If you’re tall or slim and want a slim fit down jacket that actually fits, you have a handful of options to get the trim fit you’re looking for.
The trouble is that most down jackets are sized to fit most people, most of the time. In addition, they tend to be sized just a bit big so that you can layer underneath them. This results in a versatile down jacket design: you can really amp up the warmth with a great layer or two underneath. But, if you’re in great shape, are naturally slim or you are tall with long arms, you’re often stuck with more torso material than you really want — even with some jackets that are described by their manufacturers as being slim fit down jackets.
Fortunately, there are a couple of manufacturers that offer truly tall down jacket versions: Eddie Bauer and L.L.Bean each offer lightweight sweater-type down jackets in tall versions for both men and women, along with their regular-fit lightweight down jackets. The quality-to-price ratios on these down jackets are very good, too. In fact, while you might be able to find a technically better down jacket to suit your needs (check out our overall best down jacket guide) there is something to be said for choosing a down jacket that gives you the exact fit you’re looking for. That’s not to say that the quality of these jackets are bad in any way — they are very good down jackets that are even better because of the wide ranges of size and color options for both men and women.
Best Tall & Slim Fit Down Jackets: How to Size
I’m about 6’3″ 220 pounds with long arms, so an XL is my usual size — and if I want the most versatile fit, I stick with my regular XL for most any jacket. For a trim-fit down jacket, I would size down to a large . . . but I rarely can because I’ll end up with short sleeves. The only way for a guy like me to get a truly slim fit down jacket is to size down to a large tall version, which is possible with L.L.Bean and Eddie Bauer — which is another reason why I’m a fan of these two companies.
So if you’re a tall guy with long arms, your usual size is usually the way to go if you can get a tall version and you want ultimate layering versatility. As a case in point, the Tall XL Eddie Bauer MicroTherm StormDown Jacket fits great — I have room underneath for a base layer plus a Tall XL Eddie Bauer Cloud Layer Pro 1/4-Zip Pullover fleece shirt, the combination of which results in some serious-yet-mobile warmth that looks great on.
However, if I were going to primarily wear the down jacket with a t-shirt or a single layer, I would go with a Large Tall version instead. But again, at 220 pounds, I’m still a pretty big guy. If you were slimmer, say 6’3″ at 210 or less, I’d definitely size to a large tall — and maybe even break down into a medium tall if you’re truly a tall and skinny guy. (The Eddie Bauer tall sleeve lengths really do give you options.)
Of course, sizing down will work with most any other down jacket as long as you have average-length arms.
Here is another key point to know about longer sleeves in tall versions: In my experience in down jackets, after you wear the jacket a bit the sleeves will actually shorten up on your arms. Why? The down lofts and the fabric gets a bit of new memory to it. For instance, when I first tried on the TXL Eddie Bauer MicroTherm StormDown, I was worried it would be too long in the sleeves, but after wearing it for a week or so, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Again, there are some great down jackets with regular sizing that is often a bit trimmer than average, but finding a truly slim fitting down jacket can be hit or miss for each person. To reduce your chances of error if you truly want a trimmer, slim fit down jacket, check out these down jackets from Eddie Bauer and L.L.Bean — and size down into a tall version to ensure the trimmest torso with sleeves that will still fit:
The Eddie Bauer MicroTherm StormDown Jacket is a bit different: It’s a down jacket but it’s not really designed to be a “puffy” down jacket. It starts off a little flat looking, but once you wear it around, it begins to look fantastic — just never truly puffy. The baffles, however, have interesting sizes and angles, so if you’re not sure that you want the full-on traditional puffy look, the MicroTherm StormDown might be the down jacket you’re looking for. We were skeptical at first but became fans (see full review). It has a DWR finish, but more importantly it’s windproof and uses hydrophobic “StormDown.” As for fit, we also like the stretch panels around the shoulders, which are great for guys with larger shoulders and arms. Learn more:Men’s | Men’s Hooded | Women’s | Women’s Hooded
While the MicroTherm version above is thinner in its insulation, the Downlight StormDown Jacket has a more classic down baffle design that delivers a bit more puff. The fit is a classic universal fit, which means there will be more room around the torso — but it has a drawcord. The shell has a DWR finish plus 800 fill StormDown on the inside. Of course, it comes in tall versions. Learn more:Men’s | Men’s Hooded | Women’s | Women’s Hooded
The Eddie Bauer CirrusLite Down Jacket is Eddie Bauer’s entry-level model, which means it uses a less lofty 650-fill power down and it’s not quite as ultralight as more expensive down jackets. The nylon shell does include a StormRepel DWR water-resistant finish, though. The key here is that the CirrusLite Down Jacket is the only entry-level down jacket that we’re aware of that you can get in a tall version — at $99 it’s a great buy and at any time it happens to be on sale, it’s a steal. Learn more:Men’s | Women’s
The L.L.Bean Ultralight 850 Down Sweater weighs in at about 10 ounces. One of its best features is its high-quality 850-fill power water-resistant DownTek down. It is slightly fitted and has an adjustable drawcord at the waist, which means you might want to stick with your usual size in a tall version if all you really need are longer sleeves. If you want the most trim fit, size down. One last point here: The L.L.Bean Ultralight 850 Down Sweater comes with L.L.Bean’s legendary customer satisfaction guarantee. Learn more:Men’s | Men’s Hooded | Women’s* | Women’s Hooded*
The L.L. Bean Ultralight 850 Down Jacket has the same great 850-fill power water-resistant DownTek down but it has more down fill and bigger baffles, giving you more insulating capabilities. Like the sweater version noted above, this jacket version is also “slightly fitted” right out of the gate. The Pertex fabric shell on this jacket boasts a tight and durable weave, resulting in a puffy that can handle a bit of abuse while remaining lightweight. Learn more:Men’s | Men’s Hooded | Women’s* | Women’s Hooded*
*Note: The women’s versions of these L.L.Bean jackets aren’t technically labeled with tall versions, but they come in Misses’, Petite and Women’s sizes — check out the detailed size charts that list sleeve and chest measurements.