Return of the Yeti

Fast and Fur-ious

This season fur – both real and faux – is HUGE; not just in terms of the ubiquitous presence, but in the nearly overwhelming shape and scale of the pieces themselves!  Big, fluffy, longer fibered furs, feathers and shearlings are the name of the game this year and the 70’s glam revival has made vintage inspired fur vests, long coats, chubbies, and trim au courant…again.

Luxury-oriented soul that I am, I love fur every winter, whether it is “in” or not.  I have amassed quite a collection of great fur accessories, several cool vests and coats, a fur trimmed sweater, and even a fur trimmed cape.  Living in Southern California presents me with limited opportunities to really indulge myself, but I take advantage of every chance I get – trips to the mountains and other chilly climes, cold evenings, etc… the second the temperature drops, I am snuggling up!  What can I say?  I am easily tempted by the soft, sensual feel and glamorous vibe.  

Being short and round, many of the big and fluffy styles aren’t all that flattering so finding the right cut and scale is absolutely crucial.  While fun and definitely statement-making, the larger scaled pieces, even in just a fur collar or cuffs on a sweater, can be very overwhelming and quickly go from dramatic to silly looking.  Here is one of those times I have to choose very carefully and edit like mad.  Otherwise I do indeed end up looking like, well, yes… that mythical, shaggy Abominable Snowman creature, the Yeti!

So, how *do* I wear fur?  Well, first off I have become something of a connoisseur of faux furs.  They don’t have to be expensive, but they do have to get it right.  I am not trying to pass it off as real, per se, but I still want it to look and feel luxurious and wear well.   There are some great options out there at all price points – whether you are shopping at the high end with the faux fur specialist Fabulous Furs or somewhere more affordable like HSN, which has a huge selection.   But you do have to choose with care.

One of the most important things I look for in faux fur is the fabrication.  The material needs to be fluid, light and supple – like real fur.  Not just the fibers themselves but the backing and the garment lining as well.  Faux fur with stiff backing is much more challenging to wear, the garments don’t conform to your shape when you need them too, and even a collar can become suddenly intrusive and uncomfortable if it is stiff and unyielding when you wear it.  For example, I fell in love with a short cape recently that looked amazing in the picture online, but in the store I found it to be really stiff, so much so that it stuck out like bat wings when I put it on.  Soooo not good.  I also look for fibers that have some shine with a silky texture, but that aren’t too clingy – if the fibers feel clingy or sticky the garment will look matted quickly.  Instead, I select items where the material feels slightly slippery and has movement, like real fur.        

Being a traditionalist, I tend to stick with the classics – brown, black and chinchilla patterned being my favorites.  I am not as big a fan of the wilder colors and patterns, although this great patterned vest by Tahari is a big exception – the pictures do NOT do it justice, and if I didn’t already have a fur vest…(ahem) or two…this would be in my closet right now.      

To make sure the overall silhouette is right I look for cuts with shape, like this great jacket from Fabulous Furs, with its nipped in waist and angled panels.  Belts can be also be a huge boon; this Rachel Zoe jacket has the dramatic shaggy-textured fur, but the belted waist and slightly shorter length keep the proportions from overwhelming.  This feather chubby gets the proportion right also, by keeping the length a tad on the cropped side so it hits right at the waist where you naturally curve in and keeping the sleeves bracelet length.  If I want a longer piece, I try to make sure it is fluid and light, and select a cut with a fuller skirt or swing line to it so that it drapes a bit and moves but doesn’t look like I am being overwhelmed or weighed down.  When I look at collars or trim I want them dramatic and wide, but again try to keep the scale closer in by keeping the fur in a slightly shorter cut, like in this terrific jacket by Burberry.   In all cases I look at the overall silhouette that is created and make sure the proportions look right – my coat may be big and fluffy, but by emphasizing or creating a waist or elongating and balancing my leg line and other proportions, I will look girl shaped, rather than gorilla shaped 😉 

On the accessory front I have been obsessively hunting for the right evening bag in fur that has as much appeal as Christian Louboutain’s black mink Ball bag from 2010 without killing my bag budget for a full year.  So far no luck, but I keep checking out all of the fur options that are showing this season – lots of cute ones, just not THE one…yet.   As for hats…well I am far too old for the super trendy trapper hat, no matter how cute and ironic they are on 20-somethings, on me they would be simply silly.  Instead I have a cute fur tam that is very glamorous, my snow hat has an adorable fur pom pom on top, and my ear muffs are the best for keeping my ears warm, both cute AND practical – LOVE.

Not ready to go all out on a fur garment?  Then I highly recommend you at least dip your toes in with some trim on a garment or an accessory.  It will add instant luxury and glamour to any outfit.  And who couldn’t do with a little delicious softness to snuggle into?!

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