Patagonia Down Sweater: It’s the new puffy coat |

Patagonia Down Sweater: It’s the new puffy coat

Allyn Harvey
Paul Conrad/Aspen Times Weekly

Call me puffy man.As a kid growing up here in the 1970s, down jackets and vests were a required part of just about every local’s winter wardrobe. I embraced that fashion with vigor and passion, holding on even as fleece and then Gore-Tex were swept down from the shelves of local shops. I’ve held on to my puffy ways to this day, even when it felt a little too retro.

Fortunately, fashion and style came my way in the form of the Patagonia Down Sweater.That’s right, “down sweater.” It’s warm and puffy but not so full of feathers that it leaves you looking like the Michelin Man. It can be worn as a top layer or under a shell (for you shell-wearers). There’s just one slim pocket at chest level, adding to the sense that it really isn’t a jacket. And with record temps in February, the down sweater proved trendy in a global-warming sense as well as a fashion sense. What makes it a sweater is a combination of marketing plus lightweight durability. Here’s how it’s described by outdoor gear propieter

The new ripstop shell material is more durable, windproof and water-repellent, and a full-length zipper eases on/off while belaying. No-frills insulation is made from an ultralight shell fabric that’s windproof and water-repellent.• Quilt-through construction • Stuff sack included • Shell: 20 x 20 denier triple ripstop polyester with a Deluge® DWR (durable water repellent) finish. Lining: 50 x 50 denier polyester; Deluge DWR finish. Insulation: 700-fill-power European white goose down

Unfortunately, Patagonia doesn’t have any down sweaters for sale right now. They were so popular that the company sold out before Christmas. Part of the blame goes to my family, which snapped them up last summer when they were first made available. Doug, Susan, Katie, Megan, Melissa, Pete, Christopher, Jason, Donald, Cisco, Dee, Barb and me – relatives one and all – are sporting down sweaters this winter. “It’s like Swiss Family Robinson, all in down sweaters,” Katie observed.It’s unclear whether these little gems will be available next winter, but they’re worth looking for when the winter line goes up for sale this summer.

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