189: Everybody loves Max
Max and Liana on today's closet sale, plus all the best gems from his wishlists.
Who is Max? This week, Vogue alumnus and host of the franchiseLiana Satenstein, known for her monastic, often ruthless, closet cleanouts, introduced her followers to a man known only as “Max.” She had flown to Chicago to relieve him of what had grown from an innocent sale-shopping habit into an unmanageable volume of clothing. Through her Stories (now saved to Highlights) and Substack posts, we learned of Max’s penchant for eBay’ed Einstein t-shirts, his collection of online poker merch, his love for anything with a carrot graphic.
Tuning in to see the duo gently bicker over Max’s past purchases, there was something refreshingly earnest about his faith in fashion. Max had not bought the Bless pool-noodle scarf out of some ironic, edgelord inclination, he had been thinking of staying warm in Chicago’s cold winters. When Max was curious about a small imperfection in his Elder Statesman checkerboard knit, he called the brand to ask about it. Max collects carrot gear because he genuinely likes carrots! His hands are literally orange from all the carotene! Of course the internet would fall in love with him.
Liana’s episodic posts featuring Max became littered with increasingly thirsty comments for the man and his closet castoffs alike, from “Living for max’s story,” “Max stans, assemble ,” and “Give us a deep dive on Max. Fully invested” to “we’re all in love with max,” “He’s so hot please pass him my number,” and “I could fix him!!!!!!!!!!!”
With Max and his eligible wardrobe in peak demand, Liana announced that the two were making the 14-hour drive back to New York and would be hosting a sale of Max’s coveted neverworns.
The sale is taking place today, as in Sunday, January 20, 2023 from 11am to 7pm, at Colbo in the Lower East Side. It includes 264 pieces, mainly in men’s sizes M to XL, but with the important asterisk that most of these are actually unisex and easily also “for the girls.” Liana says she wore a pair of his pants on their drive back and that they “fit great.”
Ahead of this afternoon’s sale, I got Max and Liana on the horn to talk about how this heart-winning partnership came to be, as well as to grill Max about the best pieces in his SSENSE, eBay, and The RealReal wishlists that Liana would most likely prefer he didn’t buy.
So, who exactly is Max? As Liana would say, we are all Max.
Laura Reilly: Max, how does it feel to be the main character of the internet this week? Max: I’ve kind of avoided looking at Liana’s Instagram page, but it’s exciting now. LR: I noticed she hasn’t tagged you in anything, I was wondering if you weren’t on IG or you were maybe concerned about your privacy. M: She wants to keep all the new followers to herself. Liana Satenstein: I just want to keep Max to myself. No one can know.
LR: So, how did you guys meet? LS: It was the end of 2019 and Max reached out to me. We didn’t know each other, and I was like who is this guy? We became internet friends and met up for dinner, and then we kept in touch. Max ended up becoming friends with Noah, my now husband, and they really hit it off. And then, you asked me for help. LR: How did you know it was time for a cleanout? M: I think I had known it was time for a while. My sister is kind of in the fashion world, and we’ve done minor things—I was getting rid of low-hanging fruit, things that completely didn’t fit me, but no difficult decisions. It became a little bit overwhelming in terms of the quantity of things; I filled up my entire childhood bedroom dresser and closet, and my apartment. It just felt a bit disturbing. We probably set aside over 280 pieces, for the sale or for donating. It’s about half of my wardrobe, and I could probably go another 20% or 30%.
LR: Did you expect this kind of response to the cleanout content? M: I actually didn’t even know this was going to be on Instagram. LS: Max! M: No, I mean, we talked about hiring a videographer, with the expectation that the videographer would be there for like two hours per day. So I thought it was going to be made into, like, a 15 or 20 minute YouTube video afterwards, I didn't realize it was gonna be like this. I'm not complaining! LS: Well, there is also going to be a 20 minute video when we get done with this—maybe longer, we do have so many clothes. M: We’re trying to think of what to do with the remainder of the clothes that don’t sell tomorrow. Maybe an online sale or some kind of giveaway, like whoever requests something first we can just send it to them.
LR: Why do you think the Max closet cleanout is resonating with so many people? LS: Max is a layered man as is his wardrobe. I like telling stories about people through their clothes and have always tried to do that. Also, I can’t lie: The art of slowly revealing Max while simultaneously showing his interests through his clothes—his carrot merch, those Einstein shirts—helped pique interest. M: Yeah, it's definitely not me. I do think we have an interesting compatibility, like our mindsets are very different, our insights come from very, very different perspectives.
LS: You know, the thing is, we all are Max. I am definitely Max; I have things that I have held onto and just can't get rid of, no matter how hard I try, I just can't do it. And that's the same for everyone, no matter who you are. Whether it's a Hanes t-shirt and you’re in Montana or it's an Issey Miyake Pleats Please thing in Brooklyn, we all have these things that we have bought and don't know what to do with, but that we still want to keep.
