How Do I Choose the Best Winter Fur Coat?

Judith Smith Sullivan

The best winter fur coat will be made from quality fur or faux fur in a style that fits your needs and at a price that is within your means. You can shop for a winter fur coat online, in stores, or through catalogs. Consignment and thrift stores may also have fur coats, typically at a significant discount from department stores. If money is no object, you may even chose to have a fur coat made for you.

The pelt of a mink can be used to create a richly colored coat that does not need dying.
The pelt of a mink can be used to create a richly colored coat that does not need dying.

A fur will probably be a significant purchase, so it is best to see it in person before buying. This will allow you to check its quality and to try it on to ensure a good fit. If you must purchase a fur through an online retailer, make sure that they have a generous return policy. You should also make sure that the company insures the shipping and tracks the delivery of each item.

Chinchilla coats are often dyed because the pelts are not expensive.
Chinchilla coats are often dyed because the pelts are not expensive.

Sometimes, judging the quality of a fur is as easy as touching it. Good fur is silky and smooth. The skin is supple, with no cracks. There is no matting or staining. Check the fur carefully to make sure it has an even thickness throughout. There should be no places where the fur is less dense than others.

Sometimes judging the quality of a fur coat is as easy as touching it.
Sometimes judging the quality of a fur coat is as easy as touching it.

A poorly made fur will have uneven coloring and thickness and may even shed as you brush your fingers over it. Be sure to check the seams and closures as well. Loose seams or puckering is a sign that the coat is poorly made. The lining of the coat should be sewn tightly and have no loose threads or rips.

Consider where you intend to wear the winter fur coat. If you will be using it as a wrap for formal engagements, a long coat with a portrait collar is a good choice. If you intend to wear the coat to a variety of events, a short jacket style may be best. A fur jacket can be dressed up or down as the situation dictates. There are dozens of styles, and the best way to find the one that's right for you is to go to a furrier and try them on.

If you have a very limited budget, you may find that a faux fur is a better choice for you. There are faux furs that mimic every type of animal pelt. In some cases, a faux fur can be a tenth of the price of a authentic fur. Many are just as silky, beautiful, and stylish as the real thing.

Fur coats can be dyed or left the natural color of the pelt. Rabbit and chinchilla come in a variety of colors and are often dyed, as they are less expensive. Mink, beaver, and feline furs are less likely to be dyed, since the pelt is very expensive and is itself naturally rich in color.

Different animals typically have specific pelt colors. Chinchilla is often a silvery gray. Mink is a dark rich brown or white. Fox and coyote may be red, and, of course, jaguar, cheetah, and tiger have unique prints.

Even if you are set on a certain color, it is important to look at a variety of pelts. Some furs are heavy, coarse, and dense, while others are more delicate. Be sure to find a winter fur coat in both the color and pelt that suits you best.

Seams and stitching affect quality of products.
Seams and stitching affect quality of products.

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Discussion Comments


@MrsPramm - The thing is, for a person who lives in a world where we have heating and other sources of warmth, a fur coat is a luxury and it's difficult to argue for it the way you might be able to make a case for the meat industry.

With that said, I personally think if fur is treated as a luxury item, sourced in a sustainable and ethical fashion, there's nothing wrong with it. It's a quality, natural material and better for the world than many artificial fabrics.


@umbra21 - It really does depend on the kind of fur you're talking about though. I know in some places they market fur from pests that need to be eradicated from the environment anyway. Possums in New Zealand are a good example. They are not native species and they destroy endangered bird eggs and vulnerable trees, impacting the ecosystem.

Creating a demand for their fur is actually a sound environmentally friendly strategy, as it will encourage people to go out and trap them.

I guess what I'm saying is that fur can be sourced ethically. I would also argue that fur coats for sale in a thrift store shouldn't be a source of guilt either. It's just a matter of carefully choosing the source of your fur.


Even though most people in the Western world aren't going to have access to endangered animal furs, it is still important to avoid fur coats. Even faux fur coats are a bad idea because they can create demand for the real thing.

Many animals raised for their fur are treated to appalling conditions. In order to keep the pelts in top condition, the farmers will keep the animals in tiny cages so they can't move around or interact with others of their species.

It's cruel and not something that humanity should be encouraging.

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