Puffers with added pizazz: This season’s must-have coat

Puffers with added pizazz: Fashion and functionality have collided to bring us this season’s must-have coat

  • British fashion expert Shane Watson revealed puffer jackets are the new parka
  • She says their over the top scale and colour may take a bit of adjusting to 
  • She suggests wearing a puffer shrugged off your shoulders with a skinny jumper
  • She advises against wearing the jackets over a floppy dress and patterned tights
  • Dinah van Tulleken shared seven ways to style the trend from High Street stores

At last, something to lift the spirits in January. Winter has kicked in, it’s finally cold enough to justify a coat designed to withstand Arctic temperatures.

And it just so happens the next ‘big thing’ has freezing weather and fashion bullseye written all over it.

So, how’s this for a New Year’s resolution that you haven’t yet heard, but may actually keep: kick your trusty old parka into the reserve position and pick up a puffer.

The puffer jacket is the new parka and comes not a moment too soon. We all love our parkas but, these days, it is hard to stand out from the crowd in a navy coat with a fur-lined hood.

Coat, £55, asos.com; Gilet, £12, and jumper, £17, marksandspencer.com; Trousers, £115, jigsawonline.com; Shoes, £19.99, zara.com; Bag, £10, topshop.com

Coat, £95, and crossbody bag, £89, whistles.com; Knit, £68, jigsawonline.com; Shirt, and trainers, both £19.99, zara.com; Trousers, £195, topshop.com

Most of us have been looking for a way out for a while but, until now, we haven’t had a sufficiently practical, flattering and, crucially, not-dowdy alternative to get us out of our coat rut.

So, here it is — finally. The parka’s streetwise, bold, chic and refreshingly bright successor.

Because these puffers are downy, light, warm and waterproof, they have all the functional bases covered and on top of that, they’ve got serious style credibility.

The whole point of the puffer look is that it’s over-the-top in scale and volume and colour. It’s a statement — so it will take a bit of adjusting to.

But that’s precisely why this is the perfect jacket for January (and every day until summer) — it’s something bolder, while still a coat that delivers for walking the dog.


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Quilting is one big difference between this and a parka; oversize and volume are another. Puffers come in all shapes and styles, from midi to floor-sweeping and back to cropped — they even come in velvet. But the one that scores highest on the fashion-ometer, and which works best for real life, is just bottom-covering and super puffed-up (you should look like the Michelin Man; the more volume, the better) in a block, bright shade or striking stripes.

The colour or pattern is what’s going to distinguish you from someone who has borrowed their boyfriend’s anorak, and the scale is what stops it looking like your actual ski jacket. The finish is important, too: a high-shine puffer that looks like glossy car lacquer is extra-smooth and edgy.

Arguably the most coveted puffer of the season is the red Balenciaga one, but there are endless styles from which to choose.

Coat, £112, marksandspencer.com; Jumper, £20, John Lewis; Dress, £139, whistles.com; Boots, £59.99, zara.com

Coat, £110, topshop.com; Jumper, £39.99, and boots, £59.99, zara.com; Skirt, £39, topshop.com

Boden and Marks & Spencer have both come up trumps and North Face has an option even your teenage daughter will covet. It’s been a long time since a practical, hard-wearing item of clothing has had such fashion clout.

The ultra-cool way to wear the new puffer (if you’re supermodel Gigi Hadid out and about in New York) is shrugged off your shoulders, with a skinny jumper or another light jacket underneath. This may be because often it’s not quite cold enough to keep these quilted jackets zipped all the way up, but the shrug-off also has the advantage of revealing the shape of the person underneath all the super padding.

If that sounds like too much effort, the simpler way to avoid looking like you ate all the mince pies at Christmas is to wear your jacket with slim-fit trousers or leggings.

Don’t, whatever you do, sling a puffer over a floppy dress, patterned tights and rubber boots or you will start to look like Maggie Smith in the film The Lady In The Van.

The puffer look should be chic and modern, providing you keep the rest of your outfit minimal and tidy. On that subject, many of the sharpest fashion puffers don’t have hoods, but if you feel you can’t do without one at this point — and who could blame you? — then go for classic black, white or navy.

Don’t be afraid. Go bold, go big and wear your puffer with pride.

Coat, £140, essentielantwerp.com; Jumper, £159, and dress, £179, whistles.com; Boots, £59, topshop.com

Coat, £98, boden.co.uk; Gilet, £24, marksandspencer.com; Jumper, £92.50, essentielantwerp.com; Trousers, £79.99, zara.com

Coat, £199, M&S (in store); Blazer, £190, jigsaw-online.com; Trousers, £77.50, essentiel-antwerp.com; Trainers, £19.99, zara.com

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