"Max Mara" coat, or, a funny thing happened while I was waiting for the bus...

The bus was late. There was a consignment store by the stop and I nipped in. 

There I found this frankly fake, dressy "Max Mara" coat. It has nothing in common with a real Max Mara. More like "Zax Zara" in terms of quality: although the composition is good and the lining is nice and the sewing isn't too bad, the buttons are cheap. Anyway, I put it on. And it was one of those moments when reason flies out the window.

This is a crazy wild card purchase, completely impractical for my Ontario existence but possibly wearable here on the coast. Lightweight wool, poly, with bracelet length sleeves and real, removable fur cuffs. 

I have thrown it on over a few things here -- a slightly dressy outfit, and irregular outfit juxtaposition. It works well with the red boots, of course. 

So...foolish or crazy like a fox? 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • JAileen replied 2 years ago

    I think it’s perfect with your hair. Perfect! I like it with the striped skirt.

  • Sal replied 2 years ago

    Crazy but in a cool and fun way!!

    Second hand is the best kind of wildcard too - love it!!

  • replied 2 years ago

    So fun Suz!!!
    I love it with the culottes and white booties. So perfect.

  • Cardiff girl replied 2 years ago

    I LOVE it! Silver vixen or maybe fairytale snow queen definitely.I think we all need a bit of dress up in our wardrobes from time to time.

  • Jenni NZ replied 2 years ago

    Oh Suz! Fantabulous!
    With the silver skirt you look a bit like the Snow Queen. Or a crazy writer, in a fun way. ( You are a writer, right?)

  • kkards replied 2 years ago

    super fun.....what a lucky find

  • Jenni NZ replied 2 years ago

    PS Cardiff girl and I were thinking of Snow Queen independently. I was composing my reply while she submitted and didn't see hers. How cool is that!

  • Peri replied 2 years ago

    So perfect!

  • Cardiff girl replied 2 years ago

    Great minds Jenni!

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    "Snow Queen" -- I love it! Though the coat wouldn't keep me warm in true snow. It's wool, but very lightweight. 

    Heaven only knows when I will actually wear it. 

    Mr. Suz rolled his eyes when he saw that I'd made yet another clothing purchase, but turns out he loves it. So I guess it's good for date night. 

  • The Cat replied 2 years ago

    Wow! Love the styling with the skirt and the silver boots.

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    It was an inexpensive item, so it seems like a reasonable risk. 

    And now I need elbow length gloves! In red or fuchsia! 

  • jill58 replied 2 years ago

    I was going to say the exact thing that Jenni said -- Snow Queen! And Cardiff Girl too!

  • lisa p replied 2 years ago


  • Jenn replied 2 years ago

    It’s so fun, and the silhouette is fab on you! Have fun with it all winter!

  • Staysfit replied 2 years ago

    I vote for red elbow length gloves to complete the look! It’s so fun I’m glad you made the purchase.

  • Inge replied 2 years ago

    What a fabulous statement coat!! It really, REALLY, is made for you, Suz, and it looks amazing with everything you've paired it with so far! I looooove it!!!

  • Runcarla replied 2 years ago

    Standing in line behind Lisa....

  • Joy replied 2 years ago

    I like it on you and in all your pairings. What fun!

  • MsMaven replied 2 years ago

    Love it! 

  • Colette replied 2 years ago

    I love it and I would have bought it too! Super fun! Looks really great on you. I bet you’ll wear it more than you think.

  • Sterling replied 2 years ago

    Crazy like a fox!!!!!!!  Great find.  You will wear it well.  

  • suntiger replied 2 years ago

    So fun :) what a good find!

  • krishnidoux replied 2 years ago

    Super cute! But I'll tell you why it was in a consignment on the West Coast... 
    I'll tell you with a little story:
    When I lived in Victoria years ago I was a poor ajunct, single mom, so when winter came around I wore what I could find, and that year it was my deceased grandmother's coat which happened to showcase a hoodie lined with real wool. Handy, I thought, as the harsh ocean wind wiped the coast with its dreery cool metallic raindrops... as Tom Robbins so well puts it (and by the way now that you are there if you haven't read Still Life with Woodpecker I warmly recommend for a complete Seattle grand welcome or simply life-saving clutch to go through the rainy season): "It was autumn, the springtime of death. Rain spattered the rotting leaves, and a wild wind wailed. Death was singing in the shower. Death was happy to be alive".

