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Unzip: Life Lessons from a Gilet

Layers and layers of layers!

“PR*CK!” he shouted, as he drove past. He was a bloke in a white van. I was a bloke harmlessly crossing the road. Why the abuse? I honestly don’t know. …I think it might have been my gilet.

That’s not a euphemism, by the way. I mean a literal gilet – the zip-up, sleeveless, outdoorsy sort of garment that provides both warmth and a dash of adventurous spirit in one fell sartorial swoop. Nothing else I was doing or wearing could possibly have provoked such bile. I wasn’t meandering across the road in an irresponsible stupor, I wasn’t darting playfully in and out of the traffic as though I’d had one too many cans of Red Bull, and I certainly wasn’t planting myself down in front of the oncoming vehicles in order to protest about climate change. I was simply minding my own business, waiting patiently for an opportune moment to cross while dressed in jeans, a casual shirt, trainers and… the gilet.

I don’t need to tell you that as a civilised man I was shocked by this unsolicited contribution to my day. It was like being a stand-up comedian and getting heckled by some inebriated lout in the audience. But I wasn’t just shocked. I was also bemused by the insult. I mean, I might have expected it if I’d been wearing a fedora with a colourful great feather sticking out of it. And I’d certainly brace myself for a slightly rough ride if I were walking along ostentatiously wearing a frock coat and twirling an antique cane. But a simple gilet…?

I must admit that I’m actually new to the world of gilets – a complete novice. I was feeling the cold one day not so long ago and thought I’d give one a whirl. I went for a fleecy black number, with a brown trim, and it came from some little known country wear brand. In practical terms it’s proved a great success; in social terms, evidently less so....

Read the complete article at Menswear Style, an online men’s fashion and lifestyle magazine and one of the leading digital publications in the UK.


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