Over the winter, quite a few readers have asked what I wear for very cold weather.
If it’s formal, the answer is a simple variation on the coats we’ve already featured: a heavyweight overcoat like my 30oz from Sartoria Ciardi, for instance, but layered up.
Those layers might be a vest, a shirt and a 4-ply knit. For the coldest weather, the vest could be merino, the shirt heavy, and the knit a cashmere roll neck. The gloves, scarf and hat might be heavier too. I have a fur hat from Eggert that gets an outing on days like that.
I might even, in extremis, try to get a fur liner under the overcoat – like my recycled mink one. But I’ve never needed to wear down just for the warmth.
Down parkas always looked a little odd with tailoring to me. They can, in some cases, be an effective form of high/low dressing. But an unusual, stylish-because-unexpected look is not really what guys are after when they ask about deep-winter clothing. They want something they can wear easily every day.
The only time I wear down is casually – in a gilet like this from Real McCoy’s, or my old Everest parka from Nigel Cabourn. Which is what this article is about.
I bought the parka in 2014. It was a huge amount of money for me at the time, but really felt like an investment. There was clearly a lot going on with it, in terms of the materials and the details, and it was something that would keep me warm in a way that nothing else I had would.
In the eight years since, that has proved true. I’ve worn it every winter – including in Swedish and New York winters – and it has both kept me warm and given me pleasure.
The first should be a given, but the second isn’t necessarily. Part of the joy for me comes from the down: quality down is a lovely thing to put on in cold weather – it feels basically like getting into bed and putting your duvet back on – and this is 100% goose down.
But there are other goose-down jackets. I think the Cabourn model is separated more by the other materials – the use of Ventile cotton for the shell and sheepskin in the hood – and then the lovely design details.
Ventile, as most readers will know, is a densely woven cotton that is designed to expand when it gets wet, to become waterproof. It will never be quite as waterproof as a synthetic, but I’ve worn this for extended periods in absolute downpours with no issues.
And it is a lot nicer to wear than a synthetic shell.
It is cotton, like your T-shirt, like your chinos, and is that much nicer to wear. It doesn’t rustle when you wear it, it softens over time, and it even looks better with age.
Look at the close-ups of my pocket edges in the image above. This slow fading after years of wear is personal and beautiful. It’s like whiskered jeans or shoes with patina.
Ventile is a material to enjoy like any other we discuss, whereas Gore-Tex, as functional as it might be, is not.
Skiing jackets in the mould of Eddie Bauer have become popular recently, driven by the ‘gorpcore’ trend but also probably by the popularity of vintage generally. The problem is, those old jackets and gilets look great because they were cotton, and faded. Newer versions are synthetic and don’t look the same.
The sheepskin lining on the back of the Everest hood is genius. It basically acts like a half scarf, hugging the back of your neck even when the coat is open.
That sheepskin is actually one of the key reasons I prefer this to the Arctic down jacket from Real McCoy’s. I also prefer the Ventile and goose rather than duck down, but I’d miss the feeling on the back of my neck in particular.
The Cabourn is also more engineered. The Everest neck and hood has essentially four different heights of fastening: zipping up, a button placed a little higher, the throat latch fastened with a wooden toggle (above), and then closing the hood itself.
When the hood is closed, it has the ‘snorkel’ look of enclosing the face entirely. I’ve only needed that once, while on holiday in Massachusetts in the falling snow. But I did enjoy doing so.
More details. The horn buttons are leather backed. The drawstring at the waist is made from a heavy-duty canvas that doesn’t fold when you pull or tie it. The bottom hem has a slight elastication that keeps the jacket snug under your bum, stopping air getting in.
It’s a very well-thought-out coat, and the beauty of the ‘How things great age’ series is that I can say so after 8 years of wear, rather than relying on review and analysis.
The drawstring is nice tied loosely instead of a waist button, as I’ve shown above. It looks retro, perhaps, but it’s also functional as it keeps all the warm air in your back, even if the front is open.
If you can’t be bothered with that tie every time, I found it also works to knot the cord on each side, to retain the cinch, and just use the buttons or zip to fasten the front. That’s what I do most of the time.
The Everest parka is very expensive – today it’s £2500. But the best evidence that I think it’s worth it, after my many years of wear, is that I’m about to buy it all over again.
This coat is a size 48. It has always felt big enough, and been warm enough. But recently, I tried on a friend’s size 50 and it felt better. It didn’t look oversized in the body, and it gave me an extra couple of inches in the length, meaning that it dropped decidedly below my seat, rather than only just doing so. It felt more enveloping.
So I’m buying that size 50 from him (he, too, is buying another Cabourn) and selling mine. It is on sale now, on Marrkt (NOW SOLD).
I really hope it goes to a good owner. It has served me very well over the years, and is just as functional as the day I bought it. On a cold December day in Covent Garden.
Stylistically, by the way, I usually wear more colour with casual, outdoorsy clothes like this – certainly much more than with tailoring.
