Oh, Madewell. I’m Only Halfway In Love With You Again…(A Try-On)

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I’ve referred to it a time or two since, but if you weren’t around last spring, you may have missed that time when I broke up with Madewell. As a long-time fangirl, it was a rough realization that maybe their clothing just isn’t right for me??

Madewell jeans have been my absolute go-to over the years…before I was brave enough to step back into rigid denim again. I wore their black skinny jeans with ripped knees to death and loved them so much I bought three pairs of the same fit, same wash. (You can see why that potential break-up was tough.) And, of course, I found those cute pull-on jeans recently that I love. But over the past year or so, whenever I try anything other than jeans from Madewell, I am left feeling…disappointed.

Madewell Spring/Summer Try-On: An Honest Review

What DO I love about Madewell and why do I keep trying? I’m an optimistic person at heart and I hate being a Negative Nellie. I’ve revisited each part of this post a few times to try to be more positive, but I also value our honesty here at TME on pieces that just don’t work for us.

And I will say I adore the vibe of Madewell clothing. Their overall aesthetic fits so well with mine…casual, great fabrics, special prints, graphic tees, jeans, some leather, a little artsy, a little classic…it just flows with my style, yeah? Yeah. But somehow, I’m also exactly the wrong height (too tall for petite, too short for some regular pieces, especially when it comes to rise) and exactly a different body type than they seem to design for (athletic build with a booty and thighs.)

But, have no fear. There are a couple of things in this recent Madewell try-on that I love. So let’s get to those first. Then we’ll wade through the pieces that were obviously not meant-to-be…

The Super Cute Linen-blend Lucie Smocked Midi Dress

Oh Madewell. I want to love everything from them but that isn't always the case. I did find a couple things that I love: a linen house dress + vintage jeans but don't worry, I tried on more.

Dress | Sneakers

Well well well. Rarely do I wear flare dresses especially with flowy sleeves but gosh! The cuteness of this one just can’t be denied. I’m really just a summer dress girl for the most part and y’all THIS ONE HAS POCKETS. Yep. That will never get old. Even after all of us continually pointing out the dresses that do, ad nauseam. Heh.

I definitely lean towards less uber-feminine shoe choices when I’m wearing something this pretty, so you won’t see me ever putting on heels with this piece. But I cannot wait to live in it this summer with my Vans!

Oh Madewell. I want to love everything from them but that isn't always the case. I did find a couple things that I love: a linen house dress + vintage jeans but don't worry, I tried on more.

Dress | Sneakers

Fit Notes: Wearing a size small here and that’s my typical regular sizing dress size. I’m 5’4″ and a small in tops and 28 in jeans, 32DD bust. This. Fits. Like a dream. SO much so that I tried it on with an array of shoes. And I love them all. This is also offered in plus sizes and the petite have already sold out, so hop right over there if you love dresses with pockets, too! Even if you didn’t realize it was what you needed in your life. **Sizes are getting a little low in this. I’ve included some cute alternatives in the shopping widget at the end of the post!

Dress | Sandals | Doc Martens | High Tops


The Perfect Vintage Jeans I Already Had

So, here is where we conclude the section on “what I thought was cute from Madewell.” Yep. Already. It includes some jeans I’d already had for a few months. Usually, in these try-on’s it’s a whole swath of fun new things, some work, some don’t. Well…here we are.

Oh Madewell. I want to love everything from them but that isn't always the case. I did find a couple things that I love: a linen house dress + vintage jeans but don't worry, I tried on more.

Top | Jeans | Similar Sneakers

The Perfect Vintage jeans (wearing a 28) fit nicely, true to size, are so soft and are a current fav. I hacked mine off shorter a few months back and they work well with my high tops that I love. This particular pair is rigid denim, but some other styles in this cut are offered with stretch. Shop all the Perfect Vintage Jeans here, including plus, petite and tall sizes. And there are some styles here at Nordstrom, too. Ooh, and they also have my fav mid-rise jean, the Slim Boyjean in a lighter wash for summer.

Oh Madewell. I want to love everything from them but that isn't always the case. I did find a couple things that I love: a linen house dress + vintage jeans but don't worry, I tried on more.

Top | Jeans | Similar Sneakers

This Shrunken Camp Shirt is cute. In a vintage kinda way. The print is adorable and the fabric is soft. I’m wearing my typical size small here and it is fitted, but surprisingly doesn’t gape at the buttons. You’ll see it below as part of a set…


Balloon Jeans: “Do I Like Them Or Am I Crazy?”

Balloon jeans. I know. I was curious.

