How to Wear a Puffer Coat

Confession time: I've been a resident of New York City for a full eight years now—a city where January and February temperatures can dip into the teens and essentially freeze your soul—and only bought my first puffer coat last winter. It's a padded Theory parka with a fur-lined hood, to be more precise, and I absolutely adore it. Because chic as a little woolen duffle topper or a brass-buttoned peacoat may be, when it comes to pure, unadulterated warmth, they don't hold a candle to down-filled outerwear.

Of course, bulky puffers aren't always the most figure-flattering. Select the wrong silhouette or cut—or layer the wrong items underneath—and you can wind up looking like a buttoned-up marshmallow. Click through to read our handy-dandy tips on picking the perfect puffer coat, plus what you should pair it with for maximum cool factor (while still staying incredibly warm).


Whittle That Waist

A puffer with a built-in belt will cinch you in at your smallest point, making the overall look more Mad Men than Michelin Man.


Play With Patterns

Who says your puffer's gotta be a solid color? Choose one in a statement plaid, stripe or other print—it just might become your new seasonal standby.

Pick an Undercover Puffer

If you shudder at the mere thought of wearing a down coat, why not choose one that, well, doesn't even look like a down coat? Nowadays, options exist that resemble classic trenches, moto jackets and even cardigans. Try 'em out!

Invest in a Vest

If you don't want to do the "down all over" look, try a puffer vest instead. This chilly-weather staple has shed its ski-and-sport connotations and can look great layered over a slim-sleeved top or knit in a contrasting color—a look that also balances your proportions out nicely.


Stick to Slim Layers Underneath

What you choose to wear beneath your coat is just as important as the puffer you pick—especially in terms of flattering your figure. Down outerwear is voluminous by nature, but layering yours atop skinny jeans, a snug skirt (over opaque tights, obviously) and leg-lengthening boots will yield an ensemble that's perfectly in proportion.