The Puffy Shirt

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"The Puffy Shirt"
Seinfeld episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 2
Directed by Tom Cherones
Written by Larry David
Production code 502
Original air date September 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.


George is upset because he is moving back in with his bickering parents. Jerry and Elaine have dinner with Kramer and his softly-spoken new girlfriend Leslie (Wendel Meldrum). Kramer explains Leslie is a fashion designer and has designed a new puffy shirt "like the pirates used to wear."[2] Elaine tells Leslie that Jerry is making an appearance on The Today Show to promote a Goodwill benefit to clothe the poor and homeless. Not hearing Leslie's reply, Jerry and Elaine nod their heads in agreement. The next day, talking to Kramer, Jerry realizes he inadvertently agreed to wear Leslie's puffy shirt on The Today Show. He feels the shirt is ridiculous, but Kramer urges him to wear it as stores are stocking the shirt in anticipation of the Today Show appearance.

ELAINE: (Arguing) Yeah, but you're supposed to be a compassionate person! That cares about poor people! You look like you're gonna swing in on a chandelier!

After dealing with his parents at a restaurant, George accidentally bumps into a woman, spilling her things. As he retrieves her belongings, the woman notices his beautiful hands and suggests he become a hand model. He becomes protective of his hands, shielding them with oven mitts and having manicures. After his first photoshoot goes well, one professional tells him about a famous hand model lost everything after damaging his hands from excessive masturbation.

During the Today Show, host Bryant Gumbel mocks Jerry's shirt, driving him to denounce it on air and infuriating Leslie. After the show, George arrives and mocks the shirt; Leslie pushes him and he trips, burning his hands on a hot clothes iron and 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 leave a diner, two homeless men, dressed in the puffy shirts, ask for change. 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


  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. 

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