When heading out into blustering climates, we find it's always best to be equipped with the most practical, versatile, and of course, stylish outerwear, hence our obsession du jour: the parka! Formerly categorized as merely military garb and casual winter attire, the parka has officially made its high-fashion return to the spotlight as the season's must-have coat. From classic-yet-cool daytime styles to luxurious evening options, the heavy-duty parka is guaranteed to arm you against the winter chill, which is why we believe it's a cold-weather essential you should definitely Go Buy Now!
While the parka isn't necessarily a new trend, per se, the way it's currently being styled on the runways is decidedly fresh and definitely worth noting-just check out Joseph Altuzarra's F/W 11 collection to see what we mean! For our favorite look, shown above, the designer channeled a grunge-era Kate Moss and showed a knee-length, gray Fur Hooded Parka ($4010, 212.826.8900) paired with the Plaid Silk Chiffon Dress ($2160, 212.826.8900) and Gianvito Rossi for Altuzarra Black Leather Boots ($1190, 212.826.8900). The juxtaposition of the sporty, utilitarian jacket with the slinky, delicate frock made for one unexpectedly chic after-hours ensemble fit for a downtown lady. This brilliant pairing is a hit off the runways too, as Alexa Chung recently demonstrated while shopping in London two months ago. The tastemaker opted for Topshop's Faux Fur Hooded Nylon Parka ($196, available here in Black), which she cleverly styled with Stella McCartney's Washed Dark Blue Denim Dress ($610, 718.645.2600) and Salvatore Ferragamo's Vera Bow Ballet Flats ($395) for a cool autumnal look that can transition from day to night with ease.
Now that you're up to speed on how parkas are being addressed both on and off the runways, we'd like to introduce you to a few of our favorite iterations to ensure your closet is stocked with the most lust-worthy options available! So whether you're headed to the slopes or simply have a night out on the town scheduled, you'll definitely want to have one of these cool coats on hand!
1. Charlotte Ronson Hooded Army Jacket ($355)
To kick things off right, we'd like start with one of favorite parkas from Charlotte Ronson: the Hooded Army Jacket. We're crazy about its charcoal gray hue, which is a nice alternative to the parka's usual army green and khaki colors, plus, the drawstring waist offers a figure-flattering silhouette, making it a must-buy, everyday option for anyone!
2. DKNY Broken Twill Parka ($525) in Chino
As far as luxurious parkas go, this one by DKNY is a real winner in our books. The combination of the tan hue and faux fur collar is quite chic and lends itself to a myriad of styling options for both day and evening. Wear it zipped up over a sweater and skinny jeans for a casual weekend outing or over a fancy frock for a fabulous after-hours ensemble; either way, we can promise it will be your go-to jacket for many years to come.
3. United Bamboo Fishtail Parka ($865)
If you find yourself in particularly chilly climates at this time of year, the Fishtail Parka by United Bamboo is, in our opinion, one hundred percent worth the investment. Not only is it preposterously stylish with its cool, unfussy design and Altuzarra-like long length, but it's also incredibly versatile too, thanks to its removable fur trim and expandable hood. Go for a grunge-inspired look by teaming it with a slip dress and lace-up boots-the resulting outfit is sure to be a smash this winter.
4. Topshop Borg Collar Padded Parka ($190) in Khaki
Much too our delight-and presumably yours too-we found a few drool-inducing, reasonably priced parkas at Topshop! While we're smitten with all their on-trend options, we are especially fond of the Borg Collar Padded Parka. With a cozy shearling collar and faux fur trimming, we can promise this coat will keep your cozy and take you fashionably through all your outdoor events this year!-Jessica Baker
Photo of Alexa Chung, courtesy of Getty; Altuzarra runway image, courtesy of Altuzarra.