Originally Published by Novella Magazine
2016 has been a strange year, no doubt about it. To top it off and make the year even odder, a formerly categorized fashion faux pas, the puffer coat, is still the definitively trending outwear piece for FW16. I would like to say I am making this up, but it was seen on countless FW16 runways, endless street style shots, and Vogue.com has written about the trend three times (here, here, and here). Oof. And Marques Almeida wants you to wear in it in XXL.
Of course, the practicality is tempting, it’s like a wearing a sleeping bag, and adds to the list of practical trends. Like sneakers and hoodies, puffers have seamlessly transitioned from “fashion don’t” to ultimate cool item. But I can’t help but remember the traumas associated with the puffer.
What comes to mind when you think of puffer coats? The 90s hip hop scene? Feeling like Randy from A Christmas Story? Princess Di on the slopes? Perhaps, like me, your associations with puffers are more personal. I think of my childhood in the 90s and the countless times I would slyly leave the home in my glossy pink jacket and somehow wind up having to wear an undershirt, snow pants, and…a puffer coat. Parental echoes of, “Trust me, you’ll thank me later.” Pondering the puffer makes me recall Halloween night 1998 (aged 5) when I was given the choice to wear my parka (what I called a puffer coat) on top of my costume or under my costume and I chose the latter thinking that I had to show my costume off. The result was a much bulkier, inflated version of the princess I had hoped to be.
Back to 2016, when the puffer is hot, hot, hot and the question of flattery comes to mind. Does this coat look good on people other than street style stars or models? Will I knock someone over riding the subway in my XXL puffer and not even feel it? Is wearing it off-the-shoulder à la Vetements completely useless? (Yes.) Should I buy a gold one from Uniqlo or should I hit up a thrift store and buy a huge one formerly used by a dad in Hamilton?
No doubt this trend comes with a lot of questions, but the big one remains: will you wear one this winter?