I see this practical layering combination quite often and think it’s clever. To my eye, it can look interesting and swish too. Layer a VERY thin puffer vest, jacket, or coat under another item of outerwear for warmth. That way you’ll stay insulated, create layering interest, and cover most of the puffer part of the outfit if sporty puffers aren’t your cup of tea. You’ll need an extremely compact, soft and light puffer, like something from Uniqlo’s Ultra Thin Light Down Collection, or ThermoBalls from The North Face. Here are some examples.

The layering strategy is highly effective at keeping out the chill when wool coats, raincoats, and the like aren’t warm enough. Of course, you could simply choose one layer of outerwear that suits the outside temperature and leave it at that. But it’s good to have options. At some point, the layering combination might strike the right note.

For comfort, you’ll need to layer the compact puffer under a sufficiently roomy jacket or coat. If hoods aren’t your thing, choose a puffer without a hood. That said, in the wet Pacific North West, the addition of the hooded puffer means you will always have cover in the rain. If puffers with sleeves are too warm, try layering a puffer vest under a jacket or coat. That way you’re insulating less of the body on the off chance that you’ll overheat. The vest means you don’t need to worry about tightness on the sleeves either. Here are some examples.

You don’t need to keep the lengths of the layers the same. You can wear shorter puffer jackets and vests layers under longer coats. Look how well these gents sport the look. And for a more avant-garde effect, layer shorter outerwear over longer compact puffers. You can choose to keep the colours between the puffer and the next layer of outerwear tonal or high contrast. Low-contrast and tonal layers will look more like you’re wearing one coat instead of two.

Here’s a Sporty Luxe and high-contrast example of layering a puffer vest under a black suit. Of course, you can create a low contrast with the puffer vest if that’s more your cup of tea.

Violeta Quilted Zipper Gilet

I sometimes wear my bright red ThermoBall compact puffer under my bright yellow Paddington Bear rain coat because although the raincoat is perfectly waterproof, it isn’t warm. The combination is MUCH warmer. The layers are very comfortable, although I do resemble hotdog fixings. That’s why I’m toying with the idea of getting a cream or navy ThermoBall.

Does this type of outerwear layering appeal to you?