Is the puffer jacket a Toronto streetwear staple or is it time to retire the trend?

It’s no secret that the puffer jacket is the staple winterized item in Toronto. Since its emergence and subsequent dominance within streetwear trends, the puffer jacket has remained a necessary accessory for the season. But is it time for the trend to die to make room for other winter jacket styles, or has the puffer become a permanent fixture of Toronto fashion?

In the early 2010s, streetwear really hit its stride. Yeezy, Fear of God and BAPE spearheaded a movement that put emphasis and value on labels paired with the dichotomous realm of simplicity. Jerry Lorenzo from Fear of God designed pants with silhouette and functionality in mind, whereas Nigo at BAPE’s designs heavily relied on all-over printed camouflage. Streetwear began as a trend and now lives on today as its own genre of fashion. And keeping that trend warm and cozy is the puffer coat.

Emerging on the scene in the 1930s, the puffer jacket has gone through copious facelifts. In its most traditional sense, puffers are layered with quilts, that are then packed to the brim with air and down. Oftentimes, companies are using feathers from geese, while more eco-friendly corporations have developed a vegan down that doesn’t use any animal by-product.

Today, the puffer takes many forms, but through all its iterations it remains in the spotlight, and shows no signs of leaving.

It perfectly melds the desire to be warm with the feeling of looking good. In most cases, puffer jackets are rated for the horribly low temperatures of Toronto. Aritzia, for example, has puffer coats rated for -30 C, while Moncler’s basic puffer is rated for -20 C and good to go for daily use.

The puffer jacket also covers a variety of fashion sub-genres, making it adaptable for every style.

Take a look at Due West. The Dsquared2 puffers appear to fall on the side of streetwear with their patent, glossy exterior and shorter cut which is suitable for jeans and a flashy designer belt. The logo on the left upper panel further aligns it with streetwear. On the other hand, Neil Barrett gives off a more tactical feel, which aligns itself with technical wear.

Everyone from top designers to fast fashion brands make their own version of this jacket, and despite the style becoming arguably overdone, no one has ventured far outside the lines of the classic puffer. For fall, there’s a pea coat, a trench, a leather jacket, shearling and more. In spring, there’s denim, chore coats, bombers. But in winter, only the puffer exists, if you’re looking for a warm enough coat for Toronto weather, that is. What is it about the puffer that has put a stop to any other creative ventures into the world of winter coats? All we know is that the trend is not going anywhere.

Puffer jackets are here to stay likely in part because of their ability to lend themselves to different price points.. Head over to Uniqlo where you can purchase a basic down jacket for right about $100. It’s going to be solid, last you a few seasons and eventually need replacing. Or, you can head over to Holt Renfrew and spend a few grand on a Canada Goose or Moose Knuckle. The initial investment will make a dent in your bank account but will be worth it when in 15 years’ time, your jacket still looks brand new.

The style has monopolized the winter jacket market because it’s the ultimate, basic silhouette.

There are options for how dense you’d like the down to be, along with the sheer size of the jacket as a whole. C.P. Company and Stone Island tend to release puffers within the midrange, while Arc’Teryx excels in the departments of thinner, more shell-like coats.

However, globally renowned brands like Daily Paper, Corteiz and Places+Faces prefer thicker renditions, which feature bigger puff pockets, extensions along the front of the hood and stitched emblems on top of the quilts.

Other jacket styles are arguably more popular (the leather jacket), more fashionable (the trench), or more timeless (the denim jacket). But none of them have what the puffer has — namely, a full monopoly on its season. All hail the puffer jacket: it may not be your favourite, but you own it, you grudgingly need it, and it’s not going anywhere.