Every fall the question comes up: To PUFF or not to PUFF? I will admit that at one point in time wearing a puffer vest was just as cool as wearing the puff coat, however, now depending on the person, puffer vests may not be the "it" thing to own. I have come to the realization that it's because we as men never really took the time to think about its components and how we could actually incorporate it in our own personal style. It was big, bulky and we just kind of always threw it on over a shirt and called it a day. I have puffer vests lingering in my closet season after season and although at times I'd thought about donating them to Goodwill, something inside me just couldn't let them go. So, I got creative and decided to actually "style" them.
Below I've provided three different ways to wear puffer vest for three guys of different style. Enjoy!
The Urban Gent: As expressed earlier, traditional puffer vests were over sized. If you're the guy who is still transitioning into the "slim" and "tailored" style of dressing and can't quite let the baggy pants and white tees go, I suggest a happy medium. Don't just throw on a puffer vest, throw it on WITH PURPOSE! Try styling it over a not-so-dressy blazer as a laying piece. This way it looks like you know what you're doing, and you're able to show a little style. For an added styling suggestion to co-mingle with your dressed down look, try incorporating a henley t-shirt (t-shirt with buttons) versus a crew or v-neck tee. Also, try scrunching up the sleeves to further commit to your relaxed look.
The Stylish Trendsetter: If you're the guy who likes to try new things by reinventing your wardrobe, this section is for you. I thought it was a cool concept to treat a puffer vest as just a vest. You normally don't view the latex-like bubble vest as a dress piece. Try wearing it as a third piece to a suit or suit separate to complete the look. This works best with a thinner, more sleek fitting vest. Don't be afraid to go heavy on the accessories you choose to pair with your ensemble. In fact, be as bold as possible to really solidify and own the outfit.
I chose to wear tweed on tweed by combining the visual element of my blazer and tie choice. To keep the focus on the vest, I incorporated a tuxedo shirt with black outlines along the pleats to blend in with the vest's color. This was the same thought concept in the process of selecting my shoes. To add a pop of color I accented with red.
The Street Style Hipster: For the fashionable guy who dresses with no limits....the one who likes to throw on any and everything and makes it work with his keen eye on style....utilize your puffer vest within layers to act as a jacket. It's not quite time to start pulling out the heavy winter coats. Believe me, mother nature has reserved plenty of time for that. For now in the essence of fall, it's all about layering. Use that favorite go-to denim shirt that we all have, cover it up with a chunky sweater and layer it with a puffer vest and scarf. These layers will keep you in style but most importantly warm.
This look is perfect for the night-time when the temperature drops.
In "A Man's guide to Geezer Style", GQ Suggests:
Geezer Wisdom No. 1: Don't Be All Precious About Your Suit
Puff Out Your Chest: When a chill hits, throw a sporty down vest over your suit. It goes against every rule of layering, and that's exactly the point. (Bonus points if you can pull off purple.)
Suit $639 by Suitsupply. Vest, $750 by Bee Line for Billionaire Boys Club. Boots, $1,750 by Ralph Lauren.