Headed Outside? Belt that Sleeping Bag!
So, today was the first day I actually felt it. The “it,” I speak of is the can’t-escape, outside-is-not-my-friend, stickin’-around-’til-May D.C. winter cold. If you’ve lived here for a full four-season year, you know what I’m talking about. It’s that cold that stays with you long after you’ve come indoors to escape it. It’s the cold that can only be remedied with a hot shower to wash it away. It’s the cold that has you making The Face — the one where it looks like you simultaneously got punched in the gut and then had rotten eggs stuck in your face.
With cold weather season officially here, I recently engaged with a friend out in Chicago (who says I have nothing to complain about) in an online quest for the ultimate puffy coat. Our requirements were simple. Must insulate. Must not make you look like a icon for tires. I was off to the races.
Here’s what I found…
J. Crew does what J. Crew does best — gives you basic and wearable. I have to say, though, that the ol’ Crew has jazzed up its overall look since Jenna Lyons took over as creative director at the end of 2007. (I personally can’t get enough of the preppy, undone look she’s perfected in recent catalogs. Rolled up jeans, ankle socks and heels? Cool and sweet all in the same breath.)
Anyhow, back to the puffy coat. This one gets the job done. Warmth? Made of goosedown — check. Anti-Michelin Man? With chevron-style quilting and a belt — check. Plus, who can beat the fact that it’s on sale right now ($149.99)?
Departments store sites are good because you usually get a million and one different options to choose from. I stumbled upon this coat by Steve Madden on the Nordstrom.com site.
Yes, it doesn’t have a cinched waist, but it does have banding around the bottom hem, which gives it shape. Plus, the arms are not as offensively marshmallow-like as some others I’ve come across. I’m feeling the olive color. Finally, at $98, you can’t beat the price.
Next up is Marc by Marc Jacobs’ nylon puffer coat. This one has a detachable scarf collar that insulates and adds a fun ladylike detail to the jacket. The shininess gives a “finished” look that ramps up the overall aesthetic of the coat. I tried this one on at Barney’s Coop (where it’s on sale in the fire-engine red color, by the way) and also loved the fact that it was puffy, but not puffy. It was perfectly tailored and you didn’t feel overwhelmed by the down filling and it still felt very cozy.
Montcler’s black Elixir jacket does something a little different (and risky when we’re talking “puff” in clothing). The designer goes a-line. I will say, the jacket does a nice job of keeping the arms slim and the puff under control so that it does have a true a-line shape instead of making the model look like a someone just used her to pitch a Snuggie tent. Available online at Fred Segal ($1,190).
Whatever your poison this puffer jacket season, though, just keep to a few quick, simple rules: Go chic (look for details like a fur collar — faux of course — or belts), avoid over-puffing (I’d stay away from North Face unless you’re skiing or live in Colorado where it’s, like, 7 below), and stick with stitching that has a slimming effect (i.e., angled chevron-style stitching).
Happy shopping and feel free to share some of your fashion secrets to keeping warm this winter!