|Trend Test by Cynthia Nellis|
Tie-on fur collar
As the "It" accessory trend of the season, fur tie-on collars epitomize the movement to ladylike fashion.
But that doesn't mean you'll like them.
Photo, left, courtesy Banana Republic. Faux Fur, $55
It's not that they aren't fabulous and desirable: accessory queen Miuccia Prada saw to that when she kicked off the craze in a revival of '40s chic.
Soon, department stores and online retailers featured affordable styles in the $200 range -- in everything from raccoon to mink.
It's just that tie-on fur collars don't exactly integrate easily into most wardrobes.
And, like scarves, they always sound better in theory (Buy one to liven up any outfit!) than in practice, when it becomes difficult to figure out tying, what to wear them with, etc.
wear it with
You've probably seen the Prada version in ads worn with a floaty sundress as the model walks in the snow; believe it or not I've actually seen women who took this as an actual interpretation of how they were supposed to be worn (and yes, it's absurd looking).
In a more practical turn, you'll probably want to wear the collar over some of the same things I tried it over: a collarless, zip-front leather jacket, a black sweater, a blazer, a shell.
Because the collar itself is big enough to cover up whatever is underneath, you can wear it over lapels of a suit to dress it up or even a mock neck sweater to totally change the look.
I liked it best as part of an outerwear look -- over a leather jacket -- so I only had to wear it for a short time. When I took it off inside, I didn't know quite what to do with it (one of my kids ended up wearing it and my husband petted it and said "Down boy!").
I had just one teensy problem testing the tie-on fur collar trend: I couldn't buy real fur.
My young son won me over in his crusade to "do something about" the fur craze that was causing small creatures to lose their lives for fashion's sake (his particular concern was for rabbits).
So I compromised with a luxe shearling collar, which was touted as "faux fur" by Banana Republic (although some pros consider shearling a fur - go figure).
I bought the $55 collar in black. It's suede ties allow easy adjustment, and it also comes in fuchsia.
I've seen it at every conceivable price point and style, from more scarflike creations, to flat collars.
This style is somewhere in between because it rides high on the neck, and swathes the face in fur.
- A fur collar is a glam finishing touch, so make sure you've got the right shoes, handbag, etc. to match.
- Experiment with how to wear your hair ahead of time. If it's longer than shoulder length, make sure you're comfortable with how it's going to rest over the back of a bulky fur collar (this drove me crazy) or decide on an updo.
- My collar was versatile enough to tie around my head as an ear-warmer if (and when) the mood strikes for a change.
- If you have a short neck, this look is tricky.
- "It" accessories in general smack of "Fashion Victim," so make sure you're wearing the collar with simple, timeless, classic clothes to avoid looking too faddish (and, please, don't wear it sideways with a chiffon dress like you've seen styled for the ads!)
I loved the unabashed glamour of the look, but hated worrying what to wear it with and how it needed to be fiddled with while it was on (mine kept slipping up around my face).
I'll wear it again, but I'm glad I didn't drop a bundle on a trend that's going to be over in a blink of an eye.
About "Trend Test"
Cynthia Nellis actually buys and tests the items in these regular reports -- just like any consumer would, so you can find out ahead of time what to expect from certain trends, and what to look for in a comparable product.
All photos copyright © 2000 Cynthia Nellis.