LR: So what are the best pieces at tomorrow’s sale? Like, what should people look out for when they come bum rushing through the doors? I know there was a lot of interest in certain Elder Statesman pieces with people calling dibs in the comments. LS: Obviously with Elder Statesman, it’s like duh, yeah, they’re great pieces. But I do think Max has the best t-shirt collection I've ever seen in my whole entire life. I nabbed a super old PokerStars.com sweatshirt from him, and it's my favorite thing now. There are vintage t-shirts of old internet stuff, like Adobe Photoshop merch. Because yeah, of course we have great button-downs, and Elder Statesman, but I think the t-shirts really shine. I'm all for them.
LR: Yeah, you do have great t-shirts. Also from your the wishlists you shared—you have an amazing assortment of Einstein shirts that you shared. What's your relationship with Einstein? M: In my parents’ house that I grew up in, my mom had this room that was dedicated to all Einstein items. Like posters and a big cardboard cutout of Einstein and books and all kinds of things like that. LR: So was your mom in STEM? M: I'm not quite sure what got her into that.
LR: I'm curious, for these themes that you collect around—the Einstein and the carrots and whatnot—what in a t-shirt is going to tip you over the edge from having it as a wishlist item to making it your own? M: I shared probably like 80% of the Einstein t-shirts on my wishlist, but there are a few that I didn't want to. I guess what I'm realizing is that I don't like something that’s “too much.” I don't want something that’s drawing too much attention. There’s a fine line between something humorous and something that’s kind of…too stupid.
LR: Then you have some poker shirts, including one of these PokerStars sweatshirts that Liana is really excited about. M: I think that's pretty much the same sweatshirt just in gray instead of black. LR: The bid is starting at $10. I'm wondering how high we can get that up.
LR: Moving on to your The RealReal wishlist, tell me about this Undercover parka. M: I always like that “Order Disorder” thing that it says at the bottom. It also says Urbana State of Illinois on the back. I don’t really know what’s going on, but that’s a very popular college where I grew up. LR: And the Loro Piana? M: Just a nice classic, same with the Tom Ford. LR: Then we have a Margiela pullover. M: The bottom I guess looks a little weird, but it’s pretty Margiela-esque. I like the distressing. LR: This Bottega has a cool pyramid design on it. M: I think I got this once but then it was way too small…I'm not completely sure.
LR: From SSENSE, these Bless jeans-sweatpants, I saw them in your videos with Liana—and to be honest I’ve been wanting them for a while now, too. Are you selling yours tomorrow? M: The ones I have, I actually got made at a tailor in the Lower East Side. I just brought them Nike sweatpants and Levi’s jeans. I have a separate pair of Bless pants with a green front and blue jeans in the back, which Liana strongly disliked, but I still can’t get rid of.
LR: We have a Robyn Lynch gray panel jacket. I'm actually not familiar with this brand. M: Yeah, I learned about them pretty recently, they seem to do this deconstructed-reconstructed kind of thing. I do really like those colors. LR: Then we have Anderson Bell jeans. Are you an Anderson Bell collector? Do you have other pieces from them? M: I think I ordered one shirt from them and then returned it. LR: You also have this Adish shirt, with a kind of stitched logo. M: Yeah, they work with women from Israel and Palestine who do the embroidery.
LR: Here’s a New Balance SSENSE exclusive. How many sneakers do you have? M: Until recently, I think I had 50 pairs of tennis shoes, which was completely sick. And overall, I don’t know, maybe 20 other sneakers. LR: You know a good sneaker when you see one. M: I just wear the same North Face pair, plain black-gray ones, every day. LR: You also, as a tennis player, included some Palmes shorts, but that looks more like a baseball. M: It does look very baseball-esque, which is why I didn’t get them.
LR: This The Row hat is—I might have to buy it honestly, I shouldn’t, but it’s a great price. Do you wear much The Row? M: I am actually wearing a plain black long-sleeve from The Row right now. I have one plain white t-shirt also. I think we got rid of some sweatpants and some unnecessary things…a The Row cashmere v-neck and a turtleneck striped gray-ish cashmere sweater. I guess I just like their t-shirts. LR: And this Hed Mayner shirt. M: I think this shirt might even be in the sale, actually. LR: It’ll be very at home at Colbo, where they also love Hed Mayner.
LR: Do you own a lot of Doublet? I know that that sort of scrunchie sweatshirt Liana shared early on was from the brand. M: I did, before Liana got there. LS: Hey! LR: Did she decimate your collection? M: With good reason. LS: How can I say this nicely? I just think Max is so good in classic stuff like beautiful button downs with maybe a saucy little print, if he wants to freak with that a bit, or a graphic t-shirt. Doublet…I just recoil. M: I think the thing about them is that their details are really special. Some things are very, very crazy, but this Paris sweatshirt is a good example—the entire “Paris” text and the Eiffel Tower are embroidered, not just printed. I think I just have to look for more subtle items from them, LS: Just to say, Max has an incredible appreciation for detail, from texture to pattern and print, which I probably should include in my own life. There was a very funny moment with this Elder Statesman sweater that had a mark on a checkerboard pattern, and it was something I never would have noticed. But I can appreciate that someone would have noticed and cared enough about this kind of thing at all.
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