Sure, winter parkas can bring to mind George Constanza’s big-ass coat (“it’s Gore-Tex!”), but in 2017 there are more ways than ever to stay warm and look great at the same time. That said, picking the one perfect parka that can deliver you to the other side of March (or, god forbid, April) has never been more confusing. Do you go full Arctic explorer, or high-fashion blizzard-beater? Whether you’re in desperate need of wind-busting outerwear for your own torso, or are looking to buy one of the best gifts money can buy, these are the parkas that will deliver the goods—and some insanely toasty down fill.
The Storm Trooper Parka
Stone Island Resin Poplin Down Jacket
Stone Island was originally started as a sub-brand under C.P. Company in 1982, but today it’s a massive brand of its own that’s favored by the likes of rich Italian dudes on vacation and British rappers in the grime scene. Plus, Drake’s been wearing the label since he was in diapers (at least according to his Instagram) and continues to rock the SI logo what feels like weekly. It’s a brand that specializes in the tech-iest of tech gear (this coat is made of a cotton poplin soaked in a lightweight polyurethane resin for weather-resistance and is filled with duck down), but also has the benefit of an ultra-cool logo that makes this parka not just a solid investment in terms of keeping you warm, but for turning heads on the street. This particular parka has even more wow-factor because it comes in white, which seems dicey for a coat you might spill hot cocoa on, but will make you stand out amongst the sea of gray, navy, and black coats every dude is wearing right now. (Stone Island calls the color “chalky,” which basically means it’s not pure white but, hey, it’ll take at least some of the pressure off you when it comes to keeping this thing pristine.)
The Weekend Warrior Parka
J.Crew Camo Nordic Parka
As far as patterns go, camo is old reliable. And it has never looked better than it does on a parka. If the coat in question also happens to be an affordable, slim-fit parka from J.Crew, then you really can’t go wrong, especially if you’re looking for something slightly unexpected but don’t want to go full storm trooper (see above). At $450 it’s not exactly a non-investment, but you know you’re going to get something that lasts when you buy from the classic menswear experts at J.Crew. Now, if you’re en route to your big-deal, suit-requiring job this might not be the best pick (we’d still opt for a camel coat over a suit any day), but this parka is what you’ll turn to again and again on weekends. It’s got a water-resistant cotton outer layer and faux fur hood, but it’s also got the good stuff—Thinsulate®—on the inside. Plus: fleece-lined hand warmer pockets for those insanely cold days when you couldn’t care less what coat you’ve got on but just need to keep your texting hand from falling off.
The Art-Level Parka
Calvin Klein 205W39NYC Shearling Trimmed Cotton-Silk Parka
The hottest name in fashion right now is just three letters long: Raf. Since taking the reigns at Calvin Klein in 2016, Raf has completely changed the perception of the brand among industry insiders and style-loving celebs like A$AP Rocky. His first runway collection under the Calvin Klein 205W39NYC name debuted earlier this year, and this quilt-lined parka was the piece that dropped many-a-fashion-editor’s jaw. It’s no wonder why—the parka is rich with Americana cues like its oversized fit, fishtail design, shearling lining (for real-world warmth), and removable Gee’s Bend-inspired quilt inside. Throw on a fur collar and you’ve got what’s arguably the coolest parka of the year. Of course, with all the hype that’s surrounded Raf for the past decade (thanks to his namesake line and stellar womenswear work at Dior), the new Calvin Klein isn’t letting this standout piece go for cheap. But if there ever was a parka that you could argue is a work of art, it’s this one. And because it still draws on classic colors and styling, it isn’t a piece that’ll just be an it parka right now. This is one you’ll be bragging about for years to come.
The “Will Never Get Sick Of It” Parka
Canada Goose Expedition Parka
There’s a reason Canada Goose parkas have become the gold standard for investment outerwear among everyone from GQ editors to that guy at the gym you can’t stand. Canada Goose makes parkas that are minimal, warmer than anything else on the market, and built to last. They don’t come cheap, per se, but when you consider how well they actually stop sub-freezing winds from chilling you to your bones, $1,000 starts to look a lot more like money well spent. You can’t go wrong with a Canada Goose parka in black, but if you’ve ever walked the streets of a major city in December, then you might feel like, well, everyone’s got one of those. To us, there’s something undeniable about this fire-engine red, which looks like something guys who actually climb mountains would wear to stand out against a snow-covered Everest. It’s also got backpack straps inside so you can carry it if you start to overheat. But even if you’re not trekking any time soon, this parka has a shit-ton of pockets (including two interior pockets) for storing your phone, keys, and mid-afternoon snacks during hibernation season.
The M.W.A. (Minimalists With Attitude) Parka
Helmut Lang Austria Puffer Parka
In his heyday, Helmut Lang (the guy, who departed his label in 2007) was known for making some of the most iconic—and wild—outerwear of his time. Most famously, his “astro” parka was once done up in silver nylon and trimmed with white feathers, a piece that was so memorable the brand re-issued it earlier this year. But Helmut Lang is also a brand that basically invented the clean-cut, monochromatic minimalist wave that’s been around for a decade in menswear, and this Japanese nylon quilted parka finds the best of both worlds under the HL name. At face value it’s just a longer quilted parka, which, hey, is great for keeping your lower half toasty, too. But this jacket has a few tricks hidden under its down fill. For one, it’s got a hood and cowl that fully fastens around your head and face, meaning you don’t have to wear a balaclava just to keep your nose from falling off, and also makes you look like arctic Batman. It’s got a back print (instant cool points) in a badass Old English font that’s a subtle nod to Mr. Lang’s birth country. Most impressively, this parka not only has backpack straps built into it, but also the ability to separate from its own lining and become a hooded zip-up vest. And whenever two uber-cool outerwear pieces are on the line for the price of one (albeit one really nice jacket), it’s a jacket that’s worth looking into.