Is Madewell Denim the Best?



image via madewell

There are some trends that I jump on really quickly.ย 

I actually believed that sentence when I wrote it, and as I sat and thought about the validity of it I realized I almost never jump on a trend right away. I wait until a year or two after it’s settled before I really dive in head first and act like it’s the best thing since sliced bread.

So Jordan has been singing the praises of Madewell denim for years and while I didn’t think she was lying, nothing was particularly enticing enough to buy a pair.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’m buying higher quality items that last a long time. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of t-shirts from Target in my regular wardrobe, but my jeans–the things I wear almost every single day–are often, if not always, high end.

I bought some denim shorts from Madewell earlier this summer and LIVED in them. I lived in them I tell you. They were fantastic. I can’t wait to wear them next year.

So I decided it was time to try on some jeans because I needed a skinny pair that I could roll up over my new found love for Booties. See, again. . . very late on trends.

None of the washes on the table at the store struck a chord with me, but I did see some black denim on the sale table that I thought “yolo” and tried on in the fitting room. They were immediately purchased, along with a coordinating pair in not black denim in the same Alley Straight fit.

Then I went online and bought a pair of Skinny Skinny denim from Madewell — are you tired of this story yet? — and had it shipped to my house. I tried them on and thought they were a little tight but everyone has told me to size down in Madewell denim so I did!

And now, about 10 wears later, they are perfect. I’m paralyzed with fear about washing them, and I know that isn’t supposed to really happen a lot, but they got to that perfect stage where they don’t fall down but don’t feel too constraining either.

So check them out if you are on the fence, from a girl who wears Madewell denim almost every day lately.

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Comments (76)

  1. Mindy says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    I’ve never tried the Madewell denim. Thanks for the tip. The thought of rolling my jeans transports me to the late 80’s when it was the cool thing to do. I have found a cute pair of booties to buy but I feel like rolling my jeans will make me look like the 80’s version of myself. So alas, the booties stay at the store because I don’t know how to wear them properly. I wear them in my head though, so it’s all good ๐Ÿ˜›

    • Christy says
      Posted November 3, 2015

      Yeah I feel like I need a stylist to come over and make me look like a casually threw myself together.

  2. Melissa G says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    I don’t know. That’s a ton of money for a clothing item. I don’t love the look of them; they are pretty blah. So I guess I’d have to see something simply amazing in the fit to jump on this expensive bandwagon. Course, I have to buy clothes for 5 kids, so spending that much on a pair of jeans for myself isn’t practical. I’m more of an AE Jean girl.

    • Kaitlin says
      Posted November 3, 2015

      There are plenty of places you can get high quality clothes at resale prices!! Momma doesn’t have to be completely in the back burner!

      • Melissa says
        Posted November 3, 2015

        Oh I’m not in the backburner. AE is great quality!

    • Cassidy says
      Posted November 3, 2015

      I thought the same thing–I don’t have that many kids, but the thought of spending 100+ on my jeans freaks me out! Buuuuut I moseyed on over to eBay and there are SO MANY pairs for under $40. I’m gonna find me a gal that takes returns and I’m going to snatch up a pair!

      • Breanne says
        Posted November 3, 2015

        Thanks for the tip. I’ll be checking out Ebay, too.

      • Katie says
        Posted November 5, 2015

        I just got a good looking pair off eBay for a great price! Thanks Kate for the inspiration and Cassidy for the tip! Never would have thought of checking eBay. I figure if I don’t like them I’ll just resell them but it will be a great way to check them out without breaking the bank!

      • KateG says
        Posted February 10, 2016

        You can also find them on for about $30.

  3. Charlotte Tang says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    My holy grail jeans are from AYR ( They are amazing. So comfortable, but still stay just as form fitting as when you bought them. After losing a bunch of weight earlier this year making my two pairs too big, I’m happy to be gaining the weight back through my pregnancy so I can wear them again! They offered a home try on program, so you can get 3 sizes to try and send back the ones you don’t want. They have a bunch of different length options too.

  4. Laura says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    Please tell me you haven’t washed a pair of pants for 10 weeks that have been in rotation?!?

    • Sonja says
      Posted November 3, 2015

      She wrote 10 WEARS not 10 weeks ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ That would be pretty gross, haha ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Kate says
        Posted November 3, 2015

        Right, thanks for clarifying Sonja!

  5. Posted November 3, 2015

    I’ve never tried Madewell denim! I really need to!

    Her Heartland Soul

  6. Kendal says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    My favorite pair of jeans are actually from Topshop! I also have a white pair from JCrew that I absolutely love too, I’ll have to check out Madewell’s!

