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How are Parkas Supposed to Fit?

Woman in parka pushing a grocery cart.

Parkas work well as a winter coat that will be long-lasting and keep you warm. The parka has been around for the past 70 years and has become a staple in the fashion industry in the winter seasons. The parka was adopted by westerners from the Inuit people who lived in the arctic.

The Inuit people wore sealskin to protect against the subarctic freezing climate and western explorers used the same idea and popularized it. Since then, the parka has changed in many ways and comes in different styles and colors. It has been used to keep people warm and has a practical style for outdoor recreation, work, and everyday style.

So, while you are looking for a parka to buy for a wardrobe staple, you may be wondering how a parka should fit you.

How should a parka fit?

Young man wearing winter parka jacket isolated on a white background.

A parka normally fits loose. It is meant to hang slightly over the shoulders. The parka is a military-style jacket, so it normally fits rather roomy. To create a winter aesthetic that works with men and women alike, a looser structure aids in a non-binary jacket.

Having a loose-fitted jacket also allows more room for layers underneath the jacket. If you have a jacket that is too tight you will not be able to layer up. When winter rolls around and you need something that will keep you warm, you can not rely on only one or two layers.

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With more room for layers, you will feel less bulky and will not lose as much mobility.

How should a parka fit in length?

When it comes to length, a parka normally fits fairly long. If the parka is too short, it is no longer in the style of a parka. A parka is meant to be versatile, so it should be loose and longer.

A parka is normally longer than an office jacket, going down to your mid-thigh. In this sense, the parka will fully cover any work clothes, keeping your professional clothing safe. Even on a casual day, the length of the parka keeps you warm at every length.

The loose-fitted jacket creates a cozy blanket-type feeling, so you are warm all over.

How do I know if a parka is too big?

When you are looking for a parka, you may be trying to wonder if the loose-fitted jacket becomes almost too big. It is best to find this out in front of a mirror while trying the jacket on.

While standing in front of the mirror, you should look for the following:

  • Check the sleeves: If the sleeves go past your thumb, the parka is too big.
  • Check the shoulders: If the shoulders are much wider than your shoulders, and the stitching goes past them, you need to size down your parka.
  • Check the length: If the parka is extra-long, going past your knees, it is too big.

How do I know if a parka is too small?

While you are shopping for a parka, you may find that some are too small. To know if they are too small, check the mirror and look for the following:

  • Check the sleeves: If the sleeves ride up and do not cover your wrists, the parka is too small.
  • Check the shoulders: If the shoulders ride up on your shoulders, the parka does not fit.
  • Check the length: If the parka sits higher than your thigh, it is too small.
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Should I size up a parka?

At times, sizing may be slightly off for certain brands. Normally, a parka that is your size will fit the way it is supposed to, and sizing up is not necessary. However, if this is not the case, you may need to size up.

If you cannot raise your arms and the parka tends to hug your arms or shoulders, you must size up. Having a parka that is too tight can cause issues with layering for the winter.

Should you ever shrink a parka?

You may not ever need to shrink a parka, nor should you. A parka is meant to fit loose. However, if it is looser than it should be, you may need to get it tailored. If you are looking to shrink your parka, you can wash it and see if it gets any smaller.

If this does not do the trick, it is best not to do anything irreversible to the fabric. Finding a professional tailor that you trust with your winter wardrobe will help get a parka fitted perfectly to your size.

Why are parkas so long?

Yellow parka snow shoe hiker.

Parkas are longer, so they can offer more warmth. If you are not from a cold place, you may think parkas are too large or uncomfortable to wear. Once you find yourself in colder conditions, you will understand that parkas are needed for the winter, and the more surface area they cover the better.

The longer the coat is, the more it covers your body and it can trap more heat inside.

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How long do parkas last?

Girl in parka walking at the beach.

A parka is a durable, long-lasting jacket. They typically last from three to five years. This time can be extended or reduced depending on how often you wear the coat and how well you take care of it.

The more often you wear a parka, the more worn down it will become.

How often should you wash a parka?

You should only wash your parka every couple of months. This will allow its lifespan to be at its maximum best. It is important not to wash your parka more often than needed.

If you wash it too often, the fabric will be exposed to too much wear and tear from the heat and movement. When it is time to put it in the dryer, put it on low heat.

If you do need to wash your parka when there are stains, you can easily spot clean the coat. When you do perform a spot cleaning, use a warm soapy washcloth and dab the area that needs to be cleaned.

How can I make my parka last longer?

To heighten the lifespan of your trusty winter coat, you must take proper care of your parka. This means properly washing it and taking precautions when wearing and hanging it up. You should hang up your parka with other coats in your closet or have a designated space for coats only.

A sturdy hanger like a wooden hanger will evenly distribute the weight of the parka so it does not become slumped. When you are washing your parka, make sure to use cold water and low heat for the washer and dryer. Spot clean as often as possible to avoid washing the coat more than necessary.