This time around curiosity didn’t kill the cat, but I’m not sure it did the cat any favors either. Right? Idk. These might be kinda cute…but they might just be…balloon jeans. Which sounds like a bad idea to start with. Haha… what can I say? Jeans are having a confusing moment, amiright?

Oh Madewell. I want to love everything from them but that isn't always the case. I did find a couple things that I love: a linen house dress + vintage jeans but don't worry, I tried on more.

Tee | Jeans | Similar Heels

Oh Madewell. I want to love everything from them but that isn't always the case. I did find a couple things that I love: a linen house dress + vintage jeans but don't worry, I tried on more.

Tee | Jeans | Similar Heels

I mean, surprisingly the butt isn’t bad, friends. But I think there’s just too much volume for my stature. If you need that comfy weekend jean and want something different…maybe these are for you. Again, I guess a taller frame would work more here but I almost like them but not enough to keep trying. I do love these Perfect Vintage tees though. So light and breezy for summer. Wearing a small.

Oh Madewell. I want to love everything from them but that isn't always the case. I did find a couple things that I love: a linen house dress + vintage jeans but don't worry, I tried on more.

Tee | Jeans | Sneakers


The Stuff That Just. Didn’t. Work.

I Love A Windowpane Pant Print…So I Tried Two

Oh Madewell. I want to love everything from them but that isn't always the case. I did find a couple things that I love: a linen house dress + vintage jeans but don't worry, I tried on more.

Tank | Pants | Similar Heels

Ok, so first off, these pants fit great. They’re the Emmett pant that has been at Madewell for a while. I’d obviously have to hem them…but they were just not quite something. I found them tricky to style in this colorway. When I pause and have to think about things, especially these days after I’ve tried on so many pieces of clothing, I just know they will be an item that would linger in the closet not getting worn. I’m definitely going to revisit this pant though in another color. Wearing a 28 here. TTS.

Oh Madewell. I want to love everything from them but that isn't always the case. I did find a couple things that I love: a linen house dress + vintage jeans but don't worry, I tried on more.

Tank | Pants | Similar Heels


Then here are the Pleated Taper Wide Leg Linen Pant and maybe like I just can’t wear pants with that many descriptors in their title. Too much stuff. They’re too big, but not in a “should have gone down a size” kinda way. They’re just too long in the rise and definitely don’t really do anything in the booty area. I wish these were offered in petite, but I’ve tried petite jeans from Madewell before and they’re way too short. And when I size down in these types of pants it typically pulls across the butt. Le sigh.

Oh Madewell. I want to love everything from them but that isn't always the case. I did find a couple things that I love: a linen house dress + vintage jeans but don't worry, I tried on more.

Tee | Pants | Similar Heels

Oh Madewell. I want to love everything from them but that isn't always the case. I did find a couple things that I love: a linen house dress + vintage jeans but don't worry, I tried on more.

Tee | Pants | Similar Heels


The “Matching” Quilted Bandana Short Set

I am all about a little matching set mo-ment but…NOT this one. The shorts. Are quilted. Give me all the quilted jackets, my friends, but I guess I didn’t read the fine print when it came to this pair of shorts. The top isn’t quilted. It’s soft and breezy. So it is an odd pairing to me.

Oh Madewell. I want to love everything from them but that isn't always the case. I did find a couple things that I love: a linen house dress + vintage jeans but don't worry, I tried on more.

Top | Shorts | Sandals

I mean, the quilting does give the shorts structure? And for some reason, I like the idea of them. But it also makes them poof outright at my midsection and like who in the mother-loving world is looking for that lewk. Embrace your body…but don’t embrace shorts that give you extra poofy parts…just no. Those of you with more height and longer torsos (the body type I think Madewell clothes are designed for) may find that they work. If so, you rock them.

Oh Madewell. I want to love everything from them but that isn't always the case. I did find a couple things that I love: a linen house dress + vintage jeans but don't worry, I tried on more.

Top | Shorts | Sandals

Fit Notes: Ahhh….there it is. The rise is a whopping 13.” No wonder there is extra poof, as I’m so lovingly calling it. I will now get better at checking those sorts of things as I know my personal rise to be only 11.5″ (a handy thing to measure when shopping online…go from your natural waist to your crotch.)

Oh Madewell. I want to love everything from them but that isn't always the case. I did find a couple things that I love: a linen house dress + vintage jeans but don't worry, I tried on more.

MWL Airyterry Set: Maybe Short Sets Are Just NOT My Thing

Oh Madewell. I want to love everything from them but that isn't always the case. I did find a couple things that I love: a linen house dress + vintage jeans but don't worry, I tried on more.

