A Review Of The (Quite Ladylike) Compact Lightweight Down Jacket from UNIQLO


One morning in January you wake up and quilted diamonds of down blanket the land.

You in cold climates have the puffers, high-end to low, fanciful to utilitarian. While we here in the temperate zone, well, we wear what you might call fluffers. A thin layer of down is enough.

To that end, here’s my new purchase, the UNIQLO Compact Down Jacket.

First up, a reasonably neat (and highly Sturdy) Extreme Casual—San Francisco look. Barely stylish, but saved from Slobovia by the ladylike shape of the jacket and a trustworthy Schiaparelli pink cashmere muffler. Assisted, maybe, (giving myself the benefit of the doubt,) by the pattern play between jacket and bag.

UNIQLO-Down-Jacket

DETAILS – Earrings: A decade old from Claudia Kussano | Scarf: Two decades old from Loro Piana (similar color) | UNIQLO Compact Down Jacket in Navy (also comes in black, lavender, and other colors ) | Jeans: Levi’s 501 Original for Women (new jeans! new jeans! button-front! 100% cotton!) | Shoes: Clarks “Penwick Abbot.” Also new. So cheap I still can’t believe it. | Bag: Bottega Veneta Large Hobo. Navy version. Not cheap.

Here’s a somewhat more Tomboy getup, more ghurka-like, certainly more windblown as a suburban train pulls up. The boxy jacket balances enormous chinos.

UNIQLO-Down-at-the-Suburban-Train-Station

DETAILS – Earrings: Gold ball posts c/o Blue Nile (a present! they sent me a present!)  | Aqua, violet and mustard scarf: Decades old from Etro (similar) | UNIQLO Compact Down Jacket | Boyfriend Chinos via J.Crew on sale now | Bag #1: Bottega Veneta Small Messenger. In gray and metallic.| Bag #2 Duluth Pack | Shoes: Perforated “Blair” sneakers by VINCE

(Why I’m wearing sunglasses under a gray sky but squinting unshaded eyes into bright sun I simply cannot say.)

The jacket can be worn:

  • At 60℉ over short sleeves
  • At 50℉ over long sleeves
  • At 40℉ with a sweater or sweatshirt underneath
  • Possibly at 30℉ with a coat over. But it rarely falls below 40 here, except in the wee hours of the morning. So I’m the wrong person to confirm that UNIQLO website recommendation.

Not bad for $70. Oh, and it’s got narrow faux leather trim at the zip, the sleeve-end, and the pockets. Nifty. Ladylike.

This is one of those pieces of clothing I look forward to wearing. When I realize, “Hey, the UNIQLO will work,” my day feels just a bit better. Which is entirely the point of style — at least the Extreme Casual variant. BTW, it’s light, silky-soft, and packs into a little stuff sack, just like the sleeping bags of our teenage years. These days, however, we avoid patchouli, and no matter how Extremely Casual, walk rarely barefoot on sidewalks.

With that, welcome, everyone, to 2016!

 

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29 Comments

  • I love that jacket – perfect for LA. Can you comment on the sizing?

    01/07/16
    7:19 am
    Lisa said...

    @Kathy, Oh gosh yes, I meant to do that but am a tad rusty after the break! Thanks for reminding me. I am wearing a size M. My details, for anyone new to the blog: 5’5″ tall, ~125 lbs, broad shouldered, long torso. You can see that I bought the jacket to fit my shoulders, and that does make it boxier around the bustline, but I kind of like that look.

  • Perfect Bay Area jacket. Patchouli! Ha! You bring back memories. UCB in the 70s. Too funny.

    01/07/16
    7:57 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mary anne, I live to serve;).

  • Welcome back, you, all rested and ready for 2016 blogging!
    I like the way you style your jacket. I picked up a similar one in Paris this fall, gold-ish although not metallically so! Its useful at our temps as well, slim enough that it does, indeed, fit under that coat at freezing temps. And a bonus? It makes a nice travel pillow on a plane, either in or out of its little pouch (which I suspect I may never find again . . . Plus any wrinkles made from the pillow service shake out quickly as you put it back into jacket gear. Transformers ‘R’ Us!
    Happy New Year!

    01/07/16
    7:58 am
    Lisa said...

    @Frances/Materfamilias, I am doing my very best not to lose the stuff sack – now I know that my efforts have a purpose. Future travel! Totally Transformers – and as such perfect for a New Year. Happy to you as well.

