I couldn't do without puffers for layering Fall through Spring in a range of colors. I love my Uniqlo down sweaters for my chilly offices and for under raincoats and wool coats to add warmth. My LL Bean long puffer in marine blue is great fun with the matching faux fur scarf (second find) draped over it and should be much easier to travel with than my big wool coats.

Ann I *love* your collection!! As a not-rali-thin but definitely vertically scaled-wise petite, Uniglo doesn't fit me at all. The vertical fit is super off. I love their puffers, but sigh...they are built for taller folks than me.

I'd been eyeing the Eddie Bauer puffers because they DO come in petites ... how do you like that one?

Wound up duplicating my MK in a different color because I happened to be in Macy's during a sale, but I'd love to know for future notice. And also if you don't mind, how do you compare EB vs LL Bean?

The first is my Bernardo layered look vest from years ago. I never wear the green Costco vest but haven’t been able to bring myself to pass it on. The next three are Uniqlo ultra lightweight vest, jacket and coat. You can snap the neckline down to make it a v-neck.

I am impressed with everyone's puffer collection. I didn't include my puffer vests. I have two of those which I wear a lot. One is black and from Jacob (a Canadian store that is now closed sob) and the other is olive green and from Lululemon.

Extra Mile Vest
View Info
Top Pick

Firstly, please forgive me for such a long entry. Angie, I love you but you cannot, you cannot please ask such a crucial question in a matter-of-fact manner and expect me to remain silent or, worse, brief...! This issue has been at the center of my style preoccupations for the past 5 years. I want to share the fruit of my experimentations, if it could come handy to anyone new to the wonderful world of puffers. I live in a place where winter - of the dreary, cold, icy, messy sort - occupies the better part of the year (more than 6 months). I currently own 4 puffers (that's after a careful thorough purge), on top of a couple of non-puffer coats. Of course I rotate otherwise our front closet would be too crowded. I store the ones not currently in use in long flat wheeled plastic bins.

I own a black Canada Goose, light blue Lolë, long fitted black North Face and very puffy white Stormtech (images below).

1) Out of the four, the most versatile and better suited for all occasions/weather conditions is by far the North Face long fitted black hooded jacket.
Pros: It's black. It blends well with smarter work wear (although can look almost too strict, like, Adam's-family strict, with pointy boots, long thin black gloves and conservative headwear), but can go with ripped jeans, tuque and heavy boots too (if you don't mind the edgy-grungy effect). I personally like that it can yield that much of a difference in looks. I love to wear it with jeans, sweater, slighlty heeled tall boots, cap hat or structured tweed tuque. BUT... here, even the best jacket like this one doesn't suffice. When you live in a place where every time you step out you have to shield yourself, at one point you want to shield in style, and not just in one style.
Cons: It's black. Its fitted shape makes it hard to wear with bulkier jackets.

2) I have to mention my Canada Goose mid thigh down jacket. Yes, I do own one. Yes, I bought it when the price was more than double what it is now. It was a life changer though, as I experienced for once stepping outside without immediately recoiling in a debilitating fetal position shiver.
Pros: warmth, relative shape, great, great hoodie engineering for our unpredictable wet/windy/sunny/snowy weather.
Cons: I made the mistake of buying an XS. I am normally XS but now bigger sweaters or jackets won't fit underneath. Also, these jackets tend to become superwarm, so it's not very practical for city life, when you sometimes spend entire days with you coat on, in and out of buildings. It tends to be bulky and heavy, so not very practical if you want to take it off while shopping or moving around. On a style perspective, one appeal is to wear it with light tees or tanks underneath, and slightly unzip the collar to reveal bare skin, therefore creating a kind of "décolletage" (as shown herehttp://www.canadagoosesale.org/history/). Yeah right. As if. Talk about seasonal confusion. Ladies, if you are into the puffer coat shopping business, I strongly suggest you try all these beauties WITH a scarf on. It can change the whole look suddenly. And when temperatures will justify a puffer, beleive me, they will also demand neck protection.

