The Tried and True Puffer Jacket That Goes With Everything—Yes, Even That

Uniqlo U's recycled down zip-up is easy to wear (and easier on the earth).

uniqlo u recycled down liner jacket
Allie Holloway

SHOP $89.90, uniqlo.com


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You know those gigantic, end-of-the-world parkas that'll (presumably) keep you warm even as the sun burns out and the earth slowly transforms into a frozen hunk of rock hurtling silently through space? Sure you do! They're great in the right circumstances—blizzards and polar vortexes and the like—but they're a little overpowered for the ever-milder weather that is, unsettling though it may be, becoming more and more the norm during the winter. Enter Uniqlo U's recycled down liner jacket. It still packs all the cold-beating bona fides you'd expect from a puffer, but in a lighter package and without all the bulk. Plus, it's more sustainable than it's non-recycled cousins.

In other words, it's the jacket you'll be reaching for more often than not this winter—and well into spring, too. Here's why it deserves a spot over your sweater, under your topcoat, and, crucially, in your closet.

additions like handwarmer pockets not always found on vintage liners, strange as that may sound make this jacket a solid standalone piece
Additions like handwarmer pockets (not always found on vintage liners, strange as that may sound) make this jacket a solid standalone piece.
Allie Holloway

It's recycled down, baby.

Waste not, want not, amirite? Fashion, as an industry, is notoriously tough on the planet, but every little bit helps. Using recycled down is just a start—it'd be nice to see a similar style where everything from the nylon to the zipper is recycled in the future—but it's a damn sight better than using all new materials. And it's not like your sacrificing anything to be a little kinder to Mother Earth. It's still a down puffer you're talking about, so you're still going to be pretty toasty inside of it. Speaking of...

SHOP $89.90, uniqlo.com

the recycled down fill isn't bulky, but it does the job
The recycled down fill isn’t bulky, but it does the job.
Allie Holloway

Three seasons' worth of warmth, please.

Like I said, this jacket's going to keep you nice and cozy. Can you camp in the Arctic Circle with only the jacket and your wits to keep you alive? Sure can't! But that's not the point. The point is to get yourself a layer that'll see you comfortably through three seasons. Throw it over a chunky knit and under a heavy topcoat on the most blustery winter days, then lose the topcoat and lighten up the sweater when the weather breaks this spring. Once the fall chill comes around again, toss it on over a flannel until it's time to break out the heavy stuff. Repeat the process as necessary, tweaking the ingredients to suit your tastes.

the collarless design's a little different from your standard puffer jacket
The collarless design’s a little different from your standard puffer jacket.
Allie Holloway

Liner jackets, so hot right now. Liner jackets.

For a long time—too long, in fact—sustainable efforts from mass-market brands tended to focus more on the process than the product. Put another way, the actual clothes being made were just plain boring. That's not the case with Uniqlo U's puffer. Liner jackets are having a bit of a moment right now, in part because they're a certified classic with roots in military uniforms—the vintage ones are actual liners for field coats and parkas—but also because the collarless design feels approachable, yet just different enough to mix things up. Go ahead and wear that bold-as-hell sweater as a base—people will actually be able to see it, and your core will still be (mostly) covered. Or skip the sweater entirely and wear the liner jacket over a T-shirt like it's a (very warm, very utilitarian) caridgan. If that's not enough to keep you insulated, the streamlined shape slides easily under a coat. Almost like it was made to do exactly that.

SHOP $89.90, uniqlo.com


Photography and prop styling by Allie Holloway

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