The parka is one of style’s stalwarts. Though it’s usually the wool overcoat that’s seen as the definitive winter classic, the parka comes up trumps for versatility – what other top layer has been taken up by Inuits battling Arctic breezes, soldiers and mods keen on protecting their suits from moped dirt?
Originally made from caribou or seal skin, the parka’s been through many guises since its first outing in the freezing Arctic: cotton-sateen blends to protect the US army, and more recently tailored takes made from cashmere mixes (aprés-ski wear that’s almost – almost – too plush to wear outdoors).
Today, the options are endless – choose from unlined lightweight designs that keep rain at bay while boosting warmth or traditional fleece-lined styles the act like a furnace. Here are 10 worth your hard-earned.
Superdry Chinook Parka Jacket
Tap the parka’s military heritage with this fleece-lined olive green style that’s got everything you need from a first line of defence.
Available at Superdry, priced £124.99.
Native Youth Camo Print Lightweight Parka
For a less obviously army-inspired take, try this coat’s subtle camo print on for size. Cut like a fishtail parka, but with none of the weight of a meaty hood and body lining, it’s perfect for those rare wet and warm winter days.
Available at Menlook, priced £90.
White Bellfield Faux Fur Trim Hooded Parka
White’s not just for the heady days of summer. Bellfield’s take lends the classic parka a contemporary finish with an all-over off-white paint job – it’s the colour injection your cold-weather line-up needs.
Available at River Island, priced £80.
Adidas Originals Padded Parka AY9135
Rate Raf Simons’ down-filled jackets but still want to fit on public transport? (Or just don’t have a few grand to play with?) Adidas’ padded parka lets you get a little of the look for much less money.
Available at ASOS, priced £140.
Tommy Hilfiger Padded Parka
Parkas might be born of function more than form, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rip up the rule book. This mid-weight version tinkers with the formula (a splash of harvest gold and an off-centred storm flap) to serve up a style that stands out from the rest.
Available at Tommy Hilfiger, priced £250.
Brunello Cucinelli Fur-Trim Parka
Eponymous designer Brunello Cucinelli founded his brand after dropping out of engineering school – which goes some way in explaining this premium parka’s meticulous detail.
Lined with real fur at the hood, it comes complete with four military-style snap-closure pockets at the front (and, just in case you were wondering, looks better on the front row than the frontline).
Available at italist, priced £3,786.42.
D-Struct Faux Fur Trimmed Parka Jacket
Somewhere between a classic fishtail and a MA-1 bomber, D-Struct’s value-for-money parka is the perfect complement to a wardrobe that skews more casual threads than tailoring.
Available at Asos, priced £55.
Compton Men’s Classic Parka
When a brand names itself after one of its coats, you know that coat’s going to be good. Parka London’s Compton has it all: fleece-lined pockets to keep your mitts toasty, adjustable cinches at its hood for extra wind protection and a weight that offers warmth without impeding bulk. Props.
Available at Parka London, priced £325.
Neil Barrett Checked Parka
Made from virgin wool – that’s wool that hasn’t been treated or woven before – Neil Barrett’s riff on the fishtail parka is one of the finest we’ve seen. Just don’t wear it in the rain.
Available at Farfetch, priced £1,625.
Canada Goose Emory Parka
The daddy of winter-busting outerwear brands, Canada Goose has been producing parkas for correctional officers, cops and Canadian Rangers since the 1950s. So you know they’re made of tough stuff.
Available at Harrods, priced £850.