3) Lolë light blue jacket: I regard this piece as non-negociable basic mental health maintenance, especially in February and March. Plain and simple.
Pros: not very expensive, lightweight yet warm enough, colourful and fun, not too bulky looking (Lolë's a great brand for that).
Cons: can sometimes clash with your workwear - you need coordinate accessories or at least white as it doesn't really look good with old, worn black woolen or leather things. Also requires different golves or mits because it looks frankly depressing with huge tough black leather -30 degrees gear.

4) White stormtech down jacket: This is a treat if you spend one day in the arctic on a boat and if you fancy yourself as a mature blonde marine biologist defying extreme temperatures (warning, must also bring the cable knit turtle neck and bearded Norwegian boyfriend). What it is: a wearable comforter.
Pros: comfort, warmth, many pockets everywhere, the true utility-tool-girl dream, stark white color.
Cons: No shape whatsoever. Could pass slightly better on taller gals and mature blond marine biologists.

Here are the qualities to look for in a puffer if you want to actually end up wearing it with minimum irritation levels on a day to day basis:

  • fitted (or with shape, or belted);
  • diamond quilt;
  • small quilt;
  • lightweight (please, most important one);
  • decent hood that will not slide down on your forehead nor not quite cover your head;
  • no-fuss zipper.

Krishnidoux-I was enjoying your very informative post about makes of puffer but now all I can think about is mature ,blond ,Norwegian biologists!Thanks for that thought!

I didn’t include my puffer vests. I have two and they’re great for casual wear and hiking this time of year. I went on the search for one last year after I realized my old one didn’t fit properly. I was only going to buy one, but found two that were both on such great sales that I kept both. I wear the grey CK one a LOT!

I also forgot that I have a puffer at the ranch, but I almost don’t count ranch wear as my “real” wardrobe — it’s periwinkle blue and hip-length. Very utilitarian and not very flattering but warm and a nice color. I think it’s TNF.

YOU GALS ROCK. Thank you!

LOVE seeing the variations in style and colour, and that you've built puffer capsules. Vests included. WELL DONE, ladies.

Inge, we need to get you a more fitted puffer.

Sterling, thanks for the cheerleading from a warm climate.

Dashielle, you win largest puffer collection. WOW.

Krish, you crack me up. Thanks for sharing your important puffer experiences. You are fab.

Style Fan, love seeing Sophie in the pics.

kkards, I think your white sleeping-bag-maxi-puffer looks hip and fab. I want one.

Inge, have you checked out Universal standard.? I’m coveting this one, but also in black and ice blue.

This is my current puffer. If I hadn't dithered so long I would have tried given that blue Soia and Ko a try before it sold out!

Shiny, I like the LL Bean quite a bit around the house, as it's not cold enough in Seattle to wear it (yet). I will report back after wearing in Amsterdam next week though!

The Cat! I forgot to mention how I loved seeing you in your '80s white puffer. Sublime.

I have a pitifully small collection given my long and quite cold winters. All are quite sporty. The raspberry one is moderately warm, the black one is pretty warm. The vest is new and tremendously versatile. Could use a dressier one, a very lightweight one, a super-warm one, and probably several other variations.

p.s. I do have other non-puffer insulated coats and jackets and some in fairly heavy wool. Some I layer over fleece jackets for extra warmth. My collection has been built over a lot of years starting when puffers were not so available and were always sporty.

I totally forgot I have a sleeveless Northface puffer in HOT PINK. I bought it years ago at TJMaxx in the clearance rack. I admit I don't GET sleeveless puffers. There's a very narrow temp range when it works, like exercising outside, which is what I wear it for, because some of my exercise clothes have pink accents.

But it's hooded. And when I wear it and pull up the hood because I'm cold (because, you know, it doesn't have any sleeves!!!) my hubby teases me mercilessly and tells me I look like a giant hot pink......... okay this is a family blog. You can fill in the blank.

Hot pink puffer vest is now going in the donation pile.

Angie, thank you so much for the compliment. I think the white puffer and a few scarves are the only of my clothing items from the '80s which have survived and are still in frequent use.

Dare I ask you again about your scarf tying? (Your pic #2) You may have shown it before, perhaps in a separate scarf tying tutorial. I just don't know where to find it ...

