I’m at my mother’s house in the South Wedge of Rochester, New York. It’s the type of area that five or ten years from now people hope to describe as gentrified, but is currently featured in the news when people go missing or murdered, and in fact just last year a body was found in her backyard, face up and cold. It sounds like a rough neighborhood, I know, but my mom is swept up in the grandeur of the place. It’s one of those neighborhoods in upstate New York – just a couple houses down from Susan B. Anthony’s actually – where big ghostly houses hide ornate crown moldings, wood inlay floors, servant staircases, and secret rooms. It’s beautiful, really, and with an ADT home security system, my mom is actually pretty safe, so long as she stays out of any gang wars.
My mom, unlike myself, is attracted to decadence. Whereas I’m drawn to clean lines and minimalism, always editing and paring down, my mom is contriving a way to fit a 7-foot stuffed black bear into her living room or figuring out where to put that art nouveau daybed with the hand-carved swan heads. Her closet is similarly over-the-top – velvet and lace, high heels and long strings of pearls. It’s for this very reason that I love staying with her, and when I head back to my hometown my first stop is usually into her wardrobe – I haven’t really grown out of playing dress up.
So you’ll have to forgive me that today, with 12 inches of snow on the ground and the cold air to match, the first thing I grabbed was this massive fur coat hanging in my mom’s closet. In fox fur and mink, I feel just like Kanye West throwing this on over my standard NYC uniform. But before you get all fur-is-murder on me, you should know that this coat was originally my grandmother’s, so these foxes could’ve died of natural fox causes long before you or I were even born.
That said, should I be the next in line to wear this fabulous fur? Should I add a little more decadence to my life? And who wore it better, me or Barbara Stanwyck?