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How to dress like a grown up with SHANE WATSON: Your short cut to glamour… an LFJ (Little Fur Jacket!)


Were you to ask me which item in my wardrobe has consistently delivered on the instant glamoriser front – from autumn through to spring and every single year since I bought it back in the early Noughties – I would say, without hesitation, my fake fur jacket.

Mine, by Unreal Fur, wasn’t cheap (and its prices seem to have skyrocketed since then – there are a couple in the sale for £300, unrealfur.com). But fortunately, in the decade since then, a little fur jacket – what we used to call a ‘chubby’: collarless, square cut and big shouldered – has become a wardrobe staple.

Back in the day, little fur jackets (LFJs) were for injecting a touch of rock chick into your look – the clothing equivalent of black suede platform sandals or diamante drop earrings – but times change.

Somewhere along the way, the furry jacket lost its louche, Kate Moss image. Kate took up meditating and launched her wellness range, and the LFJ became a natural instant outfit upgrader, which works just as well if you’re a crisp, minimal dresser or a wannabe Stevie Nicks.

Now the synthetic fur is far better – glossy rather than claggy – and you don’t have to go overboard and choose a long, shaggy lynx print or rainbow shades (best not), the LFJ is the equivalent of a velvet jacket, with extra glamour, volume and tactile points.

Mine, by Unreal Fur (pictured), wasn't cheap (and its prices seem to have skyrocketed since then - there are a couple in the sale for £300, unrealfur.com)

Mine, by Unreal Fur (pictured), wasn’t cheap (and its prices seem to have skyrocketed since then – there are a couple in the sale for £300, unrealfur.com) 

Kate Moss at the Portrait Gala, at National Portrait Gallery, in London, on March 12, 2019

Kate Moss at the Portrait Gala, at National Portrait Gallery, in London, on March 12, 2019

In the past 12 months I’ve worn my variegated brown wolf effect LFJ over a silky tea dress, to an April wedding and again in August on a day that turned cold and wet.

Your LFJ must be warm enough for you to treat it like a proper jacket rather than a sequin cardigan.

I’ve also worn it with blue velvet trousers and a silk shirt in February; over a khaki jumpsuit in March; and last weekend, to go out for supper, I slung it on over a black collarless shirt and high-waisted jeans with some metallic ankle boots. Had I been heading to a party I’d have added sparkler earrings and maybe swapped jeans for a denim midi-skirt, sheer tights and silver sandals. Bingo!

The square, cropped-above-the-hip cut works with everything. Even if LFJs go out of style (they won’t), they’ll always be the perfect evening jacket – not to mention great to wear to Abba Voyage. I wore mine for that, too.

If I were to buy another now, I’d go straight to Mango and get its burgundy cropped jacket with a shawl collar (£109.99, shop.mango.com). As a rule, you’re better off sticking with a colour you’d find in nature – it looks more expensive and will go with everything – but this one is the exception to the rule.

It’s just the right texture, thick and glossy but with plenty of feathery fluffiness – too smooth and you’re into less glamorous teddy-bear territory. It would look great over a dark print dress this winter.

Little fur jackets: The rules

Wear with a midi-length.

Variegated browns work the best.

Keep cropped and big shouldered.

Go for texture and gloss.

One of the bonuses of a cropped fur jacket is it can make the plainest midi dress look instantly film-star glamorous (just add boots or metallic or velvet sandals).

And it’s flattering. Because it finishes just above the hip, it elongates your legs and gives the illusion of a narrower silhouette, while the pronounced square shoulders (an autumn 2023 essential detail) give you a waist. A longer fake fur coat has plenty of uses but it won’t improve your figure. Zara has a blonde LFJ, cut in tiers, with contrasting black lining and cuffs which is another glamour upgrade (£169, zara.com).

The shaggier the fur and the lighter the colour, the more it only really works after dark, but it’s also the fastest way of dressing up a pair of black trousers or an old dress.

Hush does a shaggy cropped jacket in ecru (£149, hush-uk.com) and New Look has one with a revere collar (now £41.24, newlook.com).

Charlize Theron at the 'Fast & Furious 9' film premiere in Los Angeles, California on June18,  2021

Charlize Theron at the ‘Fast & Furious 9’ film premiere in Los Angeles, California on June18,  2021

A little bit of shaggy goes a long way, mind you; we’re aiming for a polished look, so nothing too Afghan straggly.

Apart from the classic cropped chubby, the other new furry jacket on the High Street is the bomber. Too casual for your party cover-up solution, but it can look neat with high-waisted trousers.

Mango’s brown fur-effect bomber jacket with a fat collar as thick as a travelling neck pillow (£169.99) looks expensive. If you’re craving something to fill the gap once occupied by your leather biker jacket, this is the far more flattering alternative.



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