Fishtail Parka: Josh Hartnett Made It All Better


The horror movie that was 30 days of Night was good background for the eye-candy that is actor Josh Hartnett. His character was attired in an olive-green fishtail parka for most of the movie but even the plain, average-Joe styling did nothing to detract from his overall desirability. I know many of readers will be asking how I can remember a costume detail like that when a cutie like Josh Hartnett was occupying the screen at the same time as that… what was it again?

What is a Fishtail Parka?

Josh Hartnett in Fishtail Parka

Josh Hartnett in Fishtail Parka

A fishtail parka was not, as most would think, a garment intended for fishermen. It was actually standard issue outerwear uniform for the US Army during the Korean War. The durable fabric and weather-resistant characteristics of the parka were valued especially during the harsh winters on the Korean peninsula. A variant of the anorak, it was longer in the back than it was in the front hence the name fishtail parka. This was in order to improve the wind proofing of the garment as the longer tails were meant to be tied around the soldier’s upper legs.

M51 and M65 Parka

The fishtail parkas were given codes such as M-51 and M-65 to distinguish their year of issue. M stood for Military. Subtle differences existed between the different issues such as the hood of the M-65 jacket being detachable as compared to the fold-down, tuck-in hood of the M-51.

Mod Squad Days

The fishtail parkas hit surplus stores in full-force during the 1960’s. Their availability and relatively low-price range coupled with their weather-resistant features made them a good choice for the travel wear of the mod scene who utilized scooters as their main mode of transport.

I am personally not a fan of the anorak much less the military-issue fishtail parka, but I do see its benefits in locales with extreme weather conditions. As Josh Hartnett illustrated in the 2007 horror movie… whether you’re fighting Koreans or bloodthirsty vampires (yes, pun intended)… you might as well be warm and protected from the elements while doing your thing.

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