Zara Parka with Detachable Waistcoat

Learning to distinguish between practical and impractical purchases is an important (albeit difficult) skill to acquire when one is an avid consumer of fashion and style blogs. I have made innumerable mistakes in the past on spur-of-the-moment purchases (with Goodwill donation slips as my witness) and I promised myself that I would take more care in vetting purchases.


Utility jackets (and similarly designed military jacket, parkas, army jackets, cargo jackets, field jacket, etc.) piqued my interest early on but I did not consider them seriously until I started spotting them regularly on Cee, Jean, and Blair’s blogs.


I finally bit the bullet this winter after trying on several styles and scouring the web for feasible options. I ordered three sizes of the Zara girls’ parka worn in this post to compare (gotta love free shipping and free return shipping) and had a Goldilocks moment when making my decision.

The jacket features zipper closure, snap buttons, and a detachable vest which doesn’t add much warmth for New England winters but could be practical for those who live in tepid climates.
This jacket would score a perfect 10 on my rubric if it had side, on-seam pockets and was longer in the size that I ended up keeping but it was fairly true to my original criteria.

Zara Parka with Detachable Waistcoat | J. Crew Faded Chambray Popover | Forever 21 Polka Dot Sweater (similar here and here) | J. Crew Classic Mini in Felted Wool | HUE tights | Zara Office City Bag | Boutique 9 Zanny Knee-High Boots (also here, here, here and here)

I ordered the three largest sizes (9/10, 11/12, and 13/14) to try. I at first leaned toward size 13/14 for the length (I was gung-ho about getting a style that was mid-thigh length) but ultimately decided in favor of size 11/12 for the less overwhelming fit.


I normally wear size 13/14 in Zara girls’ dresses (for longer length) but can get away with a smaller size in jackets and outerwear, of which I typically prefer a slimmer fit.

size 9/10
size 11/12
size 13/14

If I hadn’t purchased the Zara parka, I probably would’ve gone with the Abercrombie & Fitch Skyler Parka (pictured below in XS) but a highly-visible Abercrombie patch on the right sleeve made the retail price of $120 hard to swallow. The material is less structured and therefore not as bulky in appearance.

Abercrombie & Fitch Skyler Parka – size XS (currently sold out/retail tag here)

I was also eying this Brooks Brothers Girls’ Cotton Twill Coat which recently went on sale and also has removable lining. I am slightly annoyed at myself for pulling the trigger on the Zara jacket without giving this a try but have worn the Zara jacket a few times already and love how well it complements “girly” pieces that dominate my closet.

Brooks Brothers Girls’ Cotton Twill Coat

Army-inspired jackets, yay or nay?


(For additional options, consider these: J. Crew Downtown Field Jacket, Topshop Hooded Parka, Burberry Taffeta Drawcord Parka, Forever 21 Utility Drawstring Jacket, ASOS Utility Parka, Hunter Lightweight Field Jacket, and Topshop Short Hooded Parka)

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