Edith Wilson in a Fox Fur

Library of Congress

According to Fifty Years of Fashion published by Women’s Wear Daily in 1950, fox furs were big news in the first part of the twentieth century.  They were not made into coats but rather used as scarves or wraps, a style that emerged already in 1902 and continued throughout the 1930s.  A fox scarf usually included the head, legs, and especially the fluffy tail.  To my eyes, these partial recreations of the dead animal’s body are a persuasive argument against fur, but they were once all the rage.

This undated photo from the Library of Congress shows Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, the second wife of Woodrow Wilson, in an evening dress and a fox fur scarf.  Edith Wilson is a controversial First Lady, since she took over some of President Wilson’s duties when he became ill after World War One.  People still argue over whether her role was a limited stewardship or if she was in fact running the country.

Born in 1872, Edith Wilson lived to the ripe old age of 89.  I’m guessing that she probably was in her seventies here, which puts us into the 1940s.  If my guess is right, she is wearing her fox fur past its period of highest fashion. It still makes a dramatic statement and it covers up her upper arms, a spot many older women like to hide.

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