Guide to Choosing and Buying a Fur Coat
Fall and winter of last year saw a resurgence of fur in fashion unlike anything we have seen in the last two decades. The runways, red carpets and magazines were filled with multiple examples of fur coats, vests, jackets and accessories, and it seems as though this classic style is making a big comeback. Undoubtedly we will see young fashionistas following suit this year once the weather begins to cool down.
However, fur has been such a huge topic of debate and controversy since before many of these young people were born and most of them are inexperienced when it comes to choosing and buying fur. A fur coat is not like a new style of jeans or a trendy new type of boots; fur is a symbol of class and elegance, and inexperience can lead to an untold number of mistakes and fashion faux pas. This guide is designed to help those who may not be familiar with fur pick out and buy a fur coat as well as any lifelong socialite.
Choosing a Fur
Not all furs are made equal. This is exemplified in the feel, thickness and price of the various types of furs available. Before you begin the actual shopping process, you need to ask yourself a few questions to help you determine the type and style of fur that is right for you.
- When and where do you plan to wear the fur?
- Will your fur complement a casual look or will it be worn with an elegant gown?
- Do you need a fur coat, or should you ease into the fur world with a jacket, vest or hat?
- Are you comfortable with (and able to afford) real fur, or would you be better going with a faux fur?
These are just a few things that should be determined off the top, before you make the substantial investment that is a fur coat. If you have satisfactorily answered these questions, you can move on to the next step.
Types of Fur
There are over 25 types of animal fur that have been popular for coats and clothes over the years. They all have their own unique qualities, colors, density, length and softness.
“With all the different types of fur available, the choices can be overwhelming,” says one fur expert from Gartenhaus Furs. “For anyone new to fur, it is probably best to start with one of the more popular styles like a quality mink coat.”
Mink is soft, lightweight and lustrous, making it the most popular type of animal fur for coats. Quality long-haired mink coats will have plush, full guard hairs (the visible top layer of fur) and soft, dense underfur (the insulating bottom layer).
Other popular styles include:
- Chinchilla – Soft, dense fur with slate blue guard hair
- Rabbit – Ultra-soft, silky and versatile
- Fox – Fluffy and full bodied; usually used for trim or fur accessories
- Lynx – Long, creamy colored hair with darker markings
Buying a Fur
Because fur is an important investment, and with so many variables to decide, it is best to look at furs in person before buying. Even if you plan to purchase online, you need to touch, wear and get a feel for each type of fur before making your decision.
In addition to the quality of the fur, the craftsmanship of the furrier is also important. Look for furriers who are well-respected in your area, ideally one with a long local or national history of high quality merchandise.