    Kendal // Life With Kendal

  7. Victoria S. says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    I am three pairs into a madewell denim conversion! They are perfect and at 5’1″ the free alterations make me question if I will ever wear anything else. I recommend them to everyone!

  8. Posted November 3, 2015

    Quality jeans are very important. I buy LOFT jeans.
    Abbie E.

  9. Jessica says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    The fact that you’ve worn those jeans 10 different times and haven’t washed them yet is disgusting. I get 2 maybe 3 times but 10….NOPE! Gross!

    • KC says
      Posted November 3, 2015

      She’s a stay at home mom so likely she’s counting a wear as a quick trip to Target one day, to the grocery store for an hour the next, etc. You’re not supposed to wash high quality denim often. I don’t believe she meant she wore them 10 days all day/every day…but even if she did, she’s wearing them, not you, so why leave the judgy comment? Let’s spread more love, not hate, to the people that we obviously like enough to follow their blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Kate says
        Posted November 3, 2015

        Thanks for the support KC! I’m okay with people disagreeing on how often I wash my jeans ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a personal preference!

        • JB says
          Posted November 3, 2015

          Girl, I’ve gone WAY longer without washing jeans!! It takes a hot sec to get them to fit right and I’m not going to erase all that hard work it took to get them that way. ? Also, I’ve never personally done it, but I hear you can freeze them to clean them? Google it!

        • Noรซl says
          Posted November 21, 2015

          I need to tell you that you changed my life a little bit. I went to Madwell and bought 2 pairs of jeans. I LOVE THEM! I have worn them both 3 times and haven’t washed them yet! I can’t believe my whole adult life I have been washing my jeans after one wear. Thank you for the great tip!!!

      • Karen H. says
        Posted November 3, 2015

        Amen KC! I agree with everything you said! Seriously, if you take a shower everyday, how dirty are your clothes getting anyway? Just about everyone does this – I have had people walking in front of me with their thong or underwear falling out of their pants leg because they are re-wearing their pants. It’s NOT disgusting and NOT a big deal.

    • Miranda says
      Posted November 3, 2015

      Levis actually say to never wash their denim. A lot of ppl don’t. I’d say I get 5-10 wears out of my jeans easily! But I have 4 kids and they get me dirty haha

    • Tori says
      Posted April 27, 2016

      Actually, you are never supposed to wash your denim. I work in the fashion biz sometimes and have a few friends that are experts on the matter who have educated me. Denim is the most hygienic fabric and does not need to be washed. If you do need to wash them for any reason, spot clean or soak them in a vinegar wash. A washing machine and soap will damage them and they won’t last nearly as long.

  10. Ashley says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    Am I so old (30) that I had to look up what YOLO means? Lol. I felt like I was reading a baby comments board trying to figure out all the acronyms. Too funny.

  11. KellyG says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    Never in a million years would I pay $128 for a pair of DENIM pants. NEVER.

    • kirsten says
      Posted November 3, 2015

      I used to say that too….:)

  12. Posted November 3, 2015

    I’ve been looking to get a new pair of jeans! I currently have a cheap pair from Old Navy, but am deifinitely looking to get a more high-quality pair so that they are more comfortable and last longer.

    Thanks for sharing!


  13. Tiffany says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    I am with you…I JUST discovered Madewell denim. I bought a pair of the high rise skinny jeans in gray…and then immediately went back for regular jeans colors. I LOVE THEM! It also makes me wonder who ever thought of low rise jeans. High rise are where it’s at!

  14. Abbi says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    In solidarity– I also go that long without washing my jeans and I don’t think it’s gross. FWIW. Also– did you try on the high riser fit or just skinny skinny (that one is slightly shorter right?). I’m having a hard time figuring out where to put the post partum pooch.

  15. Posted November 3, 2015

    YES the skinny skinny denim!!!!! I never lived close enough to a Madewell until recently so I was finally about to go in and try them on to see what all the fuss was about, and hell yes. They are perfect. I literally came home and told my husband that these jeans were made for me. And really, they are a decent price point compared to other’s in that range. You’ll pay double for Seven for all mankind (my second favorite). And if you sign up for emails they do sales every so often so it’s really not bad if you can snag a 20% off. But yes, the best. So comfortable. Great washes. I feel like a sales person trying to sell them to you, but I just agree so much!

  16. kristen says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    I like NYDJ, but I find them either used or new without tags on ebay for much less $. Agree though, that in wearing higher quality denim on a daily basis it seems to last longer, keep its shape better and I’ll look for Madewell in the future.

