13 Dec 2017

Pick A Parka: The Big Chill

Pick A Parka: The Big Chill


It’s the big chill here And definitely Parka weather.

I have always been attracted to coats of any design – capes, overcoats and blazers – all of them really. Most of my life was spent in a warm climate so the novelty of the cold still sits with me. It’s crazy madness and I know it, but it is the truth. I am enchanted by frosty mornings and a bite that colours the cheeks and puts a spring in the step. My friends and most of my family don’t relate and find winter a drudge; me, any excuse to rug up and brave the elements.

It’s exhilarating to me and while I accept I don’t understand the harshness of many winter climates, these below temperatures are fuelling my love of all coats puffy.

Parkas or do you call them puffas?

Parkas are not every day to me and can look stylish with whatever we choose to wear underneath. They don’t need to be worn as all-purpose weather gear and considered inelegant. I’ve worn this parka with my best heels and favourite LBD – the same coat has also been worn with a sweater, jeans and sneakers. Accessorise up and the humble parka can hold it’s own in any company.

Pick A Parka: The Big Chill

“Help, I’m suffocating” “But they make me look big” “They aren’t flattering” ” I feel like the Michelin Man” “I’m too short”. 

These are all questions I have asked myself and been asked by others. The truth is parkas aren’t tailored wear and we don’t look our most svelte but I believe the designs are better than ever and we can look pretty good in the right one. For those of you braving sub-zero temperatures, Canada Goose or The North Face are the go-to brands. They are an investment for sure, but one of a lifetime. Their styles and fit are so much better than before and are actually pretty flattering.

With coats continually on my mind, today’s edit is for those who need to brave the elements. If you are travelling to Europe for the holidays, you most definitely need to pack one.

And don’t forget your knitted cape/ poncho for inside. Puffa, parka, cape or poncho – What’s in a name anyway? xv

Pick a Parka

the big chill

on sale vince down and feather fill  ||  the north face gotham  ||  the north face arctic   ||  larry levine quilted  ||  on sale lauren ralph lauren

the serious chill

rideau down fill  ||  lorette hooded ||  kensington hooded ||  shelburne hooded  ||  mystique slim fit

images of london,jan mojto 

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Mimi Gregor

Even though there is no way to look svelte in a parka, one doesn’t have to look dumpy in one. I find that knee-length, at least for me, works better than a longer one or a shorter one. A fur trimmed hood adds a glam touch as well as providing added warmth. Need I say that it’s black? Worn with something slim-cut on the bottom (whether trousers or a pencil skirt and boots), it manages to not look dumpy. A full skirt or trousers would change the proportions, mind you, and then all bets would be off!


Yes.. knee length is good, Mimi… I also love khaki… but black.. well .. we never go wrong with our all black.. :)
I do try and move away but it’s tough… summer is when I throw my classic caution to the wind ;)


YES, YOU NEED THE PUFFER for warmth!!!!!!!
I received the GREEN SISLEY eye pencil and I LIKE IT!!!!!!!!!!!


I agree ,Vicki. If you want to stay warm, a park is a must have but for the fashion conscious, it can be challenging. I have been mulling the Canada Goose coats for a couple of years now. However, I was looking for one without the coyote fur. I finally bit the bullet and bought the CG Kinley from Nordstrom in gray. After getting it home I gave it a test on a 10 degree wind chill day in the back yard. It was definitely warmer than any coat I have tried and also kept the wind out. Inside it felt too hot so for running errands and in the car I thought it was too warm. I also thought the gray was drab and it felt heavy. I will be returning it and have ordered the Rideau in black. I think it will be less heavy because it’s a few inches shorter and it seems to be more feminine in it’s cut with more of a waistline. It arrives tomorrow. I’ll let you know!

Linda B

I gave away my down parka when I moved here from Minnesota to Arizona 29 years ago. Also, I gave away the Persian lamb coat my mother had passed on to me–it was something she got as a newlywed, when she moved to the Midwest from California, in 1955. Those two coats were certainly not flattering or stylish in any conventional way, but it was so worth it to be warm when the temperatures were down below 0 F! (Well, the fur coat, with its white mink collar, was stylish when it was new, of course.) If I lived up there now, I would totally get one of these new-generation of down coats.


LindaB … I did the same thing this past year .. to a degree. I saved the newest most fabulous coats, after moving from NY to Fl .. knowing that you never know what will happen and you will need a good warm winter coat :) (like move back to NY)

candice f

I have the Shelbourn hooded parka … when we came back to the United States to live, I knew I would need warm coats for NY winters .. little did I know that one winter was all I had before moving South ! with closets full of lovely warm sweaters and coats lol

Anne Woodyard (@MusicandMarkets)

Oh I can so relate to your love of winter! I grew up in warm climates as well – California, then Ecuador, and am still, in my 60s, delighted by the seasons which I did not get to see until I was nearly 30! My adult children, however, grew up in the DC area, where I now live when not in our Aix home, and moved to parts south (Florida and Texas) as soon as they could! They’re happy to be relatively warm all year! Whereas I’m enjoying the chill of the season at the moment…


I’m a coat fanatic! Coats of all types are one of my main reasons for loving cold weather. Now you have tempted me with this post, hum that puffer looks soooo cozy.

Anne Hamper

I love your blogs even though living at the bottom of Africa a lot of the fashion stuff doesn’t really apply. But I have gained a wealth of other useful information from you.
But to my mind the pages lack one thing – PHOTOGRAPHS OF YOU!!! For example you talk often about grey hair – I want to see what yours looks like as I am still tinting and can’t relate to a film star with a personal daily hairdresser.


I understand, Anne.. I am not very happy in front of the lens but next year I aim to try and master that.. ha ha.. I’m much happier talking my way through.. ;)
You can see the grey on my Insta page – sometimes it makes an appearance there ;)

Vicki Ford

Anne is right! You are such a pretty lady Mrs Archer, you should post more pics of yourself. It makes us smile to see you.


Great choices! I love coats too even though I am in Florida. :)

I’ve been waiting for your Christmas list! That’s one of my favorite things to read this time of year.


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The Cape on vickiarcher.com
The Cape: One Way To Wrap Up For The Holidays