Not since the seventies, when Jets playboy Joe Namath wore fur down to his ankles, has PETA’s most-hated clothing been so popular with men: Nick Lachey wore it on the cover of this magazine, P. Diddy puts it on to fetch the paper, and designers like Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors are draping their models in it. But with the resurgence comes a new set of concerns. A few pointers:
1. Work the Fringes
“In a man’s wardrobe, fur is a punctuation mark,” says Tom Kalenderian, the general manager for menswear at Barneys New York. Limit long-haired fur to the edge of a hooded parka or the collar of a top coat.
2. Look Inward
Fur has benefits beyond the aesthetic. It’s warm, durable, and soft. A fur lining—in something subtle and short like shirred mink—gets you all of the softness with none of the stigma.
Not even Liberace could pull off full-length sable in this cultural climate (see PETA). So the kind of fur you choose is as important as its placement. For collars, go subtle: rabbit, coyote, or nutria.
4. Or Count On Sheep
Shearling, made from the pelts of sheep, is the easiest fur to wear—it’s understated, looks better on men than on women, and can be worked casually. “It’s quite rugged,” says image consultant Annie Brumbaugh.
5. Never Say Dye
Remember those red leather pants? The ones that were a big mistake? Well, so is fur in anything other than its organic color. And no, there isn’t such a thing as a violet chinchilla.