No Animals Were (Recently) Harmed in the Making of This Coat

January 4, 2009 • Magazine

No Animals Were (Recently) Harmed in the Making of This Coat

No Animals Were (Recently) Harmed in the Making of This Coat

Sun, 2009-01-04 05:00

The Care and Feeding of Vintage Fur

Becky Ellis

Back in the 90s, celebrities were hopping on PETA’s “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” bandwagon. Now, some of the same celebrities are sporting pelts in one of the season’s warmest — if not hottest — trends. Some who want in on the look but can’t bear the ethical burden — or the price tag — of buying new fur see vintage fur as a way around the debate. Whether it’s a beloved grandmother’s mink stole or a vest picked up at Goodwill, advocates say it’s a form of recycling, that it honors the animal who made the ultimate sacrifice decades before the wearer was born. Detractors argue that it still glorifies fur as a trend and condones cruel treatment of animals for the sake of fashion.

Whether or not to indulge is your call. But if you choose to buy vintage fur, chances are you haven’t had extensive training in its purchasing and care. Here are a few things to consider.

Buying Vintage Fur

Shake That Money-Taker
Fur that sheds more than a few stray hairs when given a good, hard shake probably doesn’t have much life left in it. If you’re buying online, ask the seller how much the item sheds before buying or bidding.

See And Sniff
Fur can be expensive to clean. If it has unusual spots or odors, factor an extra $50+ dollars into the cost of the purchase for the service of a furrier. Dry cleaners can sometimes use conventional methods to clean it more cheaply, but you’ll need to sign a waiver releasing them of liability if it damages the fur.

Ask The Age
Even well-made, well cared-for fur pieces start to fall apart after 50 years or so; keep that in mind when you consider the price.

Also, monograms are common on vintage fur stoles and coats. They’re not difficult to remove, but check closely if having someone else’s initials on your clothes would bother you.

Caring for Fur

Keep Out Of The Sun
Fur fades, so keep it in the closet.

Hang It On A Big Padded Hanger
No hooks, no gimpy little wire hangers. Make sure it hangs the way it would hang on your shoulders to minimize stress on the seams.

No Plastic Garment Bags Or Suitcases
Pressure will crush the pelt. Also, make sure the fur has plenty of room in the closet and isn’t squished between other garments. Matted fur looks mangy.

Find A Furrier
Dry cleaners can take care of your fur, but you’re better off finding a furrier. To maximize the life of the fur, take it in to have it glazed and cleaned when you get it, then conditioned every year (your hair needs conditioner; fur is no different). Unless it has spots or stains, only have it cleaned every other year.

1. 1970s Fur Stole $395
2. Only Vintage Fur Button $15 Medium, $20 Large, Rue St. Denis 212-260-3388
3. Siri Tollerød, Natasha Poly and Georgina Stojilkovic Model 6267’s Fall 08 RTW Collection
4. 1970s Lamb Fur Vest $65
5. 1970s Fur Collar Sweater Jacket

Image Layout: Allison Merzel

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