    So. Just to be clear: I was a university adjunct doing my doctorate (=poor, double poor) in literature (triple poor) with a little one to take care of on my own (quadruple poor), and protected myself from the elements with the only alternative to a dreadful parka with no personality previously used by my brother and on the brinks of being too worn out for donation: the only thing I could afford, something that was available for free. It was a bit big -of course, the story of my life- it was meant for someone else but it still fit and it was warm enough.

    Here I was, naively walking around with my French grandma symbol of death on my back, and, crossing the streets, making my way around town, I got accosted, pushed, slapped, yelled at by total strangers because I was wearing... CRUELTY! I got verbally abused with no concerns for respect, by people who otherwise looked very respectable themseves. 

    If your cuffs are removable, you might want to do that. However my story took lace in the early 2000. Maybe now with the advent of faux fur you're safe. Still, I wanr=ted to warn you. This was an aspect of culture shock to me.

  • Helena (Torontogirl) replied 2 years ago

    So fun! You wear gray so beautifully.

  • Elizabeth P replied 2 years ago

    What an amazing find!  Esp love it with the culottes.

  • Alexandra replied 2 years ago

    What a great find! You look fabulous!

  • Echo replied 2 years ago

    What an amazing, beautiful coat! It looks divine on you, and it was an excellent purchase. As far as fur goes, attitudes have changed - at least in the US. Both real and fake fur are common in larger cities and there are very few incidents of people being harassed any longer. Additionally, with it only being the cuffs, it is doubtful anyone would target you/the coat anyway.

  • Column replied 2 years ago

    Oh, you adorable thing, you! With the collar UP, of course.

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Krish, I laughed I cried and I think you should publish that brilliant piece of writing!!!!

    You are right that I may face censure for the fur. But it is second hand and that makes it a bit less problematic. The deed was done long before I came on the scene. My vegan stepdaughter will not be happy with me. But she is equally against wool. And it is so much fun with those cuffs.

  • nemosmom replied 2 years ago

    What a fun coat! I love great finds at consignment shops!

  • deb replied 2 years ago

    great find!

  • Angie replied 2 years ago



    KEEP (it’s faux fur, right?)

    GORGEOUSLY SUBLIME with your hair! Wow!

    Your West Coast wild card :)

  • Elle replied 2 years ago

    What a fun coat!  Great buy and on the west coast, it should get plenty of use.  Love your idea of wearing it with red gloves (and if you find a good place to buy them, let us all know)

  • Brooklyn replied 2 years ago

    Very glamorous!

  • rachylou replied 2 years ago

    What a fun fab coat!

  • shevia replied 2 years ago

    Well you know I love this story and I love that coat. You look smashing in it in every single picture. I am guessing the fur is fake and the label is real. Not the quality of old Max Mara made in Italy but probably a legitimate label or at least liscensee. You are probably in a very good second hand city, just sayin' :)

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Do you think, Shevia? It's so not Max Mara quality or even style. I think they make a lot of fakes in China. Or did, about 10 years ago?  I never for a second thought it was the real thing. I once owned a MaxMara weekend linen jacket and I will never forget the quality. It was a huge splurge for me in the 80s when I bought it and I still miss it! 

    Anyway. Back to this one. Angie, you will be sorry to hear that the fur is real. 

    I recognize that makes it ethically problematic, but even my vegan stepdaughter makes exceptions for people wearing second-hand goods.

    I have real fur on my Nobis parka hood, too. People living in Quebec, Ontario, the Canadian prairies, and the true north know this: in deep cold, nothing keeps a face warmer than real fur. It is unique in its properties and there is no substitute. I walk for hours in -30 temps. It makes a huge difference to my comfort. But on the parka I know that the fur is ethically sourced and no creature was killed to make that coat. In this case, I do not know that. Guilty as charged. 

    Anyway, those cuffs are completely removable. Though my stepdaughter would object just as strongly to the leather gloves I might purchase to close the gap! 

