Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I love the “puffer.” It is soft, warm and lightweight and can be worn in town as well as in the mountains. The “puffer” is also a good way to resist colds and flu as it will keep you toasty warm and protect your from freezing winds. By the way, the French translation for “puffer” is “doudoune.” I like this better as it makes me feel as if I’m nestled in down and feathers.

Designers, it seems, are enamored with the “puffer” this season, so I decided to head to the department stores in search of the perfect way to combine fashion with function this winter.

The first puffer I found looked perfect but it was bright gold. Pfff. I don’t think so. Gold? Honestly, who wears a gold puffer?

Lots of puffers got my attention but there was always something that did not work for me: a fake fur on a hood that made it look cheap, or the material looked like it should be used for garbage bags, or the puffers were either too short or too bulky…

I was on the brink of losing heart but decided to go back to my first find: the gold puffer. I looked at it closely, considered it again and again, but no—I really couldn’t wear it. It looked like something to be worn on stage at a rock concert. Not my style, and, simply put, too flashy.

As a professional shopper I am very persistent and when I am looking for something, I make sure I find it. I found a sales associate, and asked her if the gold puffer was available in black or brown.

She came back from the stockroom with every color of the rainbow, except black or brown! “Did you look in the fitting rooms?” I inquired. “There may be one there.” She had not. Luck was on my side! There was one in a fitting room, in black!

Upon closer inspection, the fabric was acceptable and it was made of down and feathers. Enough feathers to provide structure and enough down to provide warmth.

Let me just say, it is a real penance to try on a puffer in a department store in the middle of summer. The things we do for fashion! But at least, I know I won’t be cold this winter.

The size small was a bit snug in the hips but back on the rack, tucked in behind the original gold puffer was, if you can believe it, a size medium in black! Quelle chance!

The medium fit me very well and has a totally acceptable “look.” However, items like these always seem to be priced accordingly. One must pay dearly for a perfect fit. The brand is “Dries Van Noten” not a brand known for its “petits prix” (small prices). Courageously, I looked at the price tag: $1200, but it was on sale: 50% OFF!

I jumped in excitement. And, in addition, this particular day the store was offering an additional discount of 30%!

This was in my budget, so I paid up immediately knowing that I would wear my puffer often. I happen to take the ferry to work and back and usually walk about 20 minutes each way. With my fabulous new puffer, I am now eager for the weather to cool off enough to warrant wearing it. I just wish that my new purchase had a hood, but no big deal. I will find a great hat. But what the hey…this will be the subject of my next column. Stay tuned.

But meanwhile, check the new puffers out. They’re fun, functional and fashionable!


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