Is It OK To Wear Fur If It’s Vintage?

I’ve had fur on the brain lately. (No, that’s not a euphemism for being hung over.) It’s getting cold out, and I keep seeing these gorgeous girls sashaying around in silky fur vests and hats and stoles and jackets and, well, they just look so warm and chic. For the first time in a few years I’ve noticed stores displaying all manner of fur items in their windows, and something about them looks cozy and enticing despite uncertain times. Life can’t be so tough if you’re wearing a fur coat, right?

Did I mention I’m a fervent animal lover? There are a handful of charities I donate to each year, and two of them are animal rights organizations. The thought of those fur farms and the torture the animals have to endure for something as trivial as fashion makes me feel ill. Yet, despite these beliefs, this weekend I was at a flea market and came across a gorgeous, vintage mink stole. It was clearly from another era — it even had the name of its former owner stitched on the inside as was the fashion back in the day–but was in extremely great condition and the price was right. After conversing with the seller about the ethical ramifications of buying fur — “It’s OK if it’s vintage!” she urged — next thing I knew, I was walking out of the market with it draped over my shoulders like a prize. It wasn’t until the afterglow of the score had worn off later in the evening that I looked at the piece in my closet and true guilt set in. What kind of hypocrite am I? Then again, maybe I’m overreacting here. After all, I would never buy so much as a new mitten trimmed in fur, but recycling something that was commissioned long ago doesn’t seem quite as evil somehow. Still, I suppose wearing fur at all is one of those principle-of-the-matter situations. I don’t know. I’ll probably end up throwing my mink stole on over jeans and a shirt and wear it out sometime anyway. But if someone hurls red paint on me, I’ll probably grin at them and say, “Right on.”