You are not allowed in the cool girl club unless you have an Urban Outfitters red puffer jacket
And no you can’t join
We all know Urban Outfitters is the unofficial student merchandise store, but our obsession with their red puffer jacket has become absolutely wild.
You know the type of girl, she never does the reading for her seminar, she always has a half empty Amber Leaf pouch lolling out her bra, she wears flared tracksuit bottoms and says "that's soo peak".
She smothers herself in glitter and only goes to clubs with sticky floors, Red Stripe cans are her version of a cute bracelet and when she's having a chill day she's always in those elephant print harem pants she bought back from Thailand. Red puffer girls are the edgier counterpart to Zara's black aviator coat patrol and I am totally here for her.
The red puffer is the jacket version of the Fjallraven backpack, it's everywhere, on the backs of chairs in the library, on hangers in club cloakrooms, round the waist of that girl who just lent you a filter in the smoking area.
This is not the first time the UK has become obsessed with puffer jackets. A year ago we published an article on Instagram account @thatpuffer chronicling of the rise of green puffers through grainy CCTV style shots of women spotted in them. But a new era has dawned, 80 per cent of the account's new images show women wearing the red puffer.
So why has red become cool? I spoke to Lottie Tiplady-Bishop, a student of Theology and Religion at Manchester University. "I got mine last year when everyone had the pink or green UO one and the only colour not sold out was red". A bit like in year 7 when you tried to get an interestingly coloured Jane Norman bag that would set you apart from the other normies.
More than this, puffer coats are incredibly practical, they are the sort of thing your mum would be relieved to see you bring on a night out. Lottie explains this: "They are super warm. My only issue is, sometimes if I don’t have makeup on I look a bit like a year 7. Especially when I have my backpack on".
And as Paven Uppal a Philosophy, politics and law at Kings College points out, the coats are useful in terms of health and safety: "They give you some real traffic-stopping power, I don't mean in terms of attracting men, I mean in terms of avoiding cars."
They are also useful for attracting men:
But don't these women find it awkward that they're all dressed the same? Grace explained to me: "Four out of seven of my friendship group have the red puffer. People stare at us when we walk past, it's like when you see teenagers in Joni jeans and leather jackets all congregating together".
What I want to know is where this whole puffer trend began. Was it through Urban Outfitters culturally appropriating the style of hikers dressed in North Face?
Or was it through Lottie's influence? She had the red puffer before it was cool:
But rather than get catty about who bought it first, having a red puffer means you gain entry into an unofficial community club. Grace describes this: "When I see other girls in red puffers I give them a sly nod of approval, like 'matching!!!!' It is a very strong, supportive, inclusive community".
Paven agrees: "It is a highly exclusive members-only club for believers in red puffers only. Any gal can join in, we don’t discriminate you just have to have the coat. I once became BFF with a random girl in McDonald’s after we bonded over our matching puffers.
"We had a photoshoot and now follow each other on Instagram." Apparently, red bomber jackets have replaced pissing together as the new way for drunk women to bond.