How to experiment with quilting

Quilted coats and padded jackets have been reinvented for AW17, and they make a style statement as well as keeping you warm. The key to nailing the look, says Darren Kennedy, is to experiment a little

Long-considered the go-to garb of the Sloane Ranger set, the padded jacket or quilted gilet has had a somewhat narrowly defined existence in the fashion world.

Traditionally – or rather, stereotypically – the preserve of the privileged English country gentleman in its initial incarnation, the quilted jacket was purpose-built in the 1960s to wear while hunting. Made famous by Barbour, it has become somewhat of an omnipresence. However, for AW17 labels such as Craig Green, Dries Van Noten and Balenciaga have taken the trend in a new and more contemporary direction, bringing it to a whole new audience. Quilting and padding pervaded the AW17 catwalks, with reimagined interpretations in the oversized and voluminous shapes that we have seen over the last couple of seasons.

Layering

The most important entry-point into this trend is to consider how you’re approaching it, both in terms of style and functionality. As the temperature begins to take a significant plunge, a padded puffer can be a familiar cosy comfort, but a slim-fit quilted gilet is the ideal layering piece for the coming winter months.

Take your cue from the ever-stylish Johannes Huebl or Zac Efron – and use a gilet as a base for your outfit. Arc’teryx offers one at the pricier end of the spectrum (£245), but if it’s something you’re planning on wearing for years to come, it’s definitely worth investing in a good-quality, well-insulated garment.

Pairing a gilet with a blazer can make for an eye-catching contrast between athleisure and formalwear, and it’s an innovative way to embrace smart-casual winter dressing. For a more relaxed approach, throw a classic padded bomber jacket over your gilet for maximum winter comfort mode.

French label Officine Generale has managed to deftly master the balance between smart-casual on its AW17 catwalk, breaking up formal suiting by placing slim-fitted padded jackets inside the blazer and pairing with minimalist white trainers. The result is both clean and fresh, with a playful irreverence towards fashion’s hard and fast rules.

Overshirts

If the quilted gilet is not something you’re into exploring, then a padded overshirt may be your perfect fit. Utilitarian dressing has been hugely prevalent for the last number of seasons and the overshirt is one of its most versatile emblems. Prada led the charge this season with their padded version, but if you’re looking for something in a more sustainable price bracket, then Dr Denim have cheaper options at around the £85 mark. This can be worn in a number of ways, and on slightly milder days it’s a perfect alternative to a bulky jacket. Again, don’t be afraid to layer: pair the overshirt with a white tee and a light-blend wool jumper and some slim-fit dark grey denims for a smart-but-stylish off-duty look.

Playing with Tradition

The main thing to remember about AW17’s take on this trend is that it is reappropriating a classic item so your interpretation should reflect this. While a lot of high-end designer offerings may not be the most pragmatic choices for everyday life, it is the way in which they deconstruct tradition that you should take your cues from. However, it’s best to avoid pairing with tweed, unless you want to look like you’re on an equestrian excursion. 

Follow Darren on Instagram: @darrenkennedyofficial