When it comes to warm, cozy jackets, you can’t go wrong with a nice thick parka. A parka is set apart from other jackets by several factors. Parkas generally have a longer fit, which means that they cover more of your body, trap in more heat, and thus, provide more warmth. They tend to extend to somewhere between hip- and knee-length, rather than ending just below the waist like most coats and jackets. A parka also always has a hood, lined with real or, far more common these days, faux fur and tends to be stuffed with down or a type of warm synthetic fiber. Parkas are traditionally waterproof as well. They’re intended to keep the wearer warm and dry without needing extra layers and even when they’re not in motion. A parka may or may not be a pullover rather than having a zipper or button-up front opening, and may or not have drawstrings at the waist and cuffs for greater comfort and adjustability. Parkas are known for being well insulated and warm even in cold temperatures and biting winds, making them perfect for the days when other jackets aren’t cutting it. Though some of the aspects and look of a parka have varied over the decades, their ability to keep people warm and dry hasn’t changed a bit.
What to Consider in a Parka
If you want to invest in your warmth, look for these features in a parka:
- Length: As mentioned, parkas are generally longer than the average jacket, but there may still be some variance in their lengths. Classic parkas reach to about mid-thigh. There are, however, shorter ones that may end around your waist and longer ones that stretch below the knee if you desire. Be sure to consider your own height when picking a parka, as this will affect where it falls in your body.
- Down vs. Synthetic: Parkas can be stuffed with either down feathers or synthetic fiber. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Down is the superior insulator and holds its shape well, but it tends to be more expensive and harder to clean. If you get a down-stuffed parka, make sure the coat is waterproofed, as down doesn’t always do well when wet. Synthetic fiber doesn’t hold up as well, but it’s also more cost-effective and does much better when wet. Down-stuffed coats tend to be puffier, while synthetic stuffed ones may offer a slimmer fit.
- Details: Parkas will vary slightly by which extra details, functions, and features they possess. Some will have detachable hoods or linings, be lined with fleece instead of down, or be adorned with drawstrings at the waist and/or cuffs. Traditionally, they’re waterproofed, but not all modern versions are, so be sure to keep an eye out for that if it’s a feature you want. You can find parkas that you pull on, zipper, or button up. Some parkas are thinner or more lightweight than others for more year-round use.
Best Size Options: Orolay Women’s Thickened Down Jacket
No matter what size you wear, whether you prefer tighter jackets or looser, this parka has enough size options to fit just about anybody. You can buy this park in ten different sizes, ranging from a 2XS to a 5XL. And no matter which size you buy, you have your choice of whichever one of the 13 colors you prefer, from black to bright yellow to beige and everything in between. The outer fabric shell is 100% polyester with above-average density for better insulation and protection against the wind. The stuffing is made mostly of duck down with a few duck feathers mixed in to provide even greater insulation and keep you warm for longer. The hood is trimmed with extra soft faux fur, and the jacket itself zippers shut with a smooth silk handle. Besides the main zipper down the front, this parka has two side zippers for your comfort that also give you more freedom of motion. Additional features include stylish ribbed knit cuffs and six large, zipper-sealed pockets for easy, convenient, and secure storage for your belongings.
Orolay Women's Thickened Down Jacket Green M
Available in a great range of sizes and colors, this classic parka will keep you warm no matter what size you wear.
Best Waterproof Option: Wantdo Women’s Quilted Parka
Parkas are generally thought of as jackets that are built for functionality and practicality rather than fashion. This parka proves that you can have all three in one, that you don’t have to sacrifice style for utility. The filling is synthetic to avoid puffiness and provide greater comfort in damp weather like fog, rain, and snow. The outer layer is made of high-quality waterproof oxford fabric with a smooth front zipper and snap-closed collar to help block the wind, which makes this an ideal parka for activities like skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. The fur-lined hood can be adjusted and removed as needed. The ribbed cuffs and interior waist cinch also help to keep cutting winds out and the heat in. The parka is equipped with two hand pockets, two zip chest pockets, an internal media pocket, and a little pocket on the left arm that’s perfect for items like a ski pass or credit card.
Wantdo Women's Insulated Winter Coat Parka with Removable Hood Black Medium (Black, Medium)
A stylish and waterproof parka that is great for activities like skiing.
Best Fleece-Lined Option: GRACE KARIN Women’s Fleece Lined Parka
Fleece is a popular lining for coats for good reason, and with this jacket, you get all the warming benefits of a parka with the bonus heat retention and softness a fleece lining provides. The main body of this parka is lined with thick, soft fleece, while the fixed hood has the signature fuzzy faux fur trim with padded silk wadding. The drawstring lets you adjust the waistline to your comfort and preferred warmth, while the zipper and snaps give the front opening extra security. The outer fabric is windproof. Two large front pockets round out the look and are equally great for holding items like your phone and keys or protecting your hands from the cold, snow, and wind. The parka’s size ranges from small to XXL. You have the choice of nine bright, classic, or subtle colors or a leopard print design for a more eye-catching, stylish look.
GRACE KARIN Winter Coats for Women Long Thicken Jacket Hooded Parka Coat Outwear XL Black
A parka that provides you with the extra warmth-retention and soft, comfortable benefits of a fleece lining.
Best Lightweight Option: Royal Matrix Women’s Parka
If you’re looking for all the warmth and insulating benefits of a parka but are hesitant to buy one because you don’t want a big, heavy jacket, this parka is the perfect solution. It has all the usual parka features—mid-length coverage, a hood lined with faux fur, warmth-retaining fabric that is both windproof and water-resistant—all without feeling heavy or weighing you down. The silk wadding, adjustable waist drawstring, and elastic ribbed cuffs help with insulation and blocking the wind, as does the faux fur lining. The faux fur lining the hood can be removed if you ever want to mix up the look. The zipper and snap closure provide extra security, while the two side zip pockets and four snap pockets give you plenty of space to store your belongings without fear of losing them. You can buy this parka in women’s sizes 2 through 16 and in 15 different colors that range from classic to subtle to vivid.
ROYAL MATRIX Women's Winter Coats Fleece Lined Parka Jacket Hooded Long Winter Warm Parka Coat with Pockets (Black, 14)
A lightweight parka that still provides all the warmth and protection of a classic large, heavy model.