Conservation and Trapping News

On this day 100 years ago: The fashion in furs
Nov 1, 2022 06:38 ET

[Reprinted from original]

From The Times (England), November 1, 1922

The habit of wearing fur has more in it than the mere desire for warmth. This was never more true than now, when fur is used, more often than not as an accessory and a trimming. Like beautiful jewels and old lace, it has the special quality of enhancing a woman’s beauty to a high degree. The wearing of the skins of animals is, indeed, as ancient and primitive a custom as can be found. Perhaps it has partly survived to suggest the idea of every woman as Diana the Huntress.

On the practical side, it gives employment to thousands of people all over the world, and the obtaining of rare skins calls for high endurance of hardship on the part of the trapper. Like almost all good things, really fine fur is extremely expensive. One often wonders where are all those marvellously costly coats one sees in the saloons of the dressmaker. It is comparatively rare to see a whole cloak of chinchilla or sable on the shoulders of even a rich friend, and the stalls of a theatre often provide one with gloomy meditations on the unattractive appearance of shabby, dyed rabbit.

For while beautiful fur does add to the romance of woman’s beauty, nothing so detracts from it as shabby fur. Fur, despite a belief to the contrary, is an ill-wearing material. The extravagance of buying costly fur is often excused on the ground that “it will last for years”. Except as regards skunk and mink (perhaps the best wearing) this is a fallacy. Nearly all expensive furs last only a short time, in comparison with their price. In a fog-laden climate, sable, chinchilla, and ermine require constant attention, while fox furs very soon show signs of wear and tear.

All fur gets rubbed and dirty, and women are apt to accept their furs — as they do their husbands and houses — for better or worse, and a mangy stole is often worn long after it should be in the dustbin. Many women who would have no self-respect if they did not wash their hair once a week will wear a fur stole or coat uncleaned for three winters. In addition to the furrier’s cleaning, all fur collars should be well rubbed with a damp cloth (not wet), always on a foggy day, and preferably every day in London when the fur has been worn.

Furs left lying about on sofas and chairs get impregnated with dust, but careful shaking and rubbing does much to cleanse them.

Explore 200 years of history as it appeared in the pages of The Times, from 1785 to 1985: