Quilt essentially: Modern padded jackets

Instead of channelling the Michelin man, modern padded jackets are slimline and smart

Suited to both town and country, the quilted jacket's new-found versatility makes it a practical and popular choice now that winter has finally arrived. More good news: this essential piece of outerwear may be either dressed up or down to equally handsome effect.

Worn over a suit and tie this highly functional garment invests a classic English gentleman's style with a modern twist. The juxtaposition of city living and countrywear is fashionably unconventional or, as your granny might say, very avant-garde. Because even the warmest quilted jacket these days is slim and lightweight, meanwhile, it may also be worn under a Crombie to keep the Christmas chills at bay.

The quilted jacket's very weightlessness makes it a perfect extra coat option for weekends away too. Squashed into a weekend bag, it doesn't take up much space and emerges miraculously unscathed. Finally, for those who feel over-stuffed in the long-sleeved variety, a quilted gilet worn over a chunky knit is a suitably fetching alternative.

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