Yes, we damn well can.
One of my obsessions this winter season has been fur. Soon into my fervor my mom suggested that we could have one of her fur coats re-cut for a man to wear; ie. for me to wear. But Mother’s coats will one day be my daughter’s coats, if I have one; or my wife’s, if she is lucky enough. So that idea, as appreciated as it was, was vetoed. Now, I have not gone full on into wearing fur. That is, I have not acquired a fur coat, yet. But perhaps something lined in rabbit or with beaver on the outside when the time is right. But I have been making a few small acquisitions. Like many other experiments in style I think the best way to try something is on a small scale, like through accessories. My first venture was to have a custom collar made of coyote fur for a Yigal Azrouel jacket, then I came across a shearling jacket from Paley that I could not in good faith pass on purchasing and most recently I acquired two rabbit fur scarfs from Beretta.
The primary practical benefits of fur are its warmth and softness. However, this is a blog about style so our focus will rest on the style aspect of wearing fur. But first a man has to decide if he has any ethical qualms with wearing fur, and that is for each of you to decide. Aside from the practical, what fur affords the wearer are a few additional benefits. Fur differs in texture from everything else in a man’s wardrobe and there are many types of fur and each has its own texture and feel. Furs also often have volume to them (especially fox and coyote) that is not offered by any textiles that I know of. Fur also comes in a myriad of colors which is a result of the dying process. Although I would stick to the basics as a man (navy, black, brown, burgundy and white). And lastly, and most notably, it is a statement; which depending on how you wear it can be a good or bad thing.
To carry forward along this line of thought; it seems that when a man is seen wearing fur he is classified as a boss, an asshole or both (which would be the ‘bad thing’ mentioned above). There does not seem to be much in between; but there should be. And I think a majority of that gray area rests with wearing fur as an accessory or accentuating item; like a scarf or collar. You know, that whole start small but dream big type of thing. By changing the collar of my jacket from a faux shearling to coyote the entire dynamic of the jacket was changed, for the better. The rabbit fur scarfs offer a total change of pace from the normal adornment around my neck. They do it without making too much of a statement. And damn, they are the softest and warmest things I have ever put around my neck. I don’t know what I’ve been doing wearing wool and cashmere the past few years…
Justin L Jeffers
I cannot agree enough with most of your posts, but on this I had to comment. Having just finished an analytical work on the ethicality of fur regulations being, like any well-bred lady, on the pro-fur side, I cannot agree more with the movement to create gender equality in the fur department. Men spend enough money on minks for their wives, why should we ladies have all the fun? Although you mention rabbit fur (not my particular favorite),but we all have preferences, I think you miss a true cornerstone of men’s fur fashion: coyote. I know it is not one of the more glamorous furs, but when trying to achieve rugged comfort it is beyond compare. A mink collar will certainly make you feel like an Astor, but coyote fur will make you feel like a man.
Would love to hear more about the work you did on the ethical side of fur regulations. I should note that I did briefly mention coyote, I had a custom collar made for a jacket in coyote. I am going to do a post on the experience in the next few weeks. And yes, it is some manly stuff. Thank you for your kind words.
Great to see, that more and more men are beginning to see the allure of fur for men as well. I do no know your age – I did browse the site for any indication, but to no avail – but I take it, you are young. I am not. I have recently turned 50, but I hope it is ok to weigh in anyways. I am also not American but rather Danish (Europe, for those in doubt). Given my age, I was young during the 80’s, where furs were all the rage – and power furs at that, coyote and fox being the most prominent furs. At the time it wad not unusual, at least in the capital, to see a man in huge furs, often parka types, and almost always coyote or raccoon fur. I was enthralled and dreamed of one day getting my own coyote or raccoon fur. I did try out a few, and I have to say: such an amazing experience, the first time I slipped into a full fur coat, no experience quite like it. Especially as furs in those days were much heavier, than they are today. But I liked, and still like, that heaviness, the feeling fo being enguæfed in fur. Ah, well, when Iit came to the crunch, I just was not ready. I did not have the guts. This, despite the fact, that my boss, in a bank, wore a f/l, longhaired beaver fur coat. But, nobody in my circle of friends. Still, the dream lingered on.
Then came the 90’s and the more enforced resistance against fur, sometimes violently so. It still rages today, but mostly and unfortunately among females of my age, plus/minus ten years. It has to be said, however, that in comparison to other European countries – and the USA, I gather – Denmark was quite subdued. Still, harsh words were uttered, paint was thrown, and gradually furs disappeared from the strets. We are talking early 90’s. But, gradually furs clawed their way back. This was manifold – partly because the daughters of the anti-fur generation discovered those huge furs in the back of their mothers’ closets, and started wearing them, finally blossoming into the widely spread use of vintage furs, that has been quite prominent in Denmark over the last five-six years. At the same time, it became a huge fashion for girls/women between 15-20 to wear full fox fur pelts around the neck. This fashion has subsided somewhat, but at the time, without exageration, probably one in three would wear one – they were everywhere. It could not last, but, of coursr. Partly, because seal furs made a huge comeback in Denmark at this time. Denmark has traditionally had tight bonds with Greenland, one of the big suppliers of sealskin pelts. Their export went down, because Bardot started campaigning ainst fur and used a baby seal – stuffed! – as the avatar for the protest. This hit the orginal people of Greenland hard. Therefore, they hooked up with a few Danish designers and rethought the fur, coloring, dying, making new outfits from skirts to trousers over mittens (extremely popular in Denmark) to ordinary jackets and coats. Also sealskin furs for men! This is where I saw my opening – I finally got myself a fur coat, i.e. a bomber jacket style sealskin jacket. It was a huge hit – not least with the women! Strange – as in unknown to me 🙂 – women would come up to me in the street and compliment me on my jacket. It has to be said, I was one of the first men in Denmark to buy one, the first in my city (the third largest in Denmark) certainly. But, all of sudden, you would see men in sealskin furs everywhere. It was shortlived, though – perhaps two winters.
