The gray skies and frozen roads may look uninviting to most, but they hold their own special kind of beauty. Naturally, before enjoying it, you will need to be appropriately bundled up for the occasion.
During the 80s, this meant wearing some terrible, brightly colored neoprene padded jackets. The 90s privileged some baggy and comfy choices that still managed to look like a proper hazard of wet and slippery weather. Nowadays, winter fashion choices are still heavily influenced by the lumberjack appeal of the last decade, mixed in with a bit of faux-military utilitarianism. This has created a wide array of choices, which range from cocktail-worthy to rustic-chic.
The important thing may be their ability to keep you warm, but that hasn’t prevented today’s parkas from allowing a few hours of roleplay to anyone who is eager to shop around. Here are the best, classiest, and better-valued parka’s available for the turn of the decade.
J. Crew Nordic Ghostnet Parka
J. Crew is an All-American classic that no longer has to prove its commitment to a good choice of materials and sleek designs. Most of its pieces are designed to continue providing their best face for several seasons in a row and to keep their stylistic choices simple in order to remain current without being dull. This offer is even enhanced when browsing their winter catalog, as this is a section where one or two good pieces can be more valuable than 10 flimsy ones.
Their Nordic Ghostnet Parka is made from recycled ocean nets, efficiently repurposed into their proprietary Econyl fibre. This sustainable creation is not just about preserving the planer; it also makes the parka itself oddly light but superbly water-resistant. The design is inspired in the old basic lines of pioneers, for who protecting all angles was a matter of life and death. The zipper closure is reinforced by a set of buttons and kept airtight with elastic cuffs and a carefully hidden waist elastic. Finally, the pockets are wide and spacious despite the padding. This parka is available in Navy Blue and Sage Brown.
The North Face Polar Journey Parka
The North Face did not choose its name by chance. As much as they have crept into our closets throughout the year, they are first and foremost a winter gear brand. Their Polar Journey Parka will waste no time in teaching you exactly how this original fame was earned.
At first glance, this bulky coat would not look amiss on Discovery Documentary on the Arctic. While it would definitely provide a worthy level of warmth, a closer look will reveal that the design has actually received a lot of thought and care. Any resemblance with a sleeping bag is actually entirely on purpose, and it goes a great way into ensuring complete coverage and comfort. The puffy sleeves and padded body compress easily, so you will never actually be as big as you feel. If fatigue (or eggnog) get the worst of you, on the other hand, they will provide a neat cushion that will automatically be available whenever you need them. The geese feathers that make up the padding provide a soft texture without adding up too much extra weight.
The main trunk of this parka also packs a couple of surprises: in addition to two large Velcro-closed waist pockets, you can secure your important documents and electronics on the zippered chest pockets. These have an additional layer of waterproof lining, which can prove a lifesaver on a snowy day. Finally, the high neck has an overlapping flap and two Velcro sections that allow it to be adjusted easily.
Not everyone has booked a trip to the wilderness for 2020, and many more will simply refrain from doing so during the winter months. However, if you leave far enough inland, you will still need a powerful way to protect yourself – you’ll just have to make sure it looks city-worthy.
This very interesting niche is being wonderfully crowned by the Kyl parka, made by Swedish manufacturer Fjällräven. True to their socially-conscious roots, this brand offers some of the best masterpieces in sustainable, minimalist winter design. This parka has a neat urban appeal, despite being warm enough to accompany ice fishers while waiting for their next prey.
The faux fur hood is superbly made and manages to look natural while still being easy to wash. This offers a great way to enjoy a little bit of extra warmth around your nose and ears without any of the guilt associated with real fur. Other notable features include an overlapping, zipper-secured main opening, a discreet set of reinforced wrist cuffs, and two very roomy main pockets, which are not just large enough to fit a tablet inside but are also waterproofed in order to keep it safe. Finally, the brand’s signature arctic fox logo rests on the left shoulder, providing a sharp tan contrast against the fabric’s deep blue.
Uniqlo Hybrid Down Jacket
Discretion is a valuable quality, but few brands have managed to turn it into an intrinsically part of their image the way Uniqlo has. This Japanese manufacturer has quietly become one of the to-go names for those looking for basic pieces that can last a lifetime and multiply their usefulness across a variety of occasions.
The Hybrid Down Jacket manages the latter to near perfection. It doesn’t advertise itself as a parka directly, although it functionally meets all the requirements. Nevertheless, the neat modest lines of its main silhouette easily fill in the spot of a trench coat and wouldn’t look bad when work by a high-ranking official. Once you add the choice of materials (which includes moisture-absorbing, insulating and elastic blends), you will find that you have purchased a surprisingly comfortable piece of urban gear, which just happens to serve as rough outer gear.
The final surprise provided by Uniqlo is the overall lightness of its product; this model was specifically designed with the needs of Olympic athlete Ayumu Hirano in mind. This is why it manages to pack so much heat with so little weight, while still providing enough opportunities to ensure sweat doesn’t ruin the day. It’s available in Black, Brown, Olive, and Navy Blue.
