From Korea with Love, tested on the peninsula and now perfect for the season, the M51 Fur-Lined Fishtail Parka

The Korean War, that started in 1950 and ended in 1953, was unlike any type of conflict the United States had ever faced before. The United States had experienced its fair share of cold weather combat during WWII, but nothing as extreme and consistent as the rough weather felt by the Marines and Soldiers on this Asian peninsula.

The Army, as in times before, recognized that they needed to supply their troops with something more than the standard field jackets and overcoats issued in the last war. This need sparked the creation and development of the M-1951 Fishtail Parka, a design that has continued to be replicated and improved upon by labels and designers today.

The original parkas manufactured during WWII and in the interwar years between WWII and the Korean War, were expensive and heavy duty. The Army wanted to supply Soldiers with the same type of parkas, but at a more economical price. Thus, the M-1951 Fishtail Parka was born. This new design had a removable liner and canvas outer shell. After the war, this design was then improved further with the development of the M-1965 Parka. These are now both popular designs for women.

What also makes this fashion military fashion piece unique, was that it became a popular item with the Mod Fashion trend in the 1960-70s. It looks like we could be seeing the return of this trendy design. How did this great parka look on the guys in Korea? Well here are a few examples.

Sgt. Bowman, 1952

Maryiln Monroe during a USO show in Korea.
The M51 is definitely being upstaged in this photograph!

Mods in the 1970s

Most recently, Military Parkas are being spotted on the runways, rails and racks of shops worldwide. Each label and designer has added their own unique style to the classic m51 Parka. Here are just a few examples. These trendy parkas can be found using a simple search on the internet for Women’s Military Parka.

Junya Watanabe $1650.00                                         Juicy Couture $358.00

Larok Luxe $398.00                                           Marc Jacobs $598.00

Tis the season for army green parkas, but if these designer labels seem a bit pricey or not authentic enough for you, there is always the option of downing the original piece, or a reproduction alternative. Here are some links to some excellent Military Uniform suppliers who carry the M51 Parka or the M65 Parka.

Vintage Trends $195.00

Fishtail Parkas ₤99.97

ArmyNavyShop $63.80

Vermont Barre Army Navy $44.95

The M-1951 parka kept American Soldiers and Marines warm over 60 years ago in the worst of conditions, and also gave the Mods of the 1960s a unique style. Today it has returned to our shops as a fashionable answer to staying in style whilst staying warm.


This entry was posted in American Inspired, Korean War and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to From Korea with Love, tested on the peninsula and now perfect for the season, the M51 Fur-Lined Fishtail Parka

  1. James says:

    The photo of the boys and the scooters is from no earlier than 1974. The Vespa on the left was only introduced in that year. The other two bikes are from 1970 at the earliest.

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