How to Prepare Your Fur Coats for the Upcoming Fall and Winter Season
Fur coats continue to provide a chic and trendy look for fall and winter wardrobes. Considered by many to be the most sophisticated outer garment of all time, fur coats keep you warm and cozy in addition to making you look glamorous. This coming season will be no different, as it promises to provide soft, sensual and elegant coats in a variety of designs, colors and lengths.
If you are fortunate enough to own a genuine piece of fur, you will be able to enjoy its luxurious feel on a daily basis this fall and winter rather than having to wait for a special occasion. To extract maximum pleasure from your fur coat, though, there are several things that you should do to prepare for the upcoming season. After all, your fur is a good investment that requires regular maintenance in order to maximize its value and extend its useful life. For starters, you should give your coat a thorough inspection from top to bottom. Look for any small defect that might need to be repaired, especially on the front of the coat and around the shoulder area. Be sure to check the seams and fasteners, and look closely for any signs of bald spots. You should also inspect the lining, particularly in the neck and sleeve areas. If you notice any kind of an opening in the lining, it would be best to have repairs made as soon as practicable in order to prevent a tear that might require the liner to be replaced.
To prolong the life of your coat, you should make sure it is shielded from any elements or chemicals that could cause damage. This includes makeup, lotions, hairspray, perfume, oils and water. When not in use, keep the coat free of jewelry or other adornments that have the potential to mat the fur. Watch out for delicate areas such as cuffs and shoulders. Be especially careful with white furs, as they are subject to oxidation that can affect the coat’s color. Over time, white coats may begin to turn yellow or pick up a light brownish tint. To avoid oxidation, you should keep your coat covered and shielded from bright lights. A garment bag made for that purpose is ideal. In lieu of that, you might try wrapping your coat in a bed sheet.
Fur Coat Storage
It is extremely important that you store your coat properly to prevent damage. Begin by choosing a location that is dark and dry. Try to avoid direct sunlight and humidity, two factors that have the ability to inflict damage on your coat. To avoid humidity, never hang your coat in the basement as below-grade areas tend to be very humid. If you are having trouble finding a cool, dry storage area, you may want to invest in a small, inexpensive dehumidifier. Be sure to hang your coat on a good-quality hanger that will support its weight so that your coat will hold its shape. A sturdy, padded hanger works well for that purpose. Never store your coat in a plastic bag, though, as plastic may cause the coat to dry out and rob it of essential oils. Try a cloth bag instead. You can even buy bags made especially for that purpose.
Fur coats need the ability to breathe, so be sure to hang your coat where there is plenty of room. Never cram your coat into a small area where it has to share space with a multitude of other garments. If you need to, move some clothes to another closet or get rid of some items to make adequate room for your coat. If you cannot find a suitable place to store your coat, you should consider having it stored professionally.
Before you take your coat to a professional storage center, though, you should do some homework to make sure the storage center is properly equipped to care for your coat. This means providing adequate security as well as controlling the temperature and humidity. You also should make sure that the storage facility has adequate insurance in case something goes wrong. A professional storage facility should be able to keep the temperature between 34 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity level between 45 and 55 percent. Here are some other things a professional storage facility should provide:
• Protection against vermin and insects
• Theft protection with alarms
• Protection from U.V. light exposure
• Sufficient garment space
• Easy accessibility
Fur Coat Cleaning
Regular fur coat cleaning is a necessary step in properly caring for your coat. However, this isn’t a task that can easily be performed at home or even at your local dry cleaners. Because of this, many fur owners skip this step, which often turns out to be a mistake. Natural furs contain oil that provides protection and gives the fur its plush appearance. Even if your coat looks clean, it may have dust and other minute particles on it that could reduce the effectiveness of the oil. Your coat should be cleaned about once per year unless you spill something on it or it has obvious stains. It may need to be cleared more frequently if it is exposed to tobacco smoke on a regular basis. On the other hand, if you store your coat properly and wear it infrequently, you may be able to get by with cleaning it every other year.
If you happen to get caught out in the rain or in a snow storm, and your coat gets soaked, you will want to have it cleaned professionally. Moisture can harm your coat, and properly drying it at home is very difficult. Above all else, never attempt to dry your coat by applying direct heat as this can cause irreversible damage. Professional fur cleaning depends on unique operations that cannot be performed at home or at a dry cleaners. Coats are tumbled with substances that have been soaked in a solution designed to absorb dirt and oil. Glazing is then used to enhance the sheen and make the coat soft and fluffy. Certain types of furs are pressed, using a specific type of wax paper, so that they take on an extra sheen. Additionally, certain types of coat liners require a specialized fur cleaning process.
