A winter coat is one of those big ticket items that we don’t purchase every year. Right? And as such we need to apply a certain amount of thought before we make the leap to purchase something that will hang in our closet for years. Smart shopping strategies must be applied. Right. Well. Ahem. Deep breath. I think I may have blown my reputation as a smart shopper to smithereens this month. With my purchase of a bright green Max Mara coat.

Yes. Green. Bright green. Stand-out-in-a-big-crowd green. In fact, I fear that heretofore I might become known as the girl in the bright green Max Mara coat. As in “Who’s that women in the bright green coat?” Or “I remember you; you’re the lady in the bright green coat.” Or even “Ye gads, who would buy such a bright green coat?”

Seriously, you can’t miss this coat. It’s not blend-in-able black, or navy, or camel. Black, navy, or camel are usually my favourite colours for winter coats. Black, navy, and camel coats look rich, go with everything, and as such don’t stick out like a sore thumb. Or like a bright green coat. Ha.

But despite all my mental perambulations the night after I first saw this green Max Mara coat in Montreal, despite the fact that I knew it went against my usual criteria for buying coats, I loved it. And when I revisited the store for the second time the next day I knew I had to have it. I even tried on the exact same coat in navy. The navy coat looked good. It was a lovely coat. A navy coat made more sense. But alas the navy coat did not make my heart sing like the green one did.

Girl in the green Max Mara coat.

I was brought up to believe that a winter coat should be “serviceable” … a word my mum used a lot when she shopped for us kids. Serviceable meant warm, big enough to wear over winter sweaters and jackets, and blend-in-able. A serviceable coat should be a fairly neutral colour to blend with the rest of our wardrobes. Since it was probably our one winter coat, it had to go with everything and be relatively easy to keep clean. It must blend in in other ways, be wearable in a multitude of situations. And not fulfil some kind of gimmicky trend.

Like the red and black plaid bomber jacket I bought one year when I went by myself to purchase my winter coat. That coat was NOT serviceable, did NOT blend in, would NOT work if I needed a “good” coat to attend, say, a funeral, and it most certainly did NOT keep me warm. But I was fifteen and I was bound and determined to have the coat I wanted.

As a result I shivered in that coat all winter, and bore with fortitude Mum’s admonitions about “freezing my ass off” every time I left the house. Okay. To be honest I did not bear her remarks with fortitude; I just kept my retorts to myself. Always a wise course of action around my mum when I was a teenager. Yep, the clothing wars raged that winter in our house. I wrote a post reminiscing about those clothing wars a couple of years ago. You can read it here if you’re interested.

Back view of my new coat.

The night before I made the decision to buy my green Max Mara coat I worried it might be another plaid bomber jacket kind of choice. I mean, a green coat is a departure for me. Big time. But, you know, in spite of all that, I don’t think buying this coat was a mistake. And here’s why.

In the past few months, I’ve been trying to identify the three adjectives which describe my personal style. You can read about that quest here. And as a result, I’ve been looking at shopping in a slightly different manner. I’ve undergone a “mindset shift” of sorts. And I think this mindset shift accounts for my recent uncharacteristic coat purchase.

In the summer, I identified my style adjectives as classic, modern, and minimal. But lately I’ve been leaning towards “chill” as my third word instead of minimal. Not that I think I am chill, or cool, or avant-garde, like Amy Smilovic. But because chill is my aspirational word. Applying the word chill to a particular outfit implies there’s some element that is unexpected. Some element that works against the other elements and as such makes the outfit more than the sum of its parts. Like wearing sneakers with a classic, conservative pant suit.

In a recent post on Instagram, Amy Smilovic discusses how her followers might build a coherent wardrobe. She suggests we should stop shopping for “outfits.” For pieces which work only with each other. And instead look for pieces we love and which work with our style adjectives. If we choose individual pieces which fit our style adjectives they should work with all the other pieces in our closet, she says.

I think my new coat, even though I didn’t think of it at the time, fits all my style adjectives. The coat is a classic cut. Like those “car coats” my mum and her friends used to wear in the fifties. It has a sort of vintage vibe. But because it’s oversize, it’s modern. And that green colour… that to me is unexpected… maybe even a little chill. It’s how I want to dress now.

@amysmilovic on Instagram

According to Amy Smilovic, my new coat is a “had to have” piece. An emotional purchase. It is not, as Allison Bornstein would say, a “closet regular.” Not one of the pieces I would reach for daily like my jeans and turtlenecks, my cargo pants and cashmere sweaters. But it can be worn with a ton of my closet regulars. And even though I didn’t buy it with a specific outfit in mind, I still need to find out how it fits with the rest of my closet. So that’s what I set out to do the other day, pair this coat with my closet regulars. And put together a few outfits that I like and can easily reach for without having to think too much.

Like this one below. I paired the coat with my black Aritzia cargo pants, my black Stuart Weitzman ankle boots, and my slim-fitting black Vince turtleneck. I added a black belt with a silver buckle and a vintage black brooch with rhinestones. The rhinestones along with the silver belt buckle added just enough bling for me. I like the slim turtleneck with the oversized coat, and I rolled the pant legs to give the bottom half a bit of volume to balance out the volume of the coat.

Black Vince T-neck, Aritizia pants, Stuart Weitzman boots

I used the exact same principals with the navy and green outfit below. The slim-fitting navy COS turtleneck, wide-leg Max Mara dress pants, and Veja sneakers. I tried my black boots and didn’t like the look. The sneakers look better, I think. A bit more unexpected. Plus the navy Burberry scarf fulfills the same principle as the brooch and belt in the previous outfit. The plaid keeps the outfit from being too minimal, and the white in the scarf ties in with the sneakers creating balance.

Navy and green are yummy together.

