29 March 2011

Jack Wills Gilet: A Review

A champion of the Jack Wills craze

During the cooler days of the year, it's a common sight to see my fellow BAMMJ buddy, Devon Francis, in her hooded navy gilet - a pink bird with a cane and top hat prominent on the breast. But she's not the only person I've spotted wearing this piece of designer outerwear at Bournemouth University. In spite of the £98 price tag, the sleeveless jacket has also been a common sight on numerous other students, which leads me to the obvious question: what makes the Jack Wills gilet so damn popular?

Devon Francis sporting her Jack Wills gilet
But before that can be answered, there's a more basic question that needs examining... How did these young people afford it? Because the last I heard, students are poor and would probably starve were they to spend their month's budget on a single, expensive, sartorial pleasure rather than the basic necessity we call food. In Devon's case, her gilet was given to her as a gift, and perhaps it's the same case with everyone else. But no matter who bought the gilet, someone bought it, so what about this Jack Wills jacket is worth delving down into the hidden depths of your pockets?

Kirkbridge Classic (Source: jackwills.com)
Bampton (Source: jackwills.com)

First of all, they do look good for outwerwear. Unlike other gilets which tend to be rather puffy and/or come in lucid eye-grabbing colours, Jack Wills' are slimmer and don't go overboard with vivid shades. In addition, a stylish check pattern features on the inside of the jacket and a fur-lined hood is an option should you choose the Kirkbridge Classic.

However, don't let the lack of bulk on these jackets fool you. With a thick layer of duck down feathers in between the fabrics, the Jack Wills gilet is very effective at keeping the wearer warm and snug. So although the gilet may not look like hiking or rambling material, it can certainly hold back the wind and chill.

So in terms of both appearance and practicality, I feel the Jack Wills gilet rates as a high quality jacket. Nonetheless, does this designer gilet deserve its designer cost? One could argue that being higher in quality doesn't necessarily have to mean a higher price, but in this case, Jack Wills appears to disagree. Personally, I am too conscious of my finances to spend nearly £100 on just one item of clothing, but regardless of spending habits, such a cost is still perhaps a little too steep. Yet unfortunately - as with any designer clothing - you don't just pay for the quaility, you also pay for the label. And although the label might not be as pronounced as the in-your-face branding of Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch, that small grandiloquent birdie says everything you need to know.

All in all, if you're looking for a well-made and well-styled gilet, I would certainly recommend Jack Wills, but whether you think £98 is worth its designer warmth is entirely up to you.

(For a more critical review, visit the East Sea Axe Originals blog by Adam Fisher, or to visit the Jack Wills website, click here)


  1. Hey Jk,

    I agree with the fact that Jack Wills' gilets are expenive and many people do just buy for the logo, however I bought mine in the sale for £78 and then had a voucher and therefore only paid £48 for mine. It has been a very good investment! Mine is Black and looks awesome!


  2. Unfortunately mine is loosing all its down so all my clothes are now covered in white duck down!! Looks horrible, they should have added an extra layer of material to keep the filling inside the gilet

  3. Hey,

    Although expensive, the Jack Wills gilet is well worth the money! I own it in Navy, and it is very warm but just a tiny bit puffy on me (I'm short). The material is great quality and very water resistant. I got mine for about 15% off in the Autumn Sale!


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