There are plenty of places to pick up an authentic Mod parka – and a few variations to consider.
Funnily enough, despite being one of those ‘trademarks’ of Mod, you don’t see a lot of people wearing a parka these days. They became a cliche and the kind of thing you would see on a ’ticket’ rather than a smart dresser.
Yes, they are all over Quadrophenia and they were worn in the 1960s as both a sign of your youth cult and a practical piece of outerwear to keep the elements off you when you were out riding your scooter.
When the 1979 Mod revival landed, the parka was everywhere, from the high street to the schoolyard. An affordable accessory from the army and navy store (and later specialist Mod stores) that again signified your tribe. But once the initial revival was over in the 1980s, the Mod scene went more underground, Parkas were still worn by some people but clothing became more of a ‘thing’ like the original 1960s scene. People wanted to be sharp and stand out from the crowd. A parka wasn’t necessarily part of that ‘get up’.
That trend has continued really. There are so many outerwear options out there, especially when it comes to a classic look. A 1960s-style raincoat (like the Harry Palmer raincoat from Lancashire Pike for example) just looks sharper with formal wear. The parka is still here, but it’s less common on the Mod scene that it once was. Saying that it’s still practical if you do want to keep the wind and rain off you, even if it isn’t the smartest item out there.
Still want one? They are easy to pick up. The classic army and navy store has died a bit of a death on the high street, but the internet has picked up where it left off.
If you want a vintage one, there are plenty available to buy on eBay. Have a browse here and there’s every chance you can pick one up pretty cheaply off someone who is having a wardrobe clearout.
If you want one new, I would recommend having a look at the Fishtail Parkas website. They stock all the classic parkas, which are the M-1949, the M-1951 and the M-1965. Those numbers based on the year they were introduced.
If you have a Quadrophenia fixation, the one you want is the M-1951 (aka M51). A basic one is available from £95. The one at the top of the page (and further down) is a variation on the theme, a hand-painted design inspired by Quadrophenia album. That one costs £145. Premium finishes go for even more money.
Basically, have a look at the Fishtail Parkas website or check out the eBay link above if you want a bargain.
If you want something cool for the scooter, I would recommend the Mick GT scooter smock by Connection Clothing, a remake of a less-obvious design from the past.