Fur Coat Alterations
There are several reasons why you may need fur coat alterations. Perhaps you inherited your coat from your parent or grandparent, and it needs modernizing or the fit isn’t correct. Maybe you’re simply tired of the style and want a new look. Whether you are needing simple and straightforward fur alterations such as changing the length, or more elaborate alterations such as shearing a coat to make it lighter, or even adding a liner to make it reversible, you will want to take it to a professional fur tailor who has the experience you need. Here are three of the most commonly requested fur alterations:
Just like the stock market, hemlines tend to go up and down. A longer hemline gives a more formal look, while a shorter one is more casual. Some people prefer one over the other simply because a certain length fits their personal style better.
Fur coats are made with two basic lengths of pile. Long-pile coats are heavier and are suited for extremely cold climates. When extra warmth is not needed, long-pile coats can be sheared, which will make them much lighter but still provide plenty of warmth.
Sleeves are generally altered for two reasons. Either the sleeve length is too long or too short, or a sleeve has suffered damage and needs to be repaired.
Fur Coat Repair
Because fur coats are quite costly, you probably are in the habit of taking good care of your coat. However, even the most prized coat can become damaged through normal wear and tear or due to an accident. That being said, your coat may require occasional repairs in order to prolong its life and keep it looking its best. There are two ways that owners generally go about this. Some like to take a proactive approach and have small defects repaired before those defects turn into major problems. This would include repairing such things as minor tears and loose closures.
Other owners, though, tend to wait until the damage is more noticeable which, of course, means that the repairs will be more substantial. Although most furriers do not recommend the use of moth balls, moths do occasionally damage coats. Another common occurrence is that a fur coat gets wet and is not dried properly. This can sometimes allow mold to grow. Although a moldy coat may look like it is beyond repair, a master furrier should be able to bring it back to life.
Both modern and vintage coats may be in need of a fur repair from time to time. However, specialty equipment is required to make those repairs due to the thick pelts. Vintage repairs are tricky and demand a particular expertise. Whether the coat is considered vintage because it has been handed down through the generations or because it was purchased at a thrift store, an experienced fur repair technician can modernize the coat and make it look new. Even if the coat has been stored in the attic for a number of years and is in need of repairs, it can be salvaged at a fraction of the cost of a new one. Here are some of the more common repairs needed:
Zippers and other types of closures are often added to the pelt to make the coat fit more snugly and to keep you warm. However, because these items are used on a frequent basis, they are more likely to suffer damage. In addition to closure damage, the seams holding these items can become torn.
Tears are a common problem with fur coats. They may occur in the pelt or in the lining that is added to the coat. Either of these can be repaired. However, a severely damaged lining may need to be replaced.
(3) Bald spots in the fur
Bald spots or thinning spots may appear in various portions of your coat. These can be caused by a variety of factors, including a shoulder bag that constantly rubs against the pelt or sitting on the coat. When you first see these spots, it is disappointing because you make think the coat is ruined. However, most bald or thinning spots can be successfully repaired by a professional.
Fur Coat Restoration
As previously discussed, damage can occur to your coat through no fault of your own, even if you take good care of your coat and store it properly during the off season. While minor damages are easily repaired, major damage may require restoration. Although fur coat restoration may sound very similar to fur coat repair, it is significantly different. Fur restoration is a process that can be used to transform an older coat into a new one. For example, suppose you have a fur coat that you purchased twenty years ago, and you are tired of the style. Or perhaps you have a coat that has been passed down through the generations. While it may have enormous sentimental value, it may not be in the best physical condition, especially if it hasn’t been stored properly.
Restoring a fur coat can solve these issues. The fur restoration process can modify the coat’s design into a more modern style. Various portions of the coat can be reworked and adjusted to make the coat more comfortable to wear. A coat can even be transformed into another fur piece, such as a vest. If you have a fur coat that needs restoration, you will want to engage the services of a furrier, a professional who has the expertise to repair or restyle your fur coat as well as the ability to create a new piece from it. Fur coat restoration requires a level of expertise that you will not find at an ordinary alterations shop.