Forget about looking like a fox. Or a mink or a chinchilla, come to that. The new way to wear fake fur is to channel your inner teddy bear and embrace the surprise fashion hit of this winter, the Borg jacket. Borg means that your furry coat is nubbly rather than fluffy, with the porridgy texture of an old-fashioned cuddly toy rather than the silky, feline pile of most fake fur. A kind of faux-sheepskin, it was major in the 1980s but fell out of style and was, until recently, relegated to lining parkas (it is densely woven, and therefore very warm).
It is no accident that the Borg jacket has come into vogue in the year when real fur has finally begun to slide into the history books. London fashion week went fur-free last year, a sign it is going the way of dinosaur hide. As the real thing becomes less than aspirational, so fake fur has become less literal. A Borg jacket is a fake fur, but old Hollywood glamour this ain’t. And the only animal it resembles is the kind that was born stuffed.
The jacket I’m wearing today is one part Paddington Bear, one part Kate Hudson in Almost Famous – both icons and both adorable. It is more thrift store than Fifth Avenue, more backstage than opera box, more soft touch than Cruella. You can get a jacket like this in every store on the high street right now, but you can also find quirkier and less expensive versions in vintage and charity shops. Borg is tough stuff, the kind of clothing that outlives a trend, so it tends to have an afterlife beyond the original owner. Which, again, is very now.
Borg might make you dress in a different way than you would in a fake fur of the more traditionally dressy type. Jeans and a white shirt might look odd under a fake mink, but work perfectly here. And stompy boots work, too, when with an old-school fur you might go with a proper heel. If you think about it as a parka lining, this jacket is a parka turned inside out, and it holds on to a little bit of that streetwise attitude.
This isn’t just a dress-down fake fur. It’s a much cooler look on top of a straight-up posh frock than a straight-up posh coat. It is Saturday night, as well as Sunday morning. It is nothing like real fur, but it is this winter’s real deal.
Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Samantha Cooper at Carol Hayes Management.
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