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WASHINGTON has a genuine claim to the puffer coat: After a close call with death by cold, wet weather in the 1930s, local outdoorsman Eddie Bauer (heard of him?) married warm down insulation with a waterproof outer. The rest was history.
While few of us face that same genuine danger even on our more strenuous hikes up Capitol Hill, there's something to be said for celebrating local lore by simply being as cozy as possible. Here are some of our favorite puffers, updated for 2023.
Some of these products were chosen by our editor from the Shops at Seattle Met, the city’s first online marketplace completely dedicated to local businesses. Shop more local outerwear for men, women, and children online.
Picks from Local Brands at the Shops at Seattle Met:
You may know Seattle designer Luly Yang for her couture wedding gowns, but her casualwear deserves a special day of its own. Thoughtfully angled quilting, satiny material, and a subtle peplum make the Cloud puffer uniquely flattering, and not just for outerwear. We'll take one in every color. Shop more Luly Yang.
Its 1,000-fill down means this gender-neutral jacket (women, size down) is about as light as it gets—and that's just the top of a list of impressive technical considerations that earns it five stars from most reviewers. Including one who says it's warmer than their Canada Goose. Shop more Beringia.
Where does the magic happen? Crescent Down Works' SoDo factory. What is the magic, exactly? A down-filled take on the timeless bomber jacket (also available in black, navy, and olive) that looks so good you forget it's built for performance, too. Shop more Crescent Down Works.
Grown-ups want to keep clothing gifts cute and quality, while little ones tend to prefer brightly colored, character-adorned monstrosities (sorry, Elsa, but it’s true). This flashy, futuristic puffer provides a rare opportunity for synergy, and was practically made to be handed down or tucked away for posterity. Also, adorably, sold in pant form. Shop more Flora and Henri.
Alright, it's not technically a puffer coat—but for transitioning seamlessly between winter and spring, there's no garment better than a torso-insulating, arm-freeing, down vest. Especially when said vest is made from timeless, chocolate-brown sheep leather. Shop more vests.
Picks from Other Retailers:
Best for Outdoor Adventures
Spring's recycled-plastic answer to "What the hell do I wear when it's too warm for a puffer, too cold for a raincoat, and too wet for a fleece?" (Plus, it's on sale.)
It's hard to imagine a jacket more versatile than one equally loved by Emily Ratajkowski, Ben Affleck, and your dad in the '90s. The North Face Nuptse combines street cred with outdoorsy bona fides for a puffer that's (actually) equally wearable on a hike as it is a commute. Not that Seattleites needed any permission.
Kids' need for flexibility on the playground shouldn't interfere with their need to stay warm...or their need to not wear snow pants to school. But you try playing tag in a knee-length coat. With bottom snaps to allow for movement, a removable hood, and water-resistant fabric, this gender-neutral jacket was made with little ones in mind.
Bow in the presence of marshmallowy greatness: Backcountry Magazine product testers named the Outdoor Research Helium down hoodie among the best thanks to its "incredible weight-to-warmth ratio," "durable, dense outer fabric," and "great fit." It's also available in women's sizing.
The puffer that started it all. Inspired by the diamond-shaped quilting on the first coat of its kind patented in the U.S., this lightweight down jacket keeps the rain out and the warm in. Just as Eddie Bauer would've wanted.
Best Fashion-Forward Puffers
You know what the bulkiest possible jacket silhouette could really use? A couple of ruffled shoulder pads. The effect is a surprisingly flattering and fashionable one—especially for a jacket designed for slope-ready warmth. Paired with PrimaLoft's cruelty-free down alternative and a petite daisy floral print, this thing is downright dainty.
A puffer that pairs well with everything doesn't have to look like everyone's. Noize, our go-to for cozy vegan outerwear, brings a cute cropped shape, exaggerated poofiness, and a shiny outer that's sure to drum up some compliments.
Filson's inspired combination of a snap-front shirt and lightweight quilted down (sourced according to the Responsible Down Standard) means there's no need to forego your workwear aesthetic for a little chilly weather. Even if your actual work happens exclusively in front of a desk.
Sometimes the best puffer is the one that doesn't look like a puffer at all. If you're looking for an investment piece, steer clear from trends in favor of a waist-accentuating black parka, insulated to the nines and carefully designed to maximize form and function.