The Puffy Shirt

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"The Puffy Shirt"
Seinfeld episode
Episode no.Season 5
Episode 2
Directed byTom Cherones
Written byLarry David
Production code502
Original air dateSeptember 23, 1993
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"The Mango"
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"The Glasses"
List of Seinfeld episodes

"The Puffy Shirt" is the second episode of the fifth season of the American NBC sitcom Seinfeld. It was the 66th episode and originally aired on September 23, 1993. Larry David, the creator of the show, came up with the idea to use the shirt,[1] and cites this episode as one of his favorites in the series.


Kramer is dating a woman, Leslie (Wendel Meldrum), a "low-talker", who nobody can hear due to her low speaking voice. When Jerry and Elaine have dinner with them, Kramer explains that Leslie is a fashion designer and has designed a new puffy shirt "like the pirates used to wear.".[2] After Elaine tells Leslie that Jerry is making an appearance on The Today Show to promote a Goodwill benefit to clothe the poor and homeless, Leslie says something in response that they don't hear. To be polite, they nod their heads. The next day Kramer delivers the shirt to Jerry, who realizes that he had inadvertently agreed to wear Leslie's puffy shirt on The Today Show. The idea of wearing such a ridiculous shirt outrages Elaine who tells Jerry that "you're supposed to be a compassionate person that cares about poor people! You look like you're gonna swing in on a chandelier!"

At a restaurant with his parents, George accidentally bumps into a woman, who turns out to a modeling agent. When she notices his hands, she declares they are beautiful and that he should become a hand model. He agrees, and in preparation for his first photo shoot becomes protective of his hands, having manicures and shielding them with oven mitts.

During the Today Show, host Bryant Gumbel repeatedly mocks Jerry's shirt, driving him to angrily denounce it on air which infuriates Leslie (who finally raises her voice to call Jerry a "bastard!" in anger). After the show, George arrives at the dressing room and takes off his oven mitts to show off his hands. When he mocks the puffy shirt, Leslie angrily pushes him, causing him to fall onto a hot clothes iron and ruin his hands, ending his hand model career.

Elaine is fired from the Goodwill benefit committee, and Jerry is heckled about the shirt during his stand-up comedy. The stores cancel their pre-orders and the unsold shirts are given to Goodwill. As Jerry, Kramer, Elaine and George walk down the street, they see homeless men dressed in the puffy shirts. Jerry remarks that it is not a bad-looking shirt after all.

The Puffy Shirt on display at the National Museum of American History in 2006

In popular culture[edit]

A blog dedicated to the legality of the issues that arise in Seinfeld episodes, Seinfeld Law,[3] discusses whether or not Jerry’s verbal and physical affirmations create a binding oral contract to wear the shirt.[4]


  1. ^ Arnold, Thomas K. "Ahoy thar, 'Seinfeld' mateys!". USA Today. USA Today. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Seinfeld's "Puffy Shirt"". Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Smithsonian. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Seinfeld Law". Seinfeld Law. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  4. ^ ""The Puffy Shirt" – Oral Contracts". Seinfeld Law. 2018-02-13. Retrieved 2018-02-22.

External links[edit]