With all the different types of men’s coats out there it’s easy to get a little lost. But the humble parka jacket, steeped in history and practicality, is a great option. Not sure how to wear your parka jacket this season? This quick guide will have you styling it with ease.
Ah, the good old parka jacket: a menswear stalwart that’s successfully stood the test of time since its humble military beginnings. No matter what Mother Nature has tried to throw at it over the years, the reliable parka jacket has continued to carry people through the freezing cold winter months and has become a fashion staple in its own right.
There’s the temptation to throw on your parka the moment the bad weather hits and not really think about how you can style it, but getting a parka that matches your look is ideal for you to incorporate it easily into your wardrobe. Whether you’re into colours, boxy designs, or classic slim line looks, there’s a parka out there for you, and we’re here to show you how to style it.
How to Wear a Parka Jacket
Parkas don’t have the same strict rules compared to something like a blazer, as the overall structure of the coat is less refined than most outerwear. Its relaxed shape has a practical reasoning behind it, allowing the wearer to layer up underneath it without looking overly bulky. Despite the extra room that parkas for men provide, the rest of your parka should still fit like any other coat or jacket.
This means whether you go for a long parka coat, or keep it cropped to the hip, you shouldn’t be dealing with too much space when it’s zipped up. The length of the arms should also fall on or just above or below the wrist line, keeping you from looking like you’re wearing a kid’s design or a size up.
It’s also a good idea to keep the length of your parka in mind, as although they tend to come in longer sizes than a lot of other jackets, it’s still a design that shouldn’t ideally fall lower than your knees. It’ll just cut your body up and make you look top heavy, and no one wants to look like Vincent from Bojack Horseman.
What to Wear with a Parka
Although a parka doesn’t automatically seem like the most versatile of pieces, there are different ways you can dress it up and down to make it a little more personal to you. There are of course different styles you can choose from, from the long fishtail design to unconventional, slimline ones. On top of that, colour can make a huge difference to how an overall outfit can look, and a cool tone coloured parka will instantly look more subtle and clean than a bolder one.
Men’s Blue Parka
Traditionally parkas came in two colours. Beige and green. If you like beige and green then that’s great, but luckily if you’re not so much of a fan there are different colours out there for you to choose from. A blue parka can give off different vibes depending on what tone you choose, with a lighter, more vibrant one keeping things more casual and bright, and a darker, more versatile tone being ideal for more neutral looks.
Whether you go for a long line parka jacket or a shorter version is up to you, but if you’re going for a bold blue then it’s best to try and keep the rest of your outfit a little more toned down so that you avoid too much contrast.
For a darker toned blue you can get away with more vibrant clothing or keep a neutral look with simple basics. A pair of blue jeans, a navy jumper and some brown boots can give a clean, tonal look that has enough similarities in colour to look streamlined, but enough differences to not look overly concentrated.
It’s easy to add a little more colour to your blue parka, and if you’re working with a cleaner, slimmed fit parka without a fur collar, there are ways you can create a smart casual look that’s both comfortable and rain proof. As your parka jacket is fairly simple and streamline you can pair it with some minimal pattern and colour and the outfit won’t look overdone or too busy.
Start with something simple like a striped jumper, and add some coloured chinos to pull the look together. If you are going for a smart casual look, don’t go too bright with the coloured trousers, and opt for a more muted tone. This will ensure that you’re still getting a more standout splash of colour without the trousers contrasting too heavily with the navy parka.
Men’s Green Parka
Onto one of the more traditional colours for a parka jacket, and something that’s always a popular choice. The muted green tone gives off an almost warm vibe, and it’s easy to match with a range of colours, from cool blues to autumnal browns. A casual outfit that’s easy to throw on, and gives a warm, layered look, is to stick to the winter staples and pair up some good navy jeans with a lighter, thick denim shirt and some brown leather boots, layering a T-shirt underneath the denim shirt for an extra boost of warmth.
This outfit will go with various parkas, not just a men’s green parka jacket, but for a casual and comfortable twist choose a more traditional style parka with the fur lined hood. A padded design will obviously help to keep you warm, and will go with the less structured, laid back look, but a cleaner, more streamlined parka will still work with this casual outfit.
