How To Style A Puffer Jacket Without Looking Like The Michelin Man

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With its functionality and heat-retaining qualities, the puffer coat is a staple of practical cold-weather style. Yet, despite being a savior during snow and frosty temperatures, the puffy jacket is still a styling mystery. If you layer it too much, you’ll end up looking like the Michelin Man. If you just throw it on and go, the outfit will be as bland as butterless toast. 

As a Caribbean-born East Coast resident who continues to despise the cold, I’ve long been trying to perfect my puffer coat styling. Having rejected the idea of owning one for so many years (mainly because I just found it ugly), it’s now become a trusty armor in the battle for winter style, as well as colder-than usual-spring days, which I regularly reach for during the February seasonal slump

Thankfully, the fall/winter 2023 runways and designers like Gabriela Hearst and 3.1 Phillip Lim offered chicer takes on the style, including maxi-length quilted coats and cinched-waist versions Meanwhile, the street style during the latest edition of New York Fashion Week, which had extreme weather changes from spring-like days to a snowstorm, was a display of shiny puffers, blazers worn over quilted vests, and nylon jackets paired with flouncy skirts. 

Ahead, all the best ways to style a puffer coat that are actually fashionable. 

Puffer Coat Styling Idea: Add A Skirt

A skirt isn’t necessarily anyone’s first instinct when it comes to cold-weather dressing, which is why this contrast works so well. Call it the “Wrong Bottom Theory,” if you will. For this outfit, I chose a fitted slip skirt that balances out the shapeless look of the puffer jacket, pairing it with elevated accessories, including knee-high boots and a chain mini bag. While it may be a dressy outfit, the puffer (which can be layered with a long-sleeved top underneath) keeps the look casual, making it ideal for work, too. 

Puffer Coat Styling Idea: Lean Into Athleisure

I reach for my puffer coat when the cold-weather sartorial fog hits so hard I can’t be bothered with styling an outfit. And that is okay. Moments like these are ideal for leaning into the sporty nature of the puffer coat. To tune up the outfit, I added a tailored wide-leg pant, giving a nice contrast to the sneakers, as well as a leather slouchy bag. 

Puffer Coat Styling Idea: Wear It Under A Blazer

People have long worn hoodies under blazers; why not use a puffer as a layering piece, too? Granted this needs to meet a few criteria: Your puffer needs to be hooded and thin, while the blazer has to be extra oversized. The buttoned blazer adds an elevated twist to an otherwise sporty outfit that can be worn with jeans or even a skirt, as shown above. 

Puffer Coat Styling Idea: Pair It With Wide Leg Jeans

Wide-leg jeans are one of the year’s biggest denim trends, and the perfect piece to balance out the Michelin Man-level of volume that comes with a puffer jacket. For this outfit, I opted for a white pair, making the black-and-white combo a good canvas for a pop of color in the form of Mary Jane heels. A key part of this styling tip is to not be afraid of volume on the jeans — the wider, the better. 

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