That might be a faded red or green sweatshirt, but it’s more often accessories, like the bright-red PS watch cap shown higher up, or the yellow gloves above.
With the yellow gloves I’d wear a navy watch cap, to give the gloves more pop. But the red hat is also nice with tan colours, like tobacco peccary gloves.
That goes for boots too. Color 8 cordovan is great with this outfit, but a warmer colour like snuff suede is even better. This is the tanker boot from Alden, which Drake’s offered as a collaboration last year, on the Barrie last with a crepe sole. I wasn’t sure about the crepe at first, but I don’t mind it with a casual look like this.
Off-white socks go with the outdoors aesthetic as well. Although I’m not about to tuck my trousers in.
Current Everest parkas from Nigel Cabourn cost £2500. The colour shown here is navy-black.
Simon’s parka is on sale on Marrkt here. (Now sold)
Other clothes worn: 12oz sweatshirt from The Real McCoy’s, chinos from The Armoury (old style), ribbed socks from Anonymous Ism. Gloves from Mazzoleni, T-shirt from Allevol.
Photography: Mohan Singh
Good review. Looks great- just need to stop myself buying it in “classic outdoor” orange!!
Funny, I am about to hit “Buy” on the orange myself. Simon, do you think that’s too loud of a color for this kind of item? I know it a matter or person taste, but curious…..
I wouldn’t say so, no. It’s so casual that no subtlety is necessarily expected, and it’s a lot less loud for being in cotton rather than synthetic.
Looks great – thoughtful review and cool photography. Aside from the parka, the rest of the outfit, and the accents, really work. I think those boots look terrific and prefer them to the Vibergs you’ve written about in the past. Still dubious about suede in wet British winter weather, though (even more the case in the north of England than London). That said they somehow ‘ground’ everything else very well in this article. Can you tell us more about your feelings on crepe soles? For instance, desert boots may be one thing, but do you think they work well on a more substantial winter boot like this? What about loafers? (thinking Drake’s again, here).
With suede, I would say the big difference is mud rather than rain. Suede boots can get wet all the time, and they’ll be fine. Certainly as good as most leathers. But if you’re walking the dog in the park, or running around with the kids in the park, then the mud is the pain. Hard to let dry, brush off and so on. If you do that a lot, you’re better with waxed suede/leather, cordovan etc.
On crepe soles, I’m not generally a fan and I would usually avoid them. I certainly would on loafers. But these boots are big enough that it’s not as much of an issue. I don’t mind it so much.
Hello – I would warn against crepe soles on shoes to be regularly worn in winter. I write from experience of a pair of Church shoes I loved which had crepe soles and so I wore them frequently. The soles wore flat relatively quickly and so became extremely slippery on wet pavements and shiny tiled floors (eg train stations, hotel reception areas etc). I learned the very painful way they can be dangerous in such conditions and so I now avoid any shoes with crepe soles.
Seeing how good your gloves look, it’s persuaded me to consider a pair of Hestra Deerskin Rib Gloves. Are your gloves down filled,Simon? The Hestra have Primaloft and wonder if they are too warm for everyday.
No, just cashmere lined, but my hands get pretty hot (like my feet) so I don’t really need much insulation most of the time
I own a pair of Hestra Deerskin gloves with Primaloft and do find them a bit too warm for anything but the most bitingly cold weather (increasingly rare here where I live in London). I have another pair of Hestras without the Pimaloft insulation which I get more use out of.
Thanks Alex,I suspected as much. I will go for the Primaloft free version.
I own a pair of Hestra Elk Skin Gloves. Elk is extremely thick hide and naturally insulting. They look identically to the yellow gloves in this article.
Nigel Cabourn appeared as a guest on a recent edition of Jeremy Kirkland’s Blamo Podcast and discussed the development of the Everest Parka. Well worth a listen, he was a very entertaining guest.
Aha, thanks, missed that one
Can i say it doesn’t look especially aged which would make me think you must only wear it a couple of times a year? With that in mind i would if the price tag does actually represent good value for money in terms of cost per wear. It also looks rather short. I am not sure how keen i am on that length. It appears simultaneously either to short or to long.
I’d say it gets worn 30-40 times a year, so not a lot compared to some things, no. It’s also only going to show wear at those edges really.
If you live in the UK, it’s certainly not something you need as a first or second winter coat. But as something in a bigger collection it works well I think, and obviously much more required if you’re in New York, Scandinavia etc.
On the length, yes I agree it’s a bit short – hence swapping for the larger size.
Based upon the Uk climate i would estimate it would only really be appropriate Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb. 40 times would suggest therefor 10 days a months or 30% of the time. That seems rather allot, are you sure thats correct? One would assume that with the volume of clothes that you own any one garements is unlikely to be worn more that 20% of the time.
Mmm, perhaps, but certainly 30. It is my default piece for really cold weather casually, and has been for a while. I have more smart clothes!
