The Perfect Puffer

Dear Readers,

Well, it’s official: I’m the (proud?) owner of my very first puffer coat. Oh, and my first pair of snow boots. How did this happen? Turns out a vintage red peacoat will not cut it in the polar vortex.
And while “style” and “puffer coat” rarely share the same sentence, I managed to find one that keeps out the – 40 wind chill and still looks pretty cute. After weeks of research, I settled on the Wintress coat from J.Crew. Reasonably priced at $268, this puffer checks all the boxes. To kick off Winter Survival Week on the style letters, I thought I’d share a few tips on finding the perfect puffer.
The idea is to build warmth from head to toe. Start with a hood. This will keep the wind out and protect your hair from losing its style. (Bonus!) For extra warmth, I layer a cute hat underneath; a hood with fur trim is an equally cozy option.
Next, make sure your puffer zips all the way to your chin. A fleece scarf tucked inside the collar of your jacket will protect your face and neck against harsh winds, especially if you’re outside for an extended period of time.
Look for a puffer coat in a longer length, preferably one that hits the top of your knee. The longer the coat, the less direct exposure you have to the elements. Quality goosedown is also essential for cold weather, so make sure that your puffer feels substantial and can accommodate bulky layers underneath.
Never underestimate the importance of pockets! I keep my IPod and train card safely secured away inside my coat; external snap pockets are perfect for holding gloves and house keys.
Pair your puffer with tall snow boots, and you’re ready for any blizzard that comes your way. Sorel’s waterproof Tofino Nylon Boot keeps the snow out and the warmth in, thanks to its faux fur lining. (The molded rubber soles also prevent major wipeouts on the slippery pavement.)
Finally, a flattering silhouette is possible in a puffer coat! A cinched belt adds shape and keeps you from looking like a giant sleeping bag.
I’m happy to report that I’m much warmer in my morning commute.

(J.Crew Coat, Sorel Boots, Gloves (a souvenir from Iceland), Simply Vera Vera Wang Leggings)

What are your winter essentials?

  • Totally get what you mean – my trendy little pink pea coat has taken a back seat these last couple of weeks. I am ready to bust it out again!

    • Becky,

      I have resigned myself to limited color and style for outerwear until this arctic freeze lets up! 🙂

      ~ M ~

  • Love and gotta have those boots. Any suggestions for those of us with wool and down allergies?

    • Jess, the boots are awesome! Cute and cozy, not to mention great traction on icy sidewalks/streets.

      I’ve heard from people with similar allergies that synthetic fill is a good alternative to down or wool! It also tends to be less expensive than down. I found a very informative pros and cons list for you here:

      Hope that helps!

      ~ M ~

  • I’ve been wanting a coat like this! I do have a really nice Columbia jacket though, it has a hood and Omni heat so it keeps me toasty. Unfortunately it doesn’t cover my legs at all though, haha. I did pay a pretty penny for it though so I can’t justify getting another coat quite yet…

    • Jessica,

      I might have a solution for that! A friend of mine recently raved about Cuddl Duds (you can get them from Kohl’s) and wears them under everything, including skinny jeans. That extra layer would definitely help wherever your coat doesn’t cover. This whole winter-wear thing is brand new to me. I usually got a fun peacoat in some crazy color and call it a day…but then I moved to Chicago. 🙂

      ~ M ~

  • Steph

    Love the coat and the boots (especially the pop of blue)! Question on the coat: did you size up to accommodate bulky sweaters?

    • Hi Steph!

      Thank you so much (and thanks for helping me with my research, too)!

      So I’m normally an XS in a coat, which is what I bought in this. That said, this fits bigger than my peacoats, but I didn’t want to go XXS in case I needed to layer it over a bulky sweater or blazer. They offer it in petites, as well!

      ~ M ~