It gets cold in Norway.
I mean, yeah, I know people know that, but damn, it gets COLD in Norway. And sometimes my goosedown duffle coat just doesn't quite cut it. Sometimes, you need to go old skool.
So I finally gave in and went Russian style and bought a mink coat. (Russians know cold, and they know how to keep warm, too.)
Now, before you PETA types come screaming at me, listen up.
I don't buy new fur, and I don't think I ever would. (I do have my grandmother's old sable muff, and a fur stole that I bought from a vintage fur stand on Portobello road.) Not when there is so much awesome vintage fur around. Seriously, grannies die, and they leave all these fur coats around, and who am I to say no to a coat that is not only cheaper than any new run of the mill cloth coat, but actually, really, truly, no shit, keeps you warm? I think of it as haut recycling.
So, yes, I bought an old, second hand, used as shit mink coat. I got it at a Salvation Army type place in Oslo called UFF. As in, Uffda! I bought a mink! Well, actually, I made Rich buy it, though I picked it out, so that he could say, in all honestly, that he bought me a mink coat.
I kind of think the used mink might be the best thing I have ever gotten. It's warm. It's soft. It's oddly flattering. It's comfortable. It does glorious things for my 40+ year old skin. I can insouciantly toss it on over any old thing and I truly do feel glamourous. It cost about 7% of what a new mink cost, and it cost less than a new coat costs. It's real honest to God recycling, and I wonder who owned it before me.
I love love love love love it. Even if I do look a bit like a little teddy bear in it. It has no shape, it's just a fur barrel of warmth. There's sort of an ageist thing around here that only older ladies wear minks. I am still a bit young to be sporting the fur, ok, to be honest, right on the edge, but shit, I got tired of being cold and wanted something I could throw on and guarantee that I would not be cold. I figure, I am tall enough, perhaps hip enough, and young enough to carry it off ironically, especially since my hair is still long and wild and not short and 'set' like the older ladies. Plus I wear it with Frye biker boots. Old ladies don't wear Frye biker boots, do they?
I had a Russian friend of mine at work check it out. She expertly crinkled it up in one hand (it's not dried out, that's good), checked the fur for cracks (none), checked the weight (light and lofty, good quality), looked for shedding (none) and checked the shine and smell (all good). She said I got a good deal and that it is a high quality old mink.
All I can say is, this coat is the most practical thing I could have bought in Norway. It's warm, it's pretty and it's comfortable.
So here's me, wearing a mink. Ironically, yet practically. I feel glamorous in it. I like to toss it on the sofa at work, where it sits, like an uber-luxurious throw, and it shines in the dark Norwegian winter light. I totally get the appeal.
But, like i said, I wouldn't buy new. I like the old. It suits me.