Thank you for the article. I would have dismissed the garment from looking online and while I think if I wanted to a get a new deep winter garment I’d be more likely to get a super toasty sheepskin, this certainly gave me a better appreciation for what the parka offers and why it might be desirable.
On balance, I think I’d still pick something else first (e.g. Cromford’s Eastwood in a more subdued material) but that’s because I think a smarter sheepskin would work better with most of my wardrobe rather than because the parka is “wrong” or poor value. I suspect over the years the value of the parka would become more and more obvious… especially as cold muddy adventures become more common than trips into town when it is freezing cold.
As separate observations: (1) thank you for the comment above about suede in the rain vs in the mud – that’s very helpful; and (2) this article was a really good insight into a garment that I’d not thought about before – I don’t really understand why companies don’t tend to do something similar (which I suppose, is your common refrain about them not really talking about product)!
Can i say it doesn’t look especially aged which would make me think you must only wear it a couple of times a year? With that in mind i would if the price tag does actually represent good value for money in terms of cost per wear. It also looks rather short. I am not sure how keen i am on that length. It appears simultaneously either to short or to long.
Living in Canada, a good parka is essential. And my main complaint about so many of them is the length. Very few even cover the seat as far as Simon’s does. In fact many of the men’s parkas sold here only reach to the waist, leaving your bum and thighs to freeze, especially if there is any wind.
The Everest looks good in so many respects but I think I would find it to short for our winters.
Nigel Cabourn also sells the newer Antarctic parka, which shares a lot of the details with the Everest parka (e.g. sheepskin inside the hood, coyote fur trim, Ventile) but it’s in a longer length for that extra warmth.
Looks very warm!
Canada Goose for me.
Gilet indoors and a Parka or Borden Bomber for outside. With my 45 year old, lambs wool scarf from Austin Reed.
In my humble opinion I think this very casual, outdoor look would look great with Red Wings Heritage boots instead.
Yeah, Red Wings are great too – I prefer the suede and the slightly slimmer last, but it’s not a big thing
I gritted my teeth due to the expense and bought a Cabourn Everest parka too 6 years ago. It makes me smile every time I look at it hanging up and leaves me sincerely content every time the weather gets cold enough to wear it. To echo Simon, each design element adds significantly to its value. My only problem with it is that the mild winters we are now having in the U.K., are not producing enough cold days for me to wear it.
Yeah, not good days for menswear – everything casual, everything warm!
I bust out the long underwear aka leg rollnecks around -5C. Game changer.
Nice parka, will see if it fits on my student line of credit.
I’m Canadian (-26 Celsius today!) and spent a few years living in a temperate part of Germany and I’ve come to realise just how much the climate impacts differences in fashion and clothes between the continents. Even just the money required to have extra clothes set aside for a cold winter has an impact, and the salt / slush / dirt is a real impediment to wearing anything remotely delicate outside even when it isn’t so cold.
I have a beautiful bespoke Ulster coat which served me very well in Germany but I need to wait for a nice day here to be able to wear it. Until then I’m wearing my massive Canada Goose parka, which has served me well down into the minus 30s.
One time I was in London and popped into PWVC to try on a moleskin jacket. The staff warned me it might be a little bit too warm to wear for winter.
Thanks for this post Simon, great to see how, where and when you wear this! I’ve tried on both the Everest and Antarctic Parka’s in Cabourn’s store; they ooze quality and I think the design has been unchanged in a good few years. On balance I preferred the belt on the Antarctic, but the lesser bulk and lighter Everest; I guess the cream canvas drawstring could be replaced with an equivalent Navy one, perhaps with similar toggles to the neck cinch? I do note that Timothy Everest offered a nice Ventile Duck Down parka a couple of seasons back but obviously not to the same quality as Cabourn, and there is also the PWVC Ventile Frobisher version.
Simon, twelve years ago while in Quebec City, the high temperature was 15 F – in desperantion, I purchased a Kanuk “Patrouilleur” designed to 25 degrees below zero. I still wear ir here in Massachusetts in the winter as my “go to jacket.” I highly recommend Kanuk as both effective and with their newer lines, more stylish. Their coats have beautifully engineered high collars. They are entirely made in Quebec – Montreal. They are for serious cold.
By the way – a great series on our favorites – I have note a least 10 stores to investigate.
Thanks Jack, and thanks for the recommendation on Kanuk
where do you see differences between Cabourn’s parka and a “cheaper” (I guess not the correct term for a parka around 600£) alternative like Holubar’s deer hunter parka?
I don’t know that model, but from what I can see from the site, the differences are pretty large, and are mostly the ones I mention in the piece.
The Cabourn is:
– Ventile, rather than laminated cotton
– Goose down, rather than down/feather, and Holubar not even all any type of down, or much of it from the images that I can see
– No wool in the collar, no fur trim, no horn buttons, no leather backing, no wooden toggles
– The Holubar is much less engineered, so a lot fewer parts and make
To be honest I’m not sure it’s that useful a comparison. The Holubar is not really a deep-winter coat from what I can see, and most of the materials are different.
