And as an animal, I feel it’s very important to respect the rights of all other brother & sister animals.That’s why I want to start today’s post — which is an exploration and education on identifying 5 of the most common vintage furs used to create warm outerwear garments — with the declaration that I will never buy new fur or leather products. As I begin to learn more specifics on the vintage styles which we know and love, I’m often found in a conundrum of educational pursuits.

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POPULAR VINTAGE STYLES: The definitive “mink coat.” While other animal fur is used for cold weather protective outer garments, the mink style is what I associate with Hollywood glamor and luxury.

My grandmother passed down her mink stole to me (worn below).

It makes financial sense why mink is associated with such glitz & glam: Because the mink animal is so small, it requires dozens of them to make a coat or a stole.

Thus the garment itself is more expensive than the same style made with a larger animal with larger pelts, like a fox.

The US, Canada and Finland are the world’s leaders in production of fox fur, or essentially the creation of the “pelts” needed to make the garments as a whole.

POPULAR VINTAGE STYLES: Fox pelts complete with head and feet (see image below) were popular in the ’30s – ’50s.

Keep reading after the jump to learn how to identify vintage mink, fox, rabbit, beaver & raccoon — and to understand just how the fur industry has influenced fashion yesterday through today.

Whether you’re a vintage fur wearer or not, I hope that today’s post provides further insight into how to identify fashion furs and some knowledge on why different furs were popular at certain points in our fashion history.

However, I will also declare that I will buy vintage fur or leather products as a sustainable option to use the resources which are pre-existing.

As another alternative, I can also decide NOT to wear these garments to perpetuate the popularity of new production of fur & leather goods by choosing to utilize them in various ways as outlined in this blog post I wrote last January on How to Recycle Vintage Fur.

OTHER RESOURCES: You can learn more about different types of fur and how to identify it by checking out the Ebay Guide to Vintage Fur & the Vintage Fashion Guild Guide to Fur.