Have you ever wanted to buy vintage fur? If you’ve ever been to a secondhand store or an antiques market, you’ll know that there is a huge selection of beautiful furs available for sale. Whether you are an eco fashion warrior who tries to choose secondhand, or a new fur coat is out of budget for you, secondhand furs can be an excellent way to add newness (and warmth) to your winter wardrobe. If you choose to go vintage, then there are a few things you need to consider before making your purchase.

Suzy Parker, vintage fur
You too can look like 1950s fashion icon Suzy Parker.

Here are our tips on avoiding moths, dry rot, and tears when shopping for your next piece of vintage fur.

• If the fur has a yellow tinge, then it means it is oxidized. The discolouration shouldn’t turn you off buying a fur if it is a great piece, but it does affect the colour of the pelts. Look for the yellow tinge on the areas that are exposed to the sun, for example the shoulders, and the sleeves.

• If the fur and its leather have a brittle feel, then do not buy it. Fur and its leather should be soft and supple and skins that have dried out or have dry rot tend to be brittle and crunchy.

• Test the leather for dry rot by gently stretching the reverse (leather) side of the fur. (You can usually access this through the lining, and most are open.) The fur’s leather should have some elasticity when you gently stretch it. If you don’t feel any elasticity, then don’t buy this fur because dried-out, brittle leather is more likely to tear or fall apart.

• Check for rips. They can be a sign of bad wear and tear, or again, of dry rot. If there are several rips in the coat, chances are the fur is dried out. Check areas like the arm holes, shoulders, and neckline for rips.

• Is the fur shedding a lot? This could be a sign of moths. Keep in mind that some delicate furs can break (for example rabbit or chinchilla) and most furs shed a little bit, but if there are a lot of hairs coming off the garment, or the hairs are coming out in clumps, then do not buy the coat.

Now that you know the tips and tricks to buying vintage fur, it is time to go shopping!

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