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Down vests are a big trend right now. However, the big question for many women is how to wear a puffer vest and not look fat. Who wants to look like the female version of the Michelin an? Read this post to get inspired, and be able to look as slim and lean as possible when jumping the bandwagon.


  1. What Is the Purpose of Your Wearing a Down Vest?
  2. Which Style is Best to look lean?
  3. Use Color to Your Advantage
  4. How to Style a Puffer Vest?
  5. Can You Wear a Skirt with a Puffer Vest?
  6. When Not to Jump the Bandwagon
  7. How to Wear a Puffer Vest and Not Look Fat in a Nutshell


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What Is the Purpose of Your Wearing a Down Vest?

When your sole reason is to wear the trend, there is no need to buy a piece with a high filling power or high quality downs. This thinnest version is your best friend to avoid looking heavy. When you live somewhere with relatively mild winters (e.g., California, Florida) a long down vest instead of a coat may be a stylish statement. Wearing it open will create long vertical lines that give the illusion of being taller and of a lean look. Wear a thick knit sweater under your vest for thermal comfort of your arms.

When the vest’s purpose is to keep you warm, pay attention to the the filling you need. It depends on whether you want to wear the piece as part of your outerwear or inside. You will need a thicker version when you intend to wear it over a shacket or thick sweater outside than when it serves as an alternative to a knit vest inside. More on the filling in how to identify the best down clothes for your climate zone.



Which Style is Best to look lean?

Go for a tailored style. Look for a nipped-in at the waist version. Princess seams introduce vertical lines that have a slimming effect as well. Stir away from styles with flapped pockets or horizontal pockets. If you want pockets, seek for a style that has vertical zipper pockets. Recall horizontal lines widen, vertical lines lengthen. Make sure the lower hem hits your body at a favorable place, i.e., not at your widest place.


turtleneck sweater under a puffer vest as an example how to wear a puffer vest
Dip down vest, J. Crew snake print skirt, Landsend turtleneck sweater, quartz snowflake statement belt, GNW burgundy tights



Use Color to Your Advantage

Dark colors give the illusion of being slim. Therefore, picking a black, chocolate brown, dark brown, dark navy, or burgundy version helps to not look fat. Furthermore, white would look like old-fashioned bedding or a marshmallow, silver like the said Michelin Man. The example look below creates a monochromatic line from the vest to the footwear. Monochromatic looks give the illusion of height even when you are a petite like me. read more on posh monochromatic looks.


fashion blogger over 40 in a layering look to stay comfortable
Back view of skirt and puffer vest with hood outfit


mature Alaskan fashion blogger wearing an outfit with layers for winter
Outfit details. GNW Luxe cashmere wool sweater, down vest, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, GNW flannel tight, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Söfft shearling booties, Studio Sienna leather skirt, silk neckerchief, and pearl leather necklace c/o Wendy Mignot



How to Style a Puffer Vest?

It can be worn like all other vests in a casual way. This means you can wear a shirt, turtleneck, knit sweater, a long sleeve T-shirt, and even a shacket underneath. The garment works well with slacks, wool dress pants, and jeans. In other words, you can create business casual outfits, casual weekend looks, and also Casual Friday outfits. When you have eclectic style, you may even try a puffer vest with an evening gown.


Stylist tip: To look slim wear the vest open or add shape with a belt. Make sure that you use the right belt for your vertical body-type.



Alaskan in down vest, tall boots and wool skirt winter work outfit
Down vest with hood styled with skirt


Woman in an outfit for aurora watching from a living room or hotel window
Great Northwest denim shirt with Eddie Bauer tweed skirt, GNW tight, Sanchez tall riding boots, silk scarf, Hermes collier de chien cuff, and tailored R&Q down vest


Can You Wear a Skirt with a Puffer Vest?

Yes! But wearing a skirt with a down vest is tricky because doing so, adds another horizontal line. All horizontal lines broaden. The skirt with puffer vest look works best on tall women. However, in the end, it all nails down to create the right balance (see the skirt-with-puffer-vest outfit inspirations in this post).

example of how to wear a puffer vest with a skirt
J. Crew plaid skirt, Hipstik tights, Harley Davidson booties, Heidi Arah emerald belt, Tahari turtleneck sweater, LeatherCoatsEtc beret, DIY brooch, Hermes collier de chien bangle, and watch c/o Nordgreen



When Not to Jump the Bandwagon

When you are top heavy wearing a down vest adds weight at you chest. It aggravates the challenge of looking balanced when being top heavy. In other words, avoid this trend.


How to Wear a Puffer Vest and Not Look Fat in a Nutshell

Go for the thinnest version that works for your purpose, and a tailored style. You can create business casual, Casual Friday, and casual weekend looks with a puffer vest. Long vest can be a fashion statement in warm climate zones when worn instead of a coat.


Photos of me: G. Kramm

© 2013-2022 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Hahaha. I live in a chilly climate and love my vests but yes, they show off all of my Covid-19 LBS. Great tips!

  2. Sinziana

    Great tips for wearing a puffer!

  3. Much needed tips! It can go either way with a puffer.

  4. Jodie

    I always like the print puffers too, they never seem as poofy!!!