I love this outfit. And I must say the two slim-fitting, merino turtlenecks I bought at COS in Montreal are lovely. Here’s the link for them.

Max Mara pants, COS T-neck, Burberry scarf, Veja sneakers.

The third outfit was not as successful. I wanted to try my faux-leather pants with the coat. So I paired them with my black Everlane cashmere crew sweater, my black ankle boots, and a really old scarf tied and tucked into the sweater. I used to wear this scarf in just this way back when I was in university. Maybe that accounts for the “meh” feeling I had when I looked at this outfit in the mirror. This outfit, even though it looks fine, is not for me. Not anymore.

Not sure about this one.

I like the black sweater with the faux-leather pants. I wore them together in Montreal and felt great. But I don’t like them with the coat. And not with the scarf. The whole outfit is too unrelentingly classic, and boring, despite the pants being faux leather. Perhaps a bulky, black, nubbly turtleneck with some texture might make this outfit seem more current? But I don’t own a bulky, black, nubbly turtleneck. And I am, after all, trying to work with what I have in my closet.

Aritzia faux-leather pant, Everlane sweater, Stuart Weitzman boots

I had better luck with the last combination I tried. Cream lightweight Theory turtleneck, cream Aritzia cargo pants, and Veja sneakers. Again the loose pants balance out the volume of the coat. This outfit is super plain and simple. But I like it. I like the softness of the cream and green together. The classic cut of the coat with the very casual pants and sneakers just works for me. I have a cream cotton shopping tote that I think I will carry as I run my errands in this getup.

I love the softness of this look.

You know, I laughed when I first saw these two photos. My hair disappears into the clouds. My mum always said I walked around with my head in the clouds. When I didn’t have my nose stuck in a book. Ha.

Aritzia cargo pants, Theory T-neck, Veja sneakers

Okay, let’s recap, shall we?

I was surprised that the three outfits I liked used a styling technique which I have recently begun to avoid… the so-called column of colour. But since this coat is so so green, so statement-y I think that a column of colour calms down the whole look.

I was pretty sure that the navy pants and turtleneck, and the black cargo pants and turtleneck would look good with my new coat. But I fiddled with jewellry, and the scarf, and footwear until I had a combination that felt like me. The cream combination was a last minute brainwave when another idea didn’t pan out.

I never really know until I try something if it will work or whether, like the leather pants outfit, it will feel off. Not quite what I want. Not how I see myself now.

Like Amy Smilovic says, we don’t have that many ways to communicate who we are to the world. Our clothing, our personal style, can be an important tool to do that. And I think that my new green Max Mara coat conveys who I am now. Classic-ish, modern-ish, maybe even a teensy bit chill. And when it comes to that unmissable, stand-out-in-a-crowd green coat… perhaps a bit of a risk-taker. Or at least not boring.

So maybe I haven’t blown my smart shopping reputation out of the water after all. It just seemed as if I had. Because that green Max Mara coat is definitely a departure for me. Even Hubby said that. And maybe I’m okay with the coat being so, well, recognizable. Not blend-in-y enough. Maybe I’m good with being known as the girl in the green Max Mara coat. Maybe I don’t care as much as I used to if other people don’t like it. I love it.

Every time I’ve pulled it on in the last few days it has made my little heart sing.

By the way, I think I stole that line about the coat making my heart sing from one of you guys. I’m pretty sure that someone used that phrasing in a comment, and I fell in love with it. But, for the life of me, I couldn’t find out who said it and on which post. So whoever you are thanks for putting that phrase in my head. It perfectly describes how that coat makes me feel.

Now it’s your turn my friends. Finally. Have you made any surprising purchases lately? Has your style changed so that old familiar pieces styled the same way you’ve been wearing them forever suddenly don’t feel like “you” anymore? Or maybe you own a piece that make your heart sing?

P.S. Here are some links to pieces I’m wearing in this post: Vince turtleneck, Aritzia cargo pants, similar Stuart Weitzman ankle boots. COS slim-fitting merino turtleneck, Veja sneakers. Aritzia faux-leather pants. Everlane cashmere crew-neck sweater. Similar Theory turtleneck. Max Mara coat.

P.P.S. Most of the above links are affiliate links, except the links to Aritzia products. If you make a purchase after clicking one of my affiliate links I will earn a commission which helps to pay for the blog. But although I include links to pieces I wear from Aritzia, Aritzia does not pay commission. I post the links as a courtesy to my readers who may be interested.


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169 thoughts on “Girl in the Green Max Mara Coat”

  1. Julie from Melbourne

    Just love the coat and I can see why it “makes your heart sing”.I love it best with the cream combination of clothing, but maybe that’s because I love cream.
    I am curious about the fabric and wonder if there is any mohair in it.

    1. I was surprised that I liked the all cream look with the coat. But I do. There is mohair in the coat. Gives it a kind of retro shaggy sixties vibe, I think.

      1. I’m not sure I agree about not buying outfits, not with the number of garment ‘orphans’ I have in my wardrobe that don’t get worn because they don’t go with anything else!!

        But coats have their own rules, or no rules 🙂

        I think this coat is gorgeous and I’d be happy for it to be a signature piece to be recognised by. Love all the outfits with it too, and definitely the right choice to go with the green, rather than the navy.

        1. Thanks, Ros. I think what Amy Smilovic is cautioning against are buying pieces that only work in one combination. I used to work with a woman who would buy an outfit and it would hang together on one hanger because none of the pieces worked with anything else in her closet.

          1. Ahh I see, yes, I’ve done that a few times too in the past for work clothes, but it gets very boring very quickly!

      1. No. I looked up her coat just now… not the same coat. But oddly enough I had one in a similar style to Pelosi’s several years ago. Loved the two button stand up collar.