STRATUS Men’s Parka by Triple Fat Goose
Unapologetically luxurious and unbeatably warm, the STRATUS Parka has quietly risen to the top of the men’s fashion rankings for this winter. Triple FAT Gosse is an independent and novel brand that combines retro designs with old school manufacturing techniques and high-tech materials. This Parka combines for main pockets, a soft faux leather collar and hood, full waterproofing technology and three layers of carefully stitched padding that will ensure your warmth even during extreme conditions.
Aesthetically, this model evokes a neo-Highlander appeal made all the more modern with bright colors and carefully polished edges. However, don’t expect to find any heavy wool or itchy knots around this piece of cloth; all surfaces are made from smooth, ripstop proprietary blends that will pose no risk to your skin or that of those around you. This model runs a bit shorter than other double-tailed ones that have become popular this season. However, thanks to its A-shape cut, it offers enough room to facilitate movement while still looking stylish and slim when paired with the right pair of jeans. It’s available in black, red, navy and grey.
Madewell Bedford Convertible 3-in-1 Parka
Few things say versatility as “3 in 1” and this model by Madewell is a great proof of that. For a brand that has named itself after good manufacturing practices and nitpicky attention to detail, this model does not disappoint. The basic militaristic cut includes a discreet fishtail that manages to increase coverage (and will keep a couple of areas extra dry, just in case) without attracting too many stares or looking out of place. This is paired with a high neck and a couple of roomy front pockets, which can easily be sacrificed in favor of a cinched waist through a conveniently-placed elastic.
The real unique value point of this parka is in the materials, however; rather than going for the standard three padded layers, they have replaced one side with a quilted “bomber style” fabric, and the other one with a soft-shell water-resistant fabric for rainy days. These two options will keep you covered no matter what throughout most of the late fall and early winter. When the temperatures dip to their lowest, however, you can try to zip up and button all edges to maximize warmth. Finally, the hood has a fleeced lining that can be removed, depending on the day or your mood.
Arc’teryx Therme Parka
Canada is a great place to design and test radical winter gear. After all, they don’t need to go far to find some of the most extreme situations that their final products will need to resist. Arc’teryx has taken this concept a step further by ensuring all their gear is not just superbly warm and resilient but also well-made and discreetly stylish.
This high-end clothing company seeks to redefine urban winter fashion with its Therme Parka. Made primarily from GORE-TEX, this oversized coat is fully wind-proofed but remains breathable, so you won’t have to worry about your own steam while you braze the wind and snow.
The wide shoulders and straight back offered by this model make it perfect to put over any other casual or formal outfit, without revealing any odd bulges or jeopardizing your suit’s press. The wrist cuffs are not elastic, just slightly cinched to ensure the cold air remains outside. The overlapping flap at the main opening provides extra protection in case of rain or hale, even when it comes at an angle. Finally, the extremely high neck will keep your ears well protected and offer enough room to sneak a scarf beneath. This model is available in Burgundy Flux, Nereus Blue, Whiskey Jack Gray, and all Black.
Woolrich Mountain Parka
A brand that was born to serve Alaskan oil rig workers is clearly one that knows a thing or two about efficient protection from the elements, although it may not show much in haute-couture magazines. Woolrich has been slowly evolving over the past decade, however, and have now enlisted a new team of designers to ensure their practical products also meet the exacting standards of new-millennium elegance.
Their latest iteration of the Mountain Parka offers full-length coverage and heat all the way down to your knees. It uses a proprietary stretchy blended fabric that narrows the silhouette slightly while still ensure you will have enough room for whatever you are wearing underneath. In addition, this exceedingly insulating fabric will resist very frigid conditions.
There are two mildly concealed handwarmer pockets, although they do not offer a lot of carrying space. However, you can keep your personal belongings safe on the hidden safety pocket, located on the inside of the chest. The zip front hides a double collar, which will allow you to tie down your scarf safely and snugly.
Mammoth Outerwear Elk Parka
The choice of a long-extinct animal as part of their branding is perhaps not accidental for Canadian winter gear manufacturer Mammoth Outerwear. Not only are their designs bulky and extra-sturdy, but they are also completely animal-free; nobody had their feathers plucked or their fur ripped while manufacturing this parka. In addition, the company supports the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals and takes an active role in conservation and safety of foxes and bears.
The Elk Parka loses nothing by skipping on animal products and actually gains a lot of post-modern styles. The main fabric used is a polyester and cotton blend that can repel water but still allows enough ventilation. Inside, the jacket is lined with a soft layer of plaid, which holds together a double layer of Primaloft Gold insulator. The white buttons and details offer an interesting contrast on the overall look, in addition to being useful. Finally, the pockets are neck are lined with felt for extra protection.
LL Bean Baxter State Parka
LL Bean has quickly earned a great reputation for functional snow gear, and just like their signature boots are making waves in the winter urban scene, expect to see their State Parka accomplish a very similar feat.
Sure, the bulky design and thousand-pocket appeal may be great for visiting a State nature reserve. However, this still manages to look great on city dwellers who need to keep everything organized during a long day full of cold errands. Who wants to open their flap pocket to get their keys, after all?
This parka is made from several soft layers of ruff and nylon, which feel smooth on the fingers and neck, although they are unlikely to come into contact with any other part of the skin. The shell is made from polyester and is windproof and rainproof. It’s available in both black and red.
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