My puffer is pretty run-of-the-mill except for what you can’t see here. I caught the sleeve on some door hardware about a week after buying and tore a hole in the shell. After some wailing and gnashing of teeth, I bought an embroidered patch from one of my favorite podcasts and popped it over the tear on my left shoulder. I’ve never regretted that. It made the coat mine, and sets it apart from all the others, if only slightly.

Thanks, ladies. You have exceeded my puffer thread expectation.

The Cat, sorry. I didn't mean to ignore you! That knot is simply tied double around my neck and knotted in a single knot in front. Looks good when the jacket is zipped up. Like a cravat. Hope that makes sense.

K2 - No! I hadn't looked at it yet, so thank you for showing it to me. I love that shade of green, and I love the fashion-forward silhouette. The side-tie is giving me pause though, that's a detail that will potentially get on my nerves very quickly;-) Let us know if you decide to get it?

Angie - I'd love that!!

Uh oh, I don’t have time for this now, but I have 9 puffers plus 2 puffer vests and I’m not sure if it counts, but I also have a puffer like thinsulate coat.

I really enjoyed this thread. Just looking at all these beautiful puffers/vests makes me want to buy a second one for myself.

This is from last year.-love the color which has a slight sheen. I also have 2x older ones (a short off white, and a midi length black one for when very cold and both matte)

  • This photo is no longer available
  • This photo is no longer available
  • This photo is no longer available

I’m kind of loving the idea of a white one. Maybe that’s not so strange — I do have a white Helly Hansen anorak/parka that I wear for winter snow gear (worn in Antarctica layered appropriately). Funny that I don’t wear a ton of white in the winter but I like white outerwear. A white puffer would at least be washable! Unlike a white wool coat. Because I do not share Angie’s magical power of keeping white items clean — my white leather jacket is suffering for it.

Four down puffers here. A knee-length one from Patagonia for around town, an ultra-warm jacket from Rab for cold-weather camping (gear only -- not a fashion piece at all!), a lightweight hoodie from Uniqlo (does double duty as gear and casual wear), and a lightweight vest from Sierra Designs (also a gear-casual crossover). The two lighter weight ones see year-round use and probably have some of the lowest CPW out of anything in my closet. Those two have been featured in several WIWs, but here's a photo from a few days ago, to show my long puffer in action.

In a lot of circumstances (rainy or high humidity, or any activity where I'll break a sweat), I avoid puffers, opting for wool or fleece as my insulator, layered under a waterproof shell. And I have two wool coats that can go a bit dressier than my long puffer. Through college and my twenties, I wore wool coats exclusively and refused to wear parkas in non-gear settings. But there are so many nice options now, and they really do pack/travel so well, I've become a convert to the casual puffer.

I have 4, all filled with down. 3 very warm, long ones and one short and lightweight. I wear those long ones all the time from December through February. This year I have started wearing them in November because it is colder then usual and it is already snowing today. Short one is for spring and fall and used only in the most casual occasions.

Angie, thank you for the explanation about the knot. I really like this look. Effortless elegance.

My one and only short off-white puffer

The puffer post also got me thinking of updating my "capsule" of a single purple puffer that's a little over 10 years old (Kenneth Cole Reaction).

I like the idea of a caramely, darker goldish puffer, and I tried this H&M one in the smallest size, hoping that it wouldn't be as HYUGE on me as it looked on the model. It was--like I was an 8-year-old with my dad's coat on. Back it went.

I'd never owned a puffer before this one. The winter before last we had a really cold (for us) winter & I just couldn't get warm in my wool coats. Puffers were having a "fashion moment" so they were everywhere - I tried this one & loved it. It's a metallic finish & because of the princess seams it isn't any bulkier than a woollen coat

I have a couple of North Face puffers, both lighter weight for our mild-ish winters. This is my fashionable puffer, last year from Zara. I've stuffed a bulky sweatshirt under it today.

Love seeing YLF puffers in the wild they make much more sense against a snowy landscape.
Here are mine, the sleeveless hooded puffer is made of polyester and part of a trenchcoat (it’s removable). The black one is filled with down and warm enough for my Winters (0-5°C). Its best feature is the (real, sorry) fur lined collar, that’s a genius design idea : fur is super soft against my skin and there’s no wind or cold getting through.

  • This photo is no longer available
  • This photo is no longer available
  • This photo is no longer available
  • This photo is no longer available