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How to Wear a Puffy Vest

If you picked up the quilted vest from our What to Buy at Nordstrom post on Monday, you’re in luck. It’s already sold out, except for a few sizes.

And today, I’m going to show you three fresh ways to wear it. 

While this is similar to the quilted vests many of us owned for years, it’s different. It’s more elevated and sophisticated. The shape is slight boxier and you get a bit more length.

We used to wear them with skinny jeans and knee-high boots. But we’re retiring that look and creating a few modern outfits that will work for any casual occasion.

How to Wear a Puffy Vest in 2022

Three outfits with a puffer vest

Stand Collar Puffer Vest, $68 

I don’t know where we’re going, but we’re going to look cute going there!

This post is filled with both inspiration and items you can buy now and wear for the rest of winter, which, if you’re on the east coast like me, is only just getting started.

A few style notes to remember as we break down these looks. 

First, I kept the color palette neutral to create an elegant, on-trend look.

Second, monochromatic looks come across as chic; they also help us create a long, lean body line.

You can keep it from looking boring by mixing the same color’s hues and using different textures and finishes. 

Finally, balance is really important here. The vest adds a lot of volume, so you want to balance it with a slim leg and a heavy shoe. 

You wouldn’t want to wear something delicate like a ballet flat. Instead, you need something with equal weight to the vest, a high-top sneaker, or something with a heavy sole, like the featured lug boots. 

For School Drop Off

Tan puffer vest with white joggers and sweatshirt, shearling sneakers, and a camel colored beanie

Cloud Fleece Sweatshirt, $45 | Cloud Fleece Joggers, $45 | Sherling Sneakers, $188 | Cashmere Beanie, $80 

The Banana Republic Cloud Fleece Sweatshirt and matching Joggers were Reader Faves at the end of the year, and they are divine. They are like pajamas you can wear outside. So I featured them here because I know many of you have them already.

Sure, it’s risky to wear all ivory, but it’s also so chic! So go for it. The matching sweatsuit look is going to continue to trend throughout the rest of the season. The key here is to make it look rich, so only wear neutrals – anything from ivory and camel, to navy and grey and, of course, black. 

What’s out? Anything tie-dyed. 

Here, the combination of ivory and the iced coffee color of the vest works together beautifully. To solidify the look, I’m using these sherling sneakers, which I might have to own, in a gorgeous .

And I tied it all together with this cashmere beanie from Bruno Magli, on sale at Off Fifth for $80. If you’d like something without the poof and a little less expensive, pick up this option from J.Crew. 

For Lunch with the Girls

Black puffer vest with black faux leather leggings, cream turtleneck sweater, black and white sneakers, and black sunglasses


Ribbed Turtleneck, $30 | Faux Leather Leggings, $98 | V-10 Sneaker, $150 | Sunglasses, $105 

Just because we’re not dressing up our faux leather leggings for holiday parties, doesn’t mean we need to pack them away. Let’s make them casual. 

This is such an easy combination that looks so put together. I used a simple ivory turtleneck sweater from H&M (they make wonderful affordable knits) as the under piece. 

For Drinks in the Ski Lodge

Black Puffer vest, straight dark jeans, fair isle sweater, and black lug-sole boots

Fair Isle Sweater, $75 | Power Slim Straight Jeans, $35 | Lug-Sole Boots, $170 

For our last look, let’s work with a pair of jeans. I’m using our go-to Old Navy Power Slim Straight Jean because so many of you picked them up in December. These have fabulous stretch, and I love the inky dark wash. For under $40, they are a no-brainer.

Then, nothing says winter like a Fair Isle Sweater, this one from L.L. Bean is pretty much perfect and available in regular and petite sizes.

Finally, grab a Lug-Sole Boot, also known as the boot of the season. We’ve helped sell through a couple of styles so far, so if you have the Tory Burch or Steve Madden’s from late last year, here is a great place to wear them.

If you’re still looking for a pair, I’m crazy about this new option by Sam Edleman.


How to Wear a Puffy Vest

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Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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Saturday 9th of September 2023

I enjoyed your post today so much. I especially like the "white" drop off at school section but have been unable to locate the sherling sneakers that are white with two tones of brown (or tan, etc). Do you have suggestions?


Friday 7th of January 2022

Good morning, Anyone else have the vest? It arrived today and it fits funny--it bells out at the hips (even when you cinch the drawstrings). In the photos, it appears to be a long and more tailored to the body. I was wondering if Megan had a comment or suggestion about the look. Do you own the vest, and can you show us a picture of you or another real person wearing it? Thank you


Saturday 8th of January 2022

@Megan Kristel, thank you! It is so helpful to see the look on an actual body.

Megan Kristel

Friday 7th of January 2022

I'll try to snap a pictture of me in it and share.

Michelle Hartung

Wednesday 5th of January 2022

I love watching and reading your posts but as a plus size woman I never see you

include plus sizes in your recommendations. Please remember us women who

wear the 1x and latger

Megan Kristel

Wednesday 5th of January 2022

This is not correct. I take inclusive sizing seriously.

There are plus options in this very post. The featured quilted vest from Nordstrom was available in plus but sold out. In the first outfit, The Banana Republic sweatsuit includes size XXL which = a size 20.

The entire second look is available in plus, including the Spanx leggings and the H&M Sweater is available in an XXL which is a 20 - 22 in their size scale.

The Old Navy Jeans featured in the third look are available up to a size 28.

The only piece not available in plus is the LL Bean sweater.