Trying to stay warm out here | Max Mara coat review

Maybe it’s because I’m a Cancer that I cling to the past.

… but, I had this beautiful camel coloured peacoat that was given to me as a hand-me-down as a child from a family friend with impeccable taste.

It had oversized lapels, horn buttons, and it fit me to a T.

I wore it from my childhood to well into my early 20’s when I lived in New York City (albeit, it was more of a shrunken peacoat at that point).

… and then I lost it in a move.

Fast forward a little while later and I’m back in the city, surrounded by people wearing impeccable camel coloured coats.

Naturally, in a bid to reclaim the peacoat from my youth, I wanted in on this look.

… only in the form of Max Mara’s Madame coat.

Max Mara Coat Sizing

For reference, I’m 5’5.75” and weigh 115-117 lbs.

For comparison, here are some sizes I normally take:
-US 2, in HVN or Reformation
-Small, in T-Shirts
-FR 34-38, in Isabel Marant or Rouje
… and, generally, a size small in t-shirts

My Max Mara Madame Coat (or 101801 Icon), in Camel, is a size IT/EU 38 (or a US 4).

Showing how a Max Mara Madame coat looks on a 5'5.75" woman's frame

The Max Mara Madame coat is supposed to fit lightly oversized.

And despite having kimono style sleeves, it’s intended to be bracelet length.

In an IT/EU 38 or size US 4 it achieves Anne-Marie Beretta’s 1981 vision.

… and over 40 years later, this coat from the 80’s still looks so modern.

TLDR: Usually, I’m an IT/EU 38-42, so the Madame coat fits true to size given my international size range.

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Max Mara Coat Quality

The Max Mara Madame (or Icon or 101801) coat weighs around 3.5 pounds and doesn’t feel like it would you warm.

… but, I’ve worn it for most of February while in the city, when temperatures have dipped down to mid-20°Fs/mid-low -5°Cs, and it has kept me warm.

When you dress appropriately — with a pair of (proper) winter shoes (i.e., not ballet flats) and socks, a sweater, scarf, and toque (i.e., hat) — like your mum would bundle you up as a child, this Max Mara jacket will keep you warm.

Is a Max Mara Coat Worth It?

It’s casual.

It’s chic.

… but, it’s costly.

From my experience in it, I don’t think it’s worth it.

It’s gorgeous, however…

1- The pockets are shallow: Don’t even consider putting a bottle of Poland Spring in your pocket… and if you have an XL iPhone, you’ll always be like “did it fall out?”

It’s best to put your phone in the inner pocket so that it doesn’t fall out.

2- Doesn’t button all the way: So you definitely need a scarf if you’re wearing a v-neck sweater.

3- Tough to walk in: I average a 16 minute mile, and if I wasn’t wearing this coat, I swear I could get it higher. This Max Mara jacket does not have a slit at the back that allows your legs more mobility.

As a result, you will feel like you’re on the cusp of tripping yourself if you walk too fast and the two buttons are buttoned up.

4- Exorbitantly expensive: At over $4,000 USD, it’s a serious commitment. If you can get it on a good sale, go for it. If you can get it in Europe and get VAT back and let the currency exchange work in your favour, do it.

… if not, take a long moment to think if it’ll be right for you in the long run.

Pros & Cons

Surprisingly warm: Really thought I’d be cold in this Max Mara coat, but I wasn’t.
Quality: Other than some loose buttons, there is almost no wear to this jacket after 2 months of only wearing it.
Details: The inside pocket and loop for the belt inside the jacket (so you can keep it on you if you need it, however it will rub against your clothing and pill both your clothing and the belt) are nice details.
Comes with a garment bag and sturdy hanger: Ordered mine from SSENSE and it came with it.

Max Mara Madame Icon coat in the garment bag and hanger that it comes with

Some loose threads: They weren’t the “if I pull this thread, the whole jacket will unravel” type of threads though.
Shallow pockets: Unlike a Burberry trench, you can’t fit everything in them and you’ll always be patting the pockets to make sure your phone/AirPods/wallet/gloves haven’t fallen out.
No top button hole: You can’t button the coat all the way to the third button, which is annoying.
No vent: Not having a slit at the back of the coat minimizes your ability to walk quickly in it.
Doesn’t feel like it’s worth $4k+: While the garment bag and hanger are classy additions, it still feels so expensive when you consider the other “cons.”

Not a pro or con, but there are no belt loops. You can loop the belt through a loop on the inside of the jacket, but I think it’s better left at home if you don’t plan to use it — otherwise, you’ll always be worried that it fell off and it’ll pick up pills and pill the clothes that you wear.

… but if you do lose it, Max Mara sells replacement belts for $90.

Also, just to note, this is not a “camel coat” — in order to be a camel coat, it needs to be made out of camel wool, like the Max Mara Manuela coat. The Madame is “camel” in colour, but is 90% wool/10% cashmere and is therefore not a camel coat.

These business people that I’ve seen bustling around the city might be onto something…

While being a grownup can sometimes feel like it’s tinged with mundanity, a classic camel coloured coat does offer a respite in the form of a jacket that you can play make believe in.

… however, no matter how fast I walk, I’ll still be chasing the memory of my childhood peacoat.

You can find Max Mara jackets from a wide variety of retailers including Bergdorf Goodman, MyTheresa, Neiman Marcus, Net-A-Porter, Saks, and SSENSE, including many others…
Alternatively, you could find it for less at The Real Real.

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