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Two men wearing gilets at Strasbourg railway station in France

A gilet (/ɪˈl/) is a sleeveless jacket resembling a waistcoat or blouse.[1] It may be waist- to knee-length and is typically straight-sided rather than fitted; however, historically, gilets were fitted and embroidered.[2] In 19th-century dressmaking a gilet was a dress bodice shaped like a man's waistcoat.[3]

Today, gilets are often worn as an outer layer, for extra warmth outdoors. Fashion gilets may be made of cloth or fake fur, or knitted. Sports gilets are often windproof and/or made of fleece. High-end hiking jackets often have an integral gilet inside them, that can be zipped on and off. Racing cyclists use thin light gilets with a windproof front and mesh back. Shooting gilets are rugged and made of leather. Short, overwear gilets are called bodywarmers in the United Kingdom.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Merriam-Webster Unabridged – Gilet entry".
  2. ^ "Sugino Costume Museum".
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary – Gilet entry