  2. that coat is wonderful, you look fantastic in it and no wonder you bought it. until the last year when i bought an eileen fisher grey/black check i have had a red coat for about thirty years (not the same coat but always red) in winter i usually wear black and or navy and the bright coat always worked well with those. your green coat seems to serve the same purpose of adding joy to neutrals. i dont love it as much with the cream but then i cant wear that colour so maybe i am jealous!

  3. Wonderful coat, exactly right for where you are now. Green is my favourite colour and I am delighted that there is so much of it about now. My aim is to move away from automatically reaching for blacks and greys – my winter wardrobe is bordering on the tedious but it will have to do this year and I will remove a lot of the stuff in the spring. It has done sterling work for a few years but enough is enough. I am mulling over a sewing project that will be a complete and utter volte face but I shall have to wait a little to start it. Go and wear your coat with joy.

  4. I’ve never been a disciplined clothes buyer & have always admired the methodical system you apply to your wardrobe . I’m a ‘love at first sight sort of girl ‘ . That applies to most things in my life . Our house , furnishings , dogs & even my husband . There’s that ‘ zing ‘ & I just know (Max is more practical so I’m not allowed all my own way ) My first big buy when I started work was a suede trench coat costing eight times my weekly wage – that took some hard saving . What colour ? dark forest green . Not practical , not even that warm but I adored that coat & got a lift every time I wore it . I’m getting that zing looking at your new coat . I love the swing of it , the texture of the fabulous fabric ( MaxMara fabrics ❤️ ) & of course the colour .
    My new walking jacket is an almost fluorescent apple green with black zips here & there . Max says the rescue helicopter is sure to spot me easily .
    PS That suede coat came to a sticky end , literally , involving a takeaway Chinese meal carried home in the car but I still remember the joy it brought me for a long time .

    1. I love that you are a love at first sight kind of girl. I am learning that I need to let the reins go once in a while. These days I fear I am too tightly disciplined. I used to splurge more easily when I was younger. Ironically when I could ill afford to do so. Love that line from Max… he’s such a card. When I came home from Montreal with my cargo pants rolled up, Stu quipped, “I hadn’t heard that there was flooding in Montreal.” Hardy har har… I replied.

  5. It’s definitely an all-singing, all-dancing coat, in the best possible way. Wonderful cut, beautiful style and a fabulously unexpected colour. I’m a great believer in buying things I love. I bought a pink plaid coat at the end of winter, which was a coup de foudre purchase. My old black coat was falling apart and desperately needed replacing. I’ve worn the new coat a few times and am very happy with it. But I’ve recently bought a more sober, black and white, herringbone, slouchy coat as I wanted to have a more neutral coat in my wardrobe. This was a big call for me as winter here is not cold enough or long enough to require much coat wearing. The second coat was purchased online and it will be interesting to see what I think when it gets here and I’ve been able to try it on.
    Your coat works really well with the 3 outfits you prefer. I think the issue with the 3rd outfit is that the texture of the coat doesn’t work well with the texture of the leather pants – a case of rough and smooth not complementing each other. But I do love the green and pink patterned scarf, and hope you find a way to wear it with your gorgeous new coat.

    1. That’s a good point, Maria. It may be the texture of the pants that is off-putting with the coat. I purchased a pink tweed coat in New York back in 2016 and I have never regretted it. Like with the green coat, I kept thinking… but it’s pink. How can I buy a pink coat? Hope your second coat works out for you. I think a slouchy coat in a sober colour will hit the perfect balance note between modern and classic.

  6. That coat is bliss… pure bliss. You were right to follow your heart! Over the last year I’ve been seriously rethinking, vetting, purging and replacing my wardrobe as I meander toward retirement. After a (rather expensive) year of closet flipping and replacing basics, anticipating a more fixed income in a couple of years, I’m committed to “low-buy” until then, keeping lists of what I really need and want, and interrogating every purchase to be sure it is regret-free. The way you feel about that coat is exactly what I am doing… which lead me to pull the trigger on a Lafayette 148 3-ply cashmere stand collar sweater in a marine blue that I have been stalking (STALKING!) for months. Impossible to find, tracked it down in their US discount boutique (can’t order from there to Canada), threw myself upon the kindness of one of their amazing customer service reps, set up a US “mailbox” with a third party, maneuvered the purchase and spent more for a single cashmere sweater than I have ever in my life. And it is bliss… pure bliss. I want to feel like that about everything I wear, and open my closet each day and be bathed in that feeling — the same feeling you get when you put on that coat. Enjoy!!

    1. That’s wonderful, Lolo. I am so glad you went through all the machinations to get that sweater. If it hadn’t been for a resourceful sales associate in Macy’s’ in 2016 I’d never have sprung for my pink tweed coat. But I am so glad I did.

  7. Hello ,Girl in the Green Max Mara Coat!
    The coat is gorgeous,I love,love it! It is my favourite MM shape and lenght and I find the colour beautiful,you look great in the coat and I’m sure you’ll find a much more combinations how to wear it! I’m a big fan!
    Hm,maybe I need the red one ?(If I bought another coat,I’ll be kicked out of my house!)

    1. I like the length and the oversize fit of my coat. And I’m so glad that I didn’t let the colour put me off. Do you have an already large collection of coats, my friend?? Seriously… what’s one more? 🙂

  8. Great coat…not sure why you are agonizing over it…enjoy it. Would look great with jeans too. Does it close? Buttons? Couldn’t make it out.

    1. Thanks. I’m agonizing because it was a big ticket item. And well… I often agonize to be honest. Ha. The coat is double-breasted and fastens with big round snaps. So no buttons are visible… which I like.

  9. Magnificent! (There is another adjective for you). Try again with the black. I think that is my favourite.

    1. No need to be intimidated by labels, Judy. Everything has a label. Everything is made or manufactured by someone. And afterall it’s only a manner of identifying an article. And giving credit to the designer or brand. Like naming the author of a book I’ve read.

