Do you have an old fur coat that’s not exactly “a la mode” anymore? Maybe you bought it sometime in the last millennium, and the loose-fitting style is more suited for Joe Namath on the sidelines than today’s sleeker styles. Maybe you inherited the item or found it deep in the recesses of an older relative’s closet, wrapped up and waiting for a return to glory. A quick fur restyling can help transform your piece and give it new life. Here are a few tips to help you before taking it to the furrier.

Make Peace With Your Conscience

Part of the reason that furs have slipped out of the fashion mainstream is the source of the material. There’s no denying that the industry had a major impact on the populations of wildlife in North America, Europe, and elsewhere. If it’s a moral quandary with which you simply cannot come to terms, then no amount of tailoring will help. But, keep in mind that the trade today is well-regulated, that the fashion industry still relies heavily on animal products for leather and wool, and that the source of your piece has long since passed. In fact, fur restyling can actually help in a manner not unlike recycling. By working with the material already in circulation, we can curb demand for more pelts.

Know Before You Go

Before you bring your coat, vest, or hat to a furrier, know what you’re working with. Whatever business you take it to is going to want to know what animal it came from, as this will determine the craftsman’s options and the appropriateness of the piece for different weather conditions. You should also check to make sure it isn’t shedding, which will require more than a one-off glance. Move it around, drape it in a couple of different spots, and double check that there are no fibers left behind.

Don’t Be Stingy

This is probably the most important thing to keep in mind. People in many lines of business will tell you that good work isn’t cheap and cheap work isn’t good. In the case of fur restyling, this could not be truer. For one thing, this is handcrafted artisanal work with a long tradition going back centuries. The finest furriers have learned their trade from generations of expertise being passed down from skilled hand to skilled hand. Another thing to keep in mind is that the source material is not cheap. Consider that you might pay $15,000 for a car. Are you surprised to learn that major bodywork could easily run you into the thousands? A mink coat, similarly, can be easily worth $15,000, so don’t be shocked when it costs a few hundred dollars to turn it into a new piece; it’s well worth the price to have the job done right, and it’s a bargain compared to buying something brand new.

If you have an old fur taking up space in your closet, a bit of fur restyling can turn it into a chic new item you’ll love.