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Ask the Strategist: Can You Find Me a ‘Cool’ Puffer Jacket for $180 or Less?

Photo: Courtesy of the vendors

In our advice column, Ask the Strategist, we take your most burning shopping questions and survey friends, call up experts, and draw on our own personal experience to answer them. As always, please comment with any questions of your own — we’re here to help.

Question: I need a short, cool puffer jacket that won’t cost me more than $180, basically goes with everything, and I’ll be able to wear for years. This Frank and Oak coat is calling my name, but it’s too expensive. And I need it to be short because I’m five-foot-four and I drown in most winter coats.

You’ve come to the right place! I, too, am looking for a short puffer jacket, and would not like to spend more than $180. In fact, I’d like to not spend more than $150, so there are some even cheaper options on this list (with a few splurges at the end, which, if you’re looking for something to hang on to for a while, might be worth investing in). And I’m with you when it comes to length — save the North Face down jackets that fall to your ankle and could double as a sleeping bag for an Alaskan cruise, or at least just for subzero temperatures. Below, all the worthy short, cool puffers I’ve found on my search, many of which will (hopefully) work for you, too.

It’s not quite as bright a yellow as the Frank and Oak coat you like, but this one from Uniqlo is a pleasing burnt-marigold shade that you probably won’t get sick of after a couple seasons. I actually tried this on over the weekend and found it warm without being too heavy, with a length that hits at a flattering place on the upper hip. And the price is right: You could buy it in two colors (it also comes in green, beige, pink, and blue) and still be under your budget.

Here’s another one that I was eyeing at Uniqlo. I know what you’re thinking: This coat is from a buzzy collab, meaning it is not necessarily timeless and you’ll probably end up sharing a subway car with at least one other person who’s wearing it. I counter that with, It’s really nice-looking! And reversible, so you’re getting two colors in one coat. Plus, the hood is removable. One of my good friends just bought the blue/green, and I have her blessing to buy one, too. If I can risk matching with someone I see all the time, I think you can risk it, too.

Photo: Retailer

Just look at that collar! Your neck is going to be so warm. The “bone” color and silver drawstring toggle feel very ’90s ski lodge, and the drop shoulders give the coat an interesting, slightly rounded silhouette.

Photo: Retailer

The cut and attached hood on this one remind me of the Frank and Oak coat, and since this is part of Everlane’s Choose What You Pay sale, it could be yours for a cool $80. Olive green is a classic winter-coat color, and it has a little extra length (while still being short) to keep you warm.

Another puffy option with an attached hood that comes in a lovely “Dark Spice” color, as well as black, white, and a striking shade of blue.

Remember the Amazon Coat? This puffer comes from the same brand, and looks extremely cozy. A belt might seem superfluous on a puffer, but I like the utilitarian vibe it gives this coat (and if you don’t like the belt, you can always remove it).

Light blue like the sky; puffy like a cloud.

Photo: Retailer

This corduroy puffer is probably less practical for the elements, but it’s very soft-looking and, should you pair it with some corduroy pants of a different wale, would be a subtle way to wear a corduroy suit this fall.

This Day-Glo-orange puffer comes courtesy of Juicy, and is also available in a more sedate olive-green shade. Aside from the color, it’s actually pretty standard-looking, so you could get away with wearing it for years. But don’t worry, the zipper still says Juicy Couture, so the coat still has some … personality.

Photo: 19-07-16 kellymoreiro PM2 B5 dav

Another bright option, in a half-zip.

At $60, this is one of the least-expensive puffers we found, and also comes in several colors, including a cheery yellow that looks a lot like that Frank and Oak. (It does say “Lucky Brand” on the hood, so just note that before you add it to your cart.)

This one has a flattering crop and bell sleeves, which are not something you typically see on a puffer. It’s also shorter than some of the other coats on this list, making it a better option if you’re on the petite side.

Puffers over $200

I regret to inform you that the coat on this list that most closely resembles your Frank and Oak favorite is only $50 less than the one you like, and $70 over your budget. But, hey, every penny counts, and if you’re looking for something you’re going to have for years to come, maybe it’s worth the splurge.

Okay, it’s a little over the budget (though only by $37!), but this Ganni number is surprisingly elegant for a puffer and comes in two neutral shades, neither of which you’ll get sick of in a season or two.

Is it over your budget? Yes. Will it be suitably warm and still look good after multiple seasons of wear? Yes.

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Ask the Strategist: Can You Find Me a Puffer for Under $180?