The parka makes a comeback

By Lauren Tom


Good news: the parka trend is transcending the season with its compelling practicality, and enduring the rest of the winter will be easy with this warm and stylish outerwear.

Originally made and worn by the Inuit, parkas served as protection from the frigid Arctic air, wind and wetness. A variant on the jacket that has been around for decades, it is once again making a comeback during the long, cold winter months.

Through the years, the jacket has transformed from a winter necessity into a fashion staple. Not only does a jacket act as a great source of coverage and warmth, but it can often provide a look that is effortlessly chic and even iconic.

The parka is typically a knee-length coat with drawstrings at the waist and cuffs. Many are adorned with fur-lined hoods and shearling lining, an added inner layer that is great for bitter days. Many are waterproof as well, for protection from the occasional winter rain and slush.

Parkas are sold in a wide selection of styles, materials and colors. There is the well-liked traditional military style parka, the cozy puffy parka and parkas made of canvas material. Browns, khakis, greens and black and white are the most common choices of color in these coats.

If you’re ready to pick up a parka, heed this tip: the key to wearing this jacket is layering. Even though a parka won’t provide you with shape due to its long, straight form, the layered look will enhance a cute, bundled-up appearance. This is good news for a winter that could still surprise us with another polar vortex.

One simple, trendy outfit that goes great with a parka is an oversized sweater, leggings and a big statement scarf wrapped and layered fashionably. Tall boots, lace-up combat boots or a pair of Uggs will top it off nicely.

If you don’t like heavy jackets, you can opt for a lighter version and still achieve the same simple, cool look. Once again, the parka is all about layering, so pairing a lighter jacket with a heavier sweater or several additional layers will still keep you warm. A lighter parka serves as a great transitional coat heading into the spring as well.

Investing in functional and fashionable outerwear is a great decision that can last all winter, into spring and again when the cold weather returns next fall. If you don’t want to splurge, however, there are affordable options at ASOS, H&M, Urban Outfitters and American Eagle to look into.

A great coat can define a whole outfit, and is a worthy investment if its practicality is just as important as its style. The parka coat is simply a trend that embodies the meaning of “fashion meets function.”

Lauren Tom can be reached at [email protected]