24 January 2013

1980s Trends: The Snorkel Parka

Georgina asks:

What is that material draped across the foreground of the photo of your 1980s bedroom?

Ah, Georgina, t'was my coat - my Snorkel Parka, no less!

It's 1985 and I'm wearing my "academic look" for a sporting event with some very "classy" friends. I suppose nowadays my attire might be classified as "geek chic", but in the mid-1980s I had discovered that fitting the clothes to the occasion was terribly important. Look at that magnificent '80s middle class golfers' jumper. Wow, eh? I wore the snorkel parka to the event because I'd spilt tomato ketchup down my shoulder-padded grey jacket and it was at the dry cleaners! Faces have been blanked out to protect the innocent. And me.

In the early-to-mid 1980s, the Snorkel Parka was everywhere. Those heavy weather coats with orange innards and hoods with fur trims weren't really fashion statements. In fact, they were mainly the sort of thing that mothers bought for schoolboys. My mother bought me mine as a Christmas present in 1983, which was after I'd left school, but the garment was practical - it DID keep the weather out - so I used it for day-to-day living - slouching around the supermarket, etc. You'll see loads of them if you look at media from the early-to-mid 1980s. But, around 1986, they faded away quite rapidly. That's when I chucked mine out. I recently watched an episode of Coronation Street from the mid-1980s in which sticky-beak character Percy Sugden was wearing a Snorkel P. Perhaps that had something to do with their rapid demise?

Below, I've reproduced the photograph of "The Pit" - AKA my mid-1980s bedroom, with points of interest clearly tagged.

Happy days! Below is a range of snorkel parkas as featured in the Freemans 1981 Spring and Summer mail order catalogue. £11.50?!! Daylight robbery! And that boy on the right with the fancy briefcase! What a flash git! At my school, we took our books to school in a Budgens or Co-op bag. 


Anonymous said...

I enjoy your witty insights into '80's living!

Drew said...

Thanks! Lots more to come! :)

Anonymous said...

Great post, I collect 1980s original snorkel parka's, great coats they are, grew up wearing one every year at primary school in the 80s. I must have around a hundred examples and every colour made and some very rare ones.