Having a parka coat is like having a white T-shirt in the closet. It's that one iconic item everyone should have.
It's versatile, it's wearable, it works for men, it works for women and for kids. We love parkas, it's what we create, and this type of coat is the centre of our story.
That's why we collected all the questions we have ever been asked about the parka. Hope you find your answer.
Parkas are generally a longer fitting coat than a jacket, and thanks to their length, they are warmer and cold-weather resistant. In fact, this longer shape can trap more heat more easily. A parka is a loose-fitting hooded piece of outerwear that was originally adopted by the Inuit people. It was traditionally made from caribou and sealskins, but today, parkas worn in the non-Inuit world are usually made of nylon, polyester/cotton blended fabric, cotton, or wool and given a water-repellent coating.
Why is it called a parka?
The word parka is derived from the Nenets language: in the Aleutian Islands, parka means "animal skin" as it was its original material. It first entered the English written record in a 1625 work by Samuel Purchas.
When were parka coats invented?
Parkas were invented in prehistoric times by the Inuit people residing near the Arctic Circle. The word anorak, also utilised to name a parka - comes from the Greenlandic word annoraaq, and it did not appear in English until 1924.
When were parkas popular?
Many mods wore ex-military parkas while driving scooters to keep their clothes clean, but what started as practicality became one of the hottest fashion trends of the time. After the war, mods bought military surplus parkas, customising them with patches and badges. Since then, the parka has never really fallen from favour, becoming a true classic.
Different types of parka
The original modern parka was a "snorkel parka", a military coat developed in the United States during the early 1950s. From then on, there have been a few updates, most notably the famed fishtail M-51 parka, the iconic garment adopted by the mods of the 1960s.
The fishtail parka, a signature item among the mod subculture, gets its name from the fishtail extension at the back that could be folded up between the legs and fixed using snap connectors to add wind-proofing.
What is a snorkel parka?
A snorkel parka has a hood that can be zipped right up, which makes it particularly effective in extremely cold and windy weather. During the 1970s–1980s, civilians started to embrace parkas as an everyday urban and trendy item. In Europe, the snorkel parka started to regain momentum in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
What is The Who parka?
Quadrophenia was the sixth studio album released by iconic British rock band The Who in 1973, and it also marks one of the pivotal moments in which the parka made fashion history. The album cover features a mod sitting on a scooter wearing a fishtail parka, the same style is also worn throughout their cult film Quadrophenia. It was Roger Daltrey's idea to paint the back of the parka with the Who Q signage.
What is a swim parka?
Swim parkas are versatile outerwear garments perfect for keeping swimmers warm before and after practices. As a signature feature of parkas, they're obviously water-resistant. They have a large protective hood, fleece lining, pockets, and a zipper down the front.
Key details you can look for in a parka are: a hood, often lined with fur or faux fur, a waterproof outer lining, a zipper in the front, sometimes drawstrings at the waist and cuffs. A parka normally has a hip-length, is warm enough to protect you from the winter weather, and is stuffed with down or very warm synthetic fibre.
What is a down parka?
A down jacket is a jacket that has been insulated with extra warm under feathers from duck or geese. Down is an incredible insulator, which will keep you perfectly protected from the most intense winter weather.
Why is there fur on parka hoods?
Earlier Vietnam-era hoods had genuine fur ruffs; later versions used synthetic furs. The fur trim around the hood works to protect you from the cold wind, as it disrupts the airflow and protects the face from frostbite.
What colour is best associated with a classic British parka?
The outer lining of parkas was originally made with a DuPont flight silk nylon, which was in sage green. This then became parkas signature colour, but you can find them now in a wide range of different shades: midnight blue, black, khaki, grey, but even orange, red, yellow.
How to wear a parka?
Parkas have the ability to elevate casual wear. Denim and classic knitwear are excellent, but also a smart suit for a modern office look and an easygoing flair. Neutral colours are perfectly harmonic with parkas signature palette, but you can easily pair them with more vibrant colours. Parkas are an all rounder.
When it's appropriate to wear a parka?
It's appropriate to wear a parka during any of the winter months. Having said so, it depends which parka you're going for: some have lighter padding that works perfectly for mid-seasons. As they're exceptionally waterproof, they're the best companions for rainy days.
Should a parka be tight or loose?
A parka should be slightly loose. As with any coat or winter item, you want to be free to layer your clothes underneath, especially sweaters, without feeling - or looking - as if it's too tight.
How should a parka fit?
Make sure your parka doesn't fit tight and that your hips are covered. The shoulders should fit comfortably, and the body should lightly hug your torso. Make sure you're wearing at least a sweater when you're trying it on.
Should you size up in parka?
It completely makes sense! It's always wiser to size up when it comes to outerwear. This will mean you will be able to wear layers underneath, and it will also look more proportionate.
A good quality coat will see you through year after year, but only if you care for it properly. It means avoiding harsh detergent, a delicate washing process, regular waterproofing and storing it in a dry place on a coat hanger.
How to waterproof a parka?
If your parka is not beading on the surface like it used to, but is absorbing water instead, it might be time to re-waterproof it. To do so, take your waterproofing spray and hang the parka on a jacket hanger for even spraying. Spray the product from about 6 inches away, wipe off any excess spray with a damp cloth or microfibre towel, and allow the jacket to dry naturally.
How to wash parka jacket?
If you need to wash your parka, you can either hand wash it with a gentle cleanser in your sink or use a washing machine. If you opt for a machine, wash the parka in cool water with mild soaps. Do not use bleach or fabric softeners, and do not soak the parka beforehand.
Parka in pop culture
Why did the Mods wear the parka?
The Mods wore a parka as it was a great coat that could protect their Italian suits while they were driving their vespas. It was a perfect choice as it was longer, kept heat and was water-resistant.
All that meant the parka could keep the expensive clothes clean when they roam on their scooters.
Why does Liam Gallagher wear a parka?
Liam Gallagher has admitted that he wears his iconic parka 24/7, even when "gardening, shopping and picking up his kids at the school gate". In an interview with Consequence of Sound, the former Oasis frontman turned admitted that his onstage persona is not mannerism but his genuine identity.