Tips For Choosing Womens Parka
I didn’t know the first thing about dressing for the weather when I first moved to the States, let alone what type of coat I would need! If I had known what I know now, I would’ve enjoyed my first snow experience with my family and would’ve not been the kill joy mom in a Smurf outfit hiding in an Indian store!
That’s me in the Smurf outfit!
That’s me, enjoying life in my parka!
A year later, after receiving a few valuable pieces of advice and researching on my own, I was able to fully prepare myself for the cold winter weather. I didn’t have to sit out while my family frolicked in the snow- I was right there with them!
Although I haven’t learned yet all the finer details when it comes to buying parkas, I think I was able to find a pretty great one to keep me warm during winter. Keep reading to learn how to find the perfect womens parka that you’ll love all winter.
What is parka and why is it the ideal choice for the winter season?
Usually, it’s a long, lined jacket with a hood that’s perfect for protecting you from those cold, windy days in December and January. We’ve come a long way from prehistoric times when coats were made of animal skins, because nowadays you’ll find most parkas are made from polyester, nylon, or cotton blends.
A parka is a must-have for the winter weather. Not only does it keep you warm and toasty while you’re outside enjoying the snow, it can also provide a stylish element to your outdoor look.
What are the factors to consider when shopping for a parka?
1. COMFORT AND FUNCTION
It’s important to consider the climate of your area when deciding what type of womens parka to buy. Someone living in North Dakota isn’t going to have the same winter parka and a person living in Arkansas because the weather is completely different.
It’s also important to think about what sort of outdoor activities you’re going to be participating in (if any) during the winter months. If I like to go snowboarding or snowmobiling, I’m definitely not going to pick a flimsy parka that’s designed for fashion over function!
Many parkas vary by how warm they are to wear. The climate and weather should be considered. If a woman will wear a fleece or jacket underneath, then it may not be as necessary to wear a heavy parka, too.
The North Face brand is known for their quality winter coats that stand up to the coldest of weather and the ThermoBall Snow TriClimate 3-in-1 Jacket above is a great pick that offers the three wearable options that are perfect for areas experiencing mixed weather.
Mild and Moderate Weather: If you are living in an area that enjoys mostly mild winters, like northern Texas or Tennessee, you’re not going to need a bulky coat to keep you insulated from the freezing cold weather.
This womens parka from Hollister is perfect to wear for when the weather isn’t necessarily cold but can make you shiver if you’re outside for too long.
Wet Coastal Weather: If you live in an area along either coastline, you may experience a winter without a lot of freezing temperatures. However, wet, heavy snow loves these types of climates and can leave you drenched from a quick run outside if you’re not properly attired. This type of winter weather calls for a coat that isn’t super insulated but is definitely waterproof.
Mixed Weather: Many popular parkas for women are designed to be worn three different ways depending on the temperature outside. The inner fleece lining can be removed from the outer shell of the jacket and worn during the chilly days of fall and when the warming temperatures of spring come around.
The outer shell is usually waterproof and can be work alone when it’s raining out but not cold, as the shell has little to no insulation. When you zipper the two together you create the perfect parka for winter weather- a waterproof, yet well-insulated coat.
Depending on the climate you live in, you’ll need a certain amount of insulation to keep you warm.
The waterproof, two-layer womens parka featured above is extra long in the back to keep you covered when out in the snow. High-performance insulation made from hollow fibers traps warm air to keep you feeling cozy when you’re spending hours on the mountain or in town.
Here are 4 standard types of insulation that most parkas choose from.
Wool and fleece will provide the most warmth and and perfect for cold areas that receive a lot of snowfall, as they can provide insulation even when wet.
Thinsulate insulation is used to decrease the bulkiness of winter coats and is usually found in winter performance coats that cater to those who love outdoor activities.
Synthetic fill is most often found in the classic “puffy” style of coat. It provides much-needed warmth but also adds bulkiness.
Goose down is the best choice for maintaining a high level of warmth, but must come in a waterproof shell as goose down does not function as well when wet.
When you’re purchasing a new parka, you’ll need to know what you intend to use it for. If you’re walking around the city streets, chances are you won’t need a waterproof coat as you won’t be outside for long periods of time.
If you’re a snowbunny who loves hitting the slopes, you’re definitely going to need a parka that offers waterproofing to keep you dry for the hours you’re outside enjoying the snow.
