This Old Suit: Updating An Investment Piece from Years Gone By

I’m a great believer in investment dressing. When I can afford it. And when a jacket, or pair of pants, or in this case a suit, fits well, is a timeless classic, and makes me feel like a million bucks, I can usually afford it. Well, within reason, of course.  Because, like Mater reminded me the other day in her discussion of a well-loved scarf, the CPW (cost per wear) (thanks Stacey and Clinton, for that phrase) goes down every time, and every season, that I wear said investment purchase.

And since I bought this Max Mara jacket (and the matching pants) sometime in the early 2000s… hauling it out of my closet after all this time makes it… well… practically free.

This old suit: updating my old Max Mara suit jacket
In one-half of my old Max Mara suit, with Current Elliott jeans and Paul Green boots.

After I wrote a post last week on “lightening up my wardrobe a little” in anticipation of spring, and realized how much I still loved this old jacket, I inspired myself. And I went in search of other ideas for styling the jacket and pants together, or even the pants by themselves.

Then this morning I received an e-mail from Matches Fashion with their take on “Paris Fashion Week Trends.” And wide-leg trousers, apparently the very “definition of elegance,” are apparently one of those trends. Well, well, well. I am apparently ahead of the curve, people. Because I happen to have a pair of wide-leg trousers that match that Max Mara jacket. And since I bought them in 2000 (give or take a year), I’m so ahead of  the curve I had to store them for ten or fifteen years to wait for all the other fashionistas to catch up. Apparently.

Here are a few looks that were featured in the Matches Fashion wide-leg trouser edit. Trouser suits for work, and trouser suits for play. Cropped wide-leg pants, and full length wide-leg pants. With a jacket or without.

This old suit: finding inspiration from
Looks from Stella McCartney, Max Mara, and Vince found on wide-leg trousers.
This old suit: finding inspiration on
Looks from Valentino, A.L.C., and Sport Max found on wide-leg trousers

I tried my old suit on with a Gap mint-green tee shirt, with my sleeveless navy and white gingham blouse from Equipment, with flats, with boots, and with sneakers. I tried the pants alone with a boxy, 3/4 sleeve, cotton sweater from Theory, and a favourite pair of bronze Stuart Weitzman sling-back heels. I even pinned up the pants to simulate the length of the cropped ones above, from Valentino. Okay… so that looked really stupid. But, the possibilities, while not endless, were pretty varied. What doesn’t go with navy? I finally settled on my Stan Smith adidas, a blue and white striped cotton sweater from Brooks Brothers, a pair of Kate Spade white hoop earrings. And my prized “like-a-Chanel” vintage brooch that I bought at the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen in Paris last spring. Ha. I feel so sophisticated saying that. I did have to make a teensy adjustment to the belt to be able to breathe while wearing it. But let’s not dwell on that.

I like my suit with the few updates I made. It actually looks better in real life; the material is soft and stretchy, the pants have a lot of movement when I walk. I may hem them a bit, since I doubt very much that I’ll wear them with heels. We’ll see.

This old suit: updating my Max Mara suit from days gone by
With a couple of updates, this old suit, still suits me.

I can wear the suit with the belt, or without. The tea cup is optional. But in the spirit of my “truth in blogging” post… I must admit that I cannot wear a short sweater like this without the jacket. It appears that wide-leg trousers, with a high waist, flatten my butt and accentuate the middle-age middle in the front. Hence, without the jacket I am in danger of looking like that strange “pushmi-pullyu” creature from Dr. Doolittle… the exact same coming and going. Not, I repeat, not a flattering look, my friends.

This old suit: updating my Max Mara suit from days gone by
My Max Mara suit is more comfortable without the belt
So, overall I’m happy with my updated investment purchase from days gone by. I was pretty excited last week, when I found a modern way to wear the jacket from my old Max Mara suit. I’m even more excited now that I know I can wear the whole suit, and still feel current. Maybe even Paris Fashion Week ready, dare I say? Just kidding with that one, folks. If last year’s trip to Paris is anything to go by, we all know that if I ever, ever had the opportunity to take in Paris Fashion Week, I’d stress for six months beforehand and then buy a whole new wardrobe. So I guess it’s a good thing that I’ll probably never get to go…  I’d have to win the lottery first.
What about you friends? Any stashed investment pieces in your wardrobe that have earned their keep and then some?


