Parka major in cotton sail-cloth in navy

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Buying

£540.00

Parka, made in London, with heavy (12oz) weatherproof cotton from Northern Ireland — developed to see off wind and rain — and horn buttons and brass loops from the Midlands.

Sizing

The parka major fits true to size, so the wooden person here, who is as standard a 38 chest as ever there has been, is happily wearing size S.

XS S M L XL
To fit chest 36 38 40 42 44
Pit-to-pit 21½ 22½ 23½ 24½ 25½
Back length 39 39¼ 39½ 39¾ 40
Sleeve from   centre-back 35       35½       36       36½       37      
The parka major is a coat with a hood — but there's so more to it than that. For a start, the coat part of the equation is of reason-pushing proportions, with an extremely high front running over the chin, and a wide wrap — not double-breasted, but not far off — shielding the wearer from wind and rain.
The hood covers all parts of the head save the face — such as is the least requirement for a hood — and, with shapely three-panel construction, hugs the crown and curves cleanly around the forehead and temple. It also, importantly, is double-layer, which means water ingress is nigh impossible.
The parka, at the neck, has two studs — or snap fasteners, or poppers, or even tiches, if you prefer. Small and unassuming things, these, an aged brass finish, and a mechanism which closes with an authoritatively dull clack rather than a juvenile, tinny click.
The parka has a front of five horn buttons — dark in colour and matte in finish. Because each is a thing of nature, they are all unique — differing in shade and markings. But for all their beauty, they're hidden away when fastened, thus less likely to snag on bushes, brambles, and other outdoor perils.
Sitting at the waist are the first half of four outer pockets. These, the most obvious half, have an envelope opening — an "up and under" construction which is much more secure than the norm — which is built into a particularly large flap. Deep, these pockets, and a particularly formidable home for wallets and mobiles.
Below the main pockets are side-entry pockets. These are positioned at optimal longitude and latitude for the satisfying plunging-in of hands.
Running around the waist of the parka is a wide belt. It runs beneath the flaps of the pockets, and fastens with a pair of solid brass sliders, which operate in the classic d-ring fashion.
Belts are nothing if not divisive, of course — some love 'em, some don't — and so this one is designed to be removed without leaving behind any evidence of absence. It runs into a slot hidden beneath the pocket flaps, see, and from that point, runs through a channel that runs around the waist to the other side.
The sleeves have a two pleats, positioned around the elbow. The sleeve is wide up top, see, so that things may easily be layered under the coat, but at the same time, the cuffs are very tight, so they hug the wrist and so keep out the elements. The pleats help with this "wide up top, narrow at wrist" sleeve shaping.
A wide strap runs across the front of the cuffs, fastening 'round back with two press studs. There are two levels of tightness here, the first of which is tight, and the second of which is circulation-troubling.
One of the other notable aspects of the coat is its shoulders. It is a hybrid of two sleeves, with the smart lines of an inset sleeve at the front, but, at the back, a roomy raglan sleeve. In practical terms, this frees things up in the upper body; in aesthetic ones, it means a pleasing curve on the shoulder.
Bar-tacks may be found here, there, and everywhere — but in particular at points of stress, such as at the openings of pockets, or here, where the underside of the envelope pocket must grip firmly to the top.
With pockets going this way and that on the outside of the parka, the inside is clean and simple, with a neat chest pocket on the left-side as worn.
The back panel of the parka is fully lined with a slinky satin, making donning and undonning it a breeze, and helping to reduce friction with whatever is worn underneath. The side and front panels, however, are lined with the outer cloth, making for a redoubtably rain-proof experience across the entire front.
The cloth is a high-count canvas, which has a weatherproof treatment that keeps off heavy rain at a canter, but not at the expense of comfort and breathability. It is hard-wearing, thentoo, and firmly in the "gets better with age" category. Impressively rich, deep colouring, too: well done, dye-works.

As worn

Him, here, is 6'1", 11½ stone, and as standard a 38 as you could ever meet, and the parka he is wearing is size S.
Same man, same coat, but a different cloth, and also worn with and without the belt.

