Baby, it’s cold outside: the puffy coat dilemma

By Angela Espinoza, Arts Editor

To say I’ve always been a tad self-conscious is an understatement. To say Christmas time is my most favourite time of the year is also an understatement. I love the holidays, but unless you’ve got a sensual crooner following you around 24/7, the cold can be unbearable. Until last year, I always vied for the puffy coat for warmth, accepting it as a decent enough replacement for the crooner. However, for 10 years, I’ve absolutely hated puffy coats—that’s a long time to wear something you hate.

The puffy coat is a unique specimen: it offers its wearer a reasonable amount of warmth, but its most common design is that of cooked and uncooked marshmallows (save for the three years where I was a bright blue mini ‘mallow of target practice). But I don’t think I’m alone in saying one definitely still has to layer while wearing a puffy coat. It’s winter. Of course you’re layering, but I feel like the last outfit one should need to layer would be in a puffy coat. Otherwise, would you still be wearing something that makes you look like you grew three sizes that day?

Besides the puffy coat, it seems like the next two coats that signal it’s wintertime are the red plaid winter coat and wool overcoats. Both offer roughly the same amount of warmth as a puffy coat, but with one very important difference: you don’t look horrible wearing them. The wool overcoat in particular is designed to flow with someone’s figure; whether you’re a man or a woman, the wool overcoat is arguably the best winter coat in terms of not feeling hypersensitive every time you go out (red flannel is a close second).

Despite my feelings though, I’m not going to pretend like a lot of people don’t prefer the puffy coat, and I think I understand why. Puffy coats offer a nostalgia factor, which is mainly why I put up with wearing them for so long. Up until you’re about 13, puffy coats are adorable on any wearer. When you’re a kid, you’re going to be running around a lot, and the puffy coat offers plenty of cushion for the inevitable fall in what often is a mere half inch of snow. But the odds of you running around in a puffy coat during a snowball fight in your mid-20s are rather limited—especially since we barely get snow anymore.

Puffy coats have a time and a place, and I’m long over both of them. You’re going to be self-conscious when the extended puff of your arm keeps hitting the friend next to you, or when your penguin-like chest ends up being an unnecessary bib for a quick midnight bite. Unless you’re someone who knows how to handle their unique shape, the puffy coat just offers multiple opportunities for embarrassment without the level of warmth one should expect. The puffy coat is simply not worth it.

Image by Dina Espinoza.