Look. I’ll be honest. I spent 35 years of my life harshly judging puffer jackets. As we know, I generally have a “wear whatever you want as long as you like it” philosophy when it comes to other people’s outfits, but puffer jackets. I couldn’t understand what on earth everyone was so crazy about.
On reflection, I can see that much of my problem was down to two issues: firstly, ubiquity. The same reason why I held out on buying a pair of Allbirds and why I will never buy those boots from Beau Coops with the little studs down the back. Everyone has them, and now they scream “30-something year old Mum from Karori/Whitby/insert nice suburb of your choosing” to me and while that’s a delightful life, I don’t need to be part of a sartorial gang that I am not actually part of. Secondly, branding. Why do Kathmandu jackets have the Kathmandu logo on them? Whose benefit is that for? You know your jacket is from Kathmandu – you bought it there. Is it so other people know your jacket is from Kathmandu? Does that carry some kind of social cachet or is this just a cheap and cheeky way to advertise? As you can see: many questions about walking around with someone else’s logo on your body. Frustrating and therefore negatively influenced my perception of puffer jackets en masse.
After that senseless rant, you may wonder why it is that you are now looking at pics of me in a puffer jacket. Well, dear reader, I’m an under-evolved human with a contrary nature and so when one of my associates said to me “there’s just no way for a puffer jacket to look stylish” I pretty much immediately went out and bought one, just to see what I could make of it. To be clear: I did not go to Kathmandu because I stand by my “no thanks to your branding” view point; instead, I bought one from SaveMart. I like its shawl collar style v much, even though I guess that’s kind of cheating.
I wore it many times before writing this blog post, and hilariously I have photographed one of my less successful attempts to style it up. It was a mixed bag – the thing about a puffer jacket is that you cannot just throw it on with any old thing, because then you just look like you grabbed the jacket you will wear to your son’s soccer game on Saturday as you ran out the door, and nothing looks cohesive. Puffer jackets have such a strong fashion personality in our current cultural environment, so for me they scream out for a pair of athletic leggings and some sneakers, or some straight leg jeans and a pair of sensible flat black boots. Forcing a puffer jacket into other outfit combos was quite the challenge. And also: admittedly pointless. A puffer jacket looks great with black leggings and a pair of sneakers. Why am I like this?
The jacket I chose from SaveMart is slightly oversized on me, and again, has that shawl collar feature. It closes up the front with domes instead of a zip, and has a bit of a swing shape to it. It’s definitely an attempt by a fast fashion retailer to do a “stylish” puffer jacket, I suspect for a demographic featuring women in their early retirement years who also have an eclectic taste in jewellery (aka my future sartorial gang). I think it works best when I think of it as a sleeping bag version of that ovoid/oversized/Japanese inspired shaping that I like and which I like to wear in one of two ways: with equally oversized/ovoid things or with very form-fitting things (but not athletic leggings, although entirely same principle). The former option is more Fashun, the latter option is better for when I am getting things done on the weekend and want practicality over the Look.
It’s fun – it’s a lot of shape and texture, which we know I always love to play with. It’s also insanely warm, which is impressive because this thing was cheap even in its original retail life. It does make carrying a shoulder bag annoying, but on the flipside it has decently sized pockets. It’s an unexpectedly blimming excellent addition to my wardrobe, and now I understand why teenage girls love them (warm; hides confusing teenage body; obviously they also like all being the same as one another due to confusing teenage psyche). I’m still many miles away from throwing down a couple of hundred bucks on a Kathmandu version, but I’ll be keeping this one until it’s good and destroyed, and undoubtedly wearing it to many kid-related activities along the way. Nice Suburb mums: can’t wait to use this jacket to trick you into chatting to me over a sausage sizzle! See you out there!