The Perfect Outfit: How To Pretty Up A Puffer Vest — Seriously!

We'd be lying if we said that every time we saw a bubble vest haphazardly thrown on someone, we didn't sneer a little bit. This cold-weather mainstay has somehow managed to sneak its way into many a Northern Californian wardrobe, placed in the outdoorsy pocket of the closet. And while its not quite on Teva level yet, it definitely walks a thin line between practicality and eyesore. The soothing news? It actually doesn't have to!
Nope, believe it or not, a puffer vest can be transformed into a sleek staple — not just reserved for the days when you feel like giving up — with a little help of just a few anchoring items you probably already own. Local blogger Krystal Bick of This Time Tomorrow proves that with just a cinch of the waist, a lace skirt, two-toned heels, and a structured clutch, a down vest or jacket can be anything but campy. Ready to emulate this surprisingly chic ensemble? Let's puff, puff, puff along, shall we?
Essential #1: Puffer Vest — This outfit is all about the puffer vest, so obviously it’s essential item numero uno. Be sure to select one that is sleeveless and not super oversized, as you’ll want to make certain your undershirt gets a little peekaboo love and that it isn’t completely swallowing you up. The Michelin Man look is not hot. We love this one by Theory, since it is slightly structured, two-toned, and has a hood. Triple threat!
Theory Courchevel CB Women’s Classic Puffer Vest, $69, available at Theory.
Essential #2: Bright Top — A vivid, statement-making top is a great way to take this typically ho-hum item and elevate it to something that will actually get people talking. Plus, it can easily be worn on its own sans the outerwear if you want to let loose and ditch the puffer for a bit. This colorful and striped J.Crew shirt is a good choice if we do say so ourselves. The colorblock and striped details are everything!
J.Crew Colorblock Stripe Boatneck Tee, $45, available at J.Crew.
Essential #3: Lace Pencil Skirt — We love how the lacy pencil skirt creates juxtaposition in texture when coupled with the bubbly vest. It’s kind of the puff piece’s saving grace, because it instantly adds a sleek, sophisticated feel that you couldn’t get with the vest flying solo. Plus, who doesn’t like to sass things up a bit and slip into a chic pencil skirt? We dig this.
French Connection Lucia Lace Pencil Skirt, $60, available at French Connection.
Essential #4: Skinny Belt — It’s not a secret that puffer vests aren’t exactly the most slenderizing items. Visions of clunky, hard-to-maneuver iterations instantly come to mind. But, to add some definition and shape to your waist while wearing one, we think adding a skinny belt to the mix is the way to go — the same way Krystal cinched hers. It adds a feminine touch, along with an innovative way to style these bad boys.
Reiss Skinny Diamond Hardware Belt, $37, available at Reiss.
Essential #5: Two-Toned Shoes — The look is almost complete, but not without a pair of eye-catching soles to accompany the rest of the outfit. These comfy shoes won’t offset the lace skirt in any major way, but are still casual and structured enough to work with the outdoorsy staple. The duo of colors are a modest, but definitely still vibrant selection.
Chloe Two-Toned Sandals, $543, available at MyTheresa.
Essential #6: Speckled Shades — Obviously, this ensemble’s future is so bright, you've gotta wear shades. Pop on a pair of low-maintenance, tortoise-shell sunnies and you’re golden. Outfit accomplished!
Spitfire Weekend Sunglasses, $34, available at Revolve Clothing.
Photo: Courtesy of Krystal Bick/This Time Tomorrow

More from Styling Tips


R29 Original Series