As ever, that doesn’t mean you need those extras, or should pay for them, but those are the differences.
Good morning Simon,
fair enough! Thank you for your detailed comparisons!
Have a great “winter” day
I have the Holubar North Hunter and can confirm it’s a very warm coat, I can’t wear it when the temperature is much above 7C and even then I can wear just a shirt or a light knit underneath.
The North Hunter model has an alpaca lining in the hood similar to the sheepskin lining in the Cabourn
I tried on the Everest parka and loved it but couldn’t justify the price for a coat so plumped for the Holubar. Admittedly no Ventile or leather backings or wood but at a quarter of the price I was happy to compromise and I still have a warm stylish parka which I love wearing.
Thanks Darren, good to hear
Same Ben here who’s been hounding you of late about heavy cashmere overcoating (side note: I may end up participating in the London Lounge’s new “Everest” cashmere run; 1000g should should be enough 😂).
This exact parka, albeit with an orange lining, is my primary coat for typical winter days here in Minneapolis – i.e., when it doesn’t get above about 25°F (-5°C).
And to be clear, it is absolutely bulletproof even when it gets *truly* cold – which can mean close to -30°F (-35°C).
And yet, as you note, it has incredible detailing and true style – the only example of extreme clothing like that.
Incidentally, I too tend to wear yellow deerskin mittens with it (from LL Bean).
Based on the photos, I agree with your decision to go up a size. It looks just fine on you in the 48, but really it’s supposed to be a bit oversized, primarily for function but also aesthetically. Wear the new one in good health!
Thank you Ben, and good to know on the functionality. I think I’ve reached -10 at the most!
To me that’s close to the *warmest* weather in which I’d wear it – and that’s with nothing more than an oxford shirt underneath! 😂
An interesting exploration on the other end of its range would be when you’d really be better off with the Cabourn *Antarctic* parka – now that thing is an absolute BEAST. I think you’d probably need to live in Alaska or Siberia…
Fully agree on the great feeling of putting your duvet back on that one gets from a down jacket. My preferred winter coat is a Canada Goose jacket with Loro Piana StormSystem wool instead of the synthetic outer material, that I bought while in Russia several years ago.
Very nice. I’d love a parka like that, but the price is just plain absurd.
I hope you don’t mind me picking up on this Karol, but I don’t think it’s helpful to call it absurd. It’s one of the finest pieces you can get in this category, more money is spent on product than with any designer brand, and its quality has been proved personally by me and others I know that own them.
You can argue that one person shouldn’t spend that amount given their income, absolutely, but much less about the value. It’s good to differentiate there, and to leave comments that are a bit more nuanced in that way too.
I don’t mind. Besides, I’m not the one to tell others how much should they spend on clothing – it’s just that I wouldn’t pay this much money, even if I could afford it. I’d rather try my luck with vintage and thrift.
Good to know Karol, and of course you can spend your money on whatever you want. It’s just more interesting if comments are more substantial than just saying things are absurd.
You are right. Calling the price absurd was just my opinion, but since there are plenty of people trying to pass their opinions as facts, I should have made it clear.
Thanks Karol. I didn’t want to make too much of it, I just think that opinions which are more reasoned and less emotional are more interesting to everyone –
and that must be the point of the comments section if there is one
Hi Simon. Love the red watch cap . Such a cheerful colour. Just checking out your Instagram photos. Was at Sheff Hallam Uni back in the 80’s and met some wonderful people. Brings back some great memories of Steel City . Trust you have had a lovely day.
Thank you Daniel, we really did. Jojo is a gent and that little area of Sheffield is lovely. Great doughnuts, coffee, fish (not in that order)
I know you are partnered with PWVC and have few items in PS shop made from Ventile so it might be sensitive topic but I feel it needs to be explored.
On a blog post a very damning information is posted about Ventile, what are your thoughts on this. Please visit: https://welldresseddad.com/2017/05/20/ventile-ugly-facts-they-dont-tell-you/
In summary: modern Ventile is not same as the clever WW2 era British army design that got its waterproofing from double layer construction with outer side absorbing water to keep inner layer dry.
This new Ventile gets waterproofing from being coated by chemical that repels water, used by wide variety of brands on cold and wet weather outerwear. Now aside from this chemical potentially wearing off as garment ages there is an alarming risk of it being cancerous.
Not at all, happy to talk about it. In brief, yes the current construction is not the same as the original usually, and any suggestion it is is misleading. But that’s not what I have said, I don’t think, and it doesn’t affect the functionality of modern Ventile in my experience – which is all that really matters.
Also, the point of the ventile is not that it causes water to bead on the surface – just that it doesn’t let the water through. The inside is safe and dry.
As to the chemical being cancerous, last time I looked into it for other waterproof treatments, there wasn’t much evidence for this, and the treatment is not the virtue of the material in my view – nor is it being environmental, or woven in Britain.
I hope that helps
Thank you for replying Simon. To be fair I own a mac coat that is treated with the same chemical and it works great, I wear it multiple times in a week during winter. Still I can’t help but to feel a bit uncomfortable after reading about the potential risks.
