Are Madewell jeans really worth it? I couldn’t understand the hype, so I decided to try them for myself. Today, I’m sharing my honest review on Madewell’s Perfect Vintage style jeans.
I have heard for years that Madewell jeans are the end-all-be-all of denim. That said, I’m the kind of gal who requires trying things on and since I didn’t have access to a Madewell store, I just sort of let it go and wore my Levi 721s into the ground.
In early 2020, my local mall got a Madewell store and since it was February, life still looked normal and you could go try things on. I took this as my golden opportunity to finally try Madewell jeans!
Since I’ve now had a good year’s worth of use, I decided to share all of my thoughts on the jeans that have a cult-like following on the internet. Truly….are they worth the hype?
Madewell is a large women’s clothing company operating the e-commerce site madewell.com. The Madewell sells its products and services in the women’s clothing industry. Madewell is a very active brand when it comes to discounting and offering promo codes. Madewell has good ratings among shoppers on Madewell. With 69 ratings and an average rating of 3.6 stars. Madewell scores very well compared to other brands in the women’s clothing industry, providing 28 e-commerce features to better serve its customers.
Are Madewell jeans really worth it? An Honest Review
First of all, it’s worth noting that the Madewell staff gets extremely excited about denim, so when I went in and said I wanted to try on some jeans, they immediately directed me to an endless table of styles and started asking questions.
Whew – there are a lot of styles to choose from, but I did have a few qualifications:
- I didn’t want jeans with stretch.
- I wanted the denim to be destroyed a little bit.
- In preferred high rise.
The sales associate immediately directed me to the Perfect Vintage style of jeans and I headed back to the dressing room. It is still exceptionally weird for me to see pre-pandemic photos where I am in public with no mask, but I digress…
I was shocked that the 28s I thought FOR SURE would be tight were loose, so I slipped into the 27s. It’s safe to say it was love at first sight, because I snapped this photo and texted it to my mom saying “I think I found the Holy Grail of jeans…”
The immediate pros were that the jeans felt like high quality material with little to no stretch (they felt like true denim), the high rise falls right at or slightly above my belly button, and that I could sit down in the dressing room chair without the high rise cutting into my stomach.
Almost immediately after purchasing these “unicorn jeans” as I dubbed them in one of my very first posts about them, the world shut down and I was relegated to wearing my newfound jeans in my house. Now I know what you’re thinking…jeans at home? Believe me, I feel the same way. But there were times in those early days where I needed to put on clothes to have some semblance of normalcy when it felt like the rest of my life was spiraling.
As time spent indoors dragged on, I found myself reaching for the Madewell jeans I had purchased more and more, which surprised me. They definitely get more comfortable as time goes on!
I will admit, I was really nervous to wash them for the first time. Will they stand up to my washing machine and still fit like they did at the store? The answer is YES! I washed according to the tag and hung them to dry, making sure to shake them out a bit to release the wrinkles.
MadeWell Perfect Vintage Jeans
I have washed them at least 30 times at this point and they look and feel just as good as the day I bought them. The ripped up look is one I like and gravitate toward for everyday wear, but I wanted to see what their cleaner-cut styles were like, so halfway through 2020, I decided it was time to splurge on another pair – the top rated Stovepipe jeans.
Since our malls and stores were closed at the time, I ordered my same size as I had gotten in the Perfect Vintage and ordered online. It worked great!
I had my eye on this particular style for two reasons – high rise with a bit of stretch and cropped – and I also loved the straight fit, which is still fitted through the hips and thighs. I have muscular legs, so it’s important to me that things aren’t too tight, but these are mega flattering.
Not only can this particular style be dressed up or down, they are pretty universally flattering. Everyone’s body type is different, but if there was ever a true-to-life “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”, it would be Madewell’s Stovepipe jeans.
Right before Christmas, Madewell did a big sale and I picked up my third pair of jeans. Because I truly love the Perfect Vintage style best, I purchased the Raw Hem Enmore style and I know I will get plenty of wear out of them. In just two months, I have already worn them a handful of times.
Do MadeWell Jeans Stretch Out?
I normally wear Madewell’s Perfect Vintage style jeans and to date, neither of the two pairs I own have stretched out. It’s important to note that this particular style does not have stretch in them (one of the big reasons I love the style!).
The Stovepipe jeans I have are made to stretch (sort of like my beloved Levi’s) and do stretch out with wear, but they pop right back to their normal shape/size with a wash!
Do MadeWell Jeans Run Small?
