The puffer coat, first invented in 1936 by Eddie Bauer, was created out of necessity; after Bauer faced hypothermia on a winter fishing trip, he came up with the idea of a jacket insulated with down feathers. The coat became highly popular and iterations sprung up everywhere, from technical wear like Bauer’s version, to high-fashion by the likes of Charles James.
These days, there is a huge range of puffer coats available, from very affordable and trendy, to highly technical, to high fashion. Puffer coats are appealing for a number of reasons; they’re warm, water resistant or waterproof, they cut a striking athleisure silhouette, and wearing one feels like wearing a comforter.
Here are the best puffer coats to keep you warm while looking good:
Affordable Puffer Coats
Universal Standard started as a capsule collection and is now a large online and brick-and-mortar retailer, with collaborations with the likes of J.Crew under their belts. Their mission is to provide inclusive sizing in womenswear. Their pieces are high-quality and minimalist, often with a bit of a twist to the silhouette. The side tie and huge hood on the Kanda Hooded Puffer is the perfect blend of fancy and casual. Universal Standard is on the more expensive end of the “affordable” category, but the quality for the money is very good.
Reserved makes stylish, trendy pieces at great prices. Their selection of puffer coats is fantastic, with our favorites being the Quilted Jacket with High Neck in white with a gorgeous coral interior, and the slouchy Jacket with Standing Collar with oversized front pockets.
ASOS makes puffer coats in a variety of styles, from sleek and minimalist to patterned and colorful. They have light options, heavy options, and choices for both men and women (but let’s be real, they’re all unisex!). We love this oversized puffer coat, and this long quilted version.
Swedish brand Weekday does great cool-kid pieces at affordable prices, plus they’re focused on sustainability. They have quite a few great puffer jacket options, including the sleek Wheel Jacket and the super-warm Jared Jacket, currently 50% off!
Sustainable Puffer Coats
ARKET’S puffer coats are made with ReDown: 100% recycled down and feathers. As with all their pieces, the puffer coats are minimalist, functional, and excellent quality for the price. We love the classic version of the ReDown Puffer Jacket.
US-based sustainable basics brand Everlane has vowed to eliminate plastics from their supply chain by 2021. The first part of the process is to make a series of products from recycled plastics, including these chic puffer jackets. They’re extremely warm and they look great; our favorite is the Long Puffer. The men’s puffer is lightweight, so we recommend it as layer underneath an overcoat.
While Patagonia could also fit into the “technical” category, we love them most for their ethical business practices and commitment to sustainability. Their puffer coats are extremely functional for any outdoor needs, from casual daily wear to hiking and winter fishing. The men’s version and women’s version of the Jackson Glacier Parka are ideal for those who want a nice looking coat but also need protection from a harsh winter (hello, Scandinavia!).
Technical Puffer Coats
A puffer coat from American technical wear brand The North Face can keep you warm in even the lowest of temperatures, but their puffers and fleeces are also popular for every day wear. If you’re outside a lot during the winter, investing in a coat that can really withstand the rain, wind, and cold is necessary. For a full-body duvet look (we are into it), check out the Women’s Nupste Duster. If you’re feeling particularly 90s, the Men’s 1996 Retro Nupste Jacket is the way to go.
Italian clothing brand Moncler started in 1952, and their ski jackets for men and women have been a big hit ever since. They walk the line beautifully between technical wear and fashion, lately leaning more on the latter for new and exciting silhouettes. Their jackets are very expensive, but they’ll last a lifetime and keep you seriously warm.
This Icelandic heritage brand has been producing top-quality outwear since 1926. They first produced clothes for fishermen, then for the Icelandic Association for Search & Rescue (ICE-SAR), cementing them as a company who really knows how to keep a person warm. Want a jacket that will keep you cosy no matter what the weather? This is the brand for you. The unisex Dyngja Down Coat is a solid city life-meets-outdoorsy jacket, and we like that little bit of shine that keeps it from feeling boring.
High-End Puffer Coats
The Arrivals is all about making technical-level outerwear with streetwear silhouettes, and their collection of puffers is fantastic. The NYC-based brand has a great selection of lengths and colors; the casual Aer Puffer in slate blue is a classic silhouette with a fun color.
No one mixes cool and, well, warm, like Swedish fashion brand Acne Studios. Their outerwear is always amongst our favorite of the season, and their weather-proof puffer coats are no exception. Their latest collaboration with Swedish sportswear brand Fjällräven is too good for words, and the coats are reversible!
London-based CHENPENG is creating some of the most fashion-forward, fun, and interesting puffer coats around. Want to wrap yourself in a full-body comforter but still look like you’re fresh off the runway? This is the brand for you. We’re partial to the Colorful Long Down Jacket because, let’s be honest, it looks like a giant vagina and we think that’s rad.
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