Since it was buried by the cool-kids of the 80s, the puffer became a total no-go. A symbol of a dog walker. The perfect accessory to walking boots. Or, alternatively, the item channelling football coach vibes. Under no circumstances was this unflattering marshmallow an acceptable, let alone stylish, item. Yet it was practical. It was waterproof and warm. A jacket we wished we could wear but feared social suicide. But was the puffer always as bad as it seemed? Or had we just not yet learnt how to wear it?
Thanks to the bravery and creativity of modern designers Stella McCartney and Raf Simons in last year’s AW collections, the puffer has risen from retirement and rid itself of its previous identity. Huge and oversized, the puffer generated a cool and relaxed style with its sheer size adding an essence of purposeful style. It didn’t take long for this catwalk phenomenon to spread to the streets and campus, with brands such as Urban Outfitters grabbing at the opportunity for a heightened element of effortless street-style.
But this is last year’s exaggerated trend. The same high-street replicas have circled the streets conforming rather than offering any insight of individual style. Perhaps the puffer has offered all it had? Had one moment of wild freedom but has realised it finds true comfort hanging above a pair of Hunter wellies in the boot room? No. This is just the beginning for the much-favoured puffer as both designers and high-street brands have expanded the possibilities of the puffer with Zara offering futuristic metallic colours, Urban Outfitters opting for soft Teddy Bear material and, more affordably, New Look contributing an array of styles and colours of velvet puffers. These options may not be the most practical, yet, they symbolise that the potential of the puffer is far from redundant and can be used solely as a fashion statement regardless of practicality.
However, with students avoiding transport costs and braving the Yorkshire weather, never has there been a better time for the rival of the sensible puffer. We are fortunate now that fashion is becoming more and more practical. Designers are now taking inspiration from the worlds’ biggest runway; the streets. Just like the trainer craze that arguably kicked off when Lagerfeld paired trainers with Chanel suits in 2014, it appears the love of comfort and practicality may also work in favour of the puffer, preserving it as timeless, yet evolving, classic.