  • The jacket looks great on you. That type of lightweight jacket is very popular here. I see people wearing them all the time. I have a lot of down jackets and vests, of varying weights. The ultralight down jacket or nano puff can be layered with other jackets. Same with the vests. But when it’s 60F I don’t wear down!

    01/07/16
    8:32 am
    Lisa said...

    @AK, Thank you! I am not sure I’ve known where you live? Or else I’ve forgotten, my apologies! And at 60F I am unlikely to wear down, but, my blood has thinned and on a windy day in SF I don’t mind that little extra layer of insulation.

    01/07/16
    9:41 am
    AK said...

    @AK,

    I live near Lake Tahoe.

    01/07/16
    4:06 pm
    Lisa said...

    @AK, Ah, so you get both colder and hotter than we do. So pretty up in the mountains. Sigh.

  • YES, it is a GOOD soft, packable coat for us WOMEN of NORTHERN CALIFORNIA!

    01/07/16
    8:32 am
    Lisa said...

    @LA CONTESSA, Women Of Northern California, forever!

  • Lisa
    My husband bought me last year a realllly cute puffer coat from Athleta. I loved it. I wore it constantly because it was so easy and warm and versatile. I loved it so much I put it in a very special place late in the Spring so I would be able to put my hands on it for our trip in the fall to France. Only one glitch. I can’t remember where that very special place was I put it!!! For the life of me I cannot find it. So this fall right before our very first camping trip EVER I went to WalMart and found a puffer coat for $10!!! Yes, $10 and that wasn’t even a sale price. I was flabbergasted. Guess which coat I’ve been wearing practically every single day this winter???

    I just know I will find my Athleta puffer someday, proably, oh around June 15!

    AND I love your Levis. I am so used to the stretch in my jeans I’m not sure I can go back to 100% cotton :/

    01/07/16
    8:35 am
    Lisa said...

    @LindaH, Hahahahaha! That “special” place that takes our stuff to an alternate universe! I know it well. Christmas stocking presents love it there. Your Walmart coat is one of the deals of the century. Glad to hear you like my Levis – I just wear them baggy and I don’t miss the stretch at ALL.

  • They are versatile! Way too cold right now to wear outside but I use mine like a sweater indoors.

    01/07/16
    8:35 am
    Lisa said...

    @Linda @ a design snack, Oh, in the Northeast I can totally see doing that. Mine is so soft to the hand even here I sometimes keep it on inside.

  • Love the diagonal quilting, without the bulk. Very good looking! :-)

    01/07/16
    3:10 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Susan (une femme), Hehe. Mom would approve.

  • Great jacket! I have a similar one by Barbour in black. I took it to Paris and wore it a lot walking in the crisp spring weather.
    You are totally rocking that tomboy style Lisa.
    Nice to see your post pop up this morning…welcome back.

    01/07/16
    3:18 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Bungalow Hostess, I think I remember your Barbour. I can see it in Paris. And thank you, it’s nice to be back:).

  • Love the photo of you by the train! Very Artsy :)

    I bought a Duluth Pack because of your earlier blog post… After coveting it for a few years, it was a graduation gift to myself last spring and I’ve gotten many compliments so far. It’s so sturdy! I don’t like that there’s only one pocket inside, but putting some smaller essentials in another, small makeup bag does the trick.

    01/07/16
    3:29 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Danielle, Why thank you:). And I am so glad that you like your Duluth Pack, I too get oodles of compliments, sometimes just from people walking down the street. I use the small messenger bag as that other component you mention.

  • Welcome back!
    I love this jacket and you styled it great. Perfect for mild climate
    I am longing for Uniqlo down jackets or longer versions for more than a year. They don’t ship to Croatia unfortunately,but they are shipping to our neghbours countries (because of Novak Dokovic,I suppose). I even wrote to them,they “are considering my idea” for a couple of months. And I am in London always before or after the season :-(
    No stretch jeans are ok if they are comfortable Dottoressa

    01/07/16
    3:31 pm
    Lisa said...

    @dottoressa, Well that seems highly unjust, to ignore Croatia! Especially since you live there!

  • Something to keep in mind, since we all love our down products this time of year, is the source of down:

    http://gentleworld.org/how-down-feathers-are-collected/

    80% of down is from ducks and geese raised in China, a country known for unkindness to animals including using tiny battery cages where birds spend their lives without ever stretching their wings or even turning around. (Think of spending your entire life in an airline seat.)

