A very good alternative to fur coats in the depths of winter, I wholeheartedly agree...
And what of those that didn't have fur then?
They wore sheepskin coats, padded winter jackets which didn't really offer a lot of comfort or warmth, or regular wool coats - stylish, but not not very warm either, being meant more for the autumn/spring seasons.
I spent most of my childhood and teenage years either feeling cold, or freezing, or being bundled up in 100 layers and unable to move in the winter. ;-(
This only changed with the influx of new, lightweight and warm materials in the early nineties. Have never owned a fur coat, BTW. Only a 30-year-old sheepskin monstrosity dyed green for some reason ;-p