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Making an Old Coat New

A dated fur coat can be transformed with sheared fur, a slimmer silhouette, cuffs, and a standup collar. Photographs of coats courtesy of Miller’s Furs.

Fur is a family business. Not only are most area furriers third or fourth generation, but many of their customers inherit fur coats, stoles, and jackets. But old coats often don’t fit today’s styles. Mark Miller of Miller’s Furs in Tysons Galleria—which sells new coats and restyles old ones—explains how to remake a mink to fit your lifestyle:

Shear it. Sheared mink looks like velvet, and because it lacks bulk, it feels lighter.

Laser it. Patterns etched into sheared mink can make it look like a brocade or an animal print.

Tailor it. Shortening a full-length coat makes it more wearable for a casual lifestyle. Remaking the “Dynasty sleeves” popular in the ’80s is an instant update.

Trim it. Sometimes the original fur collar or cuffs can be left unsheared for a mixed-texture effect. Or add a fox or chinchilla collar or trim for contrast. “Trimming with a fur like coyote makes a coat look much less conservative,” Miller says.

Belt it. Adding a belt makes a coat more casual.

Reverse it. Many women are more comfortable wearing a fabric coat trimmed with fur by day, then flipping to the fur side when out on the town.

Restyling a fur costs $1,200 to $3,500 depending on what’s done. Redoing a collar, for example, is cheaper than refashioning an entire coat.

This article first appeared in the October 2008 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles like it, click here.   

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