Furs for Fashion – December 1911

Wearing more expensive furs seems more noticeable than 10 or 20 years ago. Our mothers and grandmothers got “sets” of sables which lasted one lifetime and were cut up for the adornment of the next generation: I have a distinct recollection of a little sister and myself — mere babes — having tiny muffs of sable, remnants of a boa which had probably been worn bare.

And not long ago a grandmother gave me the history of her marriage sealskin jacket trimmed with some lighter fur. Every scrap of it had been put to repeated use through a long succession of girls. “So I think I have got my forty pounds worth out of it,” she said with pardonable pride.

But the present-day style of furs is in quite another category. The cut of them changes almost as frequently as that of our coats. A necklet five years old could not possibly be altered to suit the ample fashions of the last two winters. Presently the barbaric display of the heads and claws of the poor animals will go out of favour and shoulder wraps so decorated will date themselves and look dowdy.

For a few years not long ago, bear skin was a common fur, but now it is chiefly fox and your friend wears her old coarse bearskin — still perfectly good — because she cannot or will not afford a change. She is quite as warm in her old fur but she is not well dressed.

And the price of good furs has gone up tremendously — will go up still more if the slaughter continues at an increasing rate. I was in a shop one day with a lady who pointed to a small sable necklet, saying, “That is exactly like my old one one.”

“Twelve guineas, madam,” said the shopman.

“And mine was only five, “ was her comment. And yet women seem to make sacrifices to pay the higher price.

A furrier told me one day that he had ladies paying him six shillings a week for months so that they might be able to purchase a fur from him — they had not the sum on hand to pay out. It astonishes me to hear women say they are “saving up” for an expensive luxury of this kind. Because it inevitably goes out of date in a few years unless one is old enough not to mind about fashion.

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