From fishing trip lifesaver to fashion’s front row. I’m sure Eddie Bauer, who invented the puffer jacket back in 1936 after nearly losing his life to hypothermia, never imagined that the Skyliner he created would be the blueprint for today’s stylish cover-up. But while the puffer may now be a fashion week fixture, most of us have one hanging in our wardrobes because it’s practical, and is much more likely to be pulled out for the morning dog walk than to catch the eye of the paparazzi.
Having said this, one of the questions I’m most often asked by clients is how they can still carry off a puffer with some sort of aplomb. And simply, as with any sort of outerwear, the key is to consider it as an integral part of an outfit rather than as we often do, an after thought. But for more specific tips and tricks, seeing how those for whom fashion trumps function style their puffers can serve as great inspiration.
Here’s a round up of how to add polish to winter’s cosy cover-up…
Unless you have the confidence to carry off an oversize silhouette, ensuring a perfect fit is crucial. The puffer’s Michelin-man-esque padding may be super warm but it can also be very unforgiving style-wise, so ensuring your jacket fits well may be obvious, but is essential. Olivia Palermo’s sleek and snug puffer perfectly complements her petite frame.
Something else to bear in mind is balance. Opting for a cropped puffer jacket over a long-line style will help elongate your silhouette and offset the volume, as perfectly demonstrated by Julia Sarr-Jamois in her cropped pink puffer.
And another way to ensure a more streamlined look is to choose a style without a hood. This will not only help cut back on the padding, but is also worth considering if you’re after a sleeker rather than sporty look.
If versatility is your priority then black is often seen as the colour of choice as it’s generally believed that you can wear it with practically anything and everything. However, how versatile a black puffer will actually be very much depends on the make up of your own wardrobe, and another shade may work just as well. I have many clients who prefer to steer well clear of black as it can be quite an unflattering shade for some, and if that also rings true for you then another neutral tone would be the better option.
But there’s certainly no need to stick to neutral territory. Puffers come in a myriad colours and indeed a brighter shade is a great way to counter those drab, grey days and our typically dark-toned winter wardrobes. The one thing to remember is that a coloured jacket will instantly become the feature of your outfit, so it’s wise to keep the rest of your clothes simple. Anya Ziourova has done just that and paired her bright red puffer with basic jeans and boots.
If you have a favourite shade that dominates your wardrobe then why not chose a puffer in that same colour and go tonal? This London Fashion Week attendee’s ensemble makes bright blue the feature, which certainly makes a statement, but you can achieve the same effect in a more subtle way by opting for a muted or pastel tone.
If you decide you want to go full on fashion forward, then a metallic jacket will add a fun, futuristic vibe to your everyday wear. Irina Lakicevic was snapped in New York in a shiny silver puffer.
A few simple tweaks and styling tricks can transform even the most mundane items, including the practical puffer…
Cinching your waist with a simple leather belt will add some shape.
A colourful cross body bag will break up a neutral-toned jacket.
Deliberately exposing the cuffs and hem of a contrasting sweater is a simple styling trick but so effective. Sparkly earrings optional!
The same contrasting look can be achieved by showing off a colourful lining, as seen here on Chiara Capitani at Milan Fashion Week.
Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert wore her husband’s puffer in Paris, and the scarf she paired it with not only coordinated perfectly, but added a clever feminine flourish to a masculine outfit.
A thinner jacket often calls for extra layers, so why not style your puffer over a contrasting hoodie for a sporty look?
Or for something slightly smarter, layer over a tailored blazer as seen here courtesy of Caroline de Maigret.
Author: Julie Hurst