Makers of

The coat is made in north-east London. It is a very specialised skill, assembling coats from heavy cloth, and every reasonable step — and the odd unreasonable step — is to taken to endure things are built to last, from the cutting of the pattern to the work on the machine, but without the results being stiff or bulky.
The ripstop cloth comes from a mill in the Heavy Woollen District of West Yorkshire, founded in the 1800s. Things have, of course, moved very much with the times, and so the traditions of weaving are allied now to cutting-edge, industry-leading standards in weaving, dyeing, and testing.
The brass hardware is made by a foundry in the West Midlands, which was founded in the 1800s. It is the last such foundry in an area once heaving with them. Its sand-casting method — which sees 940°c molten brass poured by hand from a crucible into sand-made moulds — is ancient and infallible.
The horn buttons were cut, shaped, and polished by the last such factory in Britain (now defunct). It was part of a tradition in the Midlands first linked to the meat industry of the 18th century. "It is no easy task," said William Hutton in 1780, "to enumerate the infinite diversity of buttons made in Birmingham."

So they say

I've been meaning to leave you some positive words about the parka, as it's absolute beauty and I'm really impressed with it. It's just full of that S.E.H Kelly magic. The cut of it is so nice and really sharp even without the belt tied, and only looks even nicer with the belt tied. Before getting it my worry was the hood being too small, as my head is pretty big compared to the rest of me, haha — but the hood is perfect! And the cloth is incredible. I love ripstop, but have never had any of this quality or thickness before, and it looks luscious, too. I can see this becoming my favourite garment I've got from you so far, and that's pretty hard!

A pleased man from Canada, who purchased the parka in weatherproof ripstop in cosmos in March 2020.

The parka arrived and is great: an excellent fit for a parka, I think. The fabric is wonderfully luxurious as well as durable, which I wasn't really expecting from a ripstop.

Kind words from a gentleman who picked up the parka minor in weatherproof ripstop in blue in April 2020.

The parka minor in ripstop landed on my desk at work today. Now I can't help but wear it in the office. Everybody looks at me as if I'm hoping for indoor rain. Only the rain-dance is missing. The fit, feel, and look are just perfect.

Enthusiasm abounds from Germany, where a man picked up the parka minor in weatherproof ripstop in early November 2019.

My first day wearing it was a cracking way to test the waters: all-day heavy downpours. Me and my better-half decided to take a stroll around our area. One of the first things she said was, "You look like the adverts where ketchup rolls straight off a pair of trainers." Another was, "You could probably pass this down as an heirloom." I agree, it's a stunning piece, visually and physically. We must have been out for two hours, and the only sign of water appearing was through the stitching. Expected — but really minimal amounts for how much it was hammering down. This only happened after around the hour mark, too. Day to day, it's been getting plenty of comments around the office. You can expect a couple extra orders from as I’ve sent them on to your site. I honestly could not ask for a better coat. You've have done an outstanding job, and I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to develop it.

Feedback from a man enjoying his parka in weatherproof ripstop (the most water-resistant of all cloth used here) in the city where rain was invented, Manchester.

Smart simplicity, I would call it, the design of your parka. Beautiful and functional efficiency. It rained one late afternoon. After five minutes, my parka was completely covered in a spray of shiny tiny drops on a dark blue like the sky. People stared at this new attribution to nature. Inside, warm and dry. Outdoors I wear a hat, with not too wide a brim. The hood of the parka is spacious, fitting over my hat, brim and all, without deforming. The hood doesn't make noise: it is quiet itself; in it, sounds are not muffled.

So explained a gentleman in Amsterdam, who purchased the parka in weatherproof ripstop in September 2018.

I've just received the parcel with the very wonderful parka. It is stunning in its design and cloth. It fits so well, and feels incredibly comfortable. I had not imagined such a technical material could feel so pleasantly soft to the touch. The colour is superb, too. And the parka looks great whether carried open or closed — the way the hood and neck fold back. I feel I can now withstand whatever weather our strange climate provides, and look good, at the same time.

Words from a lady in Denmark, who bought a parka in weatherproof ripstop in March 2018.