Would you like to have new posts automatically delivered to you? Sign up below, and when new content appears on the website, we’ll send the story to you via email. 

* indicates required


Would you like to have new posts automatically delivered to you? Sign up below, and when new content appears on the website, we’ll send the story to you via email. 

* indicates required

From the archives


Dreaming of Oz

I’ve been dreaming of Australia this past week. I’m listening to Arthur Upfield’s novel The …


Just Tuesday, That’s All

Here’s all the homefront news on this beautiful Tuesday, friends. We’re gardening, fishing, reading, and staying in touch with loved ones.


All About the Socks.

My new socks are making me happy to get dressed again this winter.

22 thoughts on “This Old Suit: Updating An Investment Piece from Years Gone By”

  1. So great! The Stan Smith sneakers update the suit so convincingly, and you get to be comfortable at the same time.What I find really satisfying about being able to wear my own "vintage" (and I haven't anything quite as stellar as your suit) is not so much the investment repaid (although I'm not sneezing at that!) but the confirmation about something in my taste, my personal Style, that persists. And when you can mix those old pieces credibly with current trends, I think that's really the sweet spot. You're not just being slavish to fads, but you're adopting and adapting into a look that's current but that's also uniquely You. To me, that's Style! You got it! 😉

  2. It looks great with the sneakers and I'd love to see it with a plain white tee and no brooch – just really casual.

  3. Ha! I just took two pairs of wide leg pants into the tailor to get 1/2" taken up, so I can wear them with flats. Like you, they were quality and fit so well that I didn't part with them. Doing my happy dance while styling here.

  4. I also have some good quality wide leg pants in my closet that I have never parted with and plan to wear this summer. They are so cool to wear in the heat when you want to be covered.

    1. Smart of you to hang onto them, Christy. I can think of a couple of pairs that I gave away years ago that would be perfect this season.

  5. That look really suits you Sue . I'm tempted to copy but it's tricky without long legs . I always used to wear my wide trousers with heels to balance things up but I will dig them out & see how it goes . The fabric of your suit looks the usual maxmara quality , those trousers hang beautifully .
    Wendy in York

    1. Thanks, Wendy. Max Mara stuff never wears out….I may "grow" out of some things… but let's not talk about that. My suit was also hemmed for heels, since I always wore it to work, or conferences etc. I want it to be much more casual now…so I'll probably hem the pants. They are a pinch too long.

  6. I seem to remember your post on organising clothes for Paris was one of the first I commented on as we'd just returned hone from a visit there! Doesn't time fly! Your suit looks great. I've always liked wide trousers especially with flats. The jacket looks perfect with jeans and both pieces work well together. You probably feel like you've acquired a few brand new outfits! I've a black jacket that I've had a few years. It only seemed to work with smart trousers or dresses and looked dreadful with jeans, so all in all it's had very little wear. This Winter I tried it again with jeans … Skinnies in grey and black with boots and it looks great! I love it and I've worn it so much. Feels as though I have a new jacket …stylish and not at all dated.
    Hope you're having a good weekend. It's been glorious here today …warm and sunny. Hard to believe two days ago I was taking pictures of the river, (which had flooded) surrounded by a grey fog! Looked very atmospheric and a little spooky!!

    1. Your jacket sound great, Rosie. As do your river shots… love a spooky, foggy photograph. It's warm (above zero, anyway) and sunny here too.

  7. It looks really cool with the sneakers – belted and not. Did you think, when you bought it, that that would be what you did with it? Very en trend. Great example of why there is no reason to let anything go, ever. Oh wait … that's just my problem! But seriously, looks great.

    Fur Earwig

    1. Thanks, Charlie. I would never have guessed when I bought that suit that I would ever wear it with white sneakers! High heels maybe… but definitely not sneakers.

  8. Susan, I cheering from the other side of the computer and most likely the world! I actually pulled out an old navy pinstripe suit just last week and altered the length of the pants so I could wear them with my new white addidas, what a fun and updated look. Apparently we think quite alike, which I like knowing since you are one fashion queen. You look absolutely amazing!

Comments are closed.