For me, however, it was an epiphany, not least the favorable reception. But, a sealskin fur is NOT a “real” fur in my opinion. Coyote, raccoon, and fox are REAL furs. Fortified, I bought a coyote fur. i never got to wear it a lot, though! At the time, I also aquired a new girlfriend, who duly “stole” my fur coat. At the time, I thought, and probably still do, that if we wore the same fur coat – and it WAS a man’s fur coat – people would assume, I was crossdressing. Which, incidentally, was exactly the thought going through the head of one of her friends, one of the few times, I ventured out in that particular fur coat after the friendly takeover. We explained the deal to her – but that was more or less the end of THAT.
Today, I still have a sealskin coat – my third – plus a 3/4 raccoon coat, which I will wear when it is very cold. It is heavy and thick and chunky and I love it! It is a very different experience from wearing the sealskin coat. The latter being rather more socially accepted for men’s wear. If I feel somewaht down, I do not wear the raccoon coat, as it generates more stiffled smiles and whatnot – and of course the returning outcry of “gay”. Why is it, that something that only a century ago was more or less a man’s prerogative, has now aquired the stigma of gayness?
Ah, well. I guess, I have a little of that in myself as well. I.e. I do think that some furs are not for men, e.g. fox furs, though, I do have my doubts about silver fox. I once saw a bomber jacket made of silver fox….and I was sooo close to buying it. Actually, so close, that it only did not happen, because it was sold to somebody else. I do think, however, that coyote and raccoon – neither of you mention raccoon fur to my surprise 🙂 – are the more masculine furs – along with beaver. Mink does not sit well with men, I think…..
Sorry, this turned out to be rather long. But, when the subject is close to ones heart……
PS – I would love to read the project on ethical furs as well. Is there, perhaps, a link? 🙂
Firstly, I will apologize for the spelling errors above. English is not my first language, but mostly it is down to being written on my ipad, damn those touch screens 😉 Secondly, I forgot to mention, that I am still looking for that coyote fur coat, preferably 3/4 with a hood, fur inside and out, parka style. I often ser these types of fur on the Amarican ebay, not so much – as in never – on the Danish/European ones. I do sometimes wonder, where did all those men’s fur coats from the 80’s go to? Their female counterparts got a second life. Luckily, a lot of furs from that time are unisex, so the hope lives on. Looking forward to hearing more about your fur exploits. Guess, from your fashion point of view, a fur parka is not the way to go? 😉
Thanks for sharing your anecdote/journey, quite interesting. Good question on all the furs from the 80s; I myself have been in search of a parka style fur coat. And for the record, I am 26.
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Well, it’s been a couple of years since this first posted. Much like Claus (with whom I have communicated in the past) I too have been enamored with the idea of fur since — forever into my youth. I was jealous living in the era of raccoon coats, where the most influential and popular men on campus spent the money and donned those big heavy monsters to the delight of the local coeds. But that was not to be, but didn’t dampen my yearning for someday having my own raccoon coat to fend of the cold, and just look “cool”. Well many years since I finally had the guts to purchase my first raccoon coat on eBay when I was like 50 years old. My new wife thought the coat “ratty” and I look like a doofus. That was hardly the truth as the coat was very well made, in excellent condition, and little did I know, that once I eventually had the guts to wear my coat out in public, I received compliment galore. And mostly from women — who always wanted to trade coats!
Anyway a long winded attempt to encourage you or any guy to just DO IT, choose a coat that compliments your body type and lifestyle, and wear it confidently and in good health. My goodness you are around 28 years old now and have a whole lifetime of enjoying such pleasures in life. And as for the ethical reasoning for wearing fur, yes it is a personal decision, but I am totally at ease with how I buy, what I buy, and how I support support legitimate animal causes throughout the year. There is nothing like the warmth and feel of a quality fur coat. Too bad it took so long for me to experience it .
Are you gonna raise the animal in a tiny wire cage yourself? Causing it to endlessly run in circles and wound it’s little paws? And are you gonna finally deliver it by hitting it in the face, crushing teeth and bone, and then skin it alive, leaving it to die in excruciating pain? Or you gonna leave that nasty bit to someone else? Ah…. who cares, just as long as you can look like the apathic but fashionable guy right?
If and when I go to kill an animal it will likely be with a rifle and I will have likely hunted said animal. If its hide is suitable to make a nice pelt out of it, that will likely be done. If the meat is edible it will likely be eaten. It is unfortunate that some animals suffer the fate you mention, however, it is ignorant of you to think that all animals whose pelts are used for apparel suffer that fate.
But surely men should wear furs just as women do.
My husband would have to have as many furs, so we can go shopping in partner look, go out.
There is absolutely no reason why men should not wear fur.