    The birds are often raised for foie gras, so in purchasing we’re supporting the industry. A common way to remove down is by holding the bird down and tearing feathers from it’s skin. When the skin rips, it’s sewn with a needle and no analgesic or sterilization.

    Please do search for humanely sourced down. Thanks!

    01/07/16
    3:32 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Jane S., Thank you for this. I did not realize that down gathering was so hard on the down producers.

  • Love the jacket. It is perfect for SF Bay Area. I love the peek of pink scarf.

    01/07/16
    3:32 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Jennifer, SF Bay Area rules;). So do pink scarves…

  • Oh, this Midwesterner is so jealous that the cute Uniqlo is your winter coat. We are wrapped in Northface, hood to mid-calf, from November to Easter (often no exaggeration). Love seeing it on you though, Lisa! Maybe we’ll retire someplace warmer? :-)

    01/07/16
    3:36 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Linda, To be fair, I did wind up wearing it with a hoodie underneath, for the cooler afternoon:). Then I REALLY looked artsy. Or just plain weird. The wear here really is beyond wonderful. So benign.

  • Cute !! here in the Pacific Northwest I need something around my neck and hardly ever buy anything without a hood… I could see layering almost like a blazer though hmmmmm. It would be nice a little longer too – but if wearing something over it that could work keep the other parts warm.

    I’m interested in the Loro Piana scarf that sounds heavenly!!!

    I recently found some really nice and somewhat fashionable Patagonia at Costco! I’m choking as I say that. I scored a pretty light grey color though I think it may have been more than 70$

    01/07/16
    3:37 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Susan Soto, When Costco is good it is great. And I found the Loro Piana scarf at Neiman’s ages ago. The color is so nice – I don’t wear bright color often and this lets me show just a bit, right near my face, where it looks best.

  • I bought the bright red version last year while visiting SF! I wear it as a jacket and as a sweater. The only drawback is mine does not have zippered pockets and my phone has slipped out a few times.
    I just purchased one in olive green and one in navy on sale for $30 at Loft. They are slightly warmer, have zippered pockets and a bit more fitted than Uniqlo. All three get lots of wear.

    01/07/16
    3:41 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Susana, Aha, yes, mine doesn’t have zippered pockets either, but they do work perfectly for my Caltrain transit card. Red. Wow. So wonderfully classic!

  • Fabulous glamping clothes.
    Glad to see you back.

    01/07/16
    3:42 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Diane, Glamping! Ha! Wait, are you ribbing me? No matter, it’s fair, my whole life is kind of one long glamping trip these days;).

  • What fun the little faux leather trimming. Going to check out both shoes, too. Clarks are very comfy on old feet! You look lovely in both outfits.
    Happy New Year!

    01/07/16
    6:10 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Candace, Thank you:). Happy New Year to you too! Both shoes have great cushioning. The Clarks may not last forever, I see signs of wear already, but, for $40, I love them anyway. The Vince are more expensive, but so far no signs of wear at all.

  • Cute outfits! I’ve thought about down, but here in rainy Western WA, I buy quilted vests & jackets with synthetic lining. I wear Clarks waterproof Mucker boots & they keep my feet nice & dry & cozy–yes, they make some great comfortable, practical, reasonably-priced footwear. And I recently got a pair of Clarks boots in vintage-looking distressed leather that are casual enough for my rural lifestyle but they’re also cute for wearing in town.

    01/07/16
    6:12 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Megan, I can see how if it’s raining all the time you might get less use from down. Any of quilting is still cozy. And good to hear that you like Clarks too – they were new to me and I’m very pleased. As I said above, I don’t think they will last forever, but my god they are comfortable while they grace my closet.

  • I bought something very similar in black from REI (Sierra Designs) for a long backpacking trip in the Sierras last August (rather cold at night above 9000′ that time of year). It was called a “down sweater”, but I find it a pretty nice weight of jacket for central valley winter days. It’s not too bulky for a busty gal, but puffy enough to say “winter. I’ve worn that dang thing so much, when I thought that I would only use it for backpacking — even with casual skirts and boots. Much lighter weight than a leather jacket and not as sleek, but serves a very similar purpose. Alas, no faux leather trim, which sounds like a nice little detail.

