Given the right attention, your fur coat will make you look gorgeous for decades. In fact, you’ll probably get tired of it before it wears out. While today’s furs can be trendy, you can restyle them after a few years to keep in step with fashion – if they’ve been pampered properly.
Unless you have a very delicate fur like chinchilla, your fur coat is a fairly durable item and must simply be treated with common sense. Furs like cold, hate heat. They don’t like friction. They don’t like chemicals. They like space. They like to be cleaned often, but only by a fur professional.
Insure your fur on your homeowner’s policy for its replacement value, so you won’t be heartbroken if it is stolen. Furriers usually offer nominal insurance coverage while your coat is in storage and sometimes make further coverage available for a small fee.
Give it a good home. Be sure you put it in a coat closet that is not exposed to light (which will fade your fur) or heat. Check for hot water or steam pipes in the wall. Then be sure it has room to breathe and isn’t being crushed by other garments.
Hang your fur on a broad-shouldered or padded hanger with a long neck. No wire hangers. Ideally, ask your furrier for a professional hanger.
Don’t cover it in a garment bag. Your fur prefers air circulation, to prevent its leather side from drying. If you absolutely must keep it in a bag for a short period of time, be sure it is in a loosely woven cloth bag.
Accessorize wisely. Don’t pin jewelry on your fur, and avoid sharp necklaces or bracelets that could snag your fur. Don’t use your shoulder bag on a consistent basis, since it will wear the hairs off and give your coat a bald spot. Consider wearing a scarf around your neck to protect the collar, which can be quickly matted.
Avoid insecticides, mothproofing and other chemicals around your fur, including perfume or hairspray directly on your fur. Perfume contains alcohol, which can dry your pelts. Once perfume gets into your fur – including cedar from a cedar chest – it could be there to stay. Oils in the leather of your fur can become rancid and smell.
If your fur gets wet, don’t panic. Most furs handle snow and light rain with ease. Shake it out and hang it to dry in a well-ventilated room, at home or the office. Resist the temptation to speed the drying process by using a hair dryer or hanging it near a heat source. Fur does not like heat. After it dries, shake it again.
Your fur coat and your car, best friends? Probably not. Furs don’t do well with friction or crushing, both of which happen in your car. Use common sense when sliding into the seat, so you’re not too hard on your fur. To avoid a telltale flattened bottom print on your fur, don’t sit on it if possible, or at least not on the same spot consistently. Shake out any spots when you exit your vehicle. On long drives, take off your fur and wear it over you like a blanket, if you need to keep warm.
Keep your fur in mind when you’re on the move. Double-check your insurance policy to make sure you’re covered in case of loss at a restaurant or while traveling. At a restaurant, if the cloak room looks suspicious or overcrowded, don’t check your coat. Don’t hang it on a hook or coat tree. Fold it neatly on a chair at your table and cover with a napkin.
On a plane, the closet for hanging luggage is not the best place for your fur. When you get to your destination, you might find your fur too crushed to wear. Instead, leave it lightly on your lap for a super-lux, cozy blanket or fold it loosely, lining out, and place it at the top of an overhead bin very near you. But find a bin that is already nearly full, and put your coat on top of other luggage. Don’t tempt anyone to place luggage on top of your coat.
Always send your coat on summer vacation. Nothing shortens the longevity of your fur like keeping it in your closet during a long, hot summer. Send it to your furrier for professional storage. This is important every year, for a fur, a shearling, a fur-trimmed garment and even a fur hat or scarf. Unless you don’t intend to wear your fur for very long, take it in for cold storage. It’s not very expensive, and this is the single best thing you can do to care for your fur. It’s a necessity.
Have your fur cleaned regularly by a fur specialist, not a dry cleaner. Furs must be cleaned by a special process. Your fur should be cleaned every year, unless it hasn’t been worn hardly at all. In that case, have it cleaned at least every other year. Besides just cleaning, this conditions your fur, makes it look better and is good for your fur. When you take your fur in for cleaning, this is also the time when your furrier gives it a check-up for any necessary repairs. Always have repairs done immediately, before little problems turn into big headaches.
Cleaning is also necessary for shearlings and fur-trimmed garments, they usually require special attention, too.