The iconic parka is possibly the jacket most strongly associated with subcultural movements. The military-inspired M51 model was a favourite of Mods in the UK. The perfect choice to wear over their often hand-stitched suits, the parka protected Vespa and Lambretta riders from the elements while costing next to nothing, being sold in abundance in army surplus stores. These jackets could even double as sleeping bags for overnight gatherings on the south coast of England. That was the early sixties, but even today, the parka retains its eternal style for those in-the-know. Having found their way into the world of fashion, genuine M51 parkas in good condition fetch a much higher price these days than they did back then.
As in so many other cases, the classic parka has been reinterpreted into a number of different models, fits and proportions. For a look that remains faithful to the original, the jacket should have a “fishtail” at the rear, reach at least halfway down the thigh, have a prominent hood, and a drawstring waist to adjust the fit to the amount of clothing worn underneath.
No matter which type of parka grabs your attention, they generally prove to be extremely useful outerwear that work with many different styles. With the right material and design, parkas can be worn over a suit or blazer, while a trendier, shorter model can be a particularly versatile jacket that works well with both jeans and chinos.
Get inspired and find more information about the parka in Carl Magazine.