Shopping for a winter jacket can be tough. There are so many styles and options from which to choose, and you might feel torn between a long coat or something short and sporty. Each one has its perks, so it’s important to think about what you need before making a decision, instead of simply choosing one based on how it looks. After all, winter coats should be both fashionable and functional.
And just because one coat is longer than another doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to be warmer. So when you’re choosing between a long winter parka and a short down puffer jacket, you will need to think about the weather, the activity you’ll be wearing it for, and what you’ll be wearing it with, among other things. Let’s take a look at puffers vs. parkas and answer the question, “Are short puffer jackets warm enough for winter?”
Puffer jackets are just as the name implies: puffy! They have a signature quilted design that involves using stitching to create rectangular sections that are puffed up. The filling is typically down insulation or synthetic fibers. And the lining or shell is typically shiny, helping define the contours of the individual “puffs.” Puffers provide a lot of insulation due to their ability to trap heat if they’re made well. But not all puffer jackets are created equally. Some are waterproof while others aren’t. Some are extra-thick, while are others are quite thin. There are even down packable jackets, which are perfect for traveling since they fit so nicely into your luggage when you don’t need them right away.
A parka is a type of winter coat that’s built to withstand cold weather, moisture, and wind. They’re typically more solid and sturdy than a puffer jacket, since they’re built to block wind and might even have a few layers: an inner lining, a middle insulator, and a waterproof outer shell. They also offer a faux-fur-lined hood, which may even be removable, and a good number of pockets. Unlike a short down puffer jacket that falls just above the hips, a parka is typically longer, reaching close to the knees.
If you regularly wear dresses and skirts, you might like a full-length warm down winter coat that guards your legs against the cold. Something that hits mid-calf is also nice for protecting yourself from the icy wind. Just throw on a hat, scarf, and pair of women’s winter gloves from Lands’ End, and you’ll be unstoppable.
Are you always on the go? When you’re taking kids to school and running errands all day, you need a practical coat that’s easy to maneuver in, like a lightweight down jacket. Down is the best insulator out there. But here’s the thing: Down can’t get wet, so your down puffer needs to be waterproof if you’re going to be exposed to snow and rain. Also, since a winter parka is loaded with pockets. You could consider leaving your purse at home when you’re wearing your winter parka.
For that matter, if you’re having a difficult time choosing between a short or long women’s winter coat, you can’t beat the parka. Its mid-thigh length provides just enough coverage without getting in your way. Extra insulation throughout its upper body makes it super cozy. And of course, there are those pockets and a warm hood.
As long as your coat is well-insulated, windproof, and water-resistant, you’ll make it through winter with a smile on your face. A long down coat can keep you warmer by shielding more of your body from the elements, but a short down jacket can do the job just fine, too, with points for convenience and easy storage. There are ways to make a short puffer jacket warm enough for winter if you adjust your outfit. Maybe just add a pair of long underwear under your pants or wear warm leggings instead of tights under your skirt.
Now that we’ve looked at the differences between parkas and puffers, we can dare to make an overall assessment of which is warmer, although it is difficult. It really does depend on the weather conditions. If you’re in dry conditions without much wind, a short down puffer jacket will keep you just as warm as a long winter parka, if you’re wearing your short puffer with warm pants like women’s jeans. But if you’re wearing a skirt, or you’re in snowy, wet weather with wind that blows it all sideways, we have to go with the long winter parka.
Whether you go with a short down puffer or a long winter parka, the important thing is to buy one from a brand that has experience developing the best winter jackets over the years. Lands’ End has a jacket for every lifestyle, built with features to ensure your investment lasts. For example, if you like the look and warmth of a short puffer jacket but need the length of a parka that covers your thighs, you can always get a hybrid of the two: a long down puffer.
Whether parka, puffer, or anything in-between, just get out there and enjoy winter while it’s here — in a jacket that keeps you warm and dry.