Stylish AND Functional Parka
January 6, 2006 11:51 AM   Subscribe

Does a stylish and functional parka that meets my criteria exist? Or am I out of luck?

I’m in the market for a stylish yet warm parka. I have an old one from Lands’ End, but it’s losing its waterproofing qualities. I’ve been reading old threads here about finding the perfect parka:

Link 1
Link 2
Link 3

I’d like one that is Gore-tex (or something equally as waterproof) and very warm, with few drafts at the seams and openings. What I’m finding is that the most functional ones just aren’t very stylish. I ordered the L.L. Bean Baxter State Parka, which looked perfect online, but in real life, it’s very puffy (a downside to down) and makes me look like a chunky monkey (which I’m not!).

I have a high waist, small upper torso, with wide hips. What I like best are designs with a distinct waist to them. The standard jacket cut (see here) don’t fit me well, because in order to fit my hips, they are very large around my shoulders.

My other issue is that I am extremely pale, and many parkas come in colors like red, black, and royal blue. These colors are horrible on me. I prefer something more muted, like a salmon or medium green.

And just to make this even more difficult, I’m trying to keep it under $250. If that wasn’t an issue, I’d buy this one in a snap! The cost of that is about $550 US. Ouch!

Does a stylish and functional parka exist? Or am I out of luck?
posted by abbyladybug to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total)
You might want to stay away from LL Bean and Eddie Bauer, as style is definitely not their thing. A lot of designers have fully functional down coats that are much more stylish. For example, I have a Michael Kors down coat that has gotten me through several upper-Midwestern winters. For cheapness, search online for last year's styles (I'm a big fan of, or hit up an outlet store (Burlington Coat Factory, if there's one in your area).
posted by elquien at 12:05 PM on January 6, 2006

The links aren't linking.

This is the one you'd buy if it were in your price range, right? It doesn't look like it has a defined waist (or maybe I was thinking more of suggesting a drawstring waist) - is that the one? Are you looking for a certain lining?
posted by iconomy at 12:06 PM on January 6, 2006

I meant to add, some of the most feminine parkas I've seen are from North Face. The way many of them are cut is very flattering, and the colors are nice...lots of pastels. Check this out. I have the Plasma Thermal and my daughter has the Denali, and both are super warm and have curves in all the right places.
posted by iconomy at 12:09 PM on January 6, 2006

Both Patagonia and Burton make some nice parkas.
posted by k8t at 12:24 PM on January 6, 2006

Second North Face. I think I'm going to be looking for one, too - whenever I see them on other women, they look great and create a very nice profile. They are expensive, so I'm going to try to source them from outlets.
posted by Miko at 12:25 PM on January 6, 2006

Yeah, North Face rules.
posted by TurkishGolds at 12:26 PM on January 6, 2006

I got my daughter's Denali for 80.00 less than it goes for on the North Face site by checking eBay. It was new, with tags. Definitely search for the specific style name when you find one that appeals to you.
posted by iconomy at 12:56 PM on January 6, 2006

Have you looked at Linda Lundstrom. Her "La Parka" is considered by many Canadian women to be the best parka available. It's frustratingly hard to find any for sale online though. Maybe through eBay?
posted by bonehead at 12:56 PM on January 6, 2006

Wintergreen is a small company that makes some nice parkas.
posted by hydropsyche at 1:33 PM on January 6, 2006

Down is always pretty puffy. You want fiberfill. I have an LLBean parka full of PrimaLoft, which is one of several brands, and it's really warm, but not nearly as bulky as down. And it doesn't leak feathers. The Rugged Ridge or Penobscot Parkas from LLBean have PrimaLoft inside. LLBean is a big industry here (Maine), so we like them. and we buy our parkas at the outlet
posted by theora55 at 1:41 PM on January 6, 2006

theora55's recommendation is excellent, so here's the link: L L BEan Factory Stores.

I'm overdue for a trip to Freeport myself.

As an aside: maybe that's where we should have the Mainer meetup. The Bean's HQ, at, like 1 AM.
posted by Miko at 2:15 PM on January 6, 2006

I've owned both North Face and Patagonia outdoor gear, and I'd say go Patagonia for a stylish, nicely colored, warm and functional parka. They have a lifetime guarantee and the design is a little less 'super-hero' than The North Face but just as functional. (In fact, it tends to be more 'minimalist,' and, consequently, a little more versatile style-wise.)

Everything I've owned from them has been wonderful, and I've been able to wear my Patagonia parka in all sorts of different contexts and conditions.
posted by josh at 2:50 PM on January 6, 2006

Response by poster: These are great suggestions. Keep 'em coming. Sorry the links were messed up. Here they are again:

Link 1
Link 2
Link 3

I love that Kanuk parka. It has more shape than many parkas, although it isn't perfect.
posted by abbyladybug at 3:53 PM on January 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I think what I love about the Kanuk parka is the colors.
posted by abbyladybug at 4:38 PM on January 6, 2006

patagonia are really nice (way more fashionable than north face - nicer materials, better detailing), but paulina tried a women's jacket on a few months ago and it didn't have much waist. maybe they have different cuts for different models.
posted by andrew cooke at 5:41 PM on January 6, 2006

If you really like your old parka, you might also consider re-waterproofing it. A good outdoor supply store should be able to tell you what kind of waterproofing treatment will work with your particular coat.
posted by mbrubeck at 6:50 PM on January 6, 2006

I've been selling women's ski wear at a major outdoors retailer this season as a part-time gig, and I'd recommend the Obermeyer "Circuit" jacket. Most of Obermeyer's stuff this year is godawful ugly, but the Circuit is a gem. It's a down parka but it has stretchy side panels so the front/rear profile looks slim and really shows off good curves.

Patagonia's down jacket also has a nice feminine shape, but isn't a waterproof material.
posted by bradhill at 4:00 PM on January 7, 2006

Response by poster: Well, I went on a jacket-finding mission yesterday, and I think part of the problem was narrowing down what I really needed. I ended up getting TWO jackets for the price of that L.L. Bean one I'd ordered. One is a ski jacket with primoloft, and the other is a real rain jacket with Gore-tex. The fit of both is great, and I don't think I could have done as well if I weren't at a place where I could try them on (as in online). Both jackets are made by EMS.

Here's me in the primoloft jacket
Here's me in the rain jacket.
posted by abbyladybug at 10:29 AM on January 8, 2006

Response by poster: Rain


Thanks sooo much for all the great suggestions. :D
posted by abbyladybug at 10:32 AM on January 8, 2006

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