The puffer coat, or down 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 long 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 down puffer coats to keep you warm:
Technical Puffer Coats
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 cozy 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.
Looking at the prices and wondering whether it’s worth it? We can unequivocally tell you that 66°North winter jackets are among the best we’ve ever tried. Snow, rain, sleet, and whipping cold winds feel like practically nothing at all when you’re wearing their Tindur puffer coat. Yes, these coats are pricey, but they will keep you warm in even the most freezing temperatures and will last a lifetime. Our editor wears hers whilst cycling through the Copenhage winter and says it’s almost too warm.
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.
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. The shells are made from recycled polyester.
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. They also offer a selection that’s more lightweight, to be worn underneath overcoats during the colder months.
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.
Affordable Puffer Coats
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!).
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. 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, ranging from sleek and sophisticated to funky and colorful. They even have options for kids.
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 both long and short options.
High-End Puffer Coats
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.
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.
Should I get a long or short puffer coat?
Whether you get a long or short puffy coat depends on how cold it is, long you’ll be outside, and what you’ll be doing outside.
Long puffy coats are useful if you’ll be walking or cycling outside often. They can also be useful if you prefer to wear thin pants, skirts, or dresses through the winter. One thing to look out for with a long puffer coat is whether the sides of the coat are closed or can be open. Buttons or zips at the sides are useful if you’ll be cycling, for example, or if you want more breathability for your coat.
Short puffer coats have an activewear-style to them. They’re useful if you plan to use your coat while you workout or run outdoors, as they allow for greater range of movement than long coats.
Short puffer coats are also useful if you’re already wearing thick pants, or have a long john layer under your pants; you likely won’t need that extra layer of down if you’re already warm.
Staying active under that puffer coat? Check out the best minimalist activewear, including Danish sportswear brands, Swedish sportswear brands, and more. Maybe you’re more in the mood to lounge? You’ll want to see these minimalist sweatsuits.
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