Introducing the Sleeveless Jacket (Gilet)

McNair merino Sleeveless Jackets (Gilets)

Over the last few years, we have had many suggestions for new styles. Rest assured we have listened to all your wonderful ideas and development is in full swing. The first new major development is the sleeveless jacket or gilet.

There are two styles to choose from The Highland Sleeveless Jacket is a more traditional gilet with lots of pockets. While the Moonraker Sleeveless Jacket is inspired by the local Moonrakers of Slawit and is more renegade (much like the Moonrakers themselves) with a strong emphasis on understatement.


Gilet (dʒɪl.eɪ) 

(US vest)
a piece of clothing that is worn over other clothes and that is like a jacket without sleeves
Cambridge Dictionary


​a light thick jacket without arms
Oxford English Dictionary


The gilet is without doubt a divisive garment. It’s history is steeped in outdoor workwear and dates back to at least 15th-century France where peasant workers wore a tabard style which they liked as it kept their bodies warm whilst allowing full manoeuvrability of the arms. The evolution of the word gilet was originally from a French word derived from the Turkish word yelek meaning waistcoat.

Portrait of Suleiman I (the Magnificent), tenth sultan of the Ottoman
Empire. Photograph: Leemage/Corbis

Apparently Suleiman the Magnificent (1494-1566), Sultan of the Ottoman Empire wore an embroidered yelek. Whilst on the other side of Europe, Henry VIII (1491 -1547) can be seen to have adopted the jerkin trend for both sporting and courtly pursuits.

Henry VIII

For the following 500 years, the sleeveless jacket, gilet, yelek, jerkin could be seen everywhere from farmland, royal courts and then on World War One infantry men. It was worn in every strata of society for its comfort and practicality to prevent heat loss but keep the arms free.

Both the Highland and Moonraker styles are true workhorses for those of you who just don’t want sleeves to get in the way when there’s hard graft to be done.

McNair merino Gilets (back)

The cut is tailored to eliminate flapping and both have bags of storage for all the everyday essentials and hand warmer pockets. The material is our luxurious heavyweight merino which is raised for thermal efficiency so you have warmth without weight or bulk. It’s also water-resistant, wind resistant and it won’t hold odour.

McNair heavyweight merino Valley Gilet - back label

Reinforced seams with super tough thread. No fall-off buttons, wrapped with thermofusion thread. Heavy duty keyhole buttonholes. Contrast facings details complete the garment.

McNair heavyweight merino Highland Gilet - pocket detail

Off-the-peg or made-to-measure at no extra cost.

McNair heavyweight merino Valley Gilet - sleeve detail

So why does the gilet provoke so much controversy? We guess it’s a bit like corduroy…

Shop Men's Gilets

Shop Women's Gilets