The everyday fashion purchase can be a bit like shopping with no strings attached, oftentimes led by the ever-changing nature of trends. Investing in new outerwear, however, is a less frequent occasion that feels more like a long-term commitment. In most cases, no two jackets are made equal; so as the consumer, your individual needs should guide your purchase. New iterations of puffer jackets are proving to be just as fun as functional, and though the name typically implies a heavier weight than other styles on the market, that’s not the only quality to consider when determining how to shop for a puffer jacket.
Like shopping for a leather jacket, a trench, or a raincoat, there are a few key elements to keep an eye out for when searching for the perfect puffer jacket to last you for years. You of course want to make sure the jacket can keep you warm. But beyond that, the fabric, length, and even color are aspects experts say you should remain fastidious about when in the market for an investment piece. With designers hitting on both the functional and fashion-forward elements when creating styles in the outerwear space, finding a puffer jacket you feel both confident and warm in is suddenly an easier task than ever. Because shopping for a puffer jacket is a more thorough process than shopping for, say, a knitted tank top, designers have a few key pointers on what to look for, should you be ready to add a puffer jacket to your winter rotation.
How To Shop For A Puffer Jacket: Optimal Insulation
For starters, you've likely chosen to shop for a puffer jacket because you're looking for something with added warmth. At Daily Paper, puffers are a key component of the brand's Fall/Winter collections. “The purpose of this garment is to keep the wearer as warm as possible in the cold winter months, so I’d look out for good insulation properties,” co-founder Abderrahmane Trabsini tells TZR. The brand’s design team achieves suitable warmth by working with a nylon outer, and completing their puffer jackets with 100 percent recycled filling, a sustainable alternative to other warmth-promoting filler types such as goose and duck down.
How To Shop For A Puffer Jacket: Resistance To Water
The New York-based, Paris-inspired brand Avec Les Filles is a go-to for the fashion-forward shopper when it comes to cold-weather staples. “Water resistant fabrics such as nylon or polyester [are] really game changers when looking at coziness and durability,” Bradley Mounce, Co-Creative Director at Avec Les Filles, tells TZR. The brand has even gone so far as to develop its own proprietary coated fabric to ensure ultimate quality. With multi-usage in mind, the garment is designed to keep up with heavy wear activities, such as skiing in which the jacket may get wet.
How To Shop For A Puffer Jacket: A Design You'll Continue To Love
At Nanushka, their puffer jackets are made of the brand's signature vegan leather with a modern and slightly edgy appearance. This is Creative Director Sandra Sandor’s approach to the winter outerwear staple. "I think [the] combination of the puffy shape with the vegan leather gives it a luxurious, cool touch," Sandor tells TZR. "It's sporty, but also elegant at the same time." Much of Nanushka’s ready-to-wear collection stems from a neutral color palette, with ample black, tan, chocolate brown and burgundy. Their puffer jackets are no exception. “I try to choose colors that are not [so] trend driven, but more subtle, so I can style my puffer with any outfit many years to come," Sandor says. If extreme weather conditions like snow and heavy rain aren’t high-ranking on your list, you may be happier with other stand-out fabrics such as faux fur or velvet.
How To Shop For A Puffer Jacket: Hardware & Added Details
At first glance, many puffer jackets take on a similar appearance, but minor details may be the deciding factor in one over another. Cool-girl brand Apparis is home to ultra-feminine, statement jackets, and as such, the most minute details count. “With our Aman and Rhea puffers, we have taken into account all of the features we love, and incorporated it into our design,” Jessica Walsh, Lead Designer at Apparis tells TZR. The brand is known for its faux fur and thoughtful hardware, focusing on details such as removable hoods and zippered side vents. Such intricacy comes into play at Avec Les Filles, as well. “It’s important to look for practical closures, and deep pockets for ultimate comfort, in even the worst winter weather,” Mounce says. In some cases, the right detail can stretch your dollars even further. For instance, some puffer jackets may come with a detachable bottom for easy conversion from a short to long, while others may be complete with detachable arms to convert a full jacket into a vest.
While shopping for anything is a personal experience led by your individual needs, these tips can act as a starting point before you begin surfing the web for your perfect match. The only thing left to choose is the silhouette that works best for you. Ahead, here are a few variations of puffer jackets available, and the best finds on the internet right now.
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Classic Puffer Jacket
A high-quality short, classic puffer jacket will cover all your bases. Unique zipper detailing or high-sheen outer fabrics will lend an added flare, if your looking for an option that feels more trendy.
Long Puffer Jacket
For snowy conditions, or a dramatic temperature drop, consider a puffer jacket with added length and added warmth.
Belted Puffer Jacket
Available in both short and long variations, go for a puffer jacket with a belted waist that leaves you with a cinched appearance that feels a bit more polished.
Non-Traditional Fabric Puffer Jacket
Sometimes, fashion does come first (when the weather allows). Fur and corduroy finishes will put a trend-forward spin on your puffer jacket, while a faux leather jacket provides an element of surprise without sacrificing water-resistant properties.
A puffer vest can provide warmth when the temperature doesn't warrant a full jacket, and will allow your arms to move more freely during sporty activities.