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How a parka should fit

How a parka should fit

The parka is a winter wardrobe staple that’s been doing the rounds for the best part of 70 years. It’s comfy and cosy, it comes in a range of styles and colours, and it always looks cool (oh the irony). Despite its roots in a number of subcultures – most notably the UK’s mod and Brit Pop scenes – the parka’s history in the fashion hall of fame began when the US military adopted the style from the Inuit people, who wore sealskin parkas to protect themselves against freezing arctic conditions. 

Since then, the sage green army parka with a fur-lined hood has become the ubiquitous style. It’s popular for its simple practicality and warmth, and whilst you don’t need a Paul Weller haircut to pull it off, we do recommend getting the fit just right.


A parka should be fairly loose-fitting with a base shape that hangs from the shoulders into an A-line cut. 

“Since the point of a parka is its take on military style, going too slim or tight-fitting doesn’t do the job,” says stylist Luke McDonald. “It’s a full, traditional winter style that is forgiving for most body types, and drop shoulder in a looser way that more structured styles without losing its shape.” 

Your parka should have enough volume to fit over your chunky winter layers without feeling bulky.


A parka should fall long, and can often adopt the fishtail hem that was developed during the Korean War. 

“Going too short with the style steps away from the purpose of wearing a parka. That longer length makes it a versatile choice that works with almost any winter clothing,” Luke says.

If you want to inject a bit of personality into your office outfit, a parka will always be longer than your suit jacket, making it an easy coat option for deep winter. But it lends itself best to casual dressing, and on freezing cold mornings, it feels like you’re heading out wrapped in a big, cosy blanket. So you can basically pretend you never left bed.


“Whilst the super oversized military style parka can look cool, a minimal and simple version is easier to pull off if you’re not trying to align yourself with 1960s mod cosplay. As a rule of thumb, don’t overdo it on the details,” says Luke.

A simple hood is enough to nod to the traditional style if you don’t want a fur trim or lining, and a zip in place of toggles works just as well in your modern winter wardrobe.

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Words: Ella White
Photography: Lola & Pani
Styling: Luke McDonald