Fashion & Shopping

Mob Wife Makeover

March 4, 2024

It’s official: the clean-girl aesthetic is out and the mob-wife vibe is in. The style shift is seeing pared-down ensembles put away in favour of a more opulent style complete with bold gold jewelry, leopard prints and a seriously statement-making lip. Instead of “stealth wealth,” mob wife is giving “gimme-it-all.” And a lush fur coat (ahem, preferably faux or the vintage real-deal) is an essential element of the look.

“The coat would be the hero piece of this trend,” Randa Salloum, owner of Vancouver vintage clothing store Collective Will, explains. “It presents a larger-than-life persona that exudes wealth and excess, without being a maximalist.”

A status symbol that dates back more than 2,000 years, a more mainstream interpretation of full-length fur outerwear styles became popularized in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Regularly in and out of fashion during the winter months, the current resurgence of luxe fur toppers has much to do, Salloum says, with the anniversary of one very famous TV show.

The Sopranos has become a popular series to dissect on TikTok with many recapping its episodes [on social],” Salloum says. “It was the recent surge in exposure of its 25th anniversary on January 19 that … developed the mob wives trend.”

Online marketplace Poshmark Canada recently released sales data that showed a 76 per cent increase in the search for mink fur items, with the term “vintage fur coat” registering as a top-trending term on the platform. And the online interest is prompting a rush for faux fur and vintage fur coats in stores, too.

Courtney Watkins, owner of Vancouver-headquartered luxury reseller Mine & Yours, says she’s noticed an “influx” of requests for the plush styles, pointing to Vogue’s declaration of “floor-sweeping” coats—plus, their inclusion in designer runway collections such as Max Mara and Balenciaga as additional motivators behind the mob-wife momentum. While trending high now, Watkins says the styles are worthwhile investments: “A fur coat in your closet is much more than just a trend. It’s a classic closet piece because it’s the best of both fashion and function.”

Marissa Freed, CEO of Winnipeg-based brand Freed & Freed, points to a chic faux-fur topper as an elegant alternative to a mainstay coat style often seen during Canadian winters. “I think they’re an alternative to the puffer that everyone already has,” she says. “A good ‘fun fur’ can be chic and luxe in a way a puffer typically can’t. Moreso, I think people simply want other outerwear options, and fun fur is an option that can be dressed up or down—and at an accessible price point.”

Indeed, faux fur has come a long way from the fake, plasticky-feeling material it once was. “The first faux-fur options were not cute and looked cheap,” Gerardine Jeune, a Montreal-based stylist and makeup artist (@mllegeri), says. “But now I am impressed. Companies are really making an effort to mimic [real] fur.”

Labels like Rudsak and Freed & Freed are pushing the innovation of faux-fur textiles for trims and coat designs. Freed points to her company’s use of OEKO-TEX 100 Standard-certified materials in its mills as a major evolution in the category.

“People really see an opportunity to replace real fur. And the only way to truly and properly fill that void and desire is to create a similar feeling by producing a cruelty-free garment that is accessible to most, is as warm as real fur, and that moves and feels like real fur,” Freed explains. For shoppers interested in investing in a real fur piece, Jeune recommends really doing your research before settling on a new-versus-vintage style: “Prioritize brands who are transparent enough to share where they get the fur and how they process it. [And] for the fur that is available, let’s recycle it and keep it.”

Vintage furs are, without a doubt, the ethical option if a real fur style is the only choice for you. Salloum says the stigma against such preloved pieces has shifted as more shoppers become aware of the importance of keeping garments in the style cycle and out of the landfill. “Many of our shoppers are OK with preloved fur. They understand that it’s already made and wasted if not used,” she says. “With that said, there is still a large segment of consumers whose values go against fur of any kind. We respect everyone’s beliefs and want people to wear what they feel comfortable in.”

To select the perfect vintage fur piece, Salloum says to consider the cut and length of the coat, since “fur can be overwhelming on the body due to its volume. You want to wear the fur, not have it wear you.” Also, consider the condition, examining it for any tears or pest damage. For those whom a classic faux or vintage fur doesn’t appeal, a plush teddy coat like the iconic design from Italian brand Max Mara presents a perfect option. The design sees camel hair applied to a silk base, producing all the volume and glamour of a longer-pile fur variety while adding a little something different.

“My personal favourite right now is the Max Mara long faux teddy coat,” Watkins says of the celebrity favourite. “It’s the 10th anniversary of the Max Mara teddy coat and it has become so popular over the years that any time we get them at Mine & Yours, we sell out right away.”

As for how to wear a chic fur or faux-fur coat, it’s really an everything-goes approach thanks to the fact that a plush topper can add an elegance to pretty much everything you choose to pair it with—keeping in mind that leather leggings and a black turtleneck underneath a sleek fur coat pretty much equals peak mob-wife status achieved.    

“Fur doesn’t need styling! It is such an iconic piece that you dress however you want,” Jeune confirms. “Don’t overthink it; just put it on.” —Aleesha Harris


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