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When Adelaide sang “Take Back Your Mink” to Nathan in "Guys and Dolls," she was fed up with Nathan’s shenanigans. Many women, though, wouldn’t be quite so quick to give an extraordinarily expensive fur coat back to their lover boy. Kick the guy to the curb — definitely. Keep the coat — most definitely. If you aren’t a card-carrying member of PETA, or the thought of wearing a coat made from animal fur doesn’t skeeve you out, shimmy into luxurious elegance, even when the mink is dyed.
Would you rather wear a weasel or a mink? Truth be told, a mink is part of the weasel family. It is found throughout much of North America, except for the arid, southwestern part of the U.S. For those who love fur, mink are the most-prized because of their long, sleek pelts that are combined to create an opulent, warm garment or covering. The mink’s water habitat renders the animal’s coat waterproof, which made it a natural choice for native peoples and pioneers. Eventually, it became a wearable emblem of status and class.
Because of its durability, mink can be dyed in a variety of colors. Jet-black mink are dear, and are also known as ranch mink because the animals are domesticated and farmed for the densely rich, black pelts. In that vein, furriers dye pelts to make a less-desirable color more marketable or to satisfy fashion trends. In addition, if a customer desires a particular color, such as gold, sable or gray, it is dyed with a mink-safe permanent dye to meet that desire.
Mink is chosen for high-end clothing, such as vests, wraps, shoes and coats. Female mink typically have smaller pelts that create softer, lighter clothing than male mink, although both are used in fashion construction. With mink, the shorter the furry nap — the underfur that holds in place the longer guard fur on the outside — the more luxurious the finished garment. As with many animals, minks naturally exist in a variety of colors, including deep black, mahogany, brown, gray and white. Depending on the suppleness of the pelts, fur quality and construction expertise, mink clothing or coats can range in price from about $2,500 to $50,000, at time of publication. While mink is an investment, it will last a lifetime if cared for properly.
Your dyed mink clothing requires special care. Warm, humid climates and even homes that have central air can be moisture-laden environments that harm the garment. Conversely, dry environments, mothballs, moth crystals and cedar dry out the pelts comprising your clothing. Take your dyed mink to a professional cleaner or furrier for a yearly cleaning. At the end of winter or cold-weather season, store your mink garment with a furrier or authorized dealer that has a climate-controlled storage facility, particularly one where your investment will be stored at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.