With the seasonal chill fast approaching, it’s likely that most guys are desperately rummaging through the back of their wardrobe in the hopes that their winter kit hasn’t been devoured by moths or accidentally dumped in a charity bin.
If the worst has happened, then it might be time to hit the shops. Men’s puffer vests sit in the middle territory between autumn and winter, where it’s not cold enough to re-introduce your sentimental anorak, but a lightweight cardi just doesn’t bring the heat.
These winter wonders have quite a history. Washingtonian outdoorsman and all-around tough guy Eddie Bauer revolutionised the puffer vest in the closing days of the 1930s. He had spent enough time in the unforgiving cold of Washington State to know that you needed as much thermal firepower as you could get if you wanted to survive a frosty night out.
After a risky weekend in the snow that nearly ended his adventurous life, Bauer put his inventor hat on and got cracking. He stuffed a quilted jacket full of down feathers (ensuring they were proportionately deployed inside the jacket for optimal insulation). The puffer jacket, and by extension men’s puffer vest, was born.
Men’s puffer vests and their jacket siblings became popular among outdoorsmen, athletes, and soldiers who had to hike, climb, and machine-gun their way through relentless arctic conditions and come out the other side hypothermia free.
While it’s likely you’re not heading to the DMZ in Korea or the coldest fringes of Oregon this weekend, a puffer vest is a sensible addition to your wardrobe for those encroaching nippy mornings. These vests both fit right into a smart casual corporate look and won’t land you at the bottom of the style bin over the weekend.
How To Wear A Puffer Vest (A.K.A Gilet Vest)
Like most active, outdoor, or sports pieces, the men’s puffer vest which is formally known as the gilet vest, has very much evolved over the last 15 years. While it’s still designed to keep you warm, the gilet is no longer just oversized and puffy — it’s slimmed down quite a bit. Add to that an increase in more fashionable gilet colours and patterns — and a shift from glossy quilting to matte shells — and the gilet is a go-to fashion piece for men this season.
If you need some extra pointers, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide on how to wear a gilet vest with absolute style and class for any occasion.
If you’re looking to add a men’s puffer vest to your wardrobe this winter, these are the brands that have the best puffer vests on offer.
Price: From $198
Customer Reviews: “The Summit Puffer vest punches well above its weight. It is extremely light while being very warm. It is well worth the price.”
Understanding that surfers can catch a chill too, Outerknown, the surf brand has a comprehensive range of puffer vests and gilets to its name. As with everything else in the label’s collection, sustainable and recycled materials are used as much as possible, so you feel extra cosy knowing you’re doing good for the environment.
Outerknown’s puffer vests are filled with responsibly-sourced down, which also makes them incredibly light and malleable, so they can be scrunched up into a bag when not needed. Every style and colour in Outerknown’s puffer vest men’s range looks damn fine, and will be the perfect top layer for you this winter.
Price: From $80
Customer Reviews: “I love Uniqlo’s down products very much. This one is as good as usual, comfy, super light, and the metallic colour looks cool.”
Uniqlo is a Japanese clothing company that produces high quality, functional, and affordable clothing. They design and manufacture every item in-house to ensure it meets their high quality standards. Their unique, unfussy designs are typically Japanese yet have international appeal thanks to this simplicity.
Uniqlo has a great range of men’s puffer vests in a variety of neutral and bold colours. All feature a water-repellent coating and are extremely lightweight despite a fill power of 640 or greater, meaning you’ll stay toasty warm.
The North Face
Price: From $139
Customer Reviews: “It’s a great purchase with flexibility: nice to wear over a long sleeve when it’s not so cold out and also can be used over sweaters and hoodies if needed.”
For decades, The North Face has been producing exceptional outwear to suit any condition. Not only have they captured the outdoor lifestyle market, but their clothing has become increasingly popular with hype beasts and dads alike.
The North Face has a huge range of high performance puffer vests in a variety of styles and colours. No matter which one you choose you’re guaranteed a lightweight puffer vest that’ll keep you warm no matter the conditions.
Price: From $120
Customer Reviews: “Love the nano puff. Have in multiple colors and bought for my kids as well. Super functional as a layer in cold weather but also versatile and good-looking enough to be warn casually or at work. Love that it’s a “puffy” but not a “marshmallow puffy”. Fits nice and close to the body. Fits true to size.”
