Furry fall looks, from left, at Thakoon, Chanel and Anna Sui. Credits:
Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images;Jun Sato/WireImage.com; Frazer Harrison, Getty Images for IMG

It's warm, soft, and luxurious. And, though it's certainly not without controversy, fur – both real and faux – has definitely left its mark as a major trend for fall.

Take a peek back at scads of designer runway offerings for the season – Zac Posen, J.Mendel, Oscar de la Renta, Chanel, Michael Kors, Anna Sui, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Thakoon – those are just a handful of the fashion heavyweights who showed fur and faux fur on their catwalks.

And it wasn't just about furry coats and vests – everything from boleros to handbags to hats to shoes and boots were part of the trend.

"These days, it's all about adding an element of drama or the unexpected into your wardrobe," style expert Lindsay Albanese tells StyleList, on the popularity of the fur look for fall.

Fur and faux fur styles are also timeless, says Jaclyn Sharp, founder of Imposter, a luxury faux fur initiative.

"There is no other texture or fabric that can highlight the face or angles on the body in quite same way," she tells StyleList. "There was a shift away from fur for many years, but the younger generation seems ready to embrace the look again. This time, however, high quality animal-friendly alternatives make the choice a positive one."

So, what should women look for when wearing this trend? We asked experts Albanese and Sharp for the 411 on how to wear fur and faux fur. It's time to put your animal instincts to work.

Shopping for faux fur: "Two things are critical: form and function," Sharp says. "Faux fur garments should look incredible, feel incredible and keep you warm. Faux fur that looks and feels like a rug will never be saved by beautiful lines. The quality of faux fur used should be the most important consideration."

On a budget? "When shopping for more affordable fur, choose styles of fur that are smooth and full," Albanese says. "Avoid anything too thin where you can see the fabric through the fur."

Looking current: "High quality faux fur in natural colors and patterns is especially modern, like faux coyote, raccoon and chinchilla," Sharp says. "Long faux fur is also an important."

The fur/faux fur vest: "I love the fur vest, but it can add bulkiness and volume," Albanese warns. "It's always good to add a belt or waist tie to define the waist and create shape. If you're heavier on top, lean toward styles that aren't too voluminous. They will make you look bigger."

"I have worn an Imposter faux fur vest skiing, then to dinner and on a night out," Sharp says. "The best faux fur vests can be worn with a cocktail dress and heels, or with snow boots in a blizzard."

Toning things down: "It is easy to look like a wild animal if you wear too much faux fur at the same time, especially with clashing colors or patterns," says Sharp. "On the coldest days, you might have an excuse to wear a long faux fur coat, faux fur scarf, faux fur hat, boots and a faux fur bag, but otherwise two or three of your favorite faux fur items should do."

Use it to accessorize: Fur and faux fur handbags, boots, shoes, scarves at hats were runway hits for fall. Using a fur or faux fur accessory is a fun way to wear the trend, without having to commit to a full-on fur coat or vest. Just remember, a little fur goes a long way. "Stick to one fur accent per outfit," Albanese says.