A: This is a touchy subject. Although O never shows real fur, activists may also hate fakes for glamorizing what is, to them, a crime. But I believe there's absolutely nothing wrong with imitating fur's luxurious, dressy texture as long as no animals are harmed in the process. Today's faux coats are a lot more realistic-looking than those old, phony, probably flammable "fun" furs—and are offered in a variety of contemporary styles that don't make you seem like you're trying to get a look for less. It's an enlightened way to be chic.
For an instant dresser-upper, shrug on a faux-fur cape-like jacket from Adrienne Landau ($495), a designer known for using real fur who is now doing a terrific job working with fake.
This khaki trench features simulated pelts and a jeweled waistband (Gryphon New York, $828). The cozy scarf (Donna Salyers' Fabulous-Furs, $49) is also cruelty-free.
- Vertical or diamond-shaped quilting, never horizontal.
- A full-length zipper or placket (elongates the body).
- A belted or curved waist (to avoid that mattress-pad look).
- A less bulky fill; synthetics may be flatter than high-calorie goose down.
Although parkas are innately sturdy, they need maintenance to keep the stuffing fluffy (try Down Wash by Nikwax, $5) and the outside fully water-repellent.
This low-fat version of the winter jacket has subtle ruffles and a smart belt (Add Down, $378). It looks even more polished with a patent leather bag (Dooney & Bourke, $385) and shoes (Jimmy Choo, $585).
Turtleneck and skirt, Cacharel, $225 and $311.
Layer with flair—uh, make that flare—in a flyaway coat (Michael McCollom for Fleurette, $850).
Dress, Boss Black, $1,195. Brooch, Robert Rose, $48.