Patagonia’s Lash Point Waterproof Womens Parka consists of a highly water-resistant shell made out of waterproof fabric. The hood is adjustable or removable. It is not insulated, but it can be paired with Patagonia’s Fiona Parkas for an additional layer of warmth.
2. STYLE AND FIT
There are so many different styles of parkas that you’re sure to find one that compliments your sense of fashion. From puffy to sleek, mountain-appropriate to wearing for a night out, there’s a different style of womens parka to fit all your needs. It’s also important to consider fit when buying a new parka as you’ll want something that’s comfortable and easy to move around in.
The Hollister Stretch Twill Sherpa-Lined Womens Parka gives off a bit of a preppy vibe with its twill fabric and soft sherpa lining. It has all kinds of cute accents like buttons, a waist pull-string, and a logo patch. It will keep you warm when you need it, but you won’t overheat since the lining isn’t very thick.
When style is a concern, women can rest assured that there is a parka out there that they will love. Many colors, lengths, and embellishments are available that differentiate one coat from the next. Whether puffy coats are your thing or you like something more designer-friendly, you’ll be able to find something that caters to your needs and compliments your sense of style.
The fit of your parka is extremely important, especially if being used for outdoor activities requiring a lot of movement. Uncomfortable jackets that restrict your movement aren’t going to make you want to enjoy the winter weather.
It’s also important to think about layering. If you wear a lot of sweaters in the winter, it is essential to find a coat that is roomy enough to wear over your outfit without creating additional bulk.
3. ADDITIONAL FEATURES
It is also important to consider a number of features a parka can offer. The above featured shell womens parka with flannel lining will keep you warm when the weather turns chilly. It has plenty of pockets to store all your accessories and extra large buttons to add some fashionable flair. It’s a timeless design that could be a staple of your outerwear wardrobe for several years. As a plus, it is light enough to travel with!
Here are some additional features you might want to consider when buying a womens parka:
Most cold-weather parkas have hoods, enabling them to provide overall weather protection for your body. There are many different styles and it is common to find trendy faux-fur lining on many of today’s top selling parkas. Some hoods are also removable, either by zipper or buttoning.
Most parkas have the standard two pocket design to keep your hands warm or store important items. Some parkas offer additional pockets to add to the style of the coat or simply as a functional feature.
Parkas can have a number of different zippers located throughout the design. A main zipper is usually present to trap warmth inside, and many parkas have zippered pockets to keep your carried items safe from snow or rain. Zippers can also be used solely for style to add some extra flair.
Winter coats need seams that are sealed to keep water and snow from soaking through your coat, especially if you favor outdoor activities.
Many sleeves come with ways to tighten the ending, keeping snow from creeping inside the parka. Velcro, button, and drawstring tightening methods are common to find. It is important to make note of whether or not the sleeves will fit well with your gloves or mittens.
Storm Flaps provide extra protection for your pocketed items when the weather turns nasty. They keep your zippers dry and eliminate any potential leak-through that may damage items in your pockets like phones and electronic devices.
Many cold-weather parkas have vents to enable air-flow and keep your body well ventilated while inside a heavily-insulated coat. Areas that generally have venting are under the arms and possible on the back.
There are several brands that specialize in layered design. It usually consists of an inner fleece layer that can be removed and worn separately from the waterproof outer shell. This is a great option for an all-seasons jacket. Check out above ThermoBall Snow TriClimate 3-in-1 Jacket.
4. PRICE AND YOUR BUDGET
Parkas can range from the low price of around $30-$40 to the upper extreme of hundreds of dollars. Sometimes this has to do with the brand name, but often the price point is an indicator of the quality of the coat.
If you’re in a colder climate that deals with below freezing temperatures all winter, it may be smart to look into buying a more expensive coat that ensures you will stay warm all season. This may mean setting aside money or saving, but a quality coat like this Arctic II Waterproof 550-Fill-Power Down Parka by The North Face is a best bang for a buck as it can last for years through repeated use. “A perfect cold weather parka- flattering fit, warm in sub-zero temps and not too heavy”, one fellow shopper says about this coat. This parka is one of Amazon’s best sellers.
If you live in a warmer climate, it may be possible to buy a less expensive womens parka like these ones from Hollister with more focus on fashion than function.
In either case, there are great options available that fit every type of budget.
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Do you have any tips for choosing womens parka? Please comment below!
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