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    ETA, Krish alludes to something key here. Attitudes in Quebec have long been different from those in the rest of the country...fur remained accepted there for a long time (maybe always) and there is a very good reason for it. Actually, a couple of reasons. (Economy and the weather). In Ontario it was very much "out" for a while but has returned to favour as fur has become ethically sourced. I don't know what the situation is on the west coast. 

  • Gigi replied 2 years ago

    This is one amazing coat! I love it on you. I'm so glad you found it.

  • Kate replied 2 years ago

    Perfectly lovely!

  • Jane replied 2 years ago

    So gorgeous! It looks amazing.

    (But I’d be wary of the fur.)

  • Sisi replied 2 years ago

    You look fab! You make me think of Snegurochka (the Russian version of Snowhite). I approve the purchase wholeheartedly.

    That said I am shocked to see how the Max Mara label looks exactly like the real one ... but the coat is so evidently not Max Mara. It's incredible what they can do. 

  • gryffin replied 2 years ago

    Suz - nothing beats extraordinary outerwear. Awesome piece. Enjoy it!! Looks marvelous on. On the fur...it’s second hand. You are making the poor animals sacrifice valid. I am vegan diet wise. I avoid what can. I do own leather shoes, gloves and bags. I just bought a new puffer. For the life of me I could not find s nice one without fur on the hood. It’s a Pendleton Jackson. I took the fur off and feel very bad. But I tried on a lot of coats over the last 2 yr and it fits and ticks all the boxes. So I’ve made peace with living as respectfully as I can. Continuing to make that a priority but enjoying what I do decide to buy. No one lives perfectly.....

  • FashIntern replied 2 years ago

    Of course it called out to you--it is perfect for you! Looking forward to seeing it with your red boots.

  • RobinF replied 2 years ago

    Wow I love it! It looks amazing on you and I bet will look great with your wardrobe.

  • Chris987 replied 2 years ago

    Gorgeous as a piece and spectacular on you! I bet you will find it wonderful to wear a coat that is simply beautiful without having to be super warm as coats have to do in Ontario.

  • Bijou replied 2 years ago

    This coat is amazing on you!

  • Angie replied 2 years ago

    I appreciate the thoughtful and cerebral response and about the real fur, Suz. It makes sense. I don’t want leather in my life - but shoes are hard and bags are my best. The rest, I try hard to live without. We do what we can, and what our conscience will bear. FWIW, I bear no negative judgement.

  • Canada replied 2 years ago


  • lisa p replied 2 years ago

    I was curious enough about the label and style to do some googling , and although the label itself looks "real", and MM does manufacture in China now, the style is incongruous with the house.  Weird eh?  I still want it ;)  And I hear you about fur. I have a SAM parka with real fur on the hood, and it still bothers me today that I bought it. I even wrote to the manufacturer first to determine the source of the fur and got some half-assed response in return, but it was enough to at least assuage my guilt. It feels alternately luxurious and irresponsible, but holy heck is it warm.  

  • La Pedestrienne replied 2 years ago

    Oh, krishnidoux, I love your story and the way you've told it! Definitely save that one; it's good enough to publish. 

    The coat is super fun, and it reminds me of this Reformation coat that I keep browsing. Love the big furry cuffs. So, I'm going to say you're very on-trend! Fun for the holiday capsule and looks SO GOOD with the silver skirt.

  • Janet replied 2 years ago

    OK, "Max Mara" or not, that's just too fun and you needed that in your wardrobe! So perfect on you! 

  • Diana replied 2 years ago

    I think it's gorgeous on you and perfect for a west coast winter.  I would honestly just wear it with jeans, but I am of the opinion that everything goes with jeans.

    FWIW, I'm not a fan of real fur but I feel that buying it secondhand is acceptable.  I wouldn't personally wear it, but I don't wear faux fur either so... 

  • Laurie replied 2 years ago

    Stunning!   #1-2 are just...stunning.

    As for the fur, that animal was taken a long time ago.  If this coat got put in the trash now, the sacrifice of that living being is even more of a shame.   No judgement!  Yay for recycling.

  • Sara L. replied 2 years ago

    It's a great coat and I look forward to seeing more of how you style it.  I always assume most fur is faux nowadays, especially small bits on cuffs or hoods.  Obviously, that's not always the case, but faux fur is so much more common than it used to be.

