Lift List – Wearing the Mink

To Do (in) Life List Item # 72. Wear the mink


One of the first things I noticed when I moved from San Francisco to Munich were the furs. Whereas, at that time in San Francisco, few would have dared venture out on the street in fur without a bodyguard in tow, the women in Munich were fearlessly strutting about. Young and old, not-so-poor to the very rich, as soon as it was cold out, they were all decked head to toe.

Once I got over the  shock of realizing that there were still places in the world unimpressed by PETA terrorist tactics, I also saw (and experienced) the logical reasoning behind it all: it got really damn cold in Germany.

It has to be relatively easy to shame starlets and fashionistas in California into turning away from furs when it’s pretty much too warm to wear them anyway, but it’s a whole other thing to try and do it in a country where you can still freeze to death on the street at noon. Although too expensive today to be considered utilitarian, furs are warm.

It still took me years to decide to ask my mother about my grandmother’s mink. It’d been hanging neglected in the back of a closet for over 35 years.

A hand-me-down from an older sister that married well, it was beautiful and always a little sad there, as if it knew it may never be allowed outside of the house again. But I either never had time, didn’t have space or couldn’t figure out when I would ever wear such a thing, so I didn’t pursue it.

Then after a few years of idle threats, this June my mother finally marched through customs in high summer with the coat over her arm. The right opportunity to wear it didn’t present itself until the last weekend in January, when the temperature dropped, tons of snow fell all over Germany and I found myself about to leave for an over night trip up north to attend a birthday dinner in a nice restaurant without a decent winter coat that I would be caught dead in.

So I decided to wear something dead instead. Here’s how it looked.

I think my grandmother would have approved.

This was taken while at home. To be honest, we were too distracted to take pictures on the trip. Furs are rather scarce up north, it’s more of a Bavarian thing, so Oliver was worried the entire time that I would be attacked by hippies. He busied himself scanning faces for signs of aggression and let documentation of the moment slip.

For the record, I support the ethical treatment of animals. I also equally support the ethical treatment of people. This coat was a loved status symbol for my grandmother, who didn’t have too many nice things. It’s a shame to waste it, so I’m wearing it. This one is checked but not crossed off the list, I’ll keep looking for further opportunities to take it out for a stroll.

Oh, and the feeling? Really wonderful actually. The luxurious weight and smooth swish of it when I walked was delicious. Ooh, yes I could get used to that feeling.


10 responses to “Lift List – Wearing the Mink

  1. Allllright Megan ! Honor that critter!

  2. My grandma was all about fur too, and I’m sad that I never claimed any of her stoles. Well done.

    • Thanks Maggie! I’m looking forward to taking it out on a few more excursions before the warm weather hits.

      And thanks as well for giving me a way to give myself permission to do it. 🙂

  3. i hear you! i asked my grandmother for her fur the last time i was in san francisco…the cold is really too much to handle with just human skin (especially for us californians). stay warm!

  4. If it makes you feel any better, look at it this way: You’re not supporting the fur industry, because you didn’t go out and buy a new coat.

    Instead, you’re making good use of a beautiful, vintage luxury item, rather than leaving it to be eaten by moths. And it does look lovely–very elegant.

  5. Munich is certainly ‘the place’ to wear a fur. When I lived there years ago, I would even wear a felt hat in winter.. I felt very stylish. No one even blinks. Not the same here in Cologne. Hardly ever see fur up this way.

  6. There’s nothing more alluring to me than fur coats … unless it’s a lady appreciatively inside one. But I’m in the closet about that because communities I circulate in tend to embrace the notion there’s no purer evil than enjoying furs. I’m not going to say that everything about furs is wonderful. Killing creatures not so different from doggies or kitties isn’t a nice thing to do. Still, before I came to accept the way I respond to furs, I hurt myself and others rather than admit it.

    I’m seeking empowerment—maybe to the point I’ll even be willing to out myself appropriately—through inviting folks to a mutually respectful conversation about fur, a truce in the war about fur, if you will.

    Here’s an invitation!

  7. I’m with msnovtue in that at least you didn’t go out and buy one. It was already there, so why not make use of it.

    But I do have to disagree a little with frugalfurguy. Often times (at least nowadays) fur coats, fur lined gloves, etc. ARE made from cats and dogs. China has a horrible reputation for skinning Fluffy and Fido ALIVE to get their soft coats. Simply google the terms “live animal skinning in China” for info and videos. 😦

  8. Thanks, Ami!

    You’re helping me to some questions. I’m asking them not to attack you or anyone else but maybe help us understand one another.

    Should unhappy practices of some in an industry be reason for condemning everyone with an interest in the industry?

    Foxes are very much like dogs but not commonly kept as pets and commonly skinned for their fur. Is it ever okay to kill a fox for fur?

    How effective is shame at changing fur lovers into fur haters?

    Does skunkstripe’s enjoying an inherited mink imply approval of skinning dogs and cats alive?

    Are industries that degrade habitat—like strip mining or clear cut logging—but whose products don’t very much remind users of affected animals less cruel than the fur trade whose products some desire because their resemblance to the exploited animals?

    Thanks to stripedskunk. People willing to consider questions like these are welcome at Fur_Truce (my link).

  9. @ frugalfurguy – your view is an interesting one, thanks for speaking up. I think though you’re misunderstanding Ami’s point. I don’t feel she’s condemmng my use of the mink.

    @all – This post was about a specific situation, not about the fur industry, which i think we all agree is a huge topic that this little post in no way can do justice to.

    Grandma’s mink will continue to go out for walks, and I’m enjoying it.

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