or cashmere gilets that you like? All the gilets I’ve seen have been down filled, such as the one you’re wearing, and therefore, not quite as slim fitting as I’d like.


I am all for a gilet but why on earth would you spend 3k on that?


It’s very beautiful!


That’s good information. Your idea of treating yourself to one piece a year is interesting. I have a few Loro Piana pieces and they literally get better with age. The quality of the goods is just stunning.


That’s a great idea! I’ve found that the Loro Piana pieces I have always have a flattering fit no matter how old the actual piece is . This is also a characteristic of John Smedley knitwear as well I’ve noticed. Isn’t it interesting that both companies share a passion for the best materials and beautiful design?


Excellent points and thanks for the clarification. Do you have an opinion on the British knitwear company Inis Meain?


Hi Simon,
Just did a quick search by brand and I couldn’t find such a piece. I think it would still be an interesting read.


Ah no sorry, should’ve been a bit more clear. I was refering to your Loro Piana investments and the once a year buying strategy. Assuming that has kept on past 2015 that is.


Ah the Fulham lifejacket!

Ken Yearwood

Hello Simon, I absolutely love that Gilet, rushed down to Bond St to buy one this afternoon only to find that it is last sessions! There is one left in there UK warehouse size small. You and I are about the same build so may I ask, what size is yours? Thanks. Ken

Ken Yearwood

Thanks Simon, I have done so!


I brought one from Suit Supply and found it had a better cut then some of the ones from the likes of The North Face .
Simon, what are your thoughts on wearing a gillet under a suit / sports jacket ?
I find it can work a treat if the cut is right and the gillet is lightly padded .

The north

Simon, slightly off topic:
Do you know of any brand that makes good shawl collar cardigans that is suitable for spring/summer? I have a very nice one in from RL in lambswool, but the heavy gauge makes it a little to warm when it is above 10 °C or so outside. Keep up the good work with the blog!

The north

I was thinking that a “heavy gauge” cotton version could be nice? I have tried on relativeliy fine gauge from John Smedley, but it was not really flattering


Dear Simon,

could you please link to that sweater? Can’t find that colour on Johnston’s website 🙁

Thank you!

Ken Yearwood

Hi Simon, do you have any tips to stop the Loro Piana gilet from depositing masses of suede particles over ones shirts or whatever layer is worn under it?


Hi Simon,

Would you say Navy suede would work as well as the browns you mentioned?


With autumn approaching, any update on current gilet offerings would be very much appreciated!


Hi Simon,

While searching for different gilet options, I came across a couple by Engelska Herr. Normally when I come across a new (to me) label, I have found your posts quiet helpful to get a sense of that brand. But couldn’t find anything on EH. Curious if you have come across this brand and if you had thoughts on the general make?


Ian Skelly

hey Simon , did you ever get around to writing that article on your annual loro piana purchases ? would love to see how you piece held up over the years


Hello Simon. What’s your thoughts on wearing a navy light padded nylon gilet (aspesi jil), under a navy wool/cashmere flannel coat? I was thinking about wearing it on colder days with grey flannels and knitwear.


Hi Simon, I’m a bit taken aback by the tribal ubiquity of gilets in affluent London. It seems to have become a uniform for a few types of chap. Sloanes in their Schoffels. Bankers inland tech bros in Patagonia. Are you still a fan? Any tips for where to find one that has the style benefits without the tribal signalling?


Any thoughts on a navy down vest (maybe quilted?) above sport coats during the cold months? Possible or will it be a “look”? Maybe you already covered this somewhere..


Hi Simon, do you still have this LP gilet and use it? I have one that is very similar to yours that I picked up at the LP end of season sales. I find I rarely use it any longer and am on the fence about selling it. I don’t use it because the ultra luxurious suede it is a little too delicate and “smooth” (not in terms of texture) for how I like to dress on the weekends these days, and I’m scared to let my three year old boy anywhere near it. The only thing holding me back is that it is a beautiful object that i would never buy again (I can’t imagine how much it would cost now in post LVMH pricing) that I’m afraid I would regret selling it. Interested in your thoughts on what you do with clothing you you really like as an object but rarely use for whatever reason.


Possible it’s worth adding that I got it several years ago and it has gotten a number of years of good wear, but my preferences and life have evolved and I no longer use it. It isn’t a wardrobe mistake that I’m thinking of selling only after a short time.


Hi Simon
Thanks this helps a lot. Yes it is a day to day style topic: mainly having small children and not having many occasions right now to wear such fine suede without fear of it being damaged. I think in this case I’ll keep it and see how it evolves because I doubt I’d buy something like this again at current LP prices and I could see myself regretting selling it.


Hi Simon, Other than this Loro Piana model, do you know of other gilets that work well around a shirt? Do you think a slim gilet is still a nice way to smarten up casual clothing


Hi Simon,
I have been looking for a gilet that lies somewhere between the “finance bro” world of Patagonia, and the “country gent” land of Schoffel. This caught my eye recently from the Armoury team – https://www.thearmoury.com/products/wool-tweed-herringbone-calistoga-vest?variant=40291852058695

I was left wondering what a more urban version might look like – eg in black or with some more workwear influence. Would you ever consider a permanent style gilet? Are there any makers where readers might customise or MTM a gilet?


Thanks Simon. What are your thoughts on the Schoffel gilet?


What is the rectangular inside pocket for?

A ruler, to measure the distance of your country walk? A mini-baguette to eat by the river? A micro-umbrella to impress friends with your preparedness? A quill and parchment, to jot down nature-inspired thoughts? A selfie-stick, to prove you love the outdoors?