Try-On: Short Puffer Coats, In Pretty Colors


I live in a cold climate and basically wear the same thing all winter: sweater, jeans, done. Or, if I’m being brutally honest, it’s more like sweatpants, hoodie, done, but, IN ANY CASE, the main way I change up my look is…coats. And I love winter coats.

Over the years, I’ve found that I have one – surprising – coat style that gets the most wear. And that’s a short, lightweight puffer jacket.

Is it the warmest? No. Is it the most chic? Also no. Should you even keep reading this article? Ummm…yes?

the best short puffer coats

puffer (s) | sneakers

Here’s the thing: these short, lightweight puffer coats are just so darn useful. They’re the coat I reach for when a big ‘ol winter jacket just feels too annoying. Running in/out of the car? Short puffer. School pick-up/drop-off? Short puffer. Traveling? Short puffer. And it goes without saying that they can be worn in the shoulder seasons (fall, spring).

They’re cute enough for most outfits, and – fun fact – because most of them hit at the waist, they work with dresses or skirts, too. They lend a casual, street vibe to dressed-up looks, and keep outfits from feeling too precious.

My Favorite Lightweight Puffer Right Now: Halfdays

the best lightweight puffer jackets

Halfdays puffer (s) | sweater (s) | jeans (26, in ‘timeless blue’) | UGGs | bag

Needless to say, I do have a favorite: Halfday’s Lightweight Packable Puffer. It’s fantastic. This puffer is super lightweight, warm enough, but cut in such a way that even bulky sweaters or fleeces fit under it nicely. I did a quick IG reel showing its genius design last winter. Highly recommend.

This year, however, I’ve been on the hunt for a short little puffer in a pretty, light-toned neutral: ivory, white, taupe, blush. And while Halfdays does color really, really well…I don’t love their taupe options with my complexion.

Halfdays puffers in ‘chai’ and ‘dolomite’

That said, Halfdays’ colors are gorgeous, and their lavender or sage green are calling my name. Pretty as they are, however, I’m worried they’re still too much color. I’m really looking for something light & neutral (and, of course, flattering on my skin).

6 Puffer Coats In Ivory, Taupe & Other Pretty Colors: A Try-On

Since I’m on the fence about Halfday’s taupe-ish options, I rounded up a bunch of seriously cute, short puffers to try on. The puffers featured below are either some sort of ivory, cream, or taupe….OR they come in a hue so pretty that I can convince myself it’s the next new neutral.

1. Free People Pippa Packable Puffer

the best short puffer coats. Free people.

puffer (s) | jeans (26)| UGGs | bag

Let’s start with the short, cropped puffer that is most similar to my beloved Halfdays: Free People’s Pippa Packable Puffer. I think every TME editor owns one of these in some color. These puffers are lightweight, cute, and decidedly packable. They also come in a zillion pretty colors.

I do find, however, that this puffer runs big. On the left, I’m wearing a size small in the color, ‘soft sun’. To compare, on the right, I’m wearing an extra-small in the color, ‘doe’.

puffers (small in ‘soft sun’ vs xs in ‘doe) | jeans (26) | UGGs | bag

When I compare this jacket to Halfdays, however, there are some key differences, despite the fact that they’re both priced virtually the same (Halfdays is $195, FP is $198).

First of all, the hem of the FP puffer doesn’t cinch in at the waist, which means that this puffer isn’t quite as warm as Halfdays. Secondly, the FP puffer doesn’t have that roomy cut, so it won’t layer over bulky sweaters quite as well as Halfdays.

LEFT: Free People Packable Pippa Puffer (xs in doe), RIGHT: Halfdays Nellie Puffer (s, in black)

Lastly, Halfdays is both water and wind resistant, while the FP puffer is only water resistant. I may not care, however, because that ‘soft sun’ is so glowy and gorgeous.

2. GAP Faux Leather Puffer

The best short puffer coats. Gap.

puffer (s) | jeans (26) | UGGs | bag

GAP’s Faux-Leather puffer is warm, cute, and looks wayyy more expensive than it is. In general, I’ve been surprised by how much I like faux-leather puffers. They look (and feel) much more elevated than the usual suspects. Very fashion girl, but in a nonchalant, cool way. This one is available in petite, regular, and tall sizes (gahhh ivory is basically sold out, but it’s fully stocked in silver or black).

NOTE: This puffer is thicker than my usual packable puffers – which also explains the warmth. But it feels more like I’m grabbing an actual winter coat, rather than something light and packable. That said, it’s a far cry from a parka, and I’ve happily traveled with it.

3. Vuori Hudson Insulated Puffer

The best short puffer coats try-on. Vuori.

puffer (s) | jeans (26) | UGGs | bag

This puffer coat is beautiful in person. It’s also the warmest of the bunch, too. It’s thicker than a traditional packable puffer, but lighter than GAP’s faux-leather, above. If you like the idea of a lightweight puffer but are worried you’ll freeze, this one is perfect.

Vuori, per usual, gets all the little details right – the cuffs are well-designed, the collar is chic and comfortable even fully zipped.

puffer (s) | jeans (26) | UGGs | bag

NOTE: The zipper did get caught a few times when I zipped it up, but it only took a second to push back the puff and zip it up.

4. Free People In a Bubble Puffer

The best short puffer jackets. Free people.

puffer (xs) | jeans (26) | UGGs | bag

This puffer jacket feels dramatically different from the others. It’s the lightest one in the bunch, and the most fashion-forward. It’s cropped, boxy, and the quilting is really freaking cool. I also LOVE the color. Like…love love love it.

I was so excited about this one that I immediately ripped off the tags and wore it outside. Only to find…that it’s not nearly as warm as literally any other puffer I’ve tried. It’s floaty and super cute and just…not…warm.

puffer (xs) | jeans (26) | UGGs | bag

Whatever. I have it, I’ll wear it. If I’m all layered up, it’s a fun topper, and it’ll be great in the spring, too. But if you need major warmth, I’d go with a different one.

5. The North Face Sherpa Puffer

The best short puffer jackets. The north face.

puffer (s) | jeans (26) | UGGs | bag

This one is delicious. The nubby sherpa knit just sends me. This jacket is really, really warm (like Vuori’s puffer), but more cropped and not nearly as soft. While I typically love North Face’s Nuptse jackets (this one, in particular), I found the sherpa to be a bit…bulky. Sooo pretty, tho.

puffer (s) | jeans (26) | UGGs | bag

6. Amazon Puffer

puffer (s) | jeans (26) | UGGs | bag

There are many influencers who are very excited about this puffer and I…am not one of them. The color is great, it feels VERY warm, and the fabric is soft. But I found the overall design and fit to be…strange.

puffer (s) | jeans (26) | UGGs | bag

That’s it! While there are plenty of other short, lightweight puffer jackets out there, these were the ones that had enough fashion-girls vibes to reel me in. And while I’m trying not to own, like, 10 different lightweight puffers, it’s tough when I basically wear them like indoor-outdoor sweaters. Oof.

Anyway, I’m working on a winter capsule wardrobe which might help shed some light on which one would be the most useful.

Good luck out there.