Hoodie | Shorts | Sneakers

If I stand strategically like this, it’s not bad. But I did not feel comfortable in this at all. The shorts ride up in the middle when I walked and the booty shot…well. Nothing to write home about. Maybe I am putting too many expectations on sweat shorts here, but meh. This fabric is a nice lighter weight and not sweats material at all…like the AiryTerry name implies. I need something between the quilted shorts that could stand up on the floor by themselves and THIS.

Oh Madewell. I want to love everything from them but that isn't always the case. I did find a couple things that I love: a linen house dress + vintage jeans but don't worry, I tried on more.

Hoodie | Shorts | Sneakers

The Airyterry hoodie is just fine. I like the slits in the front hem but it didn’t really do anything for me. Wearing an XS and I’d say it runs a little big (I’m typically a small.)

The Short-Sleeve Sweatshirt That Was Cute Online

And lastly, the top that started this try-on. The color-blocking is super cute on this sweatshirt, but that light taupe shade is just not for me. Julieta would not approve. Wearing an XS here. Runs large.

Oh Madewell. I want to love everything from them but that isn't always the case. I did find a couple things that I love: a linen house dress + vintage jeans but don't worry, I tried on more.

Top | Jeans | Similar Sneakers

If You Want Try Your Hand At The Madewell Pieces Here

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I will never stop trying to find Madewell pieces that work. I love their style too much. But I’ve learned a lot over the past few try-ons that will help me approach these sessions with a sharper eye. Stick to jeans, mostly haha and give the dresses a chance! Got it. Until next time…

xo,

L

Would love to have you join me over on my IG @laurajansenstyle where daily musings, donut pics and random thoughts on motherhood meet more fashion, kitchen dance parties and important social justice issues…all from our Portland, Oregon home we love. xo

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Laura's fun, creative style is, as she says, "somewhere between Madewell and Joan Jett" (YES.) and she delivers some mean dressing room selfies so keep an eye out for those. Fun fact? She loves getting her hair cut and we love to see what she has up her sleeve.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Madewell isn’t made for my body type, either. I have tried their jeans a few times but none of the sizes ever fit.

    • It’s so tricky. Sometimes I wonder if so many clothes are made just for the math and not real bodies.

  2. I so appreciate your honest review, Laura! I go back and forth in Madewell constantly! Unless it’s a good sale, I just find their prices way to high for the fabrication and quality. I’m a curvy size 12 and find that the styles that work great for the models just often miss the mark on “normal” bodies. That dress though- it’s so good!

  3. Quilted shorts, lord have mercy! I did laugh out loud at your descruptj6, though, so thank you for that. The windowpane trousers came so close, but am I seeing patch pockets with the pattern misaligned on the back? That would drive me crazy, I think. They’re too crooked to look right and not crooked enough to look intentional. Come on, Madewell.

    I always appreciate your posts about entire brands like this because there are certainly patterns that appear and sometimes that means the whole brand will be your go-to, but other times it’s just good to know that no matter how you try, you aren’t going to be able to make fetch happen. (At least not this season). My waist cannot accommodate a 13-inch (!!!) rise, either, so this experiment of yours is super helpful for me.

    • Haha lord have mercy is right. I’m so glad it is helpful. My first reaction is to just scrap the stuff that doesn’t work, but then I remember that it is good info to have, too. Thanks so so much for your support, too! Whew. Yeah and that grid pattern haha. Nope.

  4. I have a similar body type to you, Laura — straighter middle, booty with narrow hipbones, strong thighs, athletic shape overall — and Madewell jeans usually fit me pretty well. HOWEVER, I’m only 5’2 1/2″ with proportionally short legs, so their petite jeans are cut perfectly for me. It seems that makes a huge difference! And for some reason I have never been able to make a Madewell top work, only jeans.

  5. Just have to add that I’m a tall, long torso, athletic build and Madewell (other than jeans) doesn’t work on my frame either – always feels made for petite frames!

  6. Call me crazy, but I kinnnda like those balloon jeans on you! Especially with those awesome yellow pumps!

  7. by the way LOVED your comeback on Instagram this weekend to the rude commenter about Madewell only being for ladies of a younger age!

  8. I laughed when you said that someone commented that you were too old for Madewell. I’m 52 and get lots of wardrobe help from you and TheMomEdit, and the teens I work with always tell me how stylish I am :). It makes me chuckle every time, because I’m style challenged on my own — it’s all due to your collective help!!! So thank you!!

    • Omg haha. Well thank you so much. I’m sure you rock it lady. Thanks for the continued support of us here ❤️

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