Updated: November 8, 2020.
The men’s puffer vest hasn’t always been a popular choice. It fell out of style for a little while, but has reemerged as a fashion favorite among sartorial minded men.
A puffer vest — padded vest, casual vest, quilted vest, down vest, vest jacket, gilet — whatever you want to call it, is my favorite layering piece for the fall and spring seasons.
For when it’s not yet frigid and no longer scorching, the vest can help to regulate your body temperature for added warmth — and keep you feeling comfortable, cool and stylish (if worn correctly that is).
And so without further ado:
Here’s how to wear a puffer vest (5 stylish ways) this autumn or winter, depending on where you are.
WHERE TO BUY LIGHT PADDED & PUFFER VESTS
Before we start, here are some great casual light padded and puffer vest options to take a look at.
- J.Crew Factory Walker Vest
- J.Crew Factory Flannel-Lined Walker Vest
- J.Crew Sussex Quilted Vest
- Bluffworks Horizon Quilted Vest
- Bonobos Daily Grind Fleece Vest
- Brooks Brothers Diamond Quilted Vest
- Rhone Hitch Vest
- Peter Manning NYC Flatiron Vest
- Banana Republic Water-Resistant Quilted Vest
HOW TO WEAR A PUFFER VEST FOR MEN
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The key to rocking a vest without looking like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is to keep the vest light and slim. This ensures a more streamlined, tailored look that’s much easier to dress up or dress down.
I personally prefer wearing a light quilted vest like the J.Crew Factory Walker Vest; however when the weather gets colder — a thicker, puffier vest works well as long as the principle of tailoring is still in effect. Simply put, if your vest doesn’t appear tailored to your body, you’re going to appear sloppy.
Related: You might like this J.Crew Factory Walker Vest Review.
LOOK 1: The Streamlined Silhouette
The first look featuring the puffer vest is this quilted navy light padded Walker vest, dark indigo wash jeans, grey sweatshirt and lightweight brown moc-toe boots combination.
WHY IT WORKS
This get up works because the overall silhouette is trim and tailored. The grey sweatshirt is fitted as well as the navy down vest. The dark blue jeans is slim fit along with the navy car coat which makes for an overall streamlined look.
Additionally, the field watch is a rugged piece. Notice that I’ve swapped out the original olive canvas strap with a clean grey suede, custom strap.
Finally, the brown moc-toe boots have a split rugged, refined aesthetic that looks clean and works well with this fitted look.
LOOK 2: The Monochrome
The second casual vest style features the same vest as the first look, but instead of navy we’re going black. It’s a monochrome look from head to toe with the black wingtip brogues, charcoal gray corduroy pants, dark gray comfort blazer and all black resin strap watch.
Only the shirt is a different shade of navy, which stands out slightly from the rest of the look, but remains neutral enough to stay within the monochrome color palette.
WHY IT WORKS
This monochrome look works because it’s smart casual to the core, leaning a bit more on the casual end. Some of my favorite styles are a half and half blend of rugged and refined aesthetic coming together.
The blazer and navy button down shirt dresses things up a bit, while the corduroy pants, black vest and black wingtips with the lugged sole dress things down. This creates a nice harmony and a look that doesn’t scream, instead whispers between the lines.
LOOK 3: The Dressed Vest
Similar to look one, the third look features the same casual vest in navy paired with slim fit dark jeans. It’s more daring than the first look because I’ve thrown on a silk knit tie with a cutaway collared button up shirt. Layered over top is a thick woolen, shawl collar cardigan with the padded vest as a top layer.
I love the wingtip dress boots and minimalist dial dress watch with silver mesh strap for this getup. They’re all complimentary pieces in my opinion.
Finally, I’ve added the tortoise shell sunglasses with gradient lenses, just because.
WHY IT WORKS
I personally feel that it works because a knitted tie is slightly more casual than a regular silk tie, plus the addition of the brown wingtip dress boots and medallion broguing helps to classy things up a little.
And if you follow Gentleman Within for a while now, then you know that I love a crisp pair of dark wash denim, their versatility is unmatched and it’s prime to be dressed up, in this case with dress boots, a necktie, button up and sweater.
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LOOK 4: The Two Tone
One of my favorite color pairings is brown and blue. And so this entire look revolves around those wonderful earth tones which are the fall season’s perfect accompaniment.
Down low I’m wearing navy chukka boots and up top I’ve layered a tan turtleneck (rollneck) sweater underneath a chambray button down shirt and a light down vest. The light tan chinos pair perfectly with the darker shade, suede watch strap and jumper.
WHY IT WORKS
As I already mentioned, brown and blue make for a harmonious two. Layering is key here as with all of the other looks. These are light layers and so it’s ideal for a cool fall day, around 50-60 degrees F. It’s a casually refined look that makes great use of the down vest as a top layer.
LOOK 5: The Outdoorsman
Finally, the fifth and final look features the outdoor vest, it’s more functional if anything. These are fall basics that I’d wear to go on a brisk hike up to the Poconos in the fall season.
I’ve layered the puffer vest underneath a fleece jacket with navy and orange color blocking. For the pants, I’ve gone with wind resistant joggers. I wore gray and lime green hiking sneakers and a green hiking backpack with a 2 liter water supply. It has a hidden rain jacket compartment, just incase.
WHY IT WORKS
The last look works, first because function over form. Although, in my opinion this is a stylish hiker’s getup too. If it starts to heat up, which it often does on a long hike, you can remove the fleece and keep trekking with the dri-fit t-shirt and light puffer vest.
The colors of orange, green and blue not only work well together, but are great for visibility. You can never been too careful out there and wearing bright colors may very well save your life.
BONUS FALL OUTFIT IDEAS & VEST LOOKBOOK
Check out the gallery below for further styling inspiration on how you can wear the versatile puffer vest.
WRAPPING THINGS UP
There you have it, 5 fall puffer vest outfits styled by me and over a dozen more looks that you can gather styling inspiration from. See, the puffer vest is a great addition to your wardrobe and can be stylish after all.
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