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Family Fun

Fake them out with fabulous faux

Be a phony. A total faker. And you'll be the smartest shopper in the room.

Until recently, faux fur was fine — if you wanted to look as if you were wearing a Muppet around your neck.

And just a couple of years ago, you could spot someone in a pleather coat (that's plastic "leather") from a block away. She was the one who couldn't bend her arms.

Today, I'm double-daring you to tell the difference between the real thing and the pretend. Even after you put it on and pet it. I'm serious.

The old pleather poly-whatever was made for car upholstery, not the human form. No mas. The new imitation leathers are supple, serviceable, some even scrumptious.

And the latest editions of furry faux can even make the animal-rights folks wonder if it's mink or make-believe.

The technology that has turned fake into fabulous comes at just the right moment for recession-battered shoppers who love luxe but can't afford it. The prices of the impostors can be astoundingly low. Only the price tag will tell you you're not buying the real thing.

That said, not all fake is frugal. Designer Stella McCartney's shiny tote pictured here illustrates that point. It's priced at $1,095. McCartney's Web site (stellamccartney.com) boasts "no animal has died to make anything in here." That said, she charges real money for her pretenders.

And a word of caution. You still can find plenty of the old, ugly stuff in stores. There's fur that wouldn't fool a 5-year-old. It gives acrylic a bad name. And beware of imitation leather that would work better as picnic placemats.

Nope, not all faux fashions are equal. When making your choices, be sure to take a good look in the mirror before heading for the checkout. Even the same store can carry some items that brilliantly fool the eye and, on the next rack, an array that screams "cheap."

With that proviso, discriminating shoppers will find coats, jackets, bags, shoes, boots and belts that are easy on the budget and genuinely look like real hair and hide.

Nowadays, wearing faux doesn't have to be a fashion faux pas.

shopellen@tribune.com

Faking it

•Textured faux leather looks more legit than smooth.

•Cheaplooking hardware on coats and bags gives away your secret

•Choose brown, tans for real fur look

•Mixed colors in furs — not all one solid shade — are more natural

•One fake fur per outfit, please

Copyright © 2015, CT Now
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