A parker coat, also commonly referred to as a parka, is an outer wear jacket with a thick lining designed specifically for cold weather wear. The traditional form of the jacket comes to knee length and does not have a drawstring waist, as the anorak jacket to which is it often likened. Originally, parker coats where lined with a heavy wool material, close to a blanket weight.
Often with a fur lined detachable collar, the parker coat proved to keep not only the majority of the body insulated from frigid temperatures, but it also can keep the face safe from the elements. The hood can be pulled tightly around the face leaving a small tunnel through which those wearing it have a limited range of site.
Government and tactical forces have long employed the parker coat as part of standard winter wear. These coats prove to be good for withstanding the elements as well as durable. The only major flaws of this design are the limited visibility and decreased hearing range. As time progressed, thinner lining, which still provided extreme protection from the cold, was developed making maneuverability much more manageable instead of limited as it had once been. These extreme-weather jackets remain common military apparel.
In the 1970s, this style became very popular when it was marketed to the public. Similar to their military counterparts, they were lined with a plaid wool and had a number of handy pockets throughout the inside and outside of the jacket. The most common colors were dark blue or olive drab. Most did not have real fur collars but instead had a faux fur that was often detachable.
Though originally made for men, the parker coat or parka became a popular jacket for women toward the end of the 1970s. The style of the parker coat became somewhat modified to be more consistent with modern fashion. Shoulder pads were added in the 1980s and sateen became a popular fabric. In the 1990s the style again evolved, with these jackets becoming more fitted and figure flattering. Though the length was also commonly shortened, the jacket still maintained much of its original identity. Through the years the parker coat has been adapted and changed to fit the style and the times.