      1. Well said Sue. You treat all manner of comments with thoughtful consideration. I had to smile at your obvious joy wearing the coat- it’s infectious.

  10. Love the coat! Looks great on you. I have a red winter coat which brightens the days. The one time I went on a group trip to NYC I had an apple green jacket. People could always find me in the sea of black.

  11. Sue, your green coat is absolutely fabulous. Love the color, style, fit, everything. Definitely a have to have. May it keep you warm and give you many ‘serviceable’ years of wear.

  12. What a fun, fantastic coat! The color is great, looks wonderful on you, and wonderful with everything. So many possibilities. So inspiring!

  13. Many years ago I bought a bright green coat. It was an impulse buy because as you describe it made my heart sing. It ended up being one of the best purchases I ever made. I loved that coat! Thank you for making me think of it. And if I did not live in a sub-tropical climate now I would be ordering your Max Mara find and having a green coat revival. 💕

  14. Good job, Sue! Love that coat. Worth the splurge! It is a lovely shape, and has a retro mohair appearance. The color is muted and I’m sure it will go great with many things.
    I have a bright apple green coat, part cashmere and a gorgeous fabric. I found it at goodwill when the fabric and color caught my eye. It is a lady coat, with princess lines, more of a spring coat. I just love it.
    Maybe try that scarf in a loose cowboy style, with the knot behind the neck and the bulk of the fabric filling the V of the neckline.

    1. The mohair does give it a retro vibe. That’s one of the things that attracted me to the coat. It looks different in different lights. Some of those photos were taken on a dark day, and the coat looks more muted. It looks brighter in the photos taken in sunlight.

  15. What a great coat! The color and texture sings…easy to see why it captured your attention. Funnily enough, just before I saw your post, an Eileen Fisher email about coats had popped up, so I jumped over to have a look. Two colors caught my eye in the sheared suri alpaca line: deep claret (appears more reddish online) and cassis (a deep purple). Could see myself in either. But I don’t need a winter coat…and I am allergic to alpaca ): so won’t be purchasing either, but it was fun to switch over to your post and see the wonderful green coat. May you bask in its warmth and color for many winters to come.

  16. I hope this beautiful coat opens the door to reconsidering your previous assertion that you have cool coloring, as far as seasonal typing goes. The green over a column of cream is so perfect on you. The items you occasionally wear that are from a spring palette are always very flattering.

  17. I love your new coat and all the outfits you posted as well (even the scarf one that you didn’t care for). Although I do own a camel coat which I love, I have always tended toward bright winter coats. It seems I have always had a red (my favorite color) coat or jacket of some sort. I think color is needed, especially during the long winters. And, perhaps it is the pictures, but your green coat does not seem that bright to me. Enjoy your coat, wear it proudly.

    1. Thanks, Nancy. The coat does seem more muted in some of the photos. It’s so hard to take a shot that gives an exact representation. No wonder websites so frequently get the colour of a piece wrong.

      1. When I was out walking this afternoon, I was still thinking about your coat. Don’t you have a lavender sweater that might look great under that coat?

        1. I do now that you mention it. I may try that. It’s a summer sweater so I packed it away because my sweater drawers are so full. I’m going to dig it out! Thanks.

  18. My, the snark is powerful in this one. The coat is gorgeous and labels are helpful. After all, we might want to purchase something she’s wearing for ourselves (this is, at least in part, a style blog). Besides, considering a label rather than just an item can speak to its cohesive sense of overall style. For those of us working to develop ours, that’s useful. As for your ill-considered comment, you might want to consider the old saying – if you don’t have something nice to say…

  19. Sorry, my earlier comment was a reply to another comment no longer here. In any case, crazy cool coat, or should I say chill…

    1. Thanks, Wendy. I Judy’s comment back in so your reply wouldn’t be hanging in limbo. I’m getting a bit bored with her slings and arrows on the fashion posts. Next time I will just delete her.

      1. My mom always said when my siblings and I said mean things to each other to just ignore the person saying the mean thing, as they were trying to get a reaction (“get a rise out of” [the other]). I think that is such great advice, the older I get. Judy obviously has something going on that makes her angry or envious. If you just ignore the comment s I think she’ll eventually get bored. No need to waste your energy on negativity. (Incidentally, there is a woman called Judith who is one of the only people who leaves mean comments on my blog occasionally – maybe a coincidence, but interesting.

          1. Agreed! I am Judith, but not the negative, snarky one. Who would ever leave a mean comment for Sue anyway? She is such a delight, I just can’t imagine.

  20. First, it’s a fab coat and second so many of us struggle with the same issues. I’m in my early 70’s now and love fashion, maybe even more now. I’ve come to the conclusion that my age gives me some fashion privileges. Sometimes we need to go for it, break the rules and not blend into the crowd. In other words have FUN!
    Lastly, you look fab in that coat, ENJOY!

  21. The colour, cut and fabric are great! To me, it looks more of a moss green, muted, rather than bright; but, as you are more accustomed to neutrals I can see how it may seem bright to you. Have you tried it with your burgundy and lilac sweaters yet?

  22. I’m green with envy! I love everything about your new coat, the shape, length and oh yes, the colour. You have done a great job of styling it. I even liked the look with leather pants. I would have changed to scarf to a big muffler for a less neat look.
    I need to follow your advice and experiment with my wardrobe and follow the ideas in todays post in order to ramp up my style and get the look I admire in others. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Thanks, Marcia. Some days playing with outfits is more fun than others. But when it works it’s worth the time and energy. Main thing is to try everything. I do have a big black heavy scarf. Maybe It’ll try that next.

