Long relegated to the slopes of ski destinations like St Moritz or Niseko, the puffy parka jacket is having its moment in the spotlight this season

The humble parka has long kept skiers safe and warm against harsh arctic winds, but it has found its way into the mainstream (read: fall/winter 2021 runways) this season. And honestly, what’s not to love? Forget your generic, run-of-the-mill fast fashion versions—with the versions dreamed up for this season, you’ll be anything but cookie cutter.

For fall/winter 2021, the parka has been puffed up, enlarged, and, in some instances, transformed beyond their humble, warmth-giving forms to become fashion must-haves.

One just has to look at Chitose Abe’s Sacai and Thom Browne to envision the myriad possibilities that the parka can take on. At Sacai, Abe turned the outerwear piece into a chic knee-length dress, belted at the waist to pull in the silhouette; while Thom Browne opted to take things further by constructing a full ballgown out of the parka, paired ingeniously with one of his signature tuxedo suits.

See also: The Best Fall/Winter 2021 Fashion Campaigns

Another stroke of genius came from Tom Ford, who enlarged the parka and turned it into a version of a minidress that was at once both functional and fashionable.

That’s not to say that parkas were transformed beyond all recognition—classic examples of the puffy winter essential abounded as well. Balenciaga, Tod’s, Celine, et al provided perfect examples of the parka at its best: comforting, plush and oh-so-warm-looking. Cropped iterations also popped up at Givenchy and Angel Chen.

See all of Tatler’s best parka picks from the fall/winter 2021 runways below.

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