The Goods: Patagonia's Down Sweater

black-down-sweater It’s never been too great a problem that I bothered mentioning it to a doctor, but occasionally, down comforters cause me some congestion. That, compounded by the fact my entire family is allergic to feathers, lead to a down-free life; that is, until last year, when something was given me by a former employer.

The Patagonia Down Sweater has become a source of lifeblood. I wore it nearly every day last winter and never felt congested or sick. In fact, it was so warm, it may have prevented a cold or two. In a pinch, short on blankets, while company was in town, I slept in the thing. Then, spring came. Warmer was the weather, but at night I would still reach for the down sweater. Summer, too, I packed it in the convenient internal mesh pocket that doubles as a stuff sack and brought it to night games at Shea and Yankee Stadiums. desert-clay-down-sweater-interiorpirate-blue-down-sweater-ball1

Down breathes incredibly well. This 800-fill-power goose down, the highest quality Patagonia offers, we learned last week, carries with it a great warmth variance. That is, it reacts to body heat and compensates extremely well. You sweat? It breathes. You cold? It’ll warm ya.

I used to swear that puffer jackets made me look like the Michelin Man. Unlike some other down coats, at just under 2″ wide, the stitch-paneling isn’t so overwhelming. Now from time to time, as just happened not two minutes ago, two girls in thick white worsted wool pea coats and big pastel scarves will stop me on the street and ask about it. On the C train the other day, a guy drowning in a hulking black parka said, “Patagonia? Snap. That the Biz. Nuss.” I think there were other words in there.

The polyester rip-stop nylon, recycled from plastic bottles, treated with Deluge® Durable Water Resistance (DWR), will stand up to the splash of light rain, but I recommend tossing something hooded and waterproof over it if you’re caught in a downpour. pirate-blue-down-sweater-vest

As far as down and a suit goes, I have seen it and I manage the Down Sweater Vest beneath my suit coat on less formal occasions. A friend of mine marveled the other day, “Is that all you need to stay warm?” I told him the story of how after facing a frigid weekend morning otherwise shirtless (gross, I know) to pop ’round the corner to pick up the Sunday Times and coming away unscathed, I was completely sold.

Simply wash it once a year or as needed in cold water and tumble dry low with a couple clean tennis balls to renew the loft of the feathers, and you’re set.

Try it. Even if, like me, you think you look silly in puffy jackets, people will ask. It’s Patagonia’s best seller for a reason. That’s it for now, I’m all plaidout.