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Gilets Buying Guide

gilets buying guide

The gilet, pronounced “Jee-Lay” or “Gee-Lay” is a sleeveless jacket that’s sometimes referred to as a body warmer. It’s an extremely versatile piece for layering. Read on to find out why…

What is a Gilet?

The gilet was originally worn more as a decorative garment during the 19th century in France where it embodied style more than it did warmth unlike what we see from body warmers of today. Despite the major change in functionality to a more practical purpose, the actual style of this piece hasn’t changed much over its history, largely retaining popular features such as its slightly fitted look.

What is the difference between a Gilet and a Body Warmer?

A common misconception is that there is a difference between a gilet and a body warmer. However for the most part the names are interchangeable and relate to the same thing. So at EQUUS we keep it simple and just refer to both as a gilet.

Why wear a Gilet?

For some the gilet may seem fairly pointless as after all it just appears to just be a jacket with its sleeves missing! You’d also probably think that while it’ll keep your torso nice and toasty, your arms will simply get caught out in the cold. However, not so! The great thing about a gilet is its versatility as a piece of clothing and what’s more, all year round…you can wear just about anything underneath it whether it’s a long sleeve top in spring or a short sleeved T-shirt in summer.

This versatility includes a significant practical benefit for equestrians as it provides warmth without restricting your arms when you ride. Also with the introduction of another key feature from their 19th century French counterparts, gilets have now got pockets that give the added benefit of being able to carry whatever it is you may need to carry as well.

What sort of gilet will suit me?

There’s a gilet to suit anyone’s style, young or old, for riding or for stable duties. They all have their own unique style as well as the functionality that they are trying to achieve so it’s best to understand what it is you are looking to get out of your gilet before you decide.

For example, if you’re looking for a bit of warmth in a gilet, you’ll be better off with one of our down filled ones, such as the lovely Cavallino Marino Nizza Ladies Gilet which is such great value.

If you’re a bit more fashion conscious like me, take a look the Naples gilet from Lauria Garrelli or the Barton gilet from Kingsland – both have great style.

Or finally if you’re simply looking for something bright and cheerful and for excellent value, how about a super light gilet in a stunning colours from HKM.


When you look at a gilet, there are so many benefits. Put simply it provides the perfect blend of style and practicality! Whether you're dressage rider, a show jumper or a happy hacker, take a look at our stunning selection of this seasons gilets - the ideal extra layer.