The 80s were wild for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest might just have to be the fur coat. Fur has been both an iconic and functional accessory for much of human history, but the 80s gave the wardrobe staple new life.
So why were “fur coats” a popular 1980s fashion trend? Furthermore, how did this ferocious fashion make the jump from old money to new money? Let’s find out!
The History Of Fur Coats
At the height of their popularity in the 80s, fur coats were a status symbol, a kind of rich girl uniform, and luxury only few were privileged to have. Glamourous soap operas like Dynasty further popularized the fashion, and women around the world that could afford them had to have one.
Back in the day fur coats were actually made of real fur (gasp!), and of course that made them very expensive. In fact, it was very common to have fur coats fetch tens of thousands of dollars, and that was in 1980s money!
Interestingly, fur coats have been a staple in the fashion world for centuries. The fur trade was a global phenomenon that ultimately fueled the first settlers to brave the seas in search of new lands teeming with minks, foxes, and seals.
There was high demand year round for these coats, and hardly because of their convenience and warmth. Rather, having a fur coat or even something as small as a stole or muff was proof of one’s elite background and social status.
This association continued well into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, until the unassuming decade of the 80s gave this long running trend a new life.
A Revolution In Fashion
Some of the top starlets of the 40s and 50s donned silky fur coats over revealing cocktail dresses during their red carpet appearances, further adding to the prestige and glamour of the style. But the “out with the old, in with the new” mentality of the 60s and 70s began to wane the popularity of fur.
The 60s in particular adopted new forms and brighter, bolder colors, which just didn’t pair exceptionally well with fur. In addition, new sensations like fashion model Twiggy revolutionized the ideal of a slim female silhouette, and the bulky appearance of an expensive fur coat didn’t mesh well with the time’s standards.
But what decade said bigger is better? The 80s, of course! Layering was all the rage, and bulky was more than fine if it meant a revealing glimpse of a leotard, body suit, or form fitting mini dress underneath.
The End Of An Era
By the 80s, having a fur coat meant you were either old, came from old money, or both. But it wasn’t long before “it” stars like Brooke Shields or Sylvester Stallone started sporting these coats for paparazzi to see. If it ever seemed like fur was on its way out, it quickly made a resurgence during the 1980s.
But this renaissance was short lived, because fur would be on its last leg by the 90s (and practically out by the 00s). Why? The new millennium brought about a new wave of animal activists that brought awareness to the devastating practice of capturing and slaughtering wild animals for their fur. Because of fashion royalty like Tim Gunn, thousands of animals were spared from becoming fast fashion, further leading to massive benefit for global ecosystems.
Are Fur Coats Still Popular?
Is fur gone furever? Not exactly! New advancements in technology and manufacturing made imitation fur cheaper and easily accessible. Now, fur has been making a reappearance on social media, but this time in a number of bright and bold colors.
Will fur continue to hang around? It’ll be interesting to see, especially as other 80s trends are making their reappearance in the new millennium. So hopefully we’ll see a new wave of luxury faux fur coats become en vogue again, as this once luxurious fashion was always one of our 1980s favorites.