No one living in a northern climate can get through a cold, snowy winter without a high-quality winter coat. You don’t have to spend much time browsing the web to realize there are endless coat styles to choose from. But what is it that makes each coat so different? How can you determine which winter coat style is right for your needs? In this post, we will focus on two specific styles: the puffer jacket and the parka. Below we will get into the distinct features and characteristics of each, as well as the major difference between the two coats. With this information, you can decide which coat style is best for you.
To know the difference between a puffer jacket and a parka, it helps to have an understanding of each individual winter coat type first. As we mentioned above, parkas tend to be thicker, heavier, and warmer. A high-quality parka will also be windproof and waterproof, making it a great choice for freezing temps. Parkas are known for their length, usually falling just above the knee, right at the knee, or just below the knee. Most parkas also come with a faux fur-lined hood, a big plus for anyone living in a climate with freezing winds and in need of protection for their face. A high-quality parka will also have solid buttons or a zipper that goes all the up to the face for maximum coverage. Parkas are designed to be slightly oversized in order to make it easier for anyone wearing one to layer a women’s sweater and shirts underneath it. And finally, it should go without saying that parkas are a fashion staple. Thanks to its trendy look and practicality, it's safe to say this is a winter coat that won’t be going out of style any time soon.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the parka, we can get into what the puffer jacket is and then discuss the difference between the two. Puffer jackets, also known as quilted jackets, are just that: jackets. They are waterproof, but more lightweight than the parka. The puffed-up appearance the puffer jackets have is due to the fill, usually down, synthetic fibers, or some other kind of insulation. The puffed-up look is what makes the jacket; thus, the name puffer jacket. And while puffer jackets are more lightweight than parkas, they still provide a tremendous amount of warmth (thanks to the insulating materials).
Most puffer jackets don’t have a hood, although some do (usually one that is re-attachable). One distinguishing feature of the puffer jacket is the high neck, which provides more warmth and protection against strong winds. Another thing that gives puffer jackets their distinct style is the stitching. Most puffer jacket styles have horizontal or vertical stitching, but if you want to find a unique look, you can find puffer jackets that come in fun geometric shapes, like diamonds.
Before we get into what specific differences these two coats have, it’s worth exploring their similarities. Both are equally stylish fashion staples and very on-trend this season. Both winter coats come in an endless variety of different styles, colors, and prints. Both can be styled fabulously with many other winter apparel pieces. Both are extremely popular winter coat choices because both serve to protect against cold wind.
These two coat styles have plenty of similarities, but they also have many characteristics that differ from one another. The most noticeable difference between a puffer jacket and a parka is that parkas are generally longer in length, thicker and heavier, and come with a fur-lined hood. The puffer jacket was made for outdoor activity, such as walking through the snow, hiking, jogging, or engaging in some other winter sport. Puffer coats also have different degrees of thickness; some are much more lightweight (making it a perfect option for fall and spring), while some are much thicker and heavier. Parkas are heavier across the board; you don’t often see a lightweight parka.
And at the end of the day, the two biggest deciding factors are what your personal style is and what activities you will most often wear the coat for. Puffer jackets tend to have a sportier aesthetic, while the military-inspired parka (though stylish) was originally designed to be more basic, functional, and utilitarian.
Are you looking for a new winter coat this season? Shop Lands’ End today to find a vast selection of winter coats and other winter accessories like winter hats and winter gloves.