Choosing a Flattering Puffer Jacket or Coat — Inside Out Style


With winter approaching way faster than I’d like, I noticed that puffer jackets were available and they’ve become such a great staple in so many wardrobes because they are both lightweight and warm.  That said, because they are puffy and voluminous in their style, they do add visual bulk to your frame, so it’s worth knowing which are going to be the most flattering and which to avoid.

Choose a Fabulous Colour

Outerwear is made to keep you warm, and so will have a collar that sits close to your face, this means the colour you choose will reflect onto your complexion and you want to make sure that it’s making you you look healthier rather than unhealthy.   When considering the colour there are two things I’d look for:

  • Is it in the same value (value is the technical word for how light or dark a colour is) as your hair?  Whatever is close to your face ideally should be in a similar value to your hair colour as this creates harmony with your appearance.
  • Is it in a colour that’s your correct undertone?  If you’ve got a warm undertone, then choose a warm colour, if you’re cool, go with a cool option.  This is where having a colour palette of your best colours makes it so easy to make these decisions and figure out if the colour is great for you or not.  

Plus I love a coat in a signature colour as your signatures really make you look your very best.

Yes there are heaps of black coats out there so that can be an easy option, but these days there are also heaps of different colours too, both in neutrals and in colours of the rainbow, so don’t just fall back on black (unless you have cool, dark and bright colouring and it actually is a great colour for you) as you’ll never be as satisfied with the coat than finding a really fabulous coloured version.

Choosing a flattering colour for your coats and jackets - make it a siganture colour

Signature blue


Because I have different weight jackets for walking my dogs, I have my “really cold” weather coat which is in a grey similar to my hair colour, and then I have a “cool but not freezing” version which is in a signature eye colour.

Finding a coat in a similar colour to your hair is always a great option as you’re always wearing your hair, so that coat will always go with your outfit as if you have a flattering hair colour for your colouring, then that neutral is always going to work with every outfit.

Look at the Lines

As with all clothing choices, the easiest way to figure out which you should go for is to look at the lines in the garment and notice what sort of lines they are:

I’ve written about the influence of lines before, but it’s worth repeating as it’s easy to forget when you pick up a garment and head into the change room.

Many puffer jackets have horizontal stitching to hold the stuffing in place.    Because horizontal lines broaden the body, and the wider the line, the wider you look, be very careful about choosing your puffer jacket that is horizontally stitched.  I’m going to show you two examples, one will add bulk to your body, the other will look not.  I snapped a few pictures to illustrate this when I was in a store the other day.


Wide horzontal lines on puffer jackets make you appear wider

Wide horizontal lines broaden and act like a fence



This coat above has wide horizontal lines and because wide lines, widen, is the least flattering of the options I’m sharing here.  This is my AVOID version, as you can do better than this.  This is the kind of line that acts like a fence and draws your eye outwards rather than up to your face.

The next coat has narrow horizontal lines which are much easier to wear.

Narrow horizontal lines with a princess seam is a flattering style

Narrow horizontal lines with a princess seam is a flattering style

Not only are these horizontals narrow, they also don’t span the entire width of the coat which means they act like a ladder which draws you eye up the body, rather than across it.   Plus the princess seam that runs down the sides of the body adds in an elongating vertical as well.

Diagonal lines are ones I also tend to look out for, particularly if the diagonal is lower in the middle and moves up towards the shoulders as this is waist narrowing and hip balancing.

Flattering diagonals that slim waist and balance hips

Flattering diagonals that slim waist and balance hips

And for someone like me who doesn’t have a defined waist anyway, this is a great option.

Here’s another diagonal option I found which would be great on anyone who wants to visually slim their waist, the double diagonals remove a lot of the bulk and puffiness from the jacket around the waist.

Double diagonals slim waist

Double diagonals at the waist flatten out the puffiness of the jacket

The diagonals that run up towards the shoulders draw the eye outwards and will make shoulders appear broader which is great for anyone except a V shape who already has lovely broad shoulders.

This last puffer I discovered in store has curved lines running in vertical strips down it, quite an unusual find.

Curved verticals on a puffer jacket

Curved lines slow down the eye

Because curved lines slow down the eye, they are going to be less flattering than the diagonals, but I think still more flattering than the first, wide horizontal option I shared above.  It’s still more ‘fence’ than ‘ladder’ so would work well for an I shape who wants to add more curves, but be way less appealing on an H or O shape.

As with all coat choices you have to try on the garment to really know what the effect will be on your body (plus cut and construction are also to be considered).

The more knowledge you have on the kinds of colours and lines that work for you and your unique physicality, the easier shopping for puffer jackets (and any other garment) becomes as you no longer pick up and take into the change room garments that have no chance of looking good.  Instead, you’ll find it much easier to decide which clothes to try on and which to avoid.


If you’d love to get this kind of knowledge for you then I’d love to invite you to join my 7 Steps to Style program were you can discover how to dress to enhance your physicality as well as choosing the clothes that reflect your personality.  


Imogen’s Three Rules of Horizontal Lines

How to choose a flattering puffer jacket


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