By Janet Kelly
WAAAY back when, I was the proud owner of a wonderful raccoon coat—toasty warm and a lot less spendy than a mink. Retailers christened it a “fun fur.” Fast-forward to winter 2023, and some of the trendiest coats on the market can’t claim to have a single hair of fur—they’re 100% polyester or a polyester-acrylic blend.
Faux fur is not new, however. As a story in Smithsonian magazine explains: “Fur is no longer the status symbol it used to be, and while some credit can be given to public awareness campaigns orchestrated by animal rights groups, it’s largely thanks to the proliferation of fake furs that began to hit the market more than a century ago.” The “high prices for real furs and the excellence of textile furs contribute to make the large manufacturers of women’s garments… more active than before,” remarked one designer who went on to create many of the plush faux leopards of the 1950s.
New or not so new, today’s flock of faux looks better than ever with pops of color, animal patterns and a variety of textures and shapes. These fun furs are competing for dollars with down coats, which have ruled retail for at least a decade or more. Because warmth is one of my priorities for choosing outerwear, I was curious whether a faux fur could compete in that category with my reliable puffer. Preeti Arya, assistant professor, Textile Development and Marketing, at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology, set me straight: “Fake furs are warm because they can trap body heat due to the thickness and length of the fur, which is also enhanced by the presence of a lining.” Denser materials with layers offer good insulation from the cold, she said.
So, here, 13 faux fur coats and jackets tempting me today:
Whether you’re walking Fido in your sweats or heading to a swank soirée in a silky slip dress, you’ll look glam in this plush faux fur (100% polyester) with wide, face-framing collar, a limited edition from the J. Crew Collection. It’s now selling for $439.50 (a 20% reduction from the original $550).
As I’ve mentioned before (at least I think so), animal prints are baaack this winter (er, they never really go out of style) and making a statement in faux fur. An oversize shawl collar, hidden hook-and-eye closures, front pockets and a satiny lining add to the appeal and wearability of this Bengal Kiss Coat from Unreal Fur. It’s $549 at Free People.
A faux fur trench ($398) from Alo Yoga—who would have thunk it? Cut long and oversize, the unisex style with zippered pockets and sleek satin lining ranks “warmer” according to Alo’s scale, which rates the coat as “perfect solo or layered for the coldest weather.” Availability is limited in this gray/lavender hue (shown above), which sells for $398.
High-end designers like Missoni have fallen for faux fur, too. Shown on the label’s fall/winter 2023 runway, this multicolored, zigzag-pattern coat sells for $1,827, reduced from $2003.75 on Italist. Don your retro sunnies when you wear it slope side in St. Moritz or Aspen—or anywhere you want to dress to impress.
Lauren Alexander and April Leight founded LNA 16 years ago, intending to design the perfect T-shirt for women. They still make stylish tees and sweaters, along with outerwear, such as this relaxed-fitting Faux Fur jacket, splashed with a cowgirl-ish print. It sells for $246 at Shopbop and would make a terrific pair with brown leather (faux, of course) pants.
When you’re jonesing for a jacket that’s sleeker and more fitted than LNA’s but still has a print on the wild side, set your sights on Mother’s Pony Keg Cheetah Faux Fur Jacket ($325, Neiman Marcus).
Remember shrugs back in the early aughts? That’s what Mango’s Fur Effect Jacket reminds me of. A useful piece of fluff—for layering over your party dress when you’re hopping from outside to in and then later for draping over your shoulders when you feel a chill or just for how chic it looks. The cropped jacket sells for $159.99.
Let’s talk cozy chic. Trimmed with a splash of multi-colored faux fur, Lisa Todd’s merino-wool Moonstruck Sweater Jacket will keep you feeling warm this winter inside or out. It sells for $475.
Two things I really like about this oversize, longish jacket from Herno: the curly shearling look of its faux fur and its rich, emerald green hue (also available in red, beige, black and brown) that’s echoed in the checked logo lining. You can snuggle into it for $502 at Farfetch.
From Stand Studio, known for its clean-lined Scandinavian design in leather and its colorful faux fur, comes this stunning Double-Breasted Faux Fur Jacket with a striped texture and blazer-like fit. It sells for $595 at Nordstrom.
Such a cute, curly-textured faux shearling bomber jacket. It’s $158 from Avec Les Filles at Anthropologie.
If this looks familiar, it’s because you’ve seen it here before—in pine green. We like this mid-length Plush Faux Fur Jacket ($498) in dark chartreuse with a leopard-print lining just as much.
Danish designer Sonja Davidsen says she’s inspired by Scandinavian minimalism and LA glamor. Her oversize Copenhagen Faux Fur Coat in ice blue stands out from the rest of the crowd with its curvy panels. It sells for $600 at Revolve.
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