History of the Parka & Why Every Man Should Own One

History of the Parka & Why Every Man Should Own One

The parka, a staple in men’s outerwear, traces its roots back to the indigenous Inuit people who crafted it to withstand the harsh Arctic climates. Characterized by its length, hood, and insulation, the parka has evolved significantly from its utilitarian origins to become a versatile piece of fashion.

In modern men’s fashion, the parka is celebrated for its blend of functionality and style. It provides exceptional warmth and protection against the elements, while also being adaptable to various looks—from casual streetwear to more polished, layered outfits. This adaptability has cemented the parka as a must-have in every man's wardrobe, offering both practical benefits and a timeless aesthetic.

The Origins of the Parka

Indigenous Roots

The parka's origins can be traced back to the Inuit and Aleut people, indigenous communities who crafted these garments to survive the extreme cold of the Arctic. Traditionally, parkas were made from caribou or seal skin, materials that provided excellent insulation and protection against the wind and cold. The designs were meticulously crafted to ensure maximum warmth, featuring fur-lined hoods and tight seals around the wrists and waist to prevent heat loss. These functional garments were essential for survival, enabling hunters and families to endure the harsh Arctic environment.

Military Influence

The practical design of the parka caught the attention of the military, leading to its adoption by the US Army during World War II. The military needed a reliable coat for soldiers stationed in cold climates, and the parka's insulating properties made it an ideal choice. The design evolved to suit combat needs, incorporating durable materials and additional features like multiple pockets and drawstrings for adjustability. This military adoption marked the beginning of the parka's transition from a purely functional garment to a widely recognized piece of outerwear, eventually making its way into civilian fashion post-war.

Evolution Through the Decades


The 1950s marked the introduction of the parka into civilian life. After World War II, surplus military parkas became available to the public, quickly gaining popularity among adventurers and explorers. These individuals appreciated the parka's warmth and durability, making it a favored choice for outdoor activities and expeditions.

1960s and 1970s

During the 1960s and 1970s, the parka saw a surge in popularity due to the Mod culture in the UK. The Mods, known for their sharp style and love for scooters, adopted the parka as a practical and stylish outer layer. This era also saw variations in style, with parkas being adapted for urban use. Different lengths, materials, and colors emerged, making the parka a versatile fashion item beyond its functional roots.

1980s to Present

From the 1980s onwards, the parka entered the realm of high fashion. Designers began to experiment with luxurious materials and innovative designs, transforming the parka into a statement piece. Technological advancements in fabric and insulation further enhanced its functionality, making modern parkas lighter, warmer, and more weather-resistant. Today, the parka is a symbol of both style and practicality, embraced by fashion-forward individuals and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Key Features of the Parka

Design Elements

Parkas are distinguished by their specific design elements, which include:

  • Length, Hoods, and Fur Lining: Typically, parkas extend to mid-thigh or knee length, offering substantial coverage and warmth. The inclusion of hoods, often fur-lined, provides additional protection against wind and snow, with removable fur trims for versatility.
  • Insulation Techniques and Waterproofing: Modern parkas utilize advanced insulation techniques, such as synthetic fills and down feathers, to ensure maximum warmth without excessive bulk. Waterproofing technologies, like Gore-Tex, are incorporated to keep the wearer dry in wet conditions.


  • Traditional vs. Modern Fabrics: Traditional parkas were made from animal skins and fur, while modern versions use advanced synthetic fabrics like nylon, polyester, and high-tech blends that enhance durability, breathability, and water resistance.
  • Sustainable and Ethical Considerations: There is a growing focus on sustainability in fashion, leading to the use of eco-friendly materials and ethical production practices. Brands are increasingly incorporating recycled fabrics and responsibly sourced down, ensuring that parkas are both environmentally friendly and high-performing.

Why Every Man Should Own a Parka


  • Suitable for Various Climates and Occasions: Parkas are designed to handle a wide range of weather conditions, making them ideal for everything from frigid winter days to milder, wet climates.
  • Style Adaptability from Casual to Formal Settings: Whether you're dressing for a casual outing or a more formal occasion, parkas offer a versatile style that can be easily dressed up or down.


  • Warmth and Protection in Cold Weather: Parkas are renowned for their ability to provide exceptional warmth and protection against harsh weather, thanks to their insulated linings and durable outer shells.
  • Practical Features (Pockets, Adjustable Parts): Equipped with multiple pockets, adjustable hoods, and cuffs, parkas are designed for practicality, ensuring that you stay comfortable and well-prepared.


  • Long-Lasting Investment: High-quality parkas are built to last, often enduring years of wear and tear without losing their functionality or appearance.
  • Timeless Fashion Appeal: The classic design of the parka transcends fashion trends, making it a timeless piece that remains stylish year after year. Investing in a parka means having a reliable and fashionable garment that stands the test of time.

Choosing the Right Parka

Consider Your Climate

  • Insulation Needs Based on Geographical Location: Depending on where you live, your insulation needs will vary. In extremely cold climates, opt for parkas with high-quality down or synthetic insulation. In milder climates, a lighter insulated parka might suffice.
  • Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant Options: For areas with heavy rain or snow, choose a waterproof parka to stay dry. In less wet environments, a water-resistant parka can provide adequate protection.

Fit and Style

  • Finding the Right Size and Cut: Ensure your parka fits well, allowing room for layering without being too bulky. The right cut should enhance your silhouette while providing freedom of movement.
  • Balancing Fashion with Functionality: Look for a parka that meets your style preferences without sacrificing practical features like adjustable hoods, multiple pockets, and durable zippers.

Caring for Your Parka

Cleaning Tips

  • Maintenance for Longevity: Regular maintenance is crucial to extend the lifespan of your parka. Follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer to avoid damaging the materials and insulation.
  • Professional Cleaning vs. DIY Methods: While some parkas can be machine-washed, others may require professional cleaning to maintain their quality. Use a gentle detergent and avoid harsh chemicals. For down-filled parkas, using dryer balls can help restore loft and maintain insulation properties.


  • Proper Storage Techniques to Maintain Shape and Quality: Store your parka in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent fading and material degradation. Use a padded hanger to maintain its shape and avoid crushing the insulation. If storing for an extended period, consider using a breathable garment bag to protect it from dust and moisture.

The parka's journey from its indigenous roots to a modern fashion staple highlights its enduring significance and versatility. Originally crafted by the Inuit and later adopted by the military, the parka has evolved through the decades, adapting to various styles and technological advancements. Today, it remains a crucial piece in men's wardrobes, offering a perfect blend of functionality and style.

Investing in a quality parka not only ensures protection against the elements but also provides a timeless and versatile garment suitable for any occasion. Embrace the parka's rich history and make it a key component of your outerwear collection.

Embrace Timeless Style and Unmatched Warmth with ROVOR

Now that you’ve delved into the rich history and undeniable benefits of the parka, it's time to make this essential piece a staple in your wardrobe. At ROVOR, we pride ourselves on offering high-quality parkas that combine style, durability, and warmth. Whether you're braving the winter chill or seeking a versatile jacket for everyday wear, our collection has something for every man. Don't settle for less when it comes to comfort and fashion. Check out our products today and discover the perfect parka to elevate your outerwear game. 



Back to blog