Update the Look: Quilted Puffer Vest Outfit

A few weeks ago, I included quilted puffer vests in my list of outdated fashion trends, with the following caveat:

Puffer vests are a classic, somewhat preppy/outdoorsy style, and I’m sure they’re still worn a lot in some areas because they are so practical. But as a fashion item, the style I’m wearing here is looking a little tired at the moment.

I was referring to this picture, circa 2015, and the iconic J.Crew Excursion Vest that took Pinterest by storm. This was one of the most styled winter wardrobe items by bloggers everywhere throughout the late ’10s.

Last year, I updated my quilted puffer vest game with a faux leather version that I still own and love, and I donated all of my preppy Excursion Vests. While I like the look, it seemed like they had run their course.

But then a few weeks ago, I was scrolling the J.Crew website and I came across their New Quilted Excursion Vest.

The gorgeous Dark Nutmeg color stopped my scroll, and I wondered made it new and different. Of course, I had to order one… you know, for research purposes and all.

J.Crew New Quilted Excursion Vest

For one thing, it’s a little longer and boxier than the original, which definitely plays into the current silhouettes. It also has a higher collar and adjustable back tab, but it still has that trademark preppy vibe and elevated gold hardware.

As I mentioned above, I’ve always liked a quilted puffer vest. It’s practical for my casual lifestyle, and it provides a layer of warmth without adding too much bulk, so I started playing around with styling options using items currently in my wardrobe.

Update the Look: Quilted Vest Outfit for 2022

The first thing I did to style the New Quilted Excursion Vest for a more current look was to change out the dark wash skinny jeans for light wash flare leg ankle jeans. This instantly changes the silhouette and makes it look more updated. Then I added a pair of low heeled suede booties that match the elevated yet casual vibe of this vest.

I also chose an oatmeal fisherman knit sweater (similar for less) rather than the chunky pink turtleneck, and I gave it a front tuck and added a belt. You may also notice, I ditched the long necklace and wore simple hoops.

Not only does this create a more current silhouette, the neutral color palette is more modern as well… especially the combination of light wash jeans and tan boots.

Another option is to wear clogs instead of  booties. This is the exact same outfit with a simple shoe swap.

Since a quilted puffer vest has a sporty vibe, I also wanted to create a more casual look that one might wear for a Saturday morning at the ball field (or in my case, the band field!)

I like to call this puffer vest outfit, Sideline Chic.

This time I went for fashion sneakers with straight ankle jeans and a green thermal top. Evidently this color sold out, but I found a similar one at Gap Factory, or a long sleeve tee would work too.

And that’s the trick to keeping an older trend like this looking fresh!

Of course, buying the newer version helps, but even if you have one from a few years back still hanging in your closet, just try styling it with current denim silhouettes and shoes that play well with those styles. Tweaking the accessories and color palette will complete the look and make this classic wardrobe item work for a new decade.

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33 thoughts on “Update the Look: Quilted Puffer Vest Outfit

  1. To tell you the truth, I never had gotten into the whole puffer vest thing. Finally, last year I bought the JCrew black puffer vest and I liked it. Then, you said they were out, and I thought “oh no, and just when I finally jumped on the bandwagon. Typical for me.” But I thought I could wring one more season out of it anyway, if only at home. So thanks for this—I have everything you styled, so I am good to go. I like these posts where you update an old outfit. Very helpful to see it on you.

  2. Love a good, quilted vest! I have one from Amazon that I recently purchased that is a very thin weight and I wear it as a completer piece indoors. I have even belted it. Love the look of that. Most of my outdoor puffers are comfortable enough to snap up for the warmth I need outdoors (or in the bitter cold grocery stores! HAHA!) I will be thinking of you today as I will be over at Town Center for lunch. I know it’s one of your photo locations!!

      1. You were actually at Town Center?? I met up with the daughter and grands at Panera from 2:15-3:30. Wish I could’ve arrived earlier but traffic was a bear through the city!! It certainly was a beautiful day for photos, that sky!! ☀️☀️(btw, my daughter loved your earrings and bracelet I got her for her birthday! 🙌)

  3. I bought the J Crew Factory version of this vest and love it…and the price point. Thanks for the styling suggestions.

  4. I think your “update” in the third pic, changing out the style of jeans and boots vs. the 2015, is the real game-changer which modernizes the look. I love, though, the color of that sweater in the “old” pic(!) and — think black leggings paired with booties would be a super cute combination to get more fashion mileage (lol!) from it.

  5. I definitely see how you updated your look with the new puffer vest. I only have one puffer vest, but I did not unpack it for this year. Hopefully, they will still be around next year!

  6. Hi Jolynne, the reviews on the JCrew vest say it runs big. Do you agree with sizing down one from your normal size? Thank you!

  7. Hi. Great post! It so fun to see updated versions of our favorite pieces that can now look fresh and new. Keep them coming 😊

  8. It’s interesting with the higher waist jeans now and the wider Jean legs that the new updated vest is longer not shorter or same length as old style. I think the color of the new one is so pretty with the neutral sweater and the updated denim and light wash and clog is great. I only have 1 puffer vest and have had it for years but it’s more dated. Haven’t reached for it for years.

  9. Do you feel like the updated ones are a little less puffy? I love the one you are modeling and it seems to have less loft than a few of my older ones. (Although it looks a lot like a cream Talbots vest I have had for at least 15 years.)

  10. I was so happy to read this post, I love my puffer vests – we don’t experience “cold” weather here (our cold is like 58 degrees and we whine….lol) but the vest is just enough to take the chill off when you don’t need a jacket. Anyway just thought I’d let you know, I just got an email from JCrew, this weekend that puffer vest will go one sale from $98 to $49 in case any of your readers are thinking of buying

      1. Yes… I told you this sale too or think I did. Hope I didn’t just see the sale and think that I told you. Lol. Great price reduction on the vest.

  11. I was just purging my closet and when I reached for a black velvet quilted(puffer) vest my mom gave me – I decided to keep it – how would you style a black one to be updated or should I reach again and donate ?

    Love the color of the one you are wearing it is great!

    1. Well… the word “velvet” sent up a few red flags, lol. I would need to see it to really give solid advice, but one tip to gauge if something is dated or not is to look at sites you usually shop at — old navy, loft, talbots, whatever — and see if it looks like things they are selling right now.

      Also, ask yourself, Do I love this? Would I go out and buy it right now? Have I had multiple chances to wear it and didnt’? If not, it might be time to pass it on.

    1. No,I don’t think they’re ever out, but they aren’t exactly trending at the moment. That said, I have heard some say they are making a comeback so I expect to see more of them in a year or two. Normally I start hearing about things coming back a good 2 years before I see them trending in mainstream retail stores.

  12. One thing I have learned is if you keep something long enough, it will come back in style and sooner than you think. Leggings were only out of style for a few years when they came back in style and probably here to stay. Same for high waisted jeans. So if you have a classic piece such as a blazer or vest, hold on to it and you’ll probably be wearing it again someday.

    1. This is true to an extent, but styles are usually tweaked so they look a little different when they come back around, and those “classic” pieces can still look dated. It’s always worthwhile to look around at what is in stores and compare to those older pieces to make sure they still look current… if that matters to you. I realize it doesn’t matter to everyone. But if you’re reading this post, I assume it does. 🙂

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