Baby, it's cold outside...
Some girls hoard lip glosses. For the same money, my friend collects vintage minks and furs.
She finds them at flea markets around Tampa Bay, where the prices are cheaper than at antique malls and vintage clothing stores. She's never paid more than $35 for a fur, and that was a gorgeous dark mink coat with an emerald green silk lining.
She feels it would be a crime to allow such soft, luxurious elegance to languish on the bargain rack for the price of a sandwich. What deal diva could disagree? One glimpse into into her mink closet inspired a solution to my own winter coat dilemma.
I'm attending the black-tie optional wedding in January at an exclusive Manhattan club. While my girlfriends debate long-or-short dresses, my wardrobe plight was more dire. This Florida diva no longer owns a winter coat, much less a dressy one.
With visions of mink dancing in my mind, I stopped by the Gandy Blvd. Goodwill store in St. Pete. In five minutes, I found a fur-trimmed camel coat that would make Jackie O proud. The only thing more perfect than the condition was the price tag: $22.
Need your own vintage mink stole or cashmere coat? Here are my friend's tips on what to look for:
* Linings in good shape. (No stains or tears.)
* No missing patches of fur, which makes them look mangy.
* Very light or white fur looks less dated than the mid-brown minks that were big in the 40s and 50s.
* Avoid anything with recognizable animal parts like claws or, heaven forbid, entire heads.
Feeling a twinge of guilt? Though PETA and similar groups have targeted celebs who wear animal fur, my friend sleeps easy. Her rationale for buying vintage fur: The critter that contributed the fur has been dead a long time and her not wearing a coat or stole ain't gonna bring it back to life!
Happy fur hunting.
Deal Diva Letitia
(Photo: Me in my "new" fur-trimmed coat, taken by Times staff photographer Edmund Fountain.)