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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dear Abby, is it offensive to wear a mink stole in Chiberia in 2014?

Although this is my third winter living in Evanston, this is my first real Chicago winter - the first two winters living here were very, very mild. This winter, I have learned terms like Polar Vortex, Chiberia (Chicago + Siberia) and ice damming (aice dam occurs when water builds up behind a blockage of ice and water then gushes down your walls inside your house). This winter has been cold, for real!

This was a recent Facebook post from the Chicago Tribune: Chicago weather update: Arctic air blowing across Iowa and southern Minnesota will drive temperatures to as low as minus 10 today, minus 23 overnight and maybe 3 above zero on Tuesday. Wind chills will drop to minus 35 today, minus 40 tonight and Tuesday and minus 30 Tuesday night.

Most of my relatives live in California, where there is no winter, and they cringe at the weather updates for Chicago, asking questions like "You walked how far in the snow?" and "Do you wear ski goggles on the walk to work?" These are all legitimate questions and they should be scared for me, I'm a notorious weather rebel!

Once when I was living in New York City, I wore shorts to the gym and walked for more than 15 minutes in 9 degree weather. I had wind burns on my thighs for weeks! But I've grown up and I respect Chicago's weather and have rarely been under dressed when out in the cold.

During the last Polar Vortex my mother was in a total panic for my life and dug up Grandma Min's mink stole from 1957 and sent it to me in the mail. A mink stole? My mother wanted me to wrap it around my head to keep to warm, "Wrap it around your hands when you walk to work!" she screamed into the phone when I called to let her know it arrived safely.

So now I've got this mink stole (photo above) and granted it's very pretty, and very soft, and totally needed in this weather, do I wear it? Will someone throw a bucket of blood at me? I know this isn't Portland in 1995, but what's the social etiquette for wearing mink in 2014? In the Berkeley of the Midwest? Any thoughts?

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  1. Wear that fur, damnit. Seriously, a fine mink sacrificed itself so that you could be warm. An argument could me made that *not* wearing it is just wrong - the mink would have sacrificed itself in vain. Call it your exercise in consuming 'nose to tail'. Let no elder mink go unused, I say...

  2. Thank you Steffers! I plan to wear it out this Saturday night, out on the town that is! I'll report back if anything bloody happens. Your words of encouragement are just what I needed!