Several years ago, my grandmother was moved into the long-term care area of her retirement community. She had to give up her apartment at the same community & her possessions were divided among my aunt, uncle & mother.
Although there were many antiques, oddities, and heirlooms, my aunt had long-ago laid claim to The Mink Coat. Given that she and my grandmother are most similar in height and build, it made sense - plus my mother was much more interested in the cut glass & silver. I'm glad it stayed in the family, and I appreciate the sense of continuity and family history that my aunt probably feels about the coat.
While I don't know anything about the particular history of this coat, I do know that minks - and other furs - are a long-time status symbol surrounded by mystique and misgivings. From the primal to the privileged, fur has been adorning humans since we first became conscious of the need to do so. As history passed, fur became the general provenance of the wealthy or royal. Although now fur is controversial, not so long ago it was a sign that you'd "made it" or were celebrating a milestone of particular significance. I personally don't ever see myself in a mink, but I can still appreciate the cut and swing of a beautiful vintage fur when I see it.
For the once-booming middle class, homes and cars have often been used as a way to indicate success and financial security. In the past few decades, bigger seemed to be better - as illustrated by the explosion of McMansions and the popularity of the Escalade. The mink coat sends a slightly different message ... it's a bit otherworldly. You must wear a mink coat - you can't let it wear you. And unlike my favorite fleece, it's not a garment that most women would throw on for a milk run. To me, it says "I enjoy and appreciate luxury. I am elegant. I am confident. I don't care what you think of my coat, I am incredibly warm and I think it's utterly fabulous."
Driving home from my morning errands, I stopped behind a white Dodge Charger with the vanity plate "My Mink". Although there is a huge disparity in cost between the two (Dodge Charge = $30,000, good quality mink coat = $10,000) I don't think a Dodge Charger sends the same message as a mink coat.
So what is the new mink coat? Picture yourself preparing to celebrate a landmark anniversary. To you, what would say "I've made it"? And please, don't be practical.... I want to hear about your most selfish, superficial desires.