For a slightly smarter look that could work for a neat everyday look or a casual Friday at work, choose a longline parka jacket and match it with the most classic smart casual outfit possible ever – a white shirt and slim fit jeans. Because the shirt and jean combination is so versatile, you don’t have to worry too much about any possible clashing, with the muted green helping to brighten the white of the shirt and create a clean contrast.
You can go for a typical Oxford shirt to keep things classic, or opt for an alternative design like a grandad collar shirt to add a subtle boost of interest. Make sure your jeans are slim fit to help create a clean, streamline finish, and to match with the longline look of the parka. Finish off with some brown suede boots to keep the colour scheme balanced, and you’re all set.
Black Parka Jacket Men
If you’re not in the mood for colour matching, and you prefer to keep your coats and jackets simple and versatile, then there’s no reason not to grab yourself a basic black parka. Black is such a popular colour because it tends to go with everything, it’s flattering to all body types, and it has a naturally slimming look, so it can help to take some of the bulky look out of a padded parka.
Go for a casual look to complement your black parka, with some lighter coloured clothing to brighten the look. You can make it as simple as you want, going for something laid back like a white T-shirt and joggers, or smart casual like a pair of slim fit jeans and a simple grey sweatshirt. The parka balances out the cool tone of the outfit, and gives a relaxed yet put together look.
If you keep your parka as slimline as possible and without any extra padding or a fur collar, it’s possible to achieve a neat look that could work for commutes to work or smart, but rainy, occasions. You can go for the traditional formal look with a white dress shirt and dress trousers, paired with a suit jacket and brogues. The parka should blend in with the streamline look rather than detracting from it, and is something you can easily throw on before you head out the door – keeping you looking smart without much effort.
How to Take Care of a Parka Jacket
It’s important to make sure that your parka jacket is properly taken care of to ensure that it looks its best and lasts for years to come. Like all coats, washing isn’t a big part of their lives, but accidents happen and we can’t always afford a dry cleaner. Still, you’re not dealing with suede of silk here, so a parka isn’t too difficult to take care of on your own, but here are some useful tips on keeping it in good shape.
- Coats don’t usually need a lot of washing, but make sure to not wash your parka more than twice a year to avoid it wearing down.
- Turn your jacket inside out if you’re washing it in a machine.
- To maintain the waterproof coating, choose a specialised detergent when washing it.
History of the Parka Jacket
Like you might have expected, the parka jacket was created first and foremost as a way to protect the wearer from freezing cold conditions. It makes sense then that it would be the Inuit people, those who live in constant sub zeros temperatures, who created the first design. It was later picked up by the US military in the 1950s and over time evolved to gain different recognisable features, such as the fishtail.
Soon practicality became kind of old news, and with the amount of cheap parka jackets available in army surplus stores, the British Mod movement of the early 1960s took the iconic piece and and made it their uniform. It’s now a jacket that’s taken the best of practicality and style and made itself a piece that can be worn by all ages, to suit any style.
Stylish Ways to Wear a Parka Jacket
- Choose the colour of your parka depending on what kind of clothes you wear. If you like lighter colours, consider a lighter toned parka, such as blue or green. For darker clothes, or if you wear a mix of colours, black and green are the safe and versatile options.
- Incorporate colour into your outfit when you’re wearing a blue parka, as it’ll help to give off a clean, multi-tonal look that will look complex yet put together.
- Green parkas can give off a warm tone, and are the most classic so try matching it with cool tones like blue or grey, for a complementary contrast.
- The parka is an investment piece so it can be worn year in year out – so choose wisely!
On That Note
The parka has come a long way in history. From a vital part of Inuit living, to a military uniform, to a statement Mod piece, and finally to the modern versatile item we have today. There are so many ways to keep warm and stylish with a parka jacket, and with a few alterations in design you can go from a casual, colourful outfit to a sleek and formal look. Pick one in a colour that suits your style and choose from chunky, padded designs to more streamline, elegant looks, depending on your outfit. Whatever one you choose you’ll have a coat that’s guaranteed to keep you warm, dry and looking good. Get yourself one today and you’ll have a ideal piece for the winter months.