Break the Rules, Not the Bank: One Collar, Many Coats

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According to TV commercials, radio advertisements, and storefronts everywhere, 'tis officially the season for big spending. Cash registers across the country are ringing out over crooning renditions of Santa Baby and Jingle Bells. Department stores have been transformed into retail versions of the Hunger Games, as ruthless, over-caffeinated shoppers hunt the racks with nothing less than bloodlust in their eyes.

As someone with limited funds, a weakness for clothes, and a profound aversion to situations that involve a high risk of stampede, the mall during Christmas season is not the ideal place for me. I possess neither the financial means nor the emotional fortitude that seem necessary to emerge from holiday shopping successfully.

Since it's easy to spend reckless amounts of money this time of year, it's important to keep perspective on what we actually need. When we're honest with ourselves, beyond nice coats and sweaters, do we really feel like wearing anything but comfortable, warm basics on a day-to-day basis? I certainly don't.

The fur collar is an inexpensive accessory that has made a huge difference for me throughout the cold winter (and also makes a great, affordable gift!). I attach my H&M faux fur collar–which I bought for $20–to coats, jackets, and even sweaters. The effect completely transforms an outfit, taking what might have been otherwise dull or overly-casual, and gives it a more unique, polished look.

To attach the fur collar by hand, I sew a few loose stitches to secure it in place. This way, the threads can be easily cut when you want to use the collar on another jacket. Or, if you're as lazy as I am, you can use safety pins instead–just be sure to conceal any evidence of the pins!

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For those of us with a preference for the real deal, vintage boutiques and consignment shops often have an assortment of affordable stoles and fur collars for sale. Frequently, these collars are high quality fur that have been cut from the original coat.

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Coats and sweaters with already attached fur collars –even faux fur–tend to be wildly overpriced. By buying the fur collar separately–the vintage ones above were around $40–you'll be surprised by the countless ways you can utilize and re-imagine pieces you already own, getting twice the wear!

chill out music

 Courtney Kampa

the bachelor, reality show


Courtney Kampa is from Virginia, and has an MFA from Columbia University. Her poetry has received awards from 

The Atlantic

Poets & Writers Magazine

North American Review

, and elsewhere. She has worked as a writer for 

Seventeen Magazine

, lobbied at the United Nations, and modeled for Levis Jeans.