Wearing fur was enormously popular in from the 1920s through the 1950s and remained very much mainstream (and aspirational) fashion until the 80s. While I don't condone the modern slaughter of animals for their fur, wearing vintage fur is a way cherishing these beautiful items and I love the glimpse into our society’s history that it offers.
Times have changed and “new fur” is less and less acceptable but we can still enjoy a wonderful range of vintage fur. With this in mind I wanted to provide a guide to the different types of vintage fur, how to identify them and what they looked like.
It's worth noting that all of these gorgeous and unique items are available to buy on The Best Vintage Clothing and there is currently a half price sale on all fur coats! If you would like to find out more about any of the items pictured below just click on them.
Mink is a flattish fur, long narrow pelts, abundance of guard hairs, very shiny wet look, hard-wearing, expensive, wild or farmed, more abundant guard hairs than musquash, strong pile, variety of colours.
Fox fur is naturally a rich,russet colour, wild or farmed, variety of colours. A dense fluffy coat, common. Full pelts used as stoles very popular in 1930's and 40's complete with head and feet. Please note that the 'silver' fox is very dark brown with silver guard hairs and is often confused with the 'blue' which is almost white.
Beaver fur can be dyed or natural (usually natural for vintage items). Glossy and hard wearing.
Silky soft, abundance shiny longish guard hairs, a bit like a domestic cat to the touch, not a very strong pile, variety of colours, usually farm bred but may be wild.
Muskrat (or Musquash) are slightly larger pelts than mink, shiny guard hair but not so abundant as mink - the base fur can be seen clearly, not as hard-wearing as mink and in vintage item sometimes goes bald on well used areas like collars and pockets. The undercoat lumps together slightly.
Sable is usually Russian, similar to mink, shiny, natural dark tan colour, very expensive, trapped. extremely hard wearing
Raccoon is fox-like fur, naturally dark brown, tails have golden rings and are often used for trimmings