The Collegiate Raccoon Coat

There was a fashion craze on college campuses in the 1920s of wearing a full-length raccoon fur coat. Probably the only reference you’ll see to those raccoon coats these days is in vintage cartoons, where they were a device used to identify a character as a college student at a football game. The luxurious coats were visually stunning, but in reality, the fad was mostly confined to Ivy League schools.

I had stumbled upon a snapshot of a moment in fashion history when American Ivy league-ers and young college undergrads began sporting heavy, full-length raccoon coats, which set the trend in 1920s & 30s men’s fashion and sparked a voracious demand for the extravagant garment across the country. If a man could afford a fur coat, he had one; bankers, salesmen and students alike used the style to signify or improve their social status.

They were expensive- several hundred dollars, which was out of reach for most students. That in itself made the raccoon coat a status symbol to be flaunted. Messy Nessy Chic relates the rise and fall of the collegiate raccoon coat in an article with plenty of pictures. The images capture the spirit of the prosperous, carefree Roaring Twenties.

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