  17. Kris says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    Thanks for the post Kate. Victoria S–may I ask a question? I am 5 feet tall–very petite. Do you have any type of jean recommendations from the three you have purchased so far? I am really in need of a dark bootcut pair that would be appropriate at work on Friday’s. Do the alterations retain the bottom of the jean? In other words, do they sew the jean seam back on after the alteration (can’t figure out how to describe this the right way). Thank you in advance. Kris

  18. Kate says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    I am currently loving Madewell’s skinny skinny sateen jeans. They are the SOFTEST pant I own. I wish the stores carried the tall sizes but with free shipping to your house and returns to the store you can’t go wrong. Madewell is definitely more expensive and don’t get me wrong, I have a pair of Old Navy Diva skinny jeans that I have worn for the past 3 years, but for a quality jean (love their shoes too!) you can’t beat the price. Plus, they have 20 and 30% off sale stuff every so often and you can get a pair for under $100 if you shop sales!

  19. Allysia says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    I’m slowly starting to incorporate better quality clothing into my wardrobe as well – I’m tired of jeans that only last a year! And I’ve been learning about the infrequent washing thing too – weekly washings is probably a big contributor to the death of my denims. Thanks for the brand recommend though, I’m always at a loss on those things!

  20. auntsarie says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    Omigoodness! I used to seriously balk at spending that much dough on a pair of jeans–then I realized the amount of money I’ve spent on cheap stuff that falls apart, requiring me to again buy cheap stuff. I think in the end it probably works out equal! I’ll have to check these out. My waist is roughly 15 inches smaller than my hips. Buying jeans is a PAIN. Thanks for the review. And yes, really, unless they’re messed on or stinky, no need to wash ’em.

    Also, Kate, I just *LOVE* your attitude. Your graciousness inspires me.

    • Melanie says
      Posted November 4, 2015

      Yes! This is exactly how I feel. I haven’t started investing in denim just yet. I have started buying higher quality boots, shoes, and heels. Instead of paying $30 for a new pair of boots that need to be replaced every year, I bought $150 pair of designer boots I wear almost every day to work in the winter. They lasted 10 years! That’s $15 a year, so I am saving money right??? I will have to look into denim next!

  21. Debi says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    Lucky for me I like near a Nordstrom Rack. I am in love with AG and Joe’s. Amazing fit and quality fabrics! Soft as butter…

  22. Jodie says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    I have a question. I’m 5′ tall and stout with bigger thighs & hips. I really struggle to find jeans that fit me properly. Had anybody with a similar body type tried these? And if so do you like them? I don’t have a store convenient to me so want to make sure they are worth the drive to try them on. Thanks!

    • Christy says
      Posted November 3, 2015

      I’m “thickish” all over now, having had a baby 6 months ago. I carry all my weight in my stomach. I can’t fit into Madewell so would love a recommendation for high quality jeans like these- prob size 16 and I’m tall! I am very willing to spend the $$$ they just don’t seem to make them for women that are thicker with curves. We are supposed to live a tragic life in crap jeans I guess?

      • adrianne says
        Posted November 3, 2015

        I recently had a ton of luck with Seven7 brand at Lane Bryant. I was skeptical, but with the collaboration with Melissa McCarthy, I found the jeans to be stylish and fit my curvy body really well.

        I already have my eye on a pair of straight leg jeans next!

        • Christy says
          Posted November 4, 2015

          Thanks I’ll check these out! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Michelle says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    Does anyone know how Madewell denim compares in fit to Mother brand denim? My current favorite pair of jeans are Mother brand but I think Madewell is more reasonably priced.

  24. LH says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    I’ve been wearing Madewell jeans for at least a year (without washing. JUST kidding everyone. But sometimes I do go awhile. No shame) . I wear a 31 or 32 depending on the style (so…on the highest end of sizes) and the best part is the higher waistline. I LOVE how it keeps my tummy tucked in a bit, I don’t have to pull them up, etc. I feel like the best version of myself in them. That said, one pair sort of rubbed a tear in the thigh or something and I had to mend it. My friend had the same thing happen to hers and she got them replaced for free.

    I try to get stuff when there’s a sale, but price for many things is fairly relative (to your income/priorities/needs/personal choices) so for me, it’s serves me well to buy 3 pairs of these, and feel great every time I wear them ๐Ÿ™‚ I bet there’s other brands that work similarly, I just haven’t had time or desire to search for them.