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Thanks, all, for your thoughtful replies re the fur. I am of two minds myself about it. I feel fine about the parka. The company takes steps to ensure that the materials are all ethically sourced and in addition, their waterproofing is a special type that causes less harm to the environment. I wear it in an environment where it fills a genuine function. As for this piece, I do think second-hand makes a difference. It's a re-use. 

    My step-daughter is adamant on this: no wool, no leather, no fur, no down, etc. etc. But guess what? She is so perpetually cold, she had to move to a sunny country just to continue to exist! (Not a joke!!)

    LaPed, I love that coat! Very retro/ ladylike and fun!

    Lisa, I knew right away this was not a real Max Mara but what the heck -- the fabric was quite distinctive and the style...I'd be curious to know more of the history of this piece but googling did not bring up similar coats. 

  • Firecracker replied 2 years ago

    Max Mara or Zax Zara (ha! I loved your invention), it is a great coat on you, Suz. Crazy like a fox!

    Oh, and I predict you are going to have a blast choosing coats that don't need to keep you warm to -30C!

  • unfrumped replied 2 years ago

    Max Mara meets Dr. Zhivago!
    You come across the most amazing things!

  • Christina F. replied 2 years ago

    Questionable provenance or not, this is fabulous and fun!

  • cindysmith replied 2 years ago

    I love it!

  • lyn67 replied 2 years ago

    MM or not, it is glamorous, pls.if possible do not remove the fur-qui praevalebat consummatus est-and at least it landed to a mindful home, which still matters!

    Krish, I was  so sorry  to read your story-over  my sympathy flies to you over  decades and space.

  • krishnidoux replied 2 years ago

    Lyn, that is such a nice thing to say. Sympathy received!

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Krish, I was also thinking it must have been some culture shock for you because in Quebec fur is more understood as acceptable! And anyway, it was your grandmother's coat!!! People are nasty sometimes. 

  • krishnidoux replied 2 years ago

    Thank you Suz. You are so kind, and have such empathy! You are so correct, regarding fur here. There is a wave of rebellion and outrage at using real fur though, but I think it's not as maintream, and people wouldn'T give themselves the right to abuse someone because they wear it. I wonder if it's also because it's en extraverted cutlure too, where insulted people will talk back easily. 

    Yes, it was quite a culture shock for me when I moved out west. In my upbringing, animal skin had been something precious and important. I mean, leather pants appeared like the summum of chic; my own mother spent thousands of dollars on a mink coat, her pized possession. Mind you the best topper for her 1980's Louis Feraud shoulder padded suits - she must have been the queen of power suits, bright red ones in particular. My mother was of this generation of literally superwomen who took it all on, 8hr shifts + household chores + cooking + kids + career, fur coat included when it came by. A long, ankle length nicely cut fur coat was a feminine essential in Quebec for decades. Even today, with the advances in material engineering, as you mention, nothing beats a fur lined hoodie to keep your cheeks from freezing.

    OK, here's an example if anyone wants one. 

    My aunt lives two blocks away from the movie theater. In the dead of winter one evening, I don't know what came over her to do this, (she's the sweetest thing), she ventured out in dead freezing temperatures to walk over to the movies where she watched a romance flick, this only a few months after her crushing divorce with my mother's brother. Anyway, don't do this. Especially if your nearsighted. My poor aunt came home after the 8 minutes walk from the theatre to find that because she had been crying on the way back, her glasses were now FROZEN onto her cheeks. Yet thankfully the rest of her body was intact partly due to the fur lining here and there. That's what - 40 celsius will do to you. This is no joke! When it's there, you don't care anymore, you just don't want frostbites. (BTW her kitchen pipes also burst, but in that case no amount of fur will help).

    Another memory: back from the hockey rink (somewhere like 1976). Neighbor Frédérick (the tough good looking one on the block) couldn't feel his feet from a 30 min walk in full gear. I'm in the playroom with Frédérick's sister and other kids, while Frédérick's upstairs his mom giving him a luke warm bath. His screams. His horrible, heart renching shriek from pain. Yikes, you never want to experience frostbites after you hear this. I still remember the look of dismay on his little sister's face. 

    But I realize these very Québécois experiences are not the norm eslewhere and there is indeed an indignation at the idea of using animal skin for body wear. 

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