It all started with a blog comment from the esteemed craft/mummy/beauty/damn hilarious blogger Mrs Woog:
I am looking forward to watching my kids strut this afternoon and I also think I might spot the first blooms of puffer vests from the mum brigade. The leaves are starting to fall.
When I picked myself up off the floor and cleaned up the tea that I’d just spurted all over my keyboard, I realised that, in the interests of Australian style, an interventionist campaign was needed. And when I received this tweet from a very stylish Melbourne bloggie friend, I knew I had to get the campaign up and running. Fast.
I think I want a puffer jacket (minus the fur) am I mad? Uncool? It is cold down here in Melb
I gently suggested perhaps a nice coat would work …
I live in Melb, have many, many a jacket, but the puffer could be good for parks, dog walking, Weetbix wiping off it?
STEP OUT OF AND AWAY FROM THE PUFFER VEST, PEOPLE!
(Yes, I’m shouting. And I refuse to apologise.)
Puffer vests, well, puff, you out. Yes, that’s right. Grown women who otherwise want to appear as svelte as they possibly can, who think nothing of spending a small fortune on sucker-inner pants and miracle jeans, defy all logic and turn to the puffer vest as soon as the season turns.
Seriously, if Reese Witherspoon and Elle Macpherson look puffy in a puffer vest, what do you think the rest of us look like?
THAT’S RIGHT. PUFFY. (There I go shouting again)
Like denim overalls and Crocs, puffer vests look super cute on kids. The cute effect quickly disappears, however, some time around a child’s 6th birthday.
Now, don’t be lulled into a false sense of fashion security with the appearance of puffer vests in normally reliable and fashionable chain stores or boutiques;
or any which come with a designer label attached.
Such offerings should not be left in the hands of us mere mortals. I’ve searched high and low but about the only person I’ve found who’s managed to pull off a fashionable puffer vest look is blogger Karla Deras from Karla’s Closet.
Now, Karla is an uber-fashion blogger, she’s young and, well, she can pretty well work any style and make it her own. Unless you can do the same, repeat after me, STEP AWAY FROM THE PUFFER.
See, most puffer wearers do not an uber-fashion statement make.
The natural habitat of the PufferGiganteus is not front row at fashion festivals. It is front row at children’s soccer matches. Or at the school gate, huddled in clusters talking among their own kind, only lifting their heads out of the gaggle for a false smile and a wave to any non-PufferGiganteus, who might deign to walk past. In certain suburbs the puffer is worked back with designer gym gear. Apparently the puffer species doesn’t necessarily have to have a gym membership. They just need to look like they’re on their way to the gym; of have just been.
The elders of the PufferGiganteus tribe will have long given up any gym membership pretence, opting to team their puffer vests with high-waisted jeans and $300 gum boots. When not in puffer season, they holiday in Noosha with best friends, Prude and Trude. And their wardrobes are filled with an inordinate amount of navy-coloured garments.
If you are curious to see more of the PufferGiganteus in their natural habitat, head on over to the Flickr group – Female Puffy Vest Wearers – dedicated especially to them. (I AM NOT KIDDING.)
And if anyone could actually tell me when and where a puffer sleeveless vest is an absolutely essential piece of clothing to wear, please do? Someone on Twitter suggested: “When skinning the deer you just shot in the Rockies. You need warmth, but a sleeve is impractical”.
Lucky I’m not planning a Rockies adventure any time soon. Are you?
Editor’s note: Blogger and fashion stylist Megan Harding has written a fantastic post over at Style Farm about some great alternatives to the puffer vest. And yes, they all have sleeves!