All Hail the Puffer Vest

If you haven’t bought a puffer vest yet, it’s the perfect layer to add warmth and dimension to your outfits from September all the way through Spring. Layering adds interest to a look, and the puffer vest throws in an extra element that can sometimes tie it all together. The vests have always been somewhat in style, but have really hit their stride the past five years with no signs of slowing down. Living in a colder climate (and being “cold” all the time…), I rely on a puffer vest to add extra warmth without wearing a coat. It’s a great layer that’s both functional and stylish, which are the best pieces you can own.



If you haven’t gotten on board with puffer vests, but would like to add one to your wardrobe, here are my tips:

  • Go for a quilted vest if possible. It’s the most flattering type of puffer vest that won’t have you being confused with the Michellin Man since they’re usually not over-stuffed.
  • Add warmth without adding bulk. Some puffer vests are way too puffy and will add unnecessary bulk. Find one on the thinner side, yet still a little filling to do the job of keeping you extra warm.
  • Stay away from hooded vests. It just ends up looking like you cut the sleeves off a down coat. Most hoods are detachable, so if you have one with a hood, take it off.
  • Your first vest should compliment your wardrobe. The patterned vests are fantastic, but if you’re only buying one vest, stick with something more neutral so you’ll have endless options instead of a few. My navy vest gets by far the most use because it compliments the majority of my wardrobe. I love the other colors I own, but they can’t be worn with just anything.


Treat a vest as another piece of outwear and throw it over anything. It can take a very dressy skirt (see below) and make it casual enough for everyday wear.


See how the red vest creates interest and keeps the outfit from being boring.



Here are my top vest picks to ensure warmth and style without the bulk:

quilted vests

Land’s End  /  J Crew Factory  /   LL Bean

I own the navy one in the center, and the coat version of the LL Bean vest in the cayenne color. All three of these are quality and look more upscale than your average puffer vest.


Do you own a puffer vest?


7 Comments on All Hail the Puffer Vest

  1. Michelle
    September 30, 2015 at 3:35 pm (8 years ago)

    Thanks for showing several ways to style a puffer vest! I actually own two but they’re a bit too heaving for the Fall. I have been shopping for the perfect Fall vest and trying to decide what color I should get. Really loving the J Crew style and so excited to see they have it in black!

    xo – Michelle

    • thedressdecoded
      October 6, 2015 at 9:11 am (8 years ago)

      The J Crew Factory one is my favorite! Gold zipper and buttons make all the difference, and it’s the perfect amount of “puff”.

  2. Kimberley Koz
    October 1, 2015 at 9:51 am (8 years ago)

    Love your puffer vests. I don’t own one, because like you said, I was worried about the Michelin Man look…but now I will reconsider and look for one. Love your blog!

    • thedressdecoded
      October 6, 2015 at 9:10 am (8 years ago)

      Thank you!! 🙂 Try J Crew Factory!

    • thedressdecoded
      October 6, 2015 at 9:10 am (8 years ago)

      I’m really happy with my LL Bean quilted jacket, so I’m sure their vest will be fantastic too!


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