On down vests

Nico01

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
371
United States
Ohio
Cincy
Well, it's already well into the chilly season – I had my first mulled cider last evening and as I write, I can hear and feel the cold winds infringe upon my warm bedroom – and I've been thinking, perhaps a bit too late, about getting a down vest. It may not be the realm of trad, but no one can disagree it isn't preppy, so I've come to you folks for advice.

What are the usual colors? I've been thinking of getting one in navy blue, but perhaps maroon or dark orange would make interesting alternatives. Loden green is certainly a safe choice as well.

The proper classic details? Patch pockets on the front, a short collar, 5-6 horizontal quilted 'compartments'.

Must zippers be eschewed in place of snaps?


How about contrasting fabric on the shoulders?

Who makes the best ones? I imagine older Eddie Bauer and L.L. Bean are rather good. Patagonia and The North Face will have the technical chops, but maybe look too, well, technical.


Hopefully this is some good food for thought; I'd love to get some opinions on subject. Perhaps I'll try and toss some photos in the thread for
 

jeffreyc

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
230
UK
Hampshire
Alton
I have a Woolrich in red and am very pleased with it. I also have a Barbour in green that is poorer quality.
Musto is a good choice here as well.
 

godan

Advanced Member
2,581
United States
Colorado
Northern Colorado
While you don't want a technical look, I'll share three design features from technical experience that may be worth your consideration. When you try on a vest, pay close attention to how the collar fits around the back of your neck. Vest shell material tends to pick up hair and body oils that are difficult/impossible to remove, so a collar that stands off is better. The slick nature of typical shell material can help items fall out of pockets when you bend over, so pocket snaps or velcro are useful. Finally, a two-way zipper helps with ventilation. Good luck.
 

my19

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
441
United States
Texas
Carrollton
My daughter has a North Face down vest. Nicely made and finished, but when you wear North Face, you advertise the fact. They plaster that logo on everything.

I have a minimalist down vest from Lands' End, purchased for next-to-nothing in one of their omnipresent sales. Snap front, which is OK, though a zipper would probably be warmer. Patch pockets -- but godan offers good advise on pockets that close somehow -- and your basic ripstop nylon shell.

I had a Bauer catalog end up on my desk in the last week or so advertising a sale on down products. Might be worth checking the website. Haven't bought from EB in years, but the stuff I used to get was solid.
 

Nathan Detroit

Senior Member
628
I think the key is to get waxed cotton, not nylon. I have an LL Bean waxed cotton down vest, snaps and zipper, patch pockets, quilted, of course, & very dark "British khaki" color - love it! Wasn't in the catalog when I got it, but on the Web site.
 

Patrick06790

Connoisseur
6,342
United States
Connecticut
Lakeville
I have the basic Lands End. Collar does stay back some, now that I think about it. Does not have a fastener for the pockets, something that is easily remedied with some Velcro from the hardware store. I got mine in bright red — hunting season, ya know.
 

nerdykarim

Senior Member
943
United States
Georgia
Atlanta
I think the key is to get waxed cotton, not nylon. I have an LL Bean waxed cotton down vest, snaps and zipper, patch pockets, quilted, of course, & very dark "British khaki" color - love it! Wasn't in the catalog when I got it, but on the Web site.
I have this one as well, but in navy blue.
 

Drew Bernard

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
110
United States
New York
Ithaca
I've had my Barbour waxed Gilet for about a year now and am very pleased. Nice and hefty.

My LL Bean red down vest from 1979 is still kickin'. Same vest, ca. 1983.

LLB_Early_Fall_1983a.jpg
 

hardline_42

Honors Member
3,495
United States
New Jersey
Mount Holly
I have the ubiquitous Lands' End version in green that oxfordclothbuttondown is wearing and it fits the bill. I'm actually thinking of trying something from Patagonia this year in a brighter color for more casual wear. The waxed cotton versions from places like LL Bean and McAlister are nice, but waxed cotton is best for an outer shell and limits a vest's use as a layering piece.