How to buy fur
TIPS ON BUYING FUR
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
- Check to see that pelts are lustrous, supple and well matched.
- Feel the fur carefully. There should be a dense, soft underfur that is evident to the touch, under the glossy guard hair, which should also be soft – never bristly.
- Seams should be sewn tightly. Hems should fall straight.
- Be sure to try the garment on to see if the weight is comfortable for you. You may be surprised at how lightweight many furs actually are.
- When you try on a well-made fur, it should be balanced, falling evenly and comfortably from your shoulders.
- There should be “give” to the leather side of the fur when horizontal tension is applied.
A HANDY GLOSSARY
Just like hair, fur colour and luster can be enhanced with special treatments.
The sky is the limit when it comes to color. In addition to natural tones, all furs can now be dyed in a wide range of exciting and beautiful hues.
Guard hair is the long, lustrous outer layer of a fur; it protects the underfur (or duvet), which provides the warmth and insulation.
Knittable yarn is now produced by combining narrow strips of fur with silk or cotton yarn; fur yarn is now used in myriad techniques including crocheting, weaving and knitting to produce soft, cozy apparel. Some knitted furs are now machine washable!
Strips of fur are alternated with leather, cloth or ribbon for unique fashion effects and increased lightness.
Cutting fur into diagonal strips and re-sewing it to make the pelt longer and narrower. Sometimes referred to as dropping out. The effect is supple and smooth flowing.
Emphasizing the velvet underhair of the fur, guard hair is selectively plucked for various effects.
Pelts are sewn together as rectangular sections, as an alternative to the letting out process.
As designers explore fur’s infinite versatility, they are increasingly treating it with the same creativity as fabric. Their innovative techniques continue to surprise and delight: fur is intricately draped, beaded, embroidered, pierced, laser cur, stenciled, fringed…
Sometimes called blending. Dye is applied only to the tips of guard hair to produce more colour uniformity.