If you live in the northern hemisphere, a quilted jacket is an essential item of clothing when the weather is cool, especially in autumn and spring. Quilted jackets keep you warm when the weather is chilly, but not quite cold enough for a heavy winter coat. Whether you live in the heart of the country or the middle of the city, a quilted jacket is a key item of transitional seasonal clothing that will be worn time and time again. There are three main styles of womens quilted jackets:
the Sleeveless Quilted Jacket
This style is very popular at the moment amongst women of all ages. Upmarket brands such as Burberry, Boden and Joules have made the sleeveless quilted jacket a must-have item, especially for country-dwellers. Sleeveless quilted jackets are sometimes known as gilets or body warmers, but it is the layer of warm quilting that distinguishes the sleeveless quilted jacket from its comrades. Hooded versions of the jacket are especially useful in unpredictable weather and the fact that the wearer's arms are unimpeded make this style of jacket ideal for horse-riders, cyclists and dog-walkers. Most jackets of this vest style are quite closely fitted, and usually have a front zip fastening, although some are closed using metal poppers. Jackets of this style have never been so popular and are available in a wide range of colours and sizes. To achieve a modern country look, wear a sleeveless quilted jacket with a long sleeved jersey top in a contrasting colour, with leggings or jodhpurs and long leather boots or wellies. Labradors and a pony are optional accessories!
If you live in a busy city, this look is not quite so appropriate. You could, however, team a black quilted jacket with a grey long sleeved top with black leggings for a smart casual urban look. Accessorise with a brightly coloured scarf and black biker boots.
The Waist Length Quilted Jacket
Waist length quilted jackets are a design classic and feature in most designer clothing collections year after year. Good quality and well-designed waist length jackets should nip in slightly at the waist to accentuate the wearer's curves. When buying a quilted jacket, always try it on when wearing with the sort of top you are likely to be wearing underneath the jacket, especially when it has long sleeves. It needs to be roomy enough so that you can move your arms about freely and feel comfortable, without being too roomy.
Waist length jackets should reach just below the waist line and is perfect for emphasising slim hips and legs, and so is perfect for women with apple shaped figures.
Always choose a jacket with a proper lining as this will considerably improve the lifespan of the garment, as well as providing insulation.
The Hip Length Quilted Jacket
Hip length quilted jackets fall to just below the hips and are flattering to all body shapes. When shopping for a quilted jacket there are a few details that it is worth looking out for, as they can make a surprising difference to the wearability and appearance of the garment.
Firstly, always pay attention to the buttons of the jacket- if used in addition to or instead of a zip. The padded effect of the quilting means that small buttons can get lost in the fabric, so they should be large and eye-catching.
Always choose a jacket with a proper lining. As mentioned before, this adds insulation, but also protects the threads used in the quilting from catching on any items of jewellery, zips and consequently unravelling. Make sure that the sleeves are also fully lined, and that they reach just past the wrist bone when worn. Lastly, if the jacket has a zip fastening, check that it moves up and down easily- nothing is more annoying than a zip that constantly sticks, especially if the garment is rather expensive.
Hip length quilted jackets are perfect for weekend casual wear. You could team a quilted womens jacket with your favourite jeans, hiking boots and a warm jumper for a weekend stroll in the woods. Well-known brands of this type of jacket include Barbour, Ralph Lauren and Joules, although this style of jacket can be easily bought in any high street clothing retailer, and it is possible to spend as much or as little as your budget dictate.