Lately, we’re finding every excuse we can to be as comfortable as possible anytime we need to leave the house. This is why athleisure has become so popular in the past few years — because why wouldn’t you choose to wear stylish stretchy pants that let you easily transition between the gym and the cocktail bar?
For those who just can’t stomach wearing yoga pants outside of the studio though, there are other ways to still be comfy without compromising on style. This is where the quilted jacket comes in.
A couple of years ago, quilted jackets started popping up everywhere, from both designer brands like Bode and more mainstream ones like Urban Outfitters. Some designers are making the jackets out of re-worked antique quilts, like the independent brand Psychic Outlaw, led by a designer who invites those interested to send in their own quilts to be turned into chic, one-of-a-kind pieces.
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Others are keeping the look more minimal, where the quilted material is a solid colour but with the same stitch work and warm lining you might find in the patchwork version. Either way, the quilted style evokes images of cozy cabins and grandma’s house while still feeling cool and fashion-forward.
You can’t get much comfier than wearing a blanket out of the house, and that’s certainly part of the appeal of the quilted jacket. But the patchwork, heirloom-quality of the quilted jacket holds a special kind of charm, too, one that plays into both the “cottagecore” ethos and vintage aesthetic.
Quilting goes back to at least medieval times when the method of using scrap fabric pieces and adding layers of warm padding was a practical way to provide warmth. The earliest quilting was used to make bed coverings, but the technique was later used in other textiles and clothing pieces, too. English and Dutch settlers in North America even established quilting bees, where the women in a community would collaboratively make a quilt for a bride-to-be.
Then women like Rosie Lee Thompkins, with her improvisational style, made quilting subversive and radical — it was no longer considered just a domestic craft, but was respected as the art form that it is.
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This rich history of quilting, with its roots in women’s domestic labour, makes the quilted jacket all the more fascinating as a fashion piece. Wearing as a coat what used to be a bedspread — or something that mimics the same tradition — is a way of incorporating the past into the present, of making the historical modern and reclaiming old art forms as our own.
The quilted jacket transcends the heirloom bedspread at your grandmother’s house; it’s an art piece, a piece of history, and a very comfortable way to layer up through the colder months. They’re also inherently fun and playful, something we could all use a bit more of in our dressing these days.
Here are some quilted jackets that we’re coveting for this fall and winter, from the affordable to the aspirational:
Shop via: hm.com ($59.99 CAD)
Shop via: zara.com ($79.90 CAD)
BDG Bandana Quilted Shirt Jacket
Shop via: urbanoutfitters.com ($99 CAD)
Supply Chore Coat Wide Sleeve
Shop similar via: psychicoutlaw.com ($180 USD)
Raga Man Patchwork Jacket
Shop via: urbanoutfitters.com ($271.99 CAD)
Recycled Ripstop Quilt Coat
Shop via: ganni.com ($425 USD)
Lilac Border Cabin Quilt Jacket
Shop via: bodenewyork.com ($1,554 USD)