Already starting to feel this chill of this year’s arctic winter? We have good news! This season you can (and should) wear your parka with everything to ensure you look stylish and tap into the hottest sports luxe trend.
There are so many different winter coats that men can choose from, and that can make it increasingly difficult to choose just one. But the humble parka is practical, fashion-forward, and has a rich history that means its worth thorough exploration.
The parka jacket is a versatile classic. Its also perfectly designed to tackle the sub zero temperatures much of the country can expect this winter.
So how should you wear yours? Can you really wear a parka with a suit? And how, exactly, should you style a parka so that you look like a fashion-forward gent and not like a scruffy school boy? Here’s everything that you need to know!
The History of the Parka
Many people believe that the parka originated with the Mods in the 1960s, but its reality is that the parka actually existed much before this.
The parka was originally designed by the Inuit people in the Canadian Arctic. They designed the garment to keep them warm and dry when they were hunting and kayaking during their frigid winter months. The coat was fashioned from the skin and fur of the animals that they hunted.
In fact, the word “parka” came from the native language of the Inuit people. It is a word that literally translates to mean ‘animal skin’ and the name has stuck ever since.
Lets face it, if the parka was warm enough to keep the Inuit people warm in their frozen arctic winters, then they should certainly keep you warm during whatever frozen winters you are facing this year!
The American military certainly agreed with the sentiment: during World War II they modified and adopted the original Inuit parka design, developing the ‘snorkel’ parka which they issued to the flight crews.
This design moved towards the traditional parka that we recognise today: nylon and fleece wool were utilised to protect from the cold temperatures rather than the original animal skins.
In their next incarnation is the parka that we all know and recognise: the parka of the 1960s Mods. This is the parka style that most modern men seek to replicate, and the one that we will talk about today:
Go For Green
The classic parka, and the most popular parka out there, is the green parka. The green parka has a fundamentally military style and nature but, despite this, it was adopted by the mods of the 1960’s as an integral part of their uniform.
They wore their infamous parkas no matter what the weather, and they truly made them their own. Each parka was customised with stickers, badges and patches depicting their favourite bands.
There are many different shades of green parka to choose from. The most common is military khaki. However you could also pick a sage green, forest green, or a combination of greens and beige to create a subtle camouflage print. We love the classic khaki green parka!
With its overarching feel of utilitarianism, and its wonderfully rich history, you can wear your green parka to an incredibly versatile range of casual occasions.
Pair with slim fitting jeans in any colour you choose (both black and blue will look equally stylish) , a simple fitted tee or a slim fitting cashmere jumper. Add Converse for truly casual occasions, or elevate the look to a slightly higher level of formality by adding suded Chelsea boots.
Here are some of our favourite green parkas currently on the market:
Choosing the Right Parka
When it comes to choosing the right parka, fit is everything. Whilst most modern garments for gents tend to be slim-fitting, the right parka should actually have an oversized fit.
The beauty of opting for this loose and oversized coat style is that it leaves plenty of room for winter layering, so that if you opt for a lighter parka you can still fit a thick and warm sweater or button-up jersey underneath.
Remember though that you should never wear more than one loose and oversized garment at a time. So if you are opting to wear a parka, create balance to your look by pairing it with a fitted shirt and slim fitting or skinny pants or jeans.
Finally when it comes to fit, always choose a parka without a hood! This is an integral part of a traditional parka and although hoodless parkas can look much smarter and more formal, a parka without a hood simply isn’t a real parka, as far as we’re concerned!
Experiment with Texture
Not sure what to wear with your parka? Enjoy wearing blended or monochrome blacks and greys but worried that, with a black parka, you will look dull and goth-like? The best way to introduce interest to any outfit (including ones incorporating your favourite parka) is to experiment with texture!
This means adding a super woolly turtle neck sweater to your ensemble, so that the collar pops up over a smooth nylon texture of your traditional parka.
Or if you choose a wool parka then opt for a modern neoprene sweatshirt that will contrast completely with the more traditional nature of the coat.
Texture is an incredibly powerful tool. The more than you are able to experiment with it, the more depth and interest that you will add to your outfit. Don’t be afraid to use it, and don’t be afraid to ensure that your outfit really pops. This will help you to stand out from the crowd!
The Parka Can Be Workwear!
Are you attracted to the parka but not sure if you can get away with wearing it to the office? Shop wisely, and there’s no reason why you can’t pair your parka with even the sharpest suit! Here are some key pointers for wearing the parka as workwear:
- Choose a black parka. Black is immediately formal, it goes with everything (meaning you can wear it no matter what colour suit your wearing), and it also has a naturally figure-flattering look.
- Opt for a slim line parka without a fur collar. To work well with a fitted suit your parka should be as streamlined as possible, so opt for one without thick and puffy padded layers and (if possible) without a fluffy and ostentatious fur collar.
- Blend your parka. Finally,to create a modern and streamlined look, your parka and your suit should blend together seamlessly. That means that if you are wearing a black parka consider a black suit, and if you prefer a navy blue suit then why not consider a navy blue parka
Looking for a reason to buy a new parka this season? The listen to these words from legendary American designer Michael Kors:
“The best things a guy can have in his closet are pragmatic but also indulgent. A fur-trimmed parka is both of these. What else will keep you warm and make you look like Jean-Claude Killy schussing down the slopes?”
We love the parka, almost as much as he does! It looks great, it’s thoroughly practical, and you can wear it for just about anything. If you only buy one coat to have in your armory this winter then make it a parka. Invest in a warm and thermal version in your favorite colour, and in the highest quality you can afford.
It is a decision that you will never regret!