Everest Parka itself is very desirable but definitely a luxury purchase for middle class Joe. While Canada Goose is seen as status symbol in many parts of the world, this really leaves it in dust. Lack of branding and wealth of detail do really elevate this into much more elegant alternative to CG.
I like the aesthetic and would get it in a heartbeat if I were not on a path to assemble classical wardrobe. If it’s between this coat or bespoke Ulster, the choice is clear. So for now my mac coat with warm liner has to do. Maybe one day.
Without this being a navel gazing exercise on Ventile:
I was part of a team who evaluated Ventile for RAF Survival Equipment. No Ventile has sufficient hydrostatic head(1000mm) to be classed as waterproof-the best is between 800 and 950,so should be described as water resistant or weatherproof. In comparison ,Gortex can reach 20000mm,so is certainly waterproof.
Of much more use is it’s ability to be windproof,soft and noise free, whilst still having a high degree of rain resistance. The best military smocks are double-Ventile . Having examined several WW2 and post war Ventile smocks they were regarded as primarily windproofs.
Modern Ventile is certainly effective, within its limitations, and more weatherproof, but there is always a fabric trade off somewhere. For instance , Gortex, being unpopular in the military for its limited windproof and noise.
As far as I know, the manufacturer has ceased ,or is to, cease using PFC. Although Simon’s may fall into the old category.
Thanks Peter, great to have someone that has worked on it in detail, and to know about PFC.
It’s probably worth saying again that I think guys often overemphasise the waterproof or not nature of coats like this. If you’re actually hiking or climing for hours, or camping and need things to dry quickly, then it becomes useful. But if you’re in heavy rain walking the dog for an hour, you really don’t need it. And I’d rather have a material that feels and looks better.
I know it might seem like a small point, but I do think it’s important because the trend to focus on these performance details is what kills good, traditional and natural materials, like wool in its various forms.
I quite agree. Natural fabrics are certainly the key to looking better. I will probably be buried in my PWVC Harrington. It’s a shame so many men won’t accept that a good wool coat will keep out most British weather.
But on the other hand, plenty of houses suffer from moisture in England during winter so drying is… prolonged. And you have one good “commuting” coat, got caught in rain and got soaked trough, do you really want to wear the same coat tomorrow?
So it’s not “getting wet while outside” that’s the problem. It’s finding a place to hang that coat for 2-3 days outside of wardrobe to dry that’s the inconvenience.
As for me, when walking during the rain, it’s one of two. Either wool is fine and I can do without umbrella, either for 30 min walk I need an umbrella and a proper raincoat or I’ll be soaked trough to the level I can squeeze water out of my shirt if I forgot the raincoat.
In the end, I guess everyone’s definition of “heavy rain” is different.
Thanks Martins. To be honest it’s so rare that I get really soaked that it’s not a problem. And wearing a different coat a handful of times a year is not really a problem
but you also never mentioned it’s “coated”, while mentioning it’s much nicer than bonded cottons, waxed cottons, and synthetic materials..
and only once did mention “it can be retreated”..
but that explains that you can only use wet brush to clean it…
No I didn’t Martins, but I didn’t go into that level of detail on any of the materials
I’ve never found parkas very appealing stylistically, but they’re the best for filling that niche of really warm, casual, lifestyle outerwear. And this is a great parka model.
There are now synthetic fillings that provide a better insulation/weight ratio than goose down and that enable slimmer parkas with much more attractive silhouettes than the puffy convention. Though I do still prefer non-synthetic shells for their appearance.
in winter this type of color stands out a lot during the day because it generates a great contrast, at night things change, although the snow is noticeable, the night sky visually enhances it .
This is a very nice parka, no doubt about that. However, I think there are some parkas out there [Rocky Mountain, a couple of Moncler, some Woolrich models and even some models selling on Cavour (obviously you have to be OK with synthetic)] which are more versatile, and can work on a greater variety of smart/casual outfits. Can even be pushed with tailoring for that ‘look’. The Everest, IMO, is limited to very casual outfits like the one you’re wearing here. So for me, that’s less bang for buck.
I know what you mean Zo about the styling. Obviously for me that’s not how I’d wear it and I don’t like that look with tailoring with any of these styles, but again it is personal.
I also think the amount that goes into this coat in terms of the details, functionality and engineering, particularly around the hood for example, is not something you find elsewhere. That doesn’t mean it’s something you want to pay for, of course, but that is what you’re paying for (along with the rather cheaper synthetic). Even with Rocky Mountain, I’d rather have a rough-our suede outer (as I have, an Amroury collab) than the synthetic.
The Manifattura Ceccarelli Alaska down parka is made in Forli, Italy, includes 90/10 European White Goose Down with Fill Power 800, has a dry waxed cotton shell and has a mid hip length. Seems like a better option.
