What is a Fishtail Parka?

You can still be stylish even in the cold seasons. Thanks to the evolution of fashion over the years, you now have many options on how to keep yourself warm without sacrificing style. For instance, different kinds of coats and parkas can go well with fabulous innerwear.

Talking about parkas, the fishtail style may be interesting to you. But have you ever wondered how did it get its name and style? Or who was the genius who created this conveniently cozy outerwear?

A parka style known as a “fishtail parka” has a torn rim on the rear. Nowadays, the fishtail is solely decorative, although it wasn’t created to spice up a style of a coat.

Like the history of many other outer garments, the parka has a military component. Soldiers have always needed practical, warm, and weatherproof clothing.


The fishtail is a classic piece of outerwear with military history. The N3-B, sometimes known as the “snorkel parka,” was the standard issue extreme cold parka in the 1940s. Still, American forces fighting in the Korean War needed a warmer garment due to the chilly and damp climate of the Korean peninsula.

The army designers created the M-1951 Cold Weather Parka. Keeping the troops warm and agile without having them wear bulky clothing was the US military’s top priority throughout the Korean War. These requirements were met by the fishtail parka, which had a three-quarter length to keep a person’s entire body warm without restricting their movement and was made of waterproof cotton and nylon to repel Korean snow and icy rain.

However, the jacket’s split back with drawstrings at each hem was where the real innovation lay. To trap additional heat and block the wind, the wearer might tie one side of the splits around the legs. The name “fishtail” originated from the fact that many GIs believed the split resembled a fish’s tail.

Civilian Fashion

However, the fishtail first gained widespread popularity in the UK, not Korea or the US. Mod subculture had wholly taken over London by the 1950s and the 1960s. Teenagers in Britain began to embrace modern jazz, slim-cut suits, Vespas, and fishtail parkas in big numbers.

The jacket’s distinctive style made it popular as a youth outfit after the war. While the jacket gradually entered surplus shops in the United States, it quickly gained popularity in England.

The mod rockers who rode Vespas through the London streets in the 1960s had parka tails flapping in the wind; this scene was immortalized in The Who’s 1979 film Quadrophenia. Then after, the jacket gained popularity and established itself as an all-around must-have for stylish men and youngsters who like to dress in excess on the coldest days.

The fishtail parka was initially just an inexpensive military surplus item to keep a Mod’s suit clean while he was on a bike. Still, it quickly evolved into an integral component of appearance.

Creation of Parka Jackets


Parkas, in general, have become a commodity during freezing months. But, thanks to the initiative of military personnel, they have been introduced to the world.

The parka was initially made of sealskin to aid soldiers in surviving the Arctic climate. However, the parka occasionally changed, and after the Second World War, it was made in London by a tailor. Alfie Lever began producing the Royal Air Force’s outerwear (RAF). US army tailors created the snorkel parker in the 1950s for aircraft crews operating in the frigid regions of the Korean peninsula.

As time went on, it was worn as a fashion statement; today, the parka is primarily made of Nylon on the inside and Mohair Frieze outside. Additionally, there are parkas created  from a cotton and nylon blend, more formally known as “Cotton Twill” or “Poplin.” These materials are more contemporary than the raw materials to make the parkas more convenient during the war. Parkas come in various styles, including the Fishtail Parka, N2B Parka, and N3B Parka. 


Although the cotton twill used to make the M65 fishtail parka is water-repellent, they are not considered waterproof. For instance, the M65 fishtail parka will develop raindrops, which will then fall off. However, the waterproofing protection will wear off, and the carpet solution will eventually disappear. Therefore, many individuals in this situation use transparent water-repellent lotion from nearby camping stores.

However, the M65 fishtail parka is not really the ideal option if you want good water-resistant parka and rain protection. The primary purpose of this parka is to protect the wearer from extremely cold weather.


Parkas were primarily created to protect soldiers from extremely cold conditions. Therefore, it is clear that parkas are cozy and a great buddy for nations that experience extreme cold. Most people who live in Scandinavian nations with extremely harsh winters wear parkas. Due to the nylon/polyester lining of parkas, which sits close to the skin and insulates the wearer, people frequently remark that they are very warm.

Additionally, the British Mod culture adopted the parka because of its warmth and quality to preserve their pricey Italian cut suits while traveling on their Italian motorbikes. The parka’s length is suitable for ensuring complete coverage and protecting the body even when seated.


The M51 fishtail parka was the name of the fishtail parka that the U.S. army first introduced in the 1950s. The M65 fishtail parka was the name of the jacket manufactured in 1968. Due to specific notable changes in the materials used in their construction, the M51 fishtail parka was noticeably heavier than the M65 fishtail parka.

The M51 fishtail has a hood as part of its exterior shell, which is the primary distinction. Simply button in the wool-lined, real fur-trimmed hood to complete the look. The M65 fishtail parka, on the other hand, lacks a permanently attached hood that is a component of the outer shell. Either you button the hood on or you don’t. 


Without a doubt, fishtail parkas are among the most stylish outwear for men these days. They will not only keep you warm and protected from extreme coldness, but they will keep you fashionable too.