Time Out Chicago "Steal Her Style": Mongolian Fur

Photo Credit: Andrew Nawrocki
Source: TimeOutChicago.com

Time Out Chicago did a feature about how to steal my style and look like an abominable snowman in their February 10, 2011 issue.

The article was written by Jessica Herman and is in italics below:

What are the most amusing responses you’ve gotten when wearing that coat?
I am just waiting to cause an accident because people literally slow down their cars to stare. Famed Walnut Room pianist Roberta Brown recently pulled up in a car next to me while I was walking down Rush Street to compliment me on it.

Your favorite places to shop?
Sarca in the Gold Coast (710 N Wabash Ave, 312-255-0900) is a great boutique for special purchases, and I love their Erin Gordon jewelry. I am also a huge fan of vintage pop-up shops like SisterMan and Jenstyle. I recently splurged at Hermès (25 E Oak St, 312-787-8175) and bought myself the last remaining limited-edition Chicago scarf in fuchsia, but don’t tell my mom!

My Outfit Credits:
Vintage Mongolian fur coat, at Cheap Thrills in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Fair-Isle wool leggings, $20 at Akira on Diversey
Céline ankle wrap boots, $1050 at Barneys on Rush Street

Time Out Chicago’s “Steal Her Style Picks”: 
Halston Heritage faux fur coat, $223 at shopbop.com
Socks, $6 at topshop.com
DV by Dolce Vita boots, $119 at Revolve

The following paragraphs discuss the story of my Mongolian fur coat. I get so many questions about this coat that I’m going to use this post as an opportunity to share more about it with you, and hopefully answer any questions you may have had about it.

The ethics of a Mongolian fur coat:

First of all, Mongolian fur coats are actually made using the wool of curly-haired lambs. Although it’s colloquially referred to as “fur” it’s not fur in the same way as mink. Mongolian “fur” is actually much closer in nature to wool garments. Most importantly, no animals were killed to make my coat. Mongolian wool coats are made by shaving the lambs and then sewing the wool into a cloth lining. Rather than being spun into wool thread and then knitted into sweaters or hats, the hair is left natural and the ends are sewn into fabric. There is no leather (animal skin) in my coat. It’s satin underneath the wool. Animal rights activists sometimes say mean things to me, which is ironic because they are usually wearing wool themselves. I have to explain to them that no animals were killed to make my coat, and they certainly aren’t harmed any more than any of the other lambs who are shaved to make wool.

Note: I’m not against other types of fur, I just wanted to correct this annoying misconception about my specific type of fur coat.

You’re Not Alone: My Mom Thinks This Coat is Comical Too

My mom thinks my Mongolian fur coat is the most hilarious thing ever. She was with me when I purchased it and laughed at me when I tried it on. I’m glad I have my mom to tell me when I look ridiculous – but I always disregard her advice anyway, because looking slightly absurd is what fashion is all about (see also: Man Repeller’s post about overdoing fur outerwear). I told her that she obviously hadn’t seen the Chanel Fall 2010 collection because the Yeti look is in. She actually made me leave it behind the counter overnight to make sure I reeeeally wanted to buy it since she said I’d never wear it. Strike two against my mom as a fashion adviser – I’ve worn this almost every day since I purchased it.

Freja rocking the Yeti look at Chanel Fall 2010
Source: Style.com

Where I Bought The Coat

I bought this piece of sartorial magic at a vintage store called Cheap Thrills (120 S East Avenue; 479-442-7735) in my adopted hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas. If you’re familiar with Fayetteville, Cheap Thrills is located right off the square just east of the Fayetteville Town Center. Every time I go back to visit my parents, a trip to Cheap Thrills is at the top of my “to do” list. Cheap Thrills has an insane array of vintage and second-hand clothing. There are always designer gems to be found as well. Last time I was there I picked up a St. John top for $6. True story.

Ask Before Petting

Although I might be as friendly and bouncy as a poodle (and look like one too), it’s not cool to just come up and pet me like a dog. Please respect my personal boundaries and ask before approaching me. On any given day I wear this coat, at least 10 random strangers comment on it, and at least 1 or 2 people try to touch me without asking. If any of you ever see me out in public, please introduce yourself first, then you can pet my coat. I always say yes when people ask! Also, don’t ever wear a coat like this into a sports bar. It paradoxically acts as a man attracter to drunken guys, so unless you want three Chads up in your business I suggest you wear your North Face to the pub instead to blend in with the Trixies.

Note: I can’t believe I forgot to post about this when it was published a month ago. Just goes to show you how hectic and overwhelming my life has become – in a good way!


  1. The Thriftaholic (Leilani)

    Your coat has gotten a lot of mileage and attention. The best thing about it is that you bought it at Cheap Thrills! I've been shopping there since jr. high and after I moved to L.A. (and then Chicago) I make sure to visit at least once when I'm back home. Some of my favorite pieces are from there.

  2. if your coat is truly real mongolian fur, it was definitely killed to get the fur. the leather that holds the fur together (the backing) is the sheepskin. you can NOT make a mongolian lamb fur coat without taking it’s life. if you have any questions, please reach out. i have been a furrier for nearly 20 years and can help illuminate any fur you are interested in.

  3. If you google mongolian fur, many sites come up as DOG. The chinese kill dogs, cats, what ever – doesn’t matter- to make $$$$. Many pets are stolen. Caged. Skinned alive. At restaurants, they eat the dog. But be sure you understand, the dog is placed in to the hot water ALIVE.

    The MONGOLIAN fur trade – is DOG. Many designers buy it because it is CHEAP, CHEAP CHEAP.



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