    01/08/16
    8:25 am
    Lisa said...

    @Kristina, Don’t you love it when an article of clothing totally expands its horizon of use like that?

  • Uniqlo’s sizing is ever so NOT me, that I can’t imagine that cute jacket ever working on my large Norwegian and German 5’10” frame.

    01/08/16
    8:38 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mamavalveeta03, It’s hard to say. Depends on the breadth of your shoulders, I think. The chest/waist is plenty roomy. But, I agree, UNIQLO sizing really does swim in the shallow end of the pool.

    01/08/16
    11:08 am
    RoseAG said...

    @Mamavalveeta03, I’m with you. A size 12 I go with a L or an XL, depending on what the measurements for the item list. H&M has adjusted their sizing for chubby Americans but Uniqlo fits to a slimmer model.

    01/08/16
    11:39 am
    Mamavalveeta03 said...

    @Mamavalveeta03, Well I am certainly a “chubby American” if those are the standards! Yes, I’ve got broad shoulders and I wear a size 12 or 14 at 5’10” tall. Proportionally, I’m good. Damned good!

  • Love these shots; the style and character comes through. The jacket is cool and I like its apparent sweater-like adaptability and layering potential. I just bought those Levi’s last week, but am still figuring mine out. But then I’m still figuring a lot out.

    01/08/16
    8:41 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mardel, Oh I try and figure something out every day. Sometimes twice a day;). Thank for the kind words, happy new year to you!

  • I also very very concerned about the animal welfare side of down production. I just do not trust anything anymore done in China, sorry! I layer with COTTON fluff things, it works well. Of course, I am in a climate i do not need much insulation, but we do just fine (we work outdoors) just layering, waterproofing, and investing in hi-tech things like gore-tex. Lighter than anything!!

    01/08/16
    8:24 am
    Lisa said...

    @susie, In response to these comments, I looked up UNIQLO’s policies. Here’s a link to a Quartz article. http://qz.com/296435/a-shoppers-guide-to-buying-ethically-sourced-down-jackets/ The company doesn’t submit to 3rd party audits, at least not yet, but they do state a policy their suppliers must adhere to.

  • Hey, I have one of those! In black, even. It’s great as a cardigan or layering. One issue I’ve had, though, is that the down leaks.

    01/12/16
    8:25 am
    Lisa said...

    @joannawnyc, I haven’t noticed that as much of a problem, a little, but less than my sofa, for example. I wonder if as time passes that will change.

  • Both outfits look stylish and comfortable – and I really like the look of the new jeans.

    We have Uniqlo on the East coast of Australia, or online, but I prefer to have an idea of fit and feel so am hoping to check them out next time I’m near one. Regardless, they wouldn’t currently be stocking jackets for us! (2 days ago it was 42 deg C here in Perth)

    Happy New (Calendar) Year to you, your family and all of your lovely readers.

    01/12/16
    8:36 am
    Lisa said...

    @Cathi, Thank you!

  • I think the Uniqlo lightweight down jackets and coats are such great value and are superb for travelling as they fold up into a little ball.

    01/12/16
    8:37 am
    Lisa said...

    @chicatanyage, I couldn’t agree more!

  • Lisa, You are just gorgeous! In anything you wear. happy New Year. I love your blog. Thank you for the time you put into it.
    -linda, Ny

    01/12/16
    8:38 am
    Lisa said...

    @linda, Aw thank you. So kind. And thank you for the time you spend reading and commenting. Very much appreciated.

  • I also wear Levi’s 501s. It is getting harder to find the original not the new CT version.I am always looking for chinos. I have some from jcrew but with a lower waist. I think these are the light khaki. All the colors look good. Would you share your size in these chinos?

    01/12/16
    8:25 am
    Lisa said...

    @jw, Yes, they are a size 4. As you can see, they’re oversized – I usually wear a 4 in most pants.

  • “… quilted diamonds of down blanket the land.” I hope that gorgeous line made it into a poem.

    Happily, I have all the additional retirement gear you recommend, but for Ray Bans. I’m not sure my thick Rx lenses will fit in those frames, but if not my eventual cataract surgery and those little corrective intraocular lenses will let me back into Debbie Harry eyewear.

    In the meantime, I’m realizing it’s the attitude and the strut that shapes the style. Gonna getcha getcha getcha!

    Again, you are kind to post links to these earlier posts.