  23. Your so right in that we must stick with our style adjectives!!! I also believe we must stay with a color story so that our clothes combine but we can always have something in a different color such as a evening dress, jacket, kimono, scarf and of course a coat!!! We also must buy the things we adore!!! Then you look great and feel great doing so!!! I had a coat cut just like this I bought in Germany. I loved my coat but it wasn’t green but a soft ivory and mushroom small plaid!!! Fond memories!!!

  24. It’s a stunning coat! I adore green…it has style and energy and will separate you from the flock of safe coloured coat wearers! (Myself included)
    Max Mara wool coats are iconic and last…you’ve purchased a real gem.

  25. Not much more I can add to the group. Loving the look on you and would love that style in a cooler green. I adore your look with the cream column and also the navy for another great look. I think buying something that really calls to you like that did, and loving it and how you feel in it are so important when dressing to go out in our long cold winters. Enjoy the cosy hug.

    1. I think the green of my coat is not necessarily my best green. If it were a sweater I’d probably not wear it. But with black or navy or cream under it I love it.

  26. I am definitely with the rest of the group in saying good job. The coat is stunning, and you look stunning – and happy in it.
    I have a green patterned velvet vintage swing coat that I bring out of the closet on December 1 and put away on December 30. It does not have a label, but looks like the Lydia Boutique Original that my mother had, but hers was bright red. I think that I understand how it feels. Everyone remembers that coat and says – not December yet. We are waiting!
    Have fun!

  27. Wear what makes your heart sing has become my fashion mantra recently. I don’t remember where I first heard it (maybe a comment on your blog?) but I’ve used it on my blog a couple of times lately.

    I recently bought a bright red coat, a definite departure from the old charcoal grey one that I was replacing, and I love it! Yes, it stands out, but in a good way, I think. Like your green one does. It wasn’t what I thought I was looking for, but when I found it, I knew it was!

  28. Oh, this was worth the wait! Such a fabulous find. So very happy for you and your new coat – it’s just perfect. I have two winter coats, bought several years and sizes apart (menopause came along in between), and they’re both shades of bright blue. One more of a peacock, one closer to teal. I don’t get much wear out of them (Southern California to Portugal, what can I say?), but we’re going to Paris in January for my (big) birthday, so I’ll be playing with colors and styling and pretending to be you for a little bit. Looking forward to the challenge!

  29. Margaretanne Clinton

    I’m a painter.
    That beautiful green coat makes every single outfit sing .

  30. The coat is seriously great. I love it! Last year, I bought a pair of green suede brogues (about the same color as your coat.) They appealed to me and it was not my usual shoe purchase (black or navy.)
    I think you have done a lovely job of styling the coat with existing wardrobe pieces.

  31. I love this! Looks great on you, too. I’m really partial to green, though I don’t own much of it. I do have a silk blouse in exactly this colour though so I am a fan. I don’t think it’s too bright at all and in fact MM is by definition classic to me so ticks that box. I think it’s bright by Canadian standards, because everyone wears dark colours in winter apart from the occasional red parka… which is maybe why you perceive it as being noticeably out of the box. I am in Paris right now and heading to Italy and the big colour I’ve been seeing in statement coats is bright pink (fuschia-ish). You can’t hide in a crowd in that! I think your green is very practical and could even be perceived as a neutral. My favourite outfits are the cream and the photo with Burberry scarf. And the texture of the coat is great.

    Enjoy. The love at first sight purchases are special ones.

  32. I get what your saying about the outfit featuring the Aritzia leather pants. I love the pants with the coat. It’s that scarf thingy that drops the ball.
    The coat, regardless of its colour is a relentlessly classic ‘60’smom on the go’ look. If I were in my twenties and were styling that coat I’d do head to toe 60’s retro and buy plaid ankle pants ( maybe a pattern with the same or similar green as the coat and a shirt or sweater in a colour that appears in the plaid. A pox on the column of colour!
    But we are not in our twenties….though the plaid ‘slacks’ not a bad thought…
    Black cashmere turtleneck, black leather pencil skirt ( to the knee no longer) black tights and black suede boots…if the skirt is more mid thigh,. over the knee boots! (Yeah, yeah pearl clutch) Although, I could see that look in a rich camel as well. Sleek, minimalist 2023. A column of interesting garments not just a Cof C.
    If you need a shot of accent colour Purple (not wine or burgundy)would look great with green as would…pink! OMG fuchsia!!!!!! Any chance the green cashmere hoodie would work? Or too mint-y?
    Maybe try the cream pants with the navy striped sweater ? With a navy bag? The point is you don’t want to look like a nice hanger for the coat, you wear it it does not wear you. It’s only part of the look not THE look. What you are wearing when you take it off is important too. Actually people should not really notice just the coat..they should notice the whole picture but only remember you.
    The coat is really lovely and I hope you get many years of joy wearing it.

    1. Yep. I believe I said that in the post about that green scarf… it’s just too “old me” to work for me anymore. I agree that only the young ones can carry off a completely vintage look with aplomb. I wish I had been into vintage in my twenties. Back then I might even have been able to find something vintage to fit me since I was twenty pounds lighter back then. And I hear you about the outfit not wearing the wearer… but I fear a pencil skirt and high boots would wear me now. Or at least feel too much like a costume for my style now. A few years ago I would be all over a pencil skirt. Love that lean look with the oversized coat. But it wouldn’t be me anymore. Still it would look great on someone. Also agree about the column of colour. But feel that not all columns are created equal. Ha.

  33. It is stunning and you look amazing. I do not study fashion like you but love dressy with casual, bulky with slender and this coat works with this. I love the texture to it and if it does have mohair it probably has a light weight which will keep you warm more comfortably. Especially since you live in a colder climate how wonderful, no matter what you have on, to grab your coat and suddenly look elevated. Love the brooch on it. Until reading you I have never heard of this brand. I have a black Katherine Kelly alpaca coat which is the same length and keeps me so warm. I do think higher end brands coats hang better. I once had a red wool coat which I felt wonderful in, I was very trim then and I felt amazing in it. I get tired of seeing everyone just grabbing a parka. Enjoy your coat!