Founded by American explorer Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia has adventure running through its veins. Not only do they create ultra-high quality gear, but their products are ethically made and environmentally conscious. Built to perform in any conditions, even the board room, Patagonia’s a brand you definitely need to check out.
Patagonia has a few men’s puffer vest styles on offer in multiple colours, that are all wind and water-resistant. Made with traceable down, any one of Patagonia’s vests will keep you extremely warm while being lightweight and compressible.
Price: From $250
Customer Reviews: “Looks great, not too bulky. I’ve already worn it a number of times even though I have other vests. I like the way it isn’t too warm when I go into a store, etc.”
Filson, founded in 1897, has become renowned for its reliable products and is highly praised by outdoor enthusiasts for its tough yet comfortable clothing. Filson has one puffer vest on offer, but it is available in three different colours. Insulated with responsibly sourced goose down for ultimate warmth, Filson’s puffer vest is made with an ultralight ripstop shell, meaning it’s highly compressible and will take up little room in a pack or bag. Plus, the puffer vest is water-resistant, meaning it’ll keep you protected in light rain or snow.
Price: From $79
Customer Reviews: “Love that it’s a “puffy” but not a “marshmallow puffy”. Fits nice and close to the body. Fits true to size.”
Named after one of the first known birds, Arc’teryx makes a range of outdoor gear with the ultimate aim of being disruptive and evolutionary in the outdoor clothing market. Their clothing is globally renowned and highly recommended by outdoor and skiing enthusiasts; both professionals and amateurs alike.
Their Piedmont puffer vest is made with 750 fill down for ultimate insulation and warmth, and features a DWR treated shell so the vest will repel light rain and snow.
Price: From $135
Customer Reviews: “I am delighted with the quality of the vest as I have been with my Rab jacket.”
RAB is a British outerwear brand that specialises in making both clothing and equipment for climbing and mountaineering. They use cutting edge technology in all of their garments to ensure they perform to the highest standards, and their puffer vests are no exception.
RAB’s men’s puffer vests are lightweight as well as extremely insulated and warm with featherless down. RAB’s puffer vests are also quite tailored for a snug fit.
Price: From $170
Customer Reviews: “Fabric feels more durable and the pockets have a soft feel fabric lining (vest feels warm enough for my needs.”
From the cold climate of Sweden, Fjallraven makes a range of outdoor clothing and accessories. Most famous for their Kånken backpack, a bag that is both durable and stylish, Fjallraven places an emphasis on quality with all of their products.
Fjallraven’s puffer vests are made with 700 fill down which traps heat for efficient, lightweight warmth. All of their puffer vests are also DWR coated to protect you from light rain and snow.
Price: From $450
Customer Reviews: “Awesome quality, great brand, super warm, perfect.”
Canada Goose and their iconic patch has become a symbol of both status and quality. Filled with exclusively selected Canadian goose down, jackets and vests made by Canada Goose are some of the best performing around.
Canada Goose’s puffer vests for men are lightweight, water-repellent, warm yet lightweight thanks to goose down fill, and feature ‘thermal mapping’ which places insulation where you need it most. Available in a variety of styles and colours, while Canada Goose is on the expensive side, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better puffer vest than the ones Canada Goose offers.
Price: From $491
Customer Reviews: “one of the best menswear brands out there”
Stone Island is a luxurious Italian outerwear brand that combines typical Italian style with functionality. Their distinct patch that buttons onto the left sleeve of all of their clothing has become an icon in its own right. Stone Island is a favourite in British football culture as well as a favourite of rapper, Drake, who has helped make Stone Island increasingly popular in hip-hop culture.
Stone Island has an extensive range of men’s puffer vests in different colours and styles. All lightweight but extremely warm with feather down, if you’re after a high performing yet stylish puffer vest, you can’t go wrong with Stone Island.
Price: From $145
Marine Layer was founded to put comfort, fit, and softness at the forefront of everyday essentials – tees, sweaters, pants, hoodies, etc. – resulting in clothing that’s exceptionally well-made, comfortable, and stylish.
Marine Layer’s puffer vest has a completely water-resistant coating to keep you dry and is made with RDS-certified down from animals that aren’t subjected to unnecessary harm or cruelty. Plus, the puffer vest is reversible so you can either rock the retro side with navy, white, and green colours or wear it inside out for a simple solid navy blue.
Price: From $79
Customer Reviews: “This vest is perfect, just light enough, good layer option, and color scheme is unique.”
