The glamour and prestige of wearing a fur coat of the past looks out of place and over the top for the modern dresser. However the proliferation of faux fur options this season shows we still find something alluring about them. I have been hunting for a beautiful animal print but fear looking like Dorian from Birds of a Feather. As a lover of vintage fashion styles, I looked for examples of the everyday style.
The Hollywood glamour of actors and actresses of the twenties and thirties in opulent eveningwear accessorised by the coat is perhaps how we copy wearing our faux fur coats for parties and evenings out. However they were fond of casually wearing full length fur coats with daywear (even the actors). This was emulated by the masses, with wives and mistresses often receiving a fur stole or coat as a gift. While the Forties brought more austerity to dressing due to World War II, fur coats and accessories didn’t lose their charm, being paired with crisp tailoring. The ladylike Fifties saw a continuation of the ladylike look with fur coats for day or night. The slim silhouette of sheath dresses and pencil skirts balanced the volume that often comes with fur. I love this look but feel overdressed for day. The rebellion in fashion by the young during this decade meant not looking like you wanted to be grown up in mothers fur coat and dresses.
This carried on through to the Sixties when youth culture became mainstream and fashion reflected the freedom from previous norms. This is where I found examples of fun fur coats aimed at young fashionable people for everyday wear. As with fashion now, not everything wears carries down to the high street or is embraced by the majority, but I began to see how I could wear my faux fur happily to the supermarket or to work.
One of the British icons of the last century, Diana Rigg looked effortlessly cool, epitomising the modern style of the sixties for grown women. One example, is a John Bates coat she as Emma Peel in the cult British spy series The Avengers. Giant monochrome zigzags over full body and arms, Knee length, it is not for wall flowers. She wears it in one instance with white hipster bootleg trousers, with a black stripe down each leg, matching Chelsea boots and wide patent belt low on the hips with a white boat neck vest top. For a photoshoot Diana Rigg models this with low heel lace up shoes, and a similar coat with some diagonal stripes and a chequerboard band of black and white with low block heels, which have come around again for 2016.
I saw the coat I wanted while watching The Avengers. A plush giant animal spot print which sort of blurred because of the length of the fur with a wide collar and wrist grazing sleeves. This was nonchalantly worn by Mrs Peel over a block colour jumpsuit and Chelsea boots made for the practicality high kicks and fighting bad guys, while being an example of cutting edge fashion.
A crisp white T-shirt and jeans or slim fit coloured trousers with block heels or flats keep the fur coat firmly in the real world. Brogue, lace-up, Mary Jane, Chelsea styles are all available. As are A-line minis and shift dresses. Even the casual jumpsuit has been successfully revived. The idea I took away from this was that if the basics are kept simple and smart, you shouldn’t have to plan your clothes around the coat, but just grab it as you leave the house. I was thrilled to find a faux fur coat similar in Topshop. Now I have to work on a minimalist daytime look.