The most comfortable way a man can show off his biceps in the fall and winter is to wear a warm vest and no shirt. Of course there are other reasons to don a sleeveless torso shade. Whether worn as a supplement to a wintry getup or solo, a vest (née gilet) can be as much a functional part of a man’s wardrobe as it can be a fashionable one. Famous men have sported vests throughout history; and if you’re hoping to join the thorax-and-abdomen club, you could do worse than the best quilted vests around.
A quilted vest really does wonders, especially for those of us (everyone?) who don’t need sun-level warmth every time the air gets a bit brisk — it seems some folks jump straight from shirtsleeves to parkas when the autumn leaves begin to fall. No, vests are for those in-between days, the time when one extra layer over a thick sweater, a mug of hot cider and the company of a loved one is all we need to keep warm during a stroll through the park. But even when the atmosphere turns up the a/c, a vest beneath your overcoat does wonders; after all, ’tis the season to layer and layer some more. We’ve rounded up the best quilted vests — each fashionable and cozy in its own right — so you don’t have to stress about shopping or worry that your going sans sleeves might go awry.
J.Crew Broadmoor Quilted Vest
This cotton/nylon blend vest features patch pockets on the outside and one inside. Button tabs adjust lateral size should you somehow manage to skip the extra slices of pie this season.
Club Monaco Quilted Vest
It’s polyester, but a leisure suit accessory this ain’t. The two slant pockets have zip closures, and it’s machine washable, which is handy dandy indeed.
Patagonia Down Sweater Vest
800-fill down makes up the bulk of this heat keeper, though bulk is not exactly in excess here. Patagonia’s recycled shell is windproof, water-resistant and quite packable — into its own mesh interior pocket, no less — and a drawcord hem keeps things snug.
Ralph Lauren Epson Quilted Vest
Classic handsome runneth over with Ralph Lauren’s version of the quilted vest: the mock collar is lined with corduroy and features a buckle closure. The thing zips shut and seals tighter with a snap placket; snap flap pockets on either side carry your flask(s); snap tabs adjust size out back.
Burberry Quilted Padded Gilet
Chances are you’ll keep a quilted vest mostly closed, but should you feel like flashing a little underbelly, this number is lined with a plaid fabric trim. A good deal of button-adjustment options ensure a good fit, and a buckle closure at the neck adds a little panache.
Jack Spade Herington Gilet
A simple, trim-fitting (through the chest, armholes and sides) vest with corduroy trim lining the collar. What else would you expect from a brand who knows intimately the world of “what’s up”?