    1. I love dressy with casual too, Pat. And I too am so tired of all the boring coats we see in the winter. Especially when sometimes all they need sometimes are a decent scarf.

  34. Congratulations on re-thinking your approach to choosing clothes! FWIW, I think that you and your new coat look wonderful together. My only question: it looks like there is only one button closing the front of the coat. If that is so, will you be warm enough in it during an Ottawa winter?
    I have a longstanding fondness of green winter coats. I once spent three consecutive winters studying in the USSR (Leningrad and Moscow). During the first winter, everyone on the streets was wearing dark brown, black, dark grey or dark navy winter coats. Along with the cold, grey weather, those colors were so dreary. (And in those days, Soviet cities felt very dreary to a Westerner with no Russian friends.) Before embarking on my next winter’s sojourn in the USSR, I had a midi-length coat and made out of a thick, soft wool in the most beautiful saturated green color, a green in the blue-green range rather than the yellow green range. All that winter, wearing that coat, with a colorful wool shawl the babushki wore, helped lift my spirits (and kept me warm). That response to that color imprinted itself on me so thoroughly that ever since, that saturated green (emerald green? forest green?) has been my favorite color. One of the reasons we bought our family home and never remodeled the kitchen during our 35 years there was the beautiful green of one wall, and its counters, table and chairs. During that same period, my winter coat was another midi-length wool coat in that color. For the last 15 years or so, I have had trouble finding home goods, clothes or much of anything in that green: Le Creuset stopped offering pots and pans in it, and the home furnishing companies have not offered their products in it (except for very expensive couches). Even Paris’ iconic park chairs are no longer that shade of green. May products become available in that color again soon!

    1. Thanks, Leslie. The coat is double-breasted without the iconic row of buttons those coats usually have. It has hidden snaps instead. So it fastens quite securely. You have had a love affair with green, my friend. I can’t imagine what it was like spending three winters studying in the USSR. What an experience. Your story reminds me of that old movie Gorky Park.
      P.S. Are the chairs in Paris parks truly not green anymore? That’s sad. I loved that green.

  35. I absolutely love your coat. That shade of green looks lovely with your hair and looks great with all the neutrals such as cream, navy, black, grey, tans and brown. Coats should make your heart sing! Living in the Seattle area, I always wear bright raincoats, especially red and yellow. It is not easy finding bright raincoats, so I wear mine out.

  36. Really love it Sue and it really suits you … great style and gorgeous colour. I’m sure it feels lovely too …. Like a cosy, warm hug!
    I have a fairly bright green coat and I always feel happy wearing it … so I understand how yours makes you feel!

  37. Well done, Sue! It’s a lovely coat and, even better, it’s a Sue coat—a coat which slots perfectly into that elusive, aspirational sense of personal style we all long to create in our closets.

    Two observations I made back in June when you were pondering how to get your closet back on track:
    #1: When the heart takes flight, pay attention.
    #2: Don’t be afraid to re-think what might be an “classic” —or, put another way, the best “investment” piece is something which fits a person’s aesthetic sense and practical needs in a uniquely personal way.

    I think your green Max Mara coat exactly nails what I was trying to get at with that comment. Planning is essential cornerstone for a functioning closet, but it’s greatest gift might lie in helping us recognize the rightness of a piece for our closet—even if we are still stumbling around trying to articulate our mental images.

    1. Marily,

      I love your observations – your comment speaks to me and will serve as a great help in my trying to get my closet into shape, purge items, and think about new items in the future. Thanks so much!

    2. It is a Sue coat. Even if I could not imagine myself in one like it. Until I saw it, that is. And you are right. All the analysis in the world could not have prepared me for just knowing that the coat was right for me. And planning does help. If only so that I know exactly what I have and don’t have that might work with it. Of course the imagined outfits don’t always work out as we imagine. 🙂

  38. Your new coat is glorious! The outfits you have styled it with really speak to your adjectives. I have a green puffer jacket and a dark green and navy rain jacket and love them. One year I also bought a bright red swing style carcoat with a cozy dark faux fur collar. I get lots of comments when I wear them saying how nice it is to not see black which is a winter uniform here.
    We are heading into summer and I have my eye on a pair of emerald green sandals for some reason. They make me smile which is as good a reason as any to buy them.

  39. Love the coat! Maybe the faux leather pants don’t work with it because they’re shiny (as well as very straight up and down)? The coat has a slouchier vibe that you need to take into consideration as you plan your outfits — maybe to lean into it, or sometimes to contrast with it.
    I bought a burnt orange Max Mara coat half a dozen years ago, and it still makes my heart sing every time I wear it — although I was just as happy that my black lined raincoat was what I needed weather-wise to go to a recent funeral. Glad you went with your gut.

    1. I agree about the slouchy vibe of the coat. It needs a bottom half with some volume that the leather pants don’t provide. And I agree that my calmer coats are probably better suited to more sombre occasions. I won’t be wearing my green coat to any funerals, even if it isn’t raining.

  40. Great coat – good buy! I’ve been wavering over a teal coloured coat for a while now. I think I’ll go for it!

  41. Sue, you look positively splendid in the new coat! Good for you for purchasing something that “made your heart sing.” I love that idea, as well. I think that we instinctively know what is going to look good on us – sometimes it’s just hard to articulate it. I think the “column,” or monochromatic look is always classic, and your new coat will complement that. Thanks for letting us in on your thought process as to fashion – it’s so fascinating to me, as well as helpful. And, like the other commenter, I have a collection of coats. Coats and boots are my fashion weakness, as well as the only redeemable feature of winter.