Thanks Nunya. Personally I don’t like waxed cotton for a style like this, but that is personal. I also don’t think that’s as warm – there’s rather less down in there. Plus the points about the engineering etc, but that’s really about why the price is higher. Style is the main point really
Did you get The Real McCoy’s grey sweatshirt for yourself? What are your thoughts on it? Does it skew too much into the workwear realm or do you think is it still wearable as a standard option? How noticeable is the shade difference between the body of the sweatshirt and the collar/cuff?
There are three weights of McCoys sweatshirt, and this is the heaviest, the Ball Park model.
From a colour point of view, it’s perfect, and there isn’t much contrast at all between body and collar/cuff (that’s the lighter, loopwheel weight you’re probably thinking of).
However, it is shorter than the other two models, and shrinks a little after washing. It is also much heavier and stiffer than anything else. I love it, but I wouldn’t say it’s a great all-round option for most people.
Then it should be corrected to 12 oz in the post (instead of 10).
Hi Simon, any thoughts on this model vs the Antarctic Parka from Cabourn?
I haven’t worn it, but a reader just commented below saying how much warmer that one was
a great article, as always. How would you arrange your combination, if your parka is green?
What other colors are useful/usual for parkas in your opinion?
In germany there were old army parkas in nato olive often seen on the streets. A look I am not very fond of, often combined with light blue jeans. Sometimes you often steer into the german police look of the 70ies. The uniform consisted of a brownish tan trouser and a green jacket, which also looks paired not very nice.
So I prefer navy as first color for parkas. Charcoal and grey seem to be unusual.
I do have a vintage green parka, shown here.
Navy is certainly the easiest colour to wear, and I’d say that, grey, or something bright like the emergency orange
I remember this great article about your vintage parka. It seems, that grey trousers work good with the green parka. Maybe charcoal ones, too.
I suppose, that a grey parka suffers the same problem you once mentioned with chinos: You haven’t found an interesting one yet.
I don’t think that’s the case with the parka, no. I think the colour could be fine and interesting. It’s just limiting if you wear trousers as smart as these grey flannels with it.
Simon, I went to the Nigel Cabourn web site to check out their parkas and found that the fur on the Everest parka hood is coyote. The site claims it is ethically havested, but I am unsure if that disclaimer has any real meaning in regard to the killing of a wild animal. I wanted to ask you and your readers how they feel about wearing fur, even if it is vintage as you mention about mink. I want to stay away from animal rights, etc and concentrate on the more broadly philosophical aspect of wearing an animal skin as a decorative fashion or stylistic item. Obviously sheep skin and leathers were also animals and the discussion can get difficult quickly. One can argue that with vintage fur, well the animal is dead and the fur should be recycled and used, But for me, PS is so much about a genuine and reflective attitude about how we present ourselves that I am wondering how wearing fur generally fits within our discussions.
As always, your articles and advice are excellent as is the general quality of your readers comments.
Thanks Jack. We have written about this a few times before – see this article in particular
Wool rich artic parka imho looks better, can be somewhat dressed up and costs 1/3 of the Cabourn.
That model is smarter, you’re right. Though as with comparisons above, the price isn’t that useful to compare when the products are different in make, materials etc
Simon- mind my asking where that beefy shearling overshirt you were wearing in your IG photo hails from? I was toasty just looking at that thing. Thanks!
The black one? It’s from Real McCoy’s and actually not shearling, just wool. A recreation of a what a ‘fleece’ would originally have been perhaps.
It was from a previous season though, I don’t believe they sell it any more.
In Norway they have a saying. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes”
If you want a coat as a fashion statement, then this may be it.
If you want something to protect yourself from the elements, the Shackleton Endurance parka is the one to go for. And it’s about £1000 cheaper that your designer piece.
Thank you Peter. To be honest, I’m not quite sure I understand the point on functionality – this parka is extremely warm, and most readers’ feedback has been that actually it’s too warm to be be worth it most places. There is also an even warmer Cabourn should you want something warmer.
There’s certainly a point to be made about the value of Cabourn, and I’d want a good £500 off the price if I could. But at the same time, there’s not much point really comparing it to something like the Endurance that is so different in terms of the materials or the various design elements.
My point is quite simple really. If you are buying a piece of clothing to do a really good job of keeping you warm in harsh conditions, there’s is little to be said for “design elements” unless you are hung upon that kind of thing.
You can look really good in something for £1000 less and keep super warm etc, etc, etc, so why not?
I stood at the end of the ski jump in Holmenkollen for 8 hours, wearing merino leggings and long sleeved merino t- shirt, lightweight trousers and top, hat and gloves, and never felt the cold. Had I been wearing your bulky Cabourn coat I would have felt swamped and constricted in something that just did not fit in.
If you’re going for a walk in the UK countryside in a freezing January, you don’t need to do it in a £2300 designed coat frankly.
I can see that emphasis on practicality Peter, but when I buy clothing I also want to wear a style I like, and I want it to be something I enjoy wearing a lot too. Practicality is important, but only one factor.
I don’t think the other coats mentioned here either look as good or I would enjoy wearing them as much.
