This is a vintage original M-51 Fish Tail Parka a jacket that with its smart and functional design has been appreciated by many since it was first introduced in 1951. The older variants like this are starting to get rare and are harder and harder to find. Considering that the model is over 70 years old it is easy to understand that thre are fewer and fewer around.
The M-51 Parka, also known as the "Fish Tail Parka" was originally issued for the US Army during the Korean war 1950-53. The name refers to the year it became standard issue (1951) and it became the standard issue cold weather parka. The previous cold weather parka known as the "N-3B" was a lot heavier and not optimal for the Korean weather, and that became the birth of the iconic M-51 Fish Tail Parka.
But it wasn't the army who gave the jacket it's iconic status! Today it's hard to mention the M-51 parka without thinking of the British mod subculture in the 1950s and 60s. The parka along with a slim cut suit, modern jazz music and riding a Vespa or Lambretta was the way of life for this growing subculture.
The name Fish Tail comes from the split back that looks like the tail of a fish. The design allows the garment to be fastened around each leg for added warmth.
This is a vintage original that has seen a lot of wear. Unfortunately, neither the jacket nor the lining have their labels left, so we cannot say exactly when this was manufactured. When it comes to the condition, the outer jacket is in pretty good vintage condition. The buttons at the sleeve have been replaced and it has a small repair at one shoulder at the back (see picture). In some places it will probably need to be repaired eventually but no need for repairs at the moment. The lining on the other hand, is in worse condition. The green side, which in this case is facing inwards. Has tears and repairs as you can see in the picture. But even if the condition of the lining is not the best, it still does the job of acting as a warming layer and if you prefer to wear it without the lining, just unbutton it.
There is no size marking but we are pretty sure this is a Small and it fits as a small / medium in today's measurements as the jacket is roomy and meant to be worn with many layers underneath. See measurements below for more information.
- Vintage Original M-51 Fish Tail Parka Size M - Shell fabric 100% cotton - Pocket lining 100% wool - With original vintage lining - Zipper - Two hand warmer pockets
All measurements are in centimeters and measured on a flat surface. Width is measured straight across the chest from armpit to armpit, length is measured at the back of the garment from the neck down and the sleeve length is measured on the underarm from the armpit to the end of the cuff.