Our relationship with puffer coats has always been conflicted. There are many reasons to be pro: they're uber-warm, available at a wide range of price points, and offer a practical alternative to fur. They even have a fun fashion pedigree, thanks to Norma Kamali and her sleeping-bag coat, which she legendarily created over 30 years ago after a very cold camping trip. But as youngsters, we were forced into a few horrific iterations on family ski vacations and we've also seen our fair share of cheap-looking, overfilled coats that are very Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (eek!). In short: the puffer's downy embrace both scared and scarred us! But after years of ambivalence, we're finally ready to reclaim this pillowy piece of outerwear for our own. After all, there are so many good options available now¬--and a slew of chic celebrity supporters, like Carey Mulligan, Natalia Vodianova, and Rihanna, are inspiring us¬--that it's become impossible to resist the puff jacket!
If you're interested in procuring a puff of your own, we suggest first taking a peek at the way today's group of muses wear this cold-weather necessity. As demonstrated by Naomi Watts and Carey Mulligan in New York recently, one classic option is to pick up a black knee-length coat with subtle details, like diagonal quilting or a pillow collar. Or you can take a tip from Rihanna and Whitney Port and select a waist-emphasizing puffer in another non-black neutral. We love the taupe sheen of Rihanna's H&M Quilted Coat ($49.95) and the belted shape of Port's Marc by Marc Jacobs jacket, which is from the Resort 2008 collection. (On a side note: though her exact version is obviously sold out, a similar style is in stores now. Just call any Marc by Marc Jacobs store and ask for the Sold Nylon Outerwear Jacket ($398) or check out the Long Quilted Nylon Jacket ($400) at net-a-porter.com.)
Additionally, you could also purchase a short-and-slim puffer, √† la Marion Cotillard and Natalia Vodianova. While the former was spotted in her Montcler jacket arriving at LAX, we love the way Vodianova threw hers on with leather pants for a fashion presentation last year. Her styling decision reminds us that this cropped and fitted style is not only savvy choice for frosty days, but it also can do double duty as a chic nighttime option. You could definitely pair a similar jacket with a party dress (either a long-and-belted frock or even a shorter style)¬--just think of it as the wintery version of your little leather jacket!
For those of you who are inspired to buy a new jacket, there are loads still in stores to choose from. Though pricey, Moncler's the gold standard in the puffer department and a celebrity favorite: their Badia Puffer Jacket ($900) and Bady Duffle Jacket ($900) top our lists. Burberry is another top choice for discerning shoppers who love quilted outerwear. The Diamond Quilt Puffer Coat ($695) is handsome in pale khaki or black; you also might like their sportier Short Check Padded Jacket ($795) or the Down Stand Collar Jacket ($476).
Of course, not everyone wants to invest in this outerwear item, so we found some more budget-friendly versions too. For cropped styles, check out Marc by Marc Jacobs Nylon Double-Breasted Puffer Jacket ($378) or Juicy Couture's Quilted Puffer Jacket ($348) for a light-colored option. We also like J.Crew's hooded and belted Long Belted Puffer ($235) and the strong design of Collection 59's Long Pillow Collar Coat ($154). Finally, if you'd like a classic and cool black version, try G-Star Raw's Whistler Puffer Jacket ($260). It's simple, stylish, and certainly one to own!