  42. I love love love your green coat. It has a certain sass about it. Green has always been my favorite color. I even like the coat with the leather pants and turtleneck and boots. My motto is wear items that make you happy.

  43. What a beautiful coat and you look stunning in it. I have a forest green boucle duster type coat (not designer) that I love which called out to me and I, too, went back to buy it. That turns out to be how I usually find my favourite pieces, in a heartbeat. Sometimes that means waiting for a colour, or style because of those dreadful Pantone colours of the year.
    Love the looks you’ve shared and like you I’m seeing the value of column dressing.
    A new follower from the middle of England, UK.

    1. Welcome, Lindsey! I always like to have time to revisit a piece if I am shopping away from home. Hubby calls the first foray into the shops my “reconnaissance mission.” I have to walk away and think about my purchase before I decide to buy. Especially if it’s something that was not on my list. So when we travel to shop I always like to be able to go back later in the day for a second look. Or even better the next day.

    And I really like the outfit you weren’t excited about with the leather pants. The only thing that didn’t work for me was the scarf. Maybe just lose it entirely or layer another blouse with a collar? My surprise buys in retirement? Color. I am seeing my browns, camels, and blacks are not working for me anymore. I still start with neutral background, but always add a saturated color in something near my face. It works wonders….and yes, I feel chill.

  45. I really love the coat, and I think that it will complement the rest of your wardrobe. What a great find!

  46. If you change your mind about the coat and want to buy something else….send me an email….I will happily but the coat from you. 🙂 The coat is fabulous! It is not a garish bright green the way you first made it sound like before you showed it on your blog….it is actually a soft spring/olive green. The classic style of the coat means that you can pair it with lots of things. Have fun with the coat…wear it and pair it with everything….every outfit does not have to be perfect and the coat will “carry” even the combos that you think are not good enough. And the angst about buying the coat…that comes from out dated messages from another time where not buying such things made sense. At this point in your life the old messages do not apply so time to stop listening to them

    1. Thanks, Lauren. I hear you about not listening to angst in my head that is not worth listening to…now… I just have to figure out how to stop them. Or slow them down. 🙂

  47. Hi Sue,
    Your green coast is gorgeous on you. I love the saying, “it makes your heart sing.” So glad it does. It’s so important to pull away from your comfort zone sometimes in clothing. The coat is a classic the retro vibe adds so much style.
    So glad you decided “to treat yourself don’t cheat yourself.” Anyways who wants to look like everyone else.
    Enjoy your new coat. Wear it in good health.

  48. So many comments ! Looks like the coat is a success . I’ve come back to say I like to mix greens . I wear my fluorescent walking coat with a sage green body warmer showing sometimes . You could try that lovely sage jumper you bought recently ? After all , ‘ Mother Nature ‘ mixes lots of greens & they don’t clash . It’s going to be interesting seeing the combinations you go for

    1. The sage sweater looks great under the coat. Well spotted, Wendy. I had planned to wear it with the last outfit but the sweater doesn’t look good with the pants so I took it off. I saw outfits that mixed all manner of greens when we were in Montreal.

  49. I love it too. Have been eagerly waiting to see your choice after the last post. My old winter coat is burnt orange, so nice when everyone else is in black. I am easy to find in a crowd. 😉 Last week I bought my own emerald green coat, had no plan for that, but discovered it on deep sale (going into summer in Australia) and just fell in love with the colour. Have a look at Trinny Woodall videos, she has coats in every colour and a great way of tying scarves which may give you a different idea. Also love the idea of plaid pants, navy and dark green would be divine.

  50. My, you’ve given me a lot to think about!
    I love green, so the coat is just great, and also great on you. The Mohair is a definite attraction too. I remember when my daughter went off to college her first year. I went to pick her up at the airport, and off walks this vision in a bright green coat! She was stunning; the color loved her! This green loves you, too, and you took the right leap!
    I don’t wear a coat here, often — too hot. But for travel, I have always taken my long red trenchcoat, which is my “happy coat.” Last year it was beginning to look tired so I bought a “sensible” black trench coat to replace it, shorter and I thought more modern. It has sat in the closet, ignored, all year. So now, we are ready to go again next month, and I may just be going with my red coat. The black one… just doesn’t do it. Until then, I’ll be trying my many scarves as solutions with the black coat, but meanwhile seeing you in your green coat makes my heart happy too!

    1. I bought a black trench a year or so ago too. Because I wanted a longer spring coat and black was the safe choice. Like you, every time I put it on I take it off again.

  51. Maybe it’s just me and green. I fell in love with the green sweater you bought last year and put it on my Christmas list. I got it and love it to this day. We have a very limited budget and it’s the nicest piece of clothing I own. Your beautiful new coat is out of my reach but I do love seeing it on you. You wear it well and I just know you’ll smile every time you put it on. It was worth every penny.

  52. Sue, the coat is gorgeous and you look wonderful in it! Not only is it an unexpected green for the Christmas season, but I think that you will especially appreciate it in February and March when the winter gloom prevails, but we’re aching for spring. I hope you try it with your oversize navy and cream striped sweater: the color and fuzzy texture of the coat should make an interesting counterpoint to its bold graphic character–an Emma Hill vibe but with color! Now that the charcoal and navy that were my usual safe choices just make me look old and tired, I’m holding out for a new winter coat in a deep raspberry or dusky periwinkle. I wish manufacturers would produce more clothing like your coat that is colorful but neither brash nor wimpy. Thank you, too, for your blog!

  53. Green is the new black. But, then again, I have a melon colored fall coat, a forest green fall coat, a red parka, a lavender parka, and a blue tweed vintage coat (in addition to a few standard brown, camel, and black coats). Can you tell I have a hard time parting with my coats?
    Perhaps the leather pants don’t work because the textures are too different, but I like the navy and white on you–and with white trainers!

