Whenever my mother (my first style inspiration, as featured here, here and here) and I get together, which, sadly, is only a few times a year, we end up working on some kind of fashion related arts and crafts project. One year we made a pair of red denim gloves that I still wear once in a while in the breast pocket of an overcoat.
Over this past Christmas holiday I had my eye on my late grandmother’s leather and fur coat that was collecting dust in the back of our living room closet.
I said to my mom: “Wouldn’t it be cool if we cut that fur into a scarf?”
That night her and I are at the kitchen table until 2am cutting and sewing almost all of the coat’s fur (meme was a tiny woman) into a double-faced scarf.
The outcome was awesome and very personal to me. Not only did my mother and I hand-make it together, but it’s genuine Canadian beaver (a national symbol of Canada) and, of course, it reminds me of my grandmother.
There are high-end stores that carry fur scarves, but knowing a thing or two about sewing (or someone that does) can save you hundreds, or more, at a local vintage store.
Here, I styled my new favorite scarf four different ways.
1. Corporate Luxury
Fur can be tough to pull-off without it looking like too much. It’s a good idea to keep the fur as the only accent on a simple, classic look. And of course, you have to wear it with confidence and own it. Fur is not for the timid.
Because it’s a luxury fabric, it will come off as dressy, elegant and rich. Therefore it’s a perfect match for a dark, sharply tailored suit. A simple ascot loop (like the first part of tying your shoes) with the front end laying flat against the chest is an easy way to tie a rectangular scarf over a suit. It’s simple, clean and keeps the suited look’s age-old symmetry.
As with any bold show of luxury, it’s important keep everything in context – especially in a corporate setting. Some things need to be “earned”. This isn’t for first year analysts, this is bossy.
I was wearing black footwear here – I think it’s the most fitting color for winter weather and I love the sharpness against a dark navy suit.
This would work just as well with chocolate brown – it may even be better to bring the whole look together because of the browns in the scarf.
Homemade fur scarf. Suit and shirt by Michael Andrews Bespoke. Wool tie by Thom Browne. Tie bar by Purely Paige. “The Adams” loafers by Allen Edmonds. Cashmere blend socks by Marcoliani. Watch and black alligator band by Montblanc.
2. Business Casual
It doesn’t get much warmer than genuine fur. Lay it around the neck, wrap one end over the other across your body, and anchor it down under a jacket and you will not need a coat – at least not in the mild weather we’ve been having in NYC.
Homemade fur scarf. Jacket (part of suit, as feature way back here) by Hugo Boss. Blue flannel herringbone shirt by Michael Andrews Bespoke. Burgundy cardigan by The Brooklyn Circus. Chocolate brown corduroys by H&M (tailored). Alligator belt and silver buckle by Ralph Lauren Purple Label. Winter socks by JCrew. Penny loafers by Bass. Wool pocket square by Armstrong & Wilson. Unlined suede driving gloves (for my bicycle) by Cole Hann.
3. Just a Hint
A luxurious scarf can instantly amp up an easy casual look – even if it’s just peeking out.
We shot this look a while back for our post on peacoats, here.
Homemade fur scarf. Down peacoat by Hugo by Hugo Boss (M – available here). Jeans by JBrand (Kane, 32). Gloves by Hilts Willard. Boots by UGG Australia
4. Keep it Simple, Solid
As I’ve written in the past, if you have a well edited wardrobe it’s easy to dress well. The brunt of your personal styling should happen while shopping.
Think about each individual piece’s investment value - how long it will last (durability and style) and how many outfits you can make with it using what you already have in your closet. If all of your pieces have a high investment value, you should be almost able to get dressed in the dark.
Combining solid pieces in neutral colors (like navy, white, and camel) keeps the attention on your face, and leaves less room for distractions or pattern-mixing errors.
This look may be considered style-forward, but it’s actually a very simple combination of classic menswear staples.
If you’re a pale guy, like me, you want to avoid beige or khaki tops and stick with the darker, more saturated camel.
Homemade fur scarf. Navy trench by Brooks Brothers Black Fleece (2, cropped). Camel turtleneck by Gucci. White denim jeans by Helmut Lang. Socks by Smart Turnout. Suede loafers by Ralph Lauren. Brown alligator belt and silver buckle by Ralph Lauren Purple Label. Shades by Matsuda.
Thanks, as always, for reading – and special thanks again to my mom for helping my whip this thing up.
Yours in style,