Great article and very good timing as I have been looking for a pull on and go warm coat (for next winter season). So, some questions if that’s ok?
Many thanks in advance.
Of course, no problem.
1. I find it’s fine for that, yes. Though I do find that the unpredictability of the British winter means you could quite easily find there are much more or fewer cold days like that. Oh, and it depends where in the UK you are. Being in the countryside further north is very different to being in London. Lots of other places have had snow, we haven’t.
2. I think the light grey is the best choice probably, if the blue/black would be close to too many other things you wear
Thank you for this article.
As other readers suggested I think Artic Parka from Woolrich is a great option if it’s in Loro Piana Wool. Have you seen them? What are your thoughts?
I don’t doubt your parka is great but I would like to know what you think about this cheaper option (Woolrich in Loro Piana Wool).
Thank you and best regards,
I have tried that parka, but it was a few years ago Gio – I’m afraid I don’t remember clearly enough to speak from personal experience.
I would say, though, that I don’t particularly like wool outers on coats like this, because it can make them look like they’re trying to be something smart, but aren’t really because of their proportions. I’d prefer a more casual option or an overcoat, myself
Hi Simon are black velvet slippers suitable attire for a black tie wedding.
Do you have any other suggestions please
The classic footwear is a black oxford – as simple as possible, no broguing etc, and highly polished.
Patent oxfords is a fallback, but I don’t like a plastic coating myself.
Slippers are really better suited to more casual or alternative black tie, or to a velvet jacket.
Apologies for the very specific question, but when you say vest, do you mean specifically a sleeveless undershirt or any undershirt? And if you do mean sleeveless, particularly for warmth, why sleeveless over short or even long sleeved? Would it be a issue of bulk or overly warm underarms?
Any undershirt, though usually mine are sleeveless – it’s easier from a bulk perspective
That’s wildly over-priced for mere goose down. At that price, a coat should be filled with eider duck down, which is the finest of all. It’s hand-harvested from the nests of wild ducks, sustainably.
Thanks Manolo. There’s obviously more than one thing contributing to the price, but that’s for the note about the down
Was just going to say that you might look better sized up…and there you’ve done it!
My Charles coat in navy Ventile from The Armoury is in its second winter and really starting to come into its own. The fading really starts to show on the edges of the collar and cuffs to give it a worn-in yet crisp look. With the faux fur liner it’s a winner for winter until it’s truly frigid.
The down to feathers ratio is a key factor with down outerwear. My Klattermusen coats have a 93/7 ratio, which is an unusually high down content.
As a result of this article I went to the website. Like many labels now it has a rather idiosyncratic idea of “fit”. I am not sure if average shoppers would obtain a more conventional fit than the models, but it is very puzzling, especially in the context of the attention to fit here, and the price of the clothing.
Have you tried the PW Frobisher parka and how does it compare with the Cabourn? The PW is also made with Ventile and also has a shearling around the collar. The Frobisher is significantly cheaper, especially if you get it on sale. (It’s usually available for 40% off, ie around $1050, if you buy it during one of the big sales, like the post NYE sale.)
The Frobisher is nice, but it’s almost a different style, much slimmer and less insulated. It doesn’t compare on the down and engineering points I don’t think. Still great value for what it is though
Have you ever considered the Private White VC Frobisher? It has many similarities such as the use of ventile, shearling and a well-thought-out design. It’s also a little longer. The main difference is in their use of wool instead of down to provide the insulation allegedly because wool moves less and it regulates temperature better. It’s also a tad cheaper (when in stock).
I talk about that above in the comments Noel. It’s a good coat, but given the lack of down I don’t think it’s that comparable
I guess the question is if a larger amount of wool (down insulated more per weight) is a good substitute and /or provides other benefits.
I think that becomes too heavy, which is why down is used. Of course, as noted above, you might not need that amount of warmth, but if you do want it, down really is the best way to do it
Simon, would you wear the orange version of this parka? If so, what would you wear it with (color-wise)? Thanks
Yes I would, though I’d worry a little that it would be a bit much if I lived somewhere where I would wear it quite a lot, as in most days through the winter.
I’d wear it with pretty much anything, but it would look great with olive chinos or mid-blue jeans
Hi, I have a very specific question about this cost. Can you please share if your interior zippers are riri? The main zipper on my coat is riri but the interior zippers are ykk. I thought it was odd that two different zippers were used and wondering how yours is set up. I bought this second hand so there’s always a chance this may not be authentic.
in addition, the tag says ‘do not wash, do not dry clean.’ Have you washed your coat? If so, how did you clean?
thanks for your time!
My interior ones are YKK too actually. It is a little odd, they don’t feel the best quality in the world. Not bad at all, just not almost over-specced in the way the rest of the coat is.
I haven’t cleaned it I’m afraid, no. Wiping the outside whenever it got muddy etc has always been fine
Thanks for the reply Simon.
