"Puffer jackets, down jackets. What's the difference?" you, probably. Well, all down jackets are puffer (for the most part) but not all puffers are down jackets. Down refers to the material each little quilted pocket is stuffed with. Puffer is merely an aesthetic descriptor of the puff created by particular stitching patterns.
Some brands favor straight across stripes, which create stacked pillows down the jacket. Others opt for squares, which give jackets a quilted look. Plenty create their own patterns, too, like The North Face's ultra-thick puffs or Goldwin's Chevron-like lines. No matter the differences in their intricacies, all of the jackets on this list share a primary function: to keep the wearer warm.
Eddie Bauer designed the first puffer, the Skyliner, in 1936 after he nearly froze to death on a fishing trip. Like sleeping bags, his padded jackets insulated the wearer, trapping in heat, and keeping them warm (and in Eddie's case alive). A few decades later the style made its way into the fashion sphere, courtesy of womenswear designer Norma Kamali (with her Sleeping Bag Coat) and luxury label Moncler (with its colorful Alpine coats).
Nowadays the style's everywhere: hidden in collab collections between Drake and Nike, worn like a uniform by British rappers, and trusted by every college-aged adult in America living on a campus where even the cold can't stop the party. Shop the streetwear-influenced, alpine-oriented, and every version in-between below.