Womens Trends

The New Puffer

by Jyssica Yelas

If you are a Pacific Northwest native, you know the jacket I’m talking about. Five to seven rows of quilting, likely down insulation, pockets, button-closure, and maybe faux fur trimming on the hood.

In 2016, we see the mundane pieces in sportswear coming back in unexpected ways. Trend waves like “normcore” and “athleisure” come to mind. This year, we saw designers like Alexander McQueen and Isa Arfen bring new, dramatized versions of the puffer jacket, featuring plush oversized collars and pastel hues. Raf Simon’s Fall collection presented a dark, oversized take on the style, and Hood by Air draped a dramatic red-and-black version over a model’s shoulders.

Of course, what starts on the runway ends up in our closets in a matter of time. Some of Portland’s best shops have taken the lead on updating the outerwear staple that used to be considered nothing short of ‘lazy’ in the eyes of fashion.

Photo: Garmentory
Reality Studio Gato Bomber in
Seaweed/Orange, $372
West End Select, a Portland Fashion and Style Awards “Best Boutique: West Side” nominee, offers a smart, sporty option with bright orange lining and details. The Gato Bomber by Reality Studio gives a fresh take with knitted ribbed collar and cuffs. Jackets of this style were sported internationally during fashion month by influencers and off-duty models, whether paired with denim and a ball cap, or a matching polyester skirt.

Photo: Nau
Nau Down Stole in Caviar Stripe, $285
Portland’s own sustainable clothing brand Nau has become known to update traditional styles of this kind. While the company has dozens of down-insulated jackets, two
polarized styles stand out most.
Nau clothing offers a shrunken, cropped puffer with a full-sized hood for functionality and short sleeves for layering. This compact style wears well layered over long sleeved shirts and sweaters, or worn as a vest over dresses and tights.

Photo: Nau
Nau Oblique Down Trench in Cape, $385

On the other hand, the company produces what has been coined by some as the ‘sleeping-bag coat.’ Nau’s Oblique Down Trench is actually a puffer-trench hybrid with a curved hem that just grazes the knee. The style is perfect for layering over a dress and heels, or leggings and boots.

If you are thinking about how to take the puffer to the next level, there are a few other ways to play with this updated trend. Go for a sporty silhouette in a pastel shade, then add a no-nonsense pant like a high-gloss style or a slick pair of dark denim. Others may opt for patches with their puffs, as seen in army green off the runway at Paris fashion week. If you fear losing shape in an oversized jacket, try cinching a belt at the waist.