Relieved to hear that you also have the RiRi/YKK set up on your coat. I’ve never had a YKK zipper fail on me and they are usually high quality so not overly concerned about it too much. I am curious why they mixed zipper brands on the coat though.
I’m going to try hand wipe the cuffs and other slightly dirty areas and do my best to clean that way!
I hope it works. Warm water and a little soap is fine – it’s cotton remember
I recently came across graphene used as a a material inside a coat from Turnbull and Asser. I wonder whether anyone has experience of this. Or is this just a passing fad?
I’m looking at getting a pair of the Mazzoleni Joe Peccary Gloves. I’ve measured my hand and it comes in around 8.25″ which is just below the size 8. From your experience should I go with the size 8 or should I size down?
I’d see if you can order both sizes and return one. I find one size fits my palm best often, but another fits the length of my fingers. When I find that, I would size up and get the larger size that’s right for my longer fingers. But you might have different fit issues to me
Can you tell me the size of yours RMC sweatshirt?
Thanks in advance.
Medium, though I prefer a Large in the hoodies
Beautiful parka, however there is one thing that would hold me back from buying it – the colllar/zip. It’s probably a very personal opinion, but I don’t like the fact that the zip only goes just above the chest and not further up like a proper storm collar. That would provide so much more warmth and comfort than the simple flap, they are using here.
@Simon, what do you think about TenC? I have recently come across some of their parkas and jackets. Even though they are made of synthetics, their OJJ and Nylon Tactel cloth feel amazing and not synthetic at all. I also really like their designs and versatility.
Would be interesting to hear your opinion on this.
There are two extra layers of buttoning up on the collar actually, which mean it will go up even above your chin. They’re just not both visible here.
I like what TenC are doing, but the synthetics put me off. They do feel different to many others, but it’s just not the same as something waxed or ventile, which will age and gain character.
Hi Simon, great review but has left me slightly intrigued why you have sized up. I presume the pictures in the article are of the size 48, which in my opinion fits you well. I’ve just purchased a used orange one in size 50 (I’m a true size 40 chest) and was debating whether to size down. I’m more used to fitted garments and this is the first real padded parka i have purchased. The sleeve length is fine and when the waist cord is tightened it fits well. I was curious as to what your reasoning were!
One other issue i have is that the zip may need a repair but I’ve no idea where you can get this done as i believe the Nigel Cabourn shop has now closed.
I think it’s partly a question of style, Stuart, and partly one of practicality. There’s nothing wrong with how the parka here fits, except that it doesn’t look quite right for the style of how the coat is designed to be worn. It’s meant to be big, so the down isn’t squashed and can trap lots of air. It’s meant to be really roomy so you can fit lots of other clothes underneath. It’s quite a different aesthetic to other coats that might be meant to fit closer to the body.
On the zip, it’s worth contacting Cabourn as the brand still exists. You’d hope they’d have some kind of aftersales service
Thanks Simon, the more I’ve worn the size 50 the more i’m used to the fit!
Please let me know if you hear of any after sales help as I’ve drawn a blank with some of the shops that supply Cabourn in the North of England.
Interesting to hear Stuart.
Have you tried contacting Cabourn directly?
I’ve not Simon, I wasn’t 100 percent sure where they are based now. If you’ve any numbers please coukd you share.
One other question I had is how have you cleaned this jacket?
They’ve always been UK based as far as I know. But I don’t have any particular contact, no.
I haven’t ever really needed to clean it, other than wiping down now and again when there’s a bit of mud
Great review – thanks!
I have the opportunity to purchase an Everest parka 2nd hand for a very reasonable price.
However I don’t like the look of fur trims at all…
Do you reckon it could be removed?
By a tailor maybe?
I don’t know Tom, but I don’t think it would be easy.
Hello Simon. I’m contemplating of picking these up https://www.thebureaubelfast.com/shop/13608/track-smock-army. I intend to style them with my Nigel Cabourn Indigo and The Real McCoy’s Blue Jeans. I would layer it over a ecru/natural/grey knitwear or sweatshirt, my Japanese and PS T-Shirts. I’m posting a photo of John Fendley as a reference as well. I’m sizing up for the same reasons as I intend to layer it up and Smocks looks nicer if it’s a little oversized.
Sure Amit, that’s a nice workwear look
Interesting article here on Cabourn’s design and British Imperialism. Worth a read!
Hi Simon – was thinking of getting Nigel Cabourn trousers over the weekend and was curious of your thoughts on the brand. I was thinking between NC trousers or Real McCoy’s. Oddly enough, other than this write-up there isn’t as many reviews of NC clothing on your site especially considering that it’s a UK-based brand.
Is this because:
a) It’s already a well-known, established brand in the UK and/or:
b) The brand’s style is too heavily influenced by militaria that it’s not consistent enough with your own?
I like Nigel Cabourn, and like many of things they do. I think the answer is partially (a), but more the fact that the quality is quite variable between the different parts of the brand, and because some of these pieces I find a bit too unusual or extreme in style, such as the big wide-leg trousers