Stone Island puffer jacket
Credit: Stone Island for End Clothing

Unbeknown to most, the inception of the beloved puffer jacket was born from necessity and a near-death experience. Eddie Bauer, a savvy outdoorsman, inventor and businessman nearly lost his life due to hypothermia on a winter fishing trip in the 1936 which sparked the idea for an insulated jacket. Dubbed the ‘Skyliner’, the style encased down feathers within a quilted fabric – as we know and love the puffer jacket today. It was patented in 1940 and has since become a hero garment for not only Bauer’s namesake clothing brand, but a design adopted by the masses.

At nearly the same time, in 1937,  English-American fashion designer Charles James created the ‘pneumatic jacket’, a women’s evening jacket using the same methods as the eiderdown bed quilt. And in the ’50s and ’60s, the quilted silk bed jacket gained popularity. High fashion continued its fascination with the once-humble insulated coat in the ’70s with Norma Kamali’s ‘sleeping bag coat’, but between the runways and the slopes, there was nowhere that struck a middle ground for everyday wear, that is until the entrance of Milanese youth sub-cultures from the 1980’s.


Credit: Pinterest

Entitled as Paninari by La Stampa, the oldest broadsheet in Italy, and drawn from the name of regular fast food haunt Al Panino, Milanese youth created a new movement of early street style by appropriating technical clothing and workwear. What later spread throughout Italy and Canton Ticino saw brands such as Moncler, Stone Island and Timberland which were first adopted for utilitarian purposes, donned on teens. The same could be considered for streetwear buffs of today yet instead of looking to ’80s Italian sub-cultures, we’re more likely looking to the likes of Balenciaga and Prada which saw the puffer jacket appear on the Autumn/Winter 2016 runways and renewed each season thereafter.


But whether you’re simply looking for warmth and practicality, or stylish winter wear, it seems that everyone has a puffer jacket on their backs. Looking for your next kit essential? We enlisted ICON Fashion Director, Kim Payne to curate the best styles to shop now.

  1. Choose something that fits your needs
  2. Research how warm and what protection you require
  3. Make sure the puffer jacket is comfortable
  4. Buy what you love

with technology in mind

“Stone Island was founded by Massimo Osti in 1982 and was very quietly picked up in Italy by the Paninaro youth. The style then moved to the streets of the UK with key pieces worn by male model, rappers and celebrities across Europe. What’s key is the brand’s ever evolving style not only with their very coveted puffer jackets but the technology in all parts of the brand which is extraordinary.”

puffer jacket

Stone Island Down Jacket / $1,245 AUD SHOP NOW

the sustainable option

“I love that this is 100 percent wind proof with ripstop. Patagonia pride themselves on doing the right thing in regards to recycled materials too. Great for that weekend climb or long country walks. Just make sure what ever bottoms you choose, are also waterproof.”

puffer jacket

Pantagonia Men’s Down Sweater / $350 AUD SHOP NOW


“What I love about The North Face is it really is about mountain-to-city. Once you own one piece, it’s easy to adventure into more of the range. This boxy retro style never goes out of fashion and with the 700 fill down, it means you can pretty much just wear a tee and still be warm.”

puffer jacket

The North Face Men’s 1996 Retro Nuptse Jacket / $450 AUD SHOP NOW


“Stussy; that killer iconic street wear brand from the early ’80s is now back in a big way on the streets. It offers those stand out pieces like this
patch puffer with all the right details – 80 percent down, 20 percent feather. It protects you from the chill but also creates a statement, in style.”

puffer jacket

Stussy Puffer Jacket / $515 AUD SHOP NOW


“Ok, so when you’re thinking of investing, go crazy with Moncler as they are now offering collaborations with many incredible brands worldwide. Not just for the profile value, the interior is composed of 90 percent feather down and 10 percent goose to keep you warm. Choose a statement piece you love.”

puffer jacket

Moncler Padded Colour Block Jacket / $2,618 AUD SHOP NOW


“This kimono-style puffer jacket takes a classic Japanese shape but uses durable fabrics, filling the interior with 90 percent down and 10 percent duck feathers for warmth but so suitable to wear over a suit or street wear.”

puffer jacket

Sasquatchfabrix Quilted Shell Down Coat / $671 AUD SHOP NOW