The Parka revival – and why I won’t be buying one

I was never really a proper mod, but have worn mod gear for most of my life. Even more so as I have got older. Maybe the assertion that mod clobber is something that is perfect for the elder gentlemen has a grain of truth in it.

Personally I have never really got on with so called ‘mod parkas.’ Actually let’s call them ‘classic parkas’ to differentiate them from the man-made fur trimmed zip up variety so beloved of 70s school kids and birdwatchers. While most mod gear from button down shirts to three button jackets seem to perfectly encapsulate the mod creed of ‘clean living in difficult circumstances’ and look sharp, parkas seemed to be a bit of an anachronism for me. What is the point in investing in that perfect mohair suit if you are going to stick a large shapeless and rather scruffy looking coat over the top? Also the original fishtail parkas back in the 50s came from Army Surplus stores and were often the worse for wear.

Fishtail parkas remind me of the part time mods from the 80s who couldn’t be bothered with the trappings but just flung on parkas adorned with Who badges to keep in with their tribe. A few weeks later they morphed into casuals. In fact you could argue that their popularity largely stemmed from the association with Quadrophenia. Maybe Phil Daniels is the only person who ever looked cool in one.

Sure if you are scooting round town on your Vespa parkas make more sense, but for me parkas especially of the classic fishtail variety are a bit of a retro revival too far. Surely the ultimate mod coat is a very smart three/four button crombie style in mohair.

It is interesting though that the classic parka seems to be making a real comeback this year. Part of this is being fueled by stirrings of a mini mod revival – you really ought to see this - but I guess the re-emergence of the parka is largely due to the fact that prominent retro brands from Ben Sherman through to Merc and Pretty Green, are all exercising a very serious pull over style conscious 30 and 40 something blokes. And they all have parkas in their range.

What is also interesting are the various ways in which the parka is being reinvented. The North Face, and other decidedly non-mod leisure brands have their own take on the parka. Then there is this bizarre coat from Ben Sherman which adds leather (!?) trimmings. Very odd.

Anyhow, if you do fancy a parka here are few to look at.

Merc Fishtail Parka £140

Picture 2 of 4

Classic-ish fishtail from Merc, seen here in non-regualtion, but rather fetching, blue.Merc via Very.co.uk

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Ashley



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AshleyThe Parka revival – and why I won’t be buying one
  • Tonytonerhill

    Back when I was a Mod 65 every one wore a sort of nylon cromby one there scooters.

  • Guest

    I guess they’re mostly for commute, so you don’t get your suit wet in the rain on the way somewhere and it’s sitll nice when you get to work/club/wherever.

  • Mik Boon

    I always favoured the RAF greatcoat. mainly as I got a free one issued :-)