I have actually found the opposite to be true for Madewell! I am a size 27 in Madewell’s jeans (both in Perfect Vintage style and Stovepipe style) and they fit perfectly. A 27 is usually a size 4, and I would normally somewhere between a 4-6. Let’s just say if I have the option, I try the 6 first, not the 4 ?
Are MadeWell Jeans Worth It?
If you haven’t gathered by now, I’m a little bit obsessed and fully convinced of the hype. I don’t hop on a lot of trends without diving in myself and I can honestly tell you that these jeans are worth the excitement.
Since I became a fan, I’ve also converted my mom, who doesn’t have a Madewell store near her and used their size charts and helpful online concierge to guide her in sizing, which worked great!
I will be honest and say that the price deterred me for awhile. They come with a hefty price tag, but I’m okay with paying a little extra for quality knowing it will last longer. I know I shared this before, but the sales girl who checked me out at the mall when I bought my first pair told me most of the jeans she has from Madewell have been in her closet for more than ten years!
So, if you have been on the fence about trying the jeans that every person raves about, it’s worth a shot!
Whisper Cotton V-Neck Pocket Tee
This basic v-neck tee is $20, but truth be told, I only buy them on sale—which is why I have this top in 10 different colors (our Shopping Director, Sam, does too!). The good news is that Madewell often has sitewide sales so you can usually score these shirts at a decent discount. Though the Whisper V-Neck Pocket Tee is on the thinner side, it’s super soft, stylish and easy to wear. We’re not alone in our obsession with the shirt at Reviewed, either. It has more than 1,000 rave reviews with shoppers saying they keep ordering it over and over again (just like me!).
Get the Whisper Cotton V-Neck Pocket Tee for $19.99
Slipping into a pair of Madewell jeans will change your life. Don’t believe me? Well, these jeans are so comfortable that they convinced our Shopping Director, Sam, to actually wear pants again. While they aren’t as soft as some pricer designer jeans, they hold up to the wear and tear of daily life and have stuck around in Sam’s closet much longer than AG or Citizens jeans ever did. Plus, when you do wear them out, you can always donate them as part of Madewell’s denim recycling program for a discount on your next pair of jeans.
While Madewell offers a ton of different styles for jeans (along with petite and tall sizes for most options), we specifically recommend a few. My personal favorites are the mid-rise 9-inch skinny jeans, while Sam prefers the 10-inch and 11-inch styles. We both also love the perfect vintage jeans. They’re super stylish and both look and feel like you’ve had them forever. Seriously, once you buy Madewell jeans, you’ll never go back.
- Get the 9″ Mid-Rise Skinny Jeans in Larkspur Wash for $135
- Gets the 10″ High-Rise Skinny Jeans in Danny Wash for $135
- Get the Perfect Vintage Full-Length Jean in Sanderson Wash for $128
One of the best things about Madewell, according to Sam, is that they offer a line of curvy jeans. Sam only buys curvy (and petite!) sized jeans from Madewell now. She says, “if you’re curvy and have never found jeans that fit 100% right, these are absolute game-changers.” Available in the popular high-rise skinny and perfect vintage styles (a.k.a my favorite jeans), the curvy jeans offer a little more wiggle room around the waist. They’re ideal for those of us with thick thighs or have a pear-shaped figure.
- Get the Curvy Perfect Vintage Jean in Claybrook Wash for $128
- Gets the Curvy High-Rise Skinny Jeans in Bradshaw Wash for $128
- Get the Curvy Stovepipe Jeans in Leman Wash for $135
The Transport Tote
The Transport Tote is Madewell’s most popular bag. While the regular-sized version of the tote is loved by Reviewed staff and readers, the medium version of the bag is great, too. I have the Medium Transport Tote in two different colors and am absolutely obsessed with it. It’s the perfect size for work if you’re not carrying a laptop and for running errands.
It has a small interior and exterior pocket for a little extra storage, too. I’m able to fit and carry my wallet, water bottle, travel mug, lunch, and Kindle in the bag without putting strain on my shoulder. I also love that it’s not too large. When I used to commute into the office, I never felt too smushed on a crowded train back. One of my coworkers even managed to pack everything she needed for an overnight trip to New York City in this bag, making it just as versatile as you need it to be.
As for the OG zip-top version, not only has it maintained a 4.5-star rating from 1,000 Madewell shoppers over the years, but this is Sam’s favorite bag. Before the pandemic, she brought it to work every day, making it easy to carry her laptop, chargers, and million other random things from the office to home. She also traveled with it, using it as a carry-on for flights and a weekend trip savior (this is why the zip-top version is great!). Sam has owned it in the English Saddle color for almost three years and says it gets better with age. According to our own history, these bags will truly hold up for years and go with pretty much whatever you’re wearing. You won’t regret buying this tote in either size.
