puff piece

I was in Chicago a couple of weeks ago. Fearing sub-zero temperatures, I brought with me the warmest coat in my closet: a faux fur jacket: black, with leopard spots in the hood lining. My son looked none too pleased to be seen with me wearing this particular coat on the streets of the windy city; that’s because he was with me the day a homeless man heckled me about said outerwear. (I don’t know about you, but when someone who could probably use a warm coat finds yours ridiculous-looking, it might be time to rethink the ensemble….)

Chicago, circa 2011. Mom, son...and coat of shame. (Maybe hat, too.)

Here’s another thing I learned: Chicago women have serious winter streetstyle. The uniform seems to be a ¾-length puffer coat (which, until this weekend, I never thought appealing, as it always reminded me of one of my least fashionable, elderly relatives), paired with boots, black leggings, and a faux fur hat. It’s both chic and industrious, and seen over and over no matter where you turn. Though these puffers are available for $600 on up, I happily found my version (Anne Klein, $79) at Filene’s  (www.filenesbasement.com), the discount mecca that carries designer-wear at wonderfully slashed prices.

Glamtastic puffer; $375 at www.michaelkors.com


Guess what! A puffer by Guess for $84.90 at nordstrom.com


Hot coat, cool price: Buffalo puffer; $43.99, overstock.com.


Jambu's "Cruise" boot: normally $173...I scored for $119 at planetshoes.com


Now all I need is a new hat. This knit aviator hat, to be specific. $69.95 at furhatworld.com.

On the trip home, I stuffed the old leopard coat into my carry-on, and walked off the plane in my new white puffer. What can I say? Chicago…my kind of town.

  • Marilyn McGuire

    Thanks for the tip about Filene’s Basement! I’m headed to Chicago this Tues….into a blizzard! Temperature is supposed to be 2 degrees on Thursday!
    I only have my wimpy “Seattle” parka to wear. Brrrr.
    I’ll be heading to Filene’s first thing.

    January 30, 2011 at 9:00 pm