Product Review: Piper Down Vest by SmartPak

Style, warmth and practicality. What more could you want in fall gear? SmartPak has an incredible variety of new layering apparel that is perfect for colder weather. 

It’s always a good day when you come home to find this on your front porch:

Photo by DeAnn Long Sloan

It’s an even better day when it’s actually something for you and not your horse (I mean, how often does that happen?). So I was pretty thrilled to find the Piper Down Vest by SmartPak in the box. When I took the vest out of the box, I was pleased with the quality and weight. SmartPak boasts that the vest is lightweight and warm (that’s the benefit of down, right?) while still water resistant. My first impression: they were right.

This photo was taken in a lot of light, so the vest appears to have a much more intense sheen than it does in person (see subsequent photos for more the more true-to-life look). Photo by DeAnn Long Sloan.

I immediately was impressed by the water-resistant material, flattering pattern and color. I ordered the dark olive and was pleased with the result. I also have weird hangups about wearing navy with black and black with navy or brown, so this seemed like the most neutral and versatile color I could get. I wasn’t disappointed. The vest also comes in black, cobalt and plaid. I 100% would be lying if I didn’t say that I am tempted to order this in at least one of the other colors, but I also am a sucker for vests and down, so this is right up my alley.

The Piper Down Vest is a great addition to anyone’s casual autumn wardrobe as the cut is complimentary, so it works well as the only piece of outerwear on those cool-but-not-yet-freezing fall days. It also runs true to size. I am 5’9″ with an athletic build and slightly longer torso, so I often have trouble with fit when it comes to both the length of garments and mobility around the shoulders. I ordered the vest in a large, and was pleased with the fit. The cut and quilting keep it looking good, but it was still loose enough to allow for full movement and it’s not too short.

I absolutely wear this in normal life and not just at the barn. Photo by C.J. Sloan

It’s also warm and low-profile enough to use as a layering piece under a more substantial jacket on colder days. I’ve worn it under both larger barn jackets and thin softshells as a way to add some heat to my core, and I haven’t been disappointed with the results.

The Piper Down Vest meets the criteria of both form and function. In addition to being stylish, the vest has some great features that make it stand out from other vests I have owned. First, most of the material is slick enough that horse hair doesn’t stick. That’s a major bonus for equestrians. However, it its fleece-lined collar and pockets still keep you cozy.

Photo by C.J. Sloan

It’s also designed with riders in mind (after all, SmartPak gets us because they are us), so it has a drop tail hem that offers additional coverage for when you’re riding.

Photo by C.J. Sloan

I’ve washed the vest twice since I’ve had it. Let me be clear: I am not a delicates type of laundress. I wash my clothes on hot and heavy soil and then dry them in the dryer because, well, that’s just how I roll. Also, I feel like I get my clothes really dirty and it makes me feel like I am sanitizing them if I do it that way (don’t disabuse me of this notion — I control what I think I can, y’all). To be fair, I do dry my clothes on permanent press because I have some distorted notion that this balances out the hot water I use to wash. Despite my rough laundering methods that blatantly violate the washing instructions on the vest, it came out of the dryer looking good as new each time.

Disclaimer: The vest directs the user to machine wash on cold with like colors and to tumble dry low. For best results, do that, not what I do.

Overall, if you’re looking for a warm mid-layer for the barn or a stylish piece to wear while out and about, the Piper Down Vest is a great piece to complement your wardrobe. You can purchase the Piper Down Vest by SmartPak here!

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