    1. Ooh, you are a woman of many coats. But they are sound different. To be honest I have a hard time parting with my coats too, and now have several Max Mara coats bought over twenty years.

  54. That coat is fabulous! Like you, I have tended toward neutral coats, but I also love red coats and have two in my closet. A great pop of color is so uplifting. And I’m working on less black and more color. The column of black under it is easy and chic though.

    1. The column of black is easy, you’re right. Usually I break up a column with a third colour. But lately I’ve been loving simplicity, and only break it with a brooch or something tiny.

  55. When you buy something that makes your heart sing every time you look at it you know you’ll love it forever. Happy wearing !

  56. OMG I can completely relate. I need a new ski/puffer jacket and stood in the store this week trying on a green and then a black coat. The green made me happy, but the black is so much more practical. I walked out without either, not happy going practical, but not having enough nerve to go with what I truly wanted. Maybe a second visit will give me the impetus. Your coat is beautiful, it is good to make our hearts sing occasionally.

    1. A second visit may help, Sharon. That way you can confirm if you still love the green. I frequently walk out with nothing the first time. I usually need to mull things over.

  57. As I have gotten older I find it doesn’t matter what someone else thinks. If I like it, feel good in it and think I look good in it I wear it.
    The coat does not look bright to me, slightly more olive that grassy green. It suits you and adds a lovely bit of color. I also like it with your leather pants and the print scarf – but again, you have to like it. I love how you write. It is always a pleasure to read your posts.

    1. Too true, Mary. I know I love it and that’s what matters. Thanks for your kind words… the blog is a pleasure to write so I am happy it’s a pleasure to read.

  58. Jill from Tennessee

    Have you seen Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris? I watched it today and kept thinking of you and your green coat. A charming movie about how everyone needs and deserves beauty in their lives. Highly recommend, and the book is wonderful as well! I love your blog and admire your discipline. I splurge way too much!

  59. Absolutely gorgeous! Both you and your new coat. A few years ago I bought an Eileen Fisher alpaca coat that I adore. It’s not an exciting color like yours, it’s a deep charcoal gray. But it’s such a great coat, wam without being too heavy and bulky to wear. And that gray goes with everything I wear in the winter, from jeans to more dress pants.
    Kudos for buying what truly spoke to you, you’ll adore wearing it every time!

  60. I love the green coat. While it is a bright color, it isn’t gaudy and almost can be considered neutral. The classic cut is such a nice balance with the texture and color. It looks great with navy!
    It’s funny how the green of the coat almost washes out with the black leather pants (unless it is the lighting in the photo). I would have expected the coat to look good with black. Perhaps with a top that is camel or a medium range of brown? I’m not sure.
    I’ve been tempted to go for a plaid coat or tweed (one with some pink in it), but I haven’t found one that I love or want to pay for.
    I am delighted with the bright pink that I am seeing everywhere and I pulled out my Talbots bright pink long-sleeve tee shirt to wear this fall. I also have a Talbots bright pink wool blazer that has a slight ruffle in the color. I haven’t worn it yet, but I’m mulling over how to wear it. Maybe a light brown cotton tee and gray pants. I don’t know. Suggestions invited. I’d like it to not look fussy and feel modern, push up the sleeves a bit, wear interesting boots with it – that sort of thing.
    I often practice your approach of walking away from an impulse purchase and thinking it over. If I still want it later and buy it, I usually don’t regret the purchase.
    I think that you will get a lot of wear out of your coat and, perhaps more importantly, a lot of heart singing.

    1. Thanks, Dottie. The light was so variable in the photos, sunlight one day, no sunlight on the other, it’s hard to gauge the brightness of the coat.

  61. Such a beautiful coat, and it is very much you! An item of clothing that makes your heart sing is a timeless investment. And I agree with a couple of previous commenters that lavender would be a great combination with it.

    The idea of a heart singing made me revisit “Red is Best,” a book I used to read to my children and recently read with one of my little granddaughters. It’s about a toddler who loves all things red, and a couple of my favourite lines are “Red paint puts singing in my head,” and “Red barrettes make my hair laugh.” :o)

  62. Great coat, it really suits you to a T!
    I did buy a coat too, a Max Mara Teddy. Did I need it? No. Did I want it? Very much. Does it jive with my style grammar (minimal, deceptively edgy and accidentally classic)? Yes, as a much as a very very oversized grey teddy bear do. It makes me happy: I’ll be “that furry old bat” as soon as the weather will be cold enough:-)

  63. Love the coat. I have a friend who is an interior designer. She says buy what you love, it will work. And it does.

    1. Buying what I love usually does work. But… as long as I have other things to wear with whatever it is. And it won’t hang like unworn in my closet.

  64. I love your new purchase. It is a great green color. Was thinking when I first began reading it would be a bright kelly grass green but in the pictures it seems to be a bit more subdued in color than you write about. Are the photos deceiving? Any way I love it and if I passed you on the street would admire you and your coat!!

  65. Your new green coat is splendid! I am so glad your purchased it. You just look beautiful and happy in every photo. I have a many-years-old emerald green peacoat with navy blue buttons that I still love to wear in winter. The color makes me happy and someday I will be an eighty year old woman still wearing it. I daresay you will still have your green coat at that age too. Isn’t it wonderful that an item of clothing can lift the mood and, yes, make the heart sing. Congratulations on your purchase.

  66. I am very excited about your coat. You look exceptional in it in every way! I think you should purchase clothing that makes you feel good.

  67. I am a magnet for green so I just covet your beautiful green coat. It’s wonderful.
    I know you try not to buy too much but, as a fellow Canadian, cold weather person, what about a pair of cream/light taupe warm and waterproof ankle boots to wear with the gorgeous cream outfit? As well, cream corduroy pants would winterize that outfit a bit.

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