- Get the Medium Transport Tote for $158
- Gets the Transport Tote for $168
- Get the Zip-Top Transport Tote for $188
After being spotted on Megan Markle, Veja sneakers have unofficially become the “cool girl” sneakers of this new decade. Made of sustainable leather with a sleek logo donning these white kicks, our Style Editor, Amanda, had to try them for herself. Spoiler alert: she loved them! Madewell sells select trendy colors of the best-selling Esplar sneakers and the V-10s, and we couldn’t recommend them more.
Shop Veja sneakers at Madewell
Chunky Medium Hoop Earrings
Sometimes the simplest jewelry makes the biggest statement. That’s why people love these Chunky Medium Hoop Earrings from Madewell. Available in gold and silver, these hoops are the perfect size and go with pretty much every look. I own them and wear them pretty much daily. They’ve never irritated my ears and I love that they’re less pricey than compared to high-end jewelry, yet are still good quality. In fact, all of Madewell’s jewelry is reasonably priced and good quality, and I own several studs and dangly earrings, as well.
Get the Chunky Medium Hoop Earrings at Madewell for $24
Approximately 80% of my sweater collection comes from Madewell. The brand never fails to make reliable, cozy sweaters that I continue to wear year after year—even when the store stops selling them. While the styles may change, I find that Madewell sweaters are never itchy, and I always get tons of compliments when I wear them. Each year I devote a mini Black Friday haul specifically to Madewell sweaters so I can get the trendiest cardigans and sweaters for the best price, as the retailer tends to have sitewide discounts on everything for the holiday. Below are some of the most popular sweaters that Madewell is selling right now.
- Get the Space-Dyed Pleat-Sleeve Pullover Sweater for $79.50
- Gets the Springview Cardigan Sweater in Coziest Yarn for $98
- Get the Holmes Ribbed Cardigan Sweater for $128
The Jean Jacket
Since Madewell makes incredible jeans, it’s no surprise that brand makes a fabulous jean jacket as well. Madewell’s “The Jean Jacket” proves that theory right with its 4.6-star rating from nearly 300 reviewers. I own this jacket (so does Sam!) and love how comfortable and fitted it is without feeling too constricting. I’ve also been slowly adorning it with various pins to make it truly my own. Plus, jean jackets are a layering essential during the spring and the fall and easily can dress up a plain t-shirt or dress down a flowy dress. It’s absolutely essential in my book.
Get the Jean Jacket in Pinter Wash for $118
Though the styles sightly change from season to season, Madewell’s boots are always worth checking out. Made of rich leather, Madewell boots hold up for years, are surprisingly comfortable after they break in and are stylish enough to go with pretty much every look. Some of the most popular boots are the Regan, the Carina, and the Patti. Sam owns and loves the Regan boot in English Saddle. She claims, “after years of owning faux leather boots due to the lower price point, I now understand why it’s better to invest in a higher-quality leather boot: they last!” As someone on the taller side (Sam is 5’2″), I love the Carina Boot because it has a lower heel that provides plenty of support and doesn’t dig into my ankle.
- Get the Regan Boot for $178
- Gets the Carina Boot for $188
- Get the Patti Lace-Up Boot for $228
There’s only one thing ex-boyfriends are good for—and it’s their oversized flannel shirts. But thankfully you don’t need to date any scummy man to get the same clothing with Madewell’s Ex-Boyfriend Shirt. This oversized flannel is a staple on the site because it’s super cozy and easy to wear. Sam has owned a few over the years and loves them.
- Get the Flannel Flap-Pocket Oversized Ex-Boyfriend Shirt in Coltrane Plaid for $88
- Gets the Flannel Oversized Ex-Boyfriend Shirt in Lenore Plaid for $88
- Get the Flannel Flap-Pocket Oversized Ex-Boyfriend Shirt for $88
Frances Loafer Mule
To wear a loafer or to wear a mule? Well, now you don’t have to choose. The Frances Loafer Mule offers the professional look of a loafer and the open-back style of a mule. It’s like a mullet for your feet—but it’s actually stylish. They’ve earned a 4.3-star rating from more than 100 Madewell shoppers, with reviewers raving that they’re as comfortable as a slipper and they get tons of compliments on them.
Get the Frances Loafer Mule for $128
Between Taylor Swift’s “Evermore” album and the general cottage-core vibe, plaid coats have been super popular this season. The Walton Shirt-Jacket from Madewell is a great option for those looking to recreate T-Swift’s album cover IRL. While reviewers initially stuck their nose up at the price tag, almost all say it’s very on-trