Clothing, Coats & Jackets

You’d never guess I liked it: The Parka - (archived)

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I have a huge soft spot for the parka. It goes against just about everything that I love in fashion – it’s quite masculine, oversize and screams ‘utility’ not ‘pretty’, but there is something about the artful way in which a really stylish woman can pull off such a functional piece of clothing that I really love. This stems back to about 2007, when The Sartorialist posted a picture of a glam woman in killer heels topped with a massive parka. It’s not a look I could pull off, but ‘Parka on Heels‘ became a bit of fixation of mine. There was even a sequel…

The parka also has a bit of a bohemian vibe, and as much as I say every year that I’m ‘over’ boho, we all know that’s a lie. In Winter it’s easier for me to do the smarter, fitted dress thing. In Summer you will eventually find me in some kind of a slippy little dress, flat sandals, mismatched jewellery and an ill-advised scarf, with my hair in it’s natural wavy shag, pretending it’s just because I’m hot. Secretly, I love that lazy festival look, even if I don’t like the associated chemical toilets, rowdy groups of lads, cramped campsites and cider in plastic cups. Oh, ok, I like the cider in plastic cups.

The king of the boho parka is my beloved Matthew Williamson, of course. Nobody does Ibiza festival babe like him, and I bow down to his unique ability to chuck a massive hooded coat over a diaphanous evening gown. Sequins and khaki canvas? Why not? Fur-trimmed puffa with a floral mini? Bien sur!

So why am I banging on about this now? Because of this…

Ever since I saw the first pictures of Simply Be’s Angel Ribbons collection I’ve been fixating on this parka. The perfect mix of utility and pretty thanks to its tiered shape and lacy trim, I loved it instantly. Then the above shot, from the press lookbook, hit the web and I knew I had to have it.

Now obviously Frugal Feb meant I couldn’t buy it this month, but the incredibly generous Simply Be angels heard my cries and sent me it to try out. Many, many thanks to them for feeding my obsession! It’s a bit light for the current weather, but this will no doubt become one of my must-haves in Spring. It’ll definitely come in handy when I go to Melbourne in May and experience the famous four seasons in one day, especially as it’s light and easy to pack, but has a hood for any unexpected downpours.

Just to tie the whole post together, I’m wearing the coat over a dress by Matthew Williamson (from his collection for H&M).

I love the shape and the detail on the coat, and the sizing is good – quite generous so you can wear more than just a floaty dress underneath if you want to. The sleeves are long but can be rolled up which I think looks much better. It’s quite full in the bottom and sits in an almost A-line shape which is very pretty and great if you’re bigger around the bum and hips! I would have loved if the waist was drawstring like the neckline so I could cinch it in, but that’s a minor detail! If you fancy it yourself, the Angel Ribbons Parka is £45 at Simply Be

Disclosure: The coat was a gift from Simply Be, but the opinions are my own and I wasn’t paid to write this point. The catwalk images come from

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  • Reply Ria Cagampang February 13, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I live in my parka, it goes with everything in my wardrobe and is perfect for the Spring showers season 🙂

  • Reply Tweets that mention You’d never guess I liked it: The Parka | Big Girls Browse -- February 14, 2011 at 10:29 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Simply Be and Emma Nisbet, Gemma. Gemma said: New post – You'd never guess I liked it: the parka (feat @simplybeuk fabulousness) […]

  • Reply Janie Garcia July 26, 2011 at 10:01 am

    i want to order this, but they don’t have my exact size. based on fit, do you recommend i go a size smaller or larger?

    • Reply Gemma July 26, 2011 at 10:07 am

      Hi Janie, I’d say go down a size – it’s quite generous, especially through the waist, and made to be worn quite lose with a swingy feel so a smaller size would probably still fit but just be a bit more tailored.

      However if you’re particularly big in the bust or if you plan on wearing heavy layers under it, it might be better to go up and get a really slouchy fit.

      • Reply Janie Garcia July 27, 2011 at 12:03 am

        thanks for getting back to me so soon! i couldn’t make a decision to save my life… so i bought both sizes. hopefully the decision process will be much easier when it comes to which one to return. 🙂

        i’m just glad it’s available again. when i first looked into it, it was sold out. and, it was only 44 American dollars.

        Thanks again!

        • Reply Janie Garcia August 4, 2011 at 6:12 am

          i got my parka today! the size 20 (the smaller) fits great… even has some room for layering still! so glad they didn’t have my usual size, ’cause it would have been way to big. i’ve been drooling over this parka for so long and am so glad i own it now. thanks again for the help!

          i’ll be thinkin’ of ya (not in a creepy way) when i wear it!  🙂

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