Founded in 1912, L.L. Bean is a leading manufacturer of quality outdoor gear and apparel. L.L. Bean believes that the more time you spend outside, the better, which is why they design high-quality and comfortable products that make it easier for you to enjoy the outdoors, no matter the activity or the weather.
L.L. Bean has a huge puffer vest men’s range that includes lightweight down options as well as classic and PrimaLoft styles. Available in a variety of colours and prints, no matter what weight or style of puffer vest you’re after, L.L. Bean will have it.
Price: From $175
Customer Reviews: “Great layering piece.”
Californian brand Mountain Hardwear has been inspiring outdoor enthusiasts with their clothing solutions since 1993. They’re not super expensive and produce some real quality garments, such as their range of men’s puffer vests.
Incredibly stretchy, perfect for treks and climbs, as well as being light and easy to pack. Mountain Hardware’s puffer vests for men are made with a knit fabric that offers more comfort than standard down alternatives and retains maximum loft even when wet.
Price: From $170
Customer Reviews: “Quality product, but above all, human quality.”
Danish outerwear and rainwear specialist RAINS is an example of what can be achieved when you want to combine slick, minimalist style with high-performance clothing. Stocking true to its Scandinavian roots, RAINS jackets offer clean lines, neutral colours and substance in spades.
Their Trekker vest is breathable and waterproof and is made with synthetic insulation for warmth. Available in three classic colours, this is a puffer vest to most definitely add to your wardrobe.
Price: From $40
Customer Reviews: “I really love ASOS. It’s always my first choice when I need some new clothing.”
ASOS, the British online retailer was founded in 2000, and since then they have primarily aimed their clothing at young adults, but they do have clothing appropriate for older adults too. Under their own label, ASOS Design, the retailer is extremely committed to creating clothing that allows people to have total freedom, to experiment, and to feel confident with their fashion choices.
ASOS Design has a huge range of men’s puffer vests in every colour imaginable. If you’re after a puffer vest that’ll give you a cool street-style edge but will also let you stay warm in colder temperatures, ASOS Design is the brand for you.
Price: From $130
Customer Reviews: “This is quite simply an exceptional vest. Heavy duty zipper, precise stitching and durable fabric result in a very well-made, quality vest.”
You should be familiar with the Columbia brand name. Famed for its range of outdoor technical gear, covering everything from clothing to footwear to equipment, the Oregon-based company produces apparel and equipment to go up against any challenge (and win).
Columbia has a great range of men’s puffer vests all of which are insulated with down for ultimate warmth. Some offer waterproof shells while others can be packed up into the smallest fold, so no matter what type of puffer vest you’re after Columbia will have it; in a variety of colours, we might add.
Price: From $48
Customer Reviews: “I have been a fan of Boohoo Man. I love their styles of fashion. And the customer service is superb.”
“Fashion’s best kept secret”, Boohoo Man combines cutting edge design with an affordable price tag. Pushing boundaries to bring you the latest styles but with less of a strain on your wallet, Boohoo Man’s philosophy is to not take fashion (or life) too seriously; and the result is menswear that is playful and trendy yet surprisingly affordable.
Boohoo Man’s range of men’s puffer vests are contemporary and affordable; meaning these vests aren’t suitable for extremely cold weather but will keep you looking good on days where it’s a little bit chilly.
Price: From $535
Customer Reviews: “Top quality, keeps me warm and good in light rain.”
Founded in 1999, Mackage has grown into one of the most prestigious contemporary outerwear brands worldwide. Renowned for their outerwear that has a unique balance between fashion and function, Mackage combines the finest leathers, down, and wool to create garments with outstanding quality and style.
Mackage has a few styles of men’s puffer vests on offer. All are lightweight and made with sustainable down. Available in multiple colours, these puffer vests are sure to keep you protected in style.
Price: From $295
Customer Reviews: “It is made from one of the best fabrics and has an excellent design, making it my first choice.”
AETHER was founded in 2009 with one goal; to create a men’s collection that looked at home in the city but was built to withstand the outdoors. Founded by city dwellers with a passion for the outdoors, AETHER’s clothing is extremely functional but stylish; meaning you can wear their gear whether you’re hiking up a mountain or going for lunch in the city.
AETHER’s puffer vests are filled with PrimaLoft silver insulation making them suitable for wear in any kind of cold weather and are water and wind-resistant. AETHER’s vests are available in a few different styles and colours too.