Many moons ago, Charles James patented the first fashion puffer jacket. “His white satin swan’s down evening jacket from 1938 is the prototype for every puffer jacket,” Vogue’s Hamish Bowles told the Chicago Tribune. Bowles, who saw the boudoir-inspired design on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, recalled thinking “how astonishingly modern it was.”
Modern indeed. Cut to 2016 and the style once sported in a utilitarian manner by idiosyncratic style icons like Eddie Bauer and Miranda Hobbes has been the dominant fall outwear trend for several years running. Helped along by Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Demna Gvasalia (of Balenciaga) and Kanye West, voluminous, multidimensional puffer jackets have successfully transitioned from après–ski wear to everyday wear.
Rihanna wears her sleeping bag-sized puffer jackets over silky, feminine pieces. She even wears them in the summer, when allowing the fabric to fall off her shoulders is as much a matter of survival as it is style. Her ex-bae Drake wears his as he waits for his hotline to bling. We wear them because, like the athleisure trend, they keep us cozy with the added benefit of making us look plugged in.
With winter just around the corner (we imagine), puffer jackets are already flying off the shelves as quickly as their heft and mass will allow. Needless to say, we’re getting in on the down-filled action. Click through the slideshow below for 20 of the best puffer jackets of the moment — some of them investment pieces, some of them very necessary (and affordable) fast-fashion knockoffs. And because we have to wait until the thick of February to see how Gvasalia recommends wearing the trend next (or whether he’s moved on entirely), we’ve offered up some fashion-forward styling tricks of our own.