  25. Jean Ann says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    Could you post some pictures of how they fit?


  26. Caity says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    I’m with Kate. I don’t wash my jeans very often unless the look dirty or feel dirty. It wears them down. And when I spend 200 dollars on a pair of jeans I don’t want them to wear down. And I never, ever dry my jeans in the dryer. Hang only ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. amanda june says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    I’m kinda confused though, does that mean that for the first 10 wears they were too tight? If I spend a lot on a pair of jeans I’m pretty much gonna want them to be perfect from the get-go and no stretching out/sagging/etc. Actually I usually stick to $30-40 jeans but I got a pair of Seven For All Mankind at a secondhand store last winter and they are so amazing that I am realizing there may be a genuine difference in quality. But again, that is part of what I’d be willing to pay for: a great cut and fit — I don’t want to feel like I’m squeezed in like a sausage until I break them in haha ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Stacey says
      Posted November 12, 2015

      I’m wondering this too. Apparently I’m wearing and washing jeans all wrong.

      • Jenn tierney says
        Posted February 21, 2017

        I always always always buy madewell jeans a size smaller because I don’t wash them. It sounds gross but there have actually been studies proving that denim doesn’t hold on to bacteria. If I feel like the start to smell I stick them in the freezer for a few days inside a ziplock bag and that usually does the trick. A lot of companies will also recommend wetting your jeans and then wearing them until they dry to get the perfect fit. I’ve yet to do that because I have sensitive skin and no time. But that’s always recommended with raw denim and high quality denim from what I’ve seen. I worked at a dry cleaner for a while and I can tell you for a fact that washing and drying denim breaks down the fibers. I had a pair of jeans last two years, and then the crotch gave out. And another trick to getting the perfect fit is actually sleeping in them. It feels weird but it works.

  28. Evelina says
    Posted November 3, 2015

    I am the same when it comes to trend. At first I usually hate it, then it grows on me a little, then it goes out of style, then I love it and wear it all the time. Fail.

    • Val says
      Posted November 6, 2015

      This is me as well. I laugh at myself and say better late than never. I’m usually on it about 6mos before it’s out of style.

  29. Erin says
    Posted November 4, 2015

    Hmmmm will have to give Madewell a go. I love love Pilcro (anthropologie) jeans and AG. Pilcro have a mid rise that hides my tummy and doesn’t stretch out as you wear them. They are $100+ retail but I can always find them on sale, thredup, or eBay. I never pay full price. Just try them on in store so you know what style and size and watch for them on eBay or anthropologie’s sale.

  30. Maddi says
    Posted November 4, 2015

    I would love to hear reviews of madewell from petite standpoint. I’m 5’1 and WANT TO jump right onto the madewell denim loveboat I’m just so skeptical that none of them will fit a 28 1/2 inseam. Thoughts? Comments?

    I would LOVE to hear. xo

    • Marissa says
      Posted November 4, 2015

      I’m about 5’2″ and they are awesome! They offer free hemming, but the salesgirl convinced me to leave my last pair unhemmed. I tuck the excess under and it stays perfectly. SOmetimes I do a cuff and I have length options for when I have on heels or flats. I work across from a Madewell and I’m a total convert. They know me by name now!

  31. Mady says
    Posted November 4, 2015

    I absolutely love Madewell jeans! Ive only got a few pairs, and only one pair that fits at the moment (maybe when I get pregnant the others will fit better). Though I’ve always shopped the super clearance racks, which combined with a student discount they offer I’ve never spent more than $30 on them.

  32. Martie says
    Posted November 4, 2015

    Wow…I’m way behind. As a chronic Goodwill shopper, I’d never heard of these until today. Now I’m intrigued! Normally I get excited to find a pair of Levi’s second-hand! Lol! I once found a pair of Lucky brand jeans in the Goodwill dressing room…SCORE! I’ve about worn them threadbare. Where I live, the most high-end shop around is Cato, with Walmart running a close second! Lol!

  33. Posted November 5, 2015

    Ladies (and gentleman!) Good quality, classic denim staples are SO well worth the cost and can last a very long time if properly cared for. The cut and construction on a higher quality denim is quite noticeable when worn, as the fabric is often higher quality and the pattern placed on the appropriate grain of the fabric. Unless you have a particularly strong body odor, or visibly soil your pants, washing need not happen as frequently as one commenter seems to believe is necessary. Nothing feels quite like your favorite, well worn pair of jeans. Check eBay, local consignment stores or the sale rack! 7 for All Mankind, Citizens of Humanity, AG, Joes, Paigeโ€ฆall worth the investment IMHO. Because I prefer timeless cut and colors, I have jeans that Iโ€™ve worn for years! Washing inside out, in cold water and hanging to dry have kept mine in great shape! I donโ€™t work in the clothing industryโ€ฆjust a professional shopper. ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. Nicole says
    Posted November 5, 2015

    See, I am all about quality denim and once I pop out my second baby (i’m 24 weeks) I will be so happy to be able to wear my jeans again. However, I’ve always struggled to find the RIGHT fit – I am 5 foot 3 and athletic, to so I have pretty big (strong dammit!) legs. I scoured the pictures on the Madewell website and all of the people that submitted their photos are very thin and straight, so I need to see some women with real bodies up in here. I have a pair of 7 for all mankind that I want to love, but they are too low cut for me. I have two pairs of Citizen for Humanity jeans and they seem to be the best so far for my body type, but I still find that I pull and tug at them a little more than I should. (mid rise is what works best for me) and I also tried Joe’s but I didn’t love them.
    If you could post some pics modeling the jeans I’d love to see them. Thank you gorgeous ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. Megan says
    Posted November 5, 2015

    I was on the market for new jeans and this inspired a trip to Madewell. I found a pair of the dark wash skinny skinnies and they fit perfectly. Bonus: they have a green earth initiative right now where if you take an old pair of denim(any brand) you get 20$off your new pair.

  36. Ashley says
    Posted November 5, 2015

    So I bit the bullet and checked out for a pair of new jeans, since I’m on the Old navy bandwagon like so many others here and hate that my jeans sag after one wear ๐Ÿ™ Got the last pair of raw wash Alley Straights at $49.99 (!!!) luckily in the size that most reviewers said would be best since they run large…fingers crossed for some miracle jeans!

  37. Sydney says
    Posted November 5, 2015

    Thank you so much for the write-up. I have been dying to try Madewell jeans, but I also take quite some time to jump on any bandwagon. I will definitely have to try these out though:)

  38. Nicole says
    Posted November 7, 2015

    I am late to the bandwagon too! Last week my husband took me shopping for my birthday weekend and I ran into a clearance priced pair of the high rise skinny jeans. They were seriously $60!!! I love them so much….and wish I would have jumped on the madewell bandwagon sooner. I have been dreading having to wash them so I love seeing all the comments about only washing them if they are visibly dirty or actually have a smell haha! I usually wash my jeans after only a few wears…no wonder I go through them so fast!

  39. D says
    Posted November 8, 2015

    Have you not tried NYDJ NOT YOUR DAUGHTER’S JEANS???? If you have and still say Madewell are the best, then please let me know and I will definitely go get some!

  40. Posted November 9, 2015

    This post makes me laugh because YOU are the reason I have Madewell jeans and love them! I bought my first pair at that blogger meet up of yours a few years ago. I did have to exchange them for one size smaller because they stretched out so much but I still love them. Mine are the Skinny Skinny Ankle. I’d love a straight pair…. maybe it’s time to head in to Madewell. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  42. Raina says
    Posted November 14, 2015

    Have you tried Paige denim? It took a couple years for me to find my absolute favorite but Paige is it for me! They are so soft and comfy, don’t show ANY butt crack, and they don’t create a muffin top. They’re just perfect! And I was so scared to wash them for the first time but they come out of the wash still perfect. I found mine on sale at Saks off Fifth and I will definitely be asking for another pair for Christmas ๐Ÿ™‚
    And now I’ll be trying on some madewell ‘ s too!

  43. Lisa Scurlock says
    Posted November 14, 2015

    A salesperson at Madewell said to freeze them, not wash them!

  44. Tori says
    Posted April 27, 2016

    Thanks for the post! In the market for some new jeans as Levis just aren’t cutting it. I found this by googling Madewell reviews and it sounds like your followers might need some education on denim care! I reccommend doing some study on that if you want to get the most out of such expensive jeans! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  45. Tati says
    Posted April 29, 2016

    Hi, I know this is an older post but I found it because I recently bought the Madewell Denim Button-down skirt and I was looking for Blogger reviews. I only recently discovered Madewell but damn, was I blown away — didn’t wait for a sale, didn’t pass Go, just paid for them as fast as I could head, then went home and added a few more pairs to my Wishlist. I like how they adjust and contour to your body, giving a Booty-less person like me the semblance of a booty! So flattering. Love, love, love!

    Glad I found your blog, will snoop around a bit!

  46. Mariam says
    Posted October 11, 2016

    Hello all! A bit late on this but if anyone lives around Asheville, NC or Lynchburg, VA this post is for you! They have a JCrew Distribution center at both locations. At times they have warehouse sales where they have boxes and boxes of Jcrew/Madewell brand sales at really low prices however they have a Clearance store set up as well. I’ve never paid more than $15 for a pair of Madewell jeans in any wash. They also do free hemming in store if you take them there on purchases made there. You cannot return or exchange so try them no first but if you’re in the area definitely make a quick stop. Shirts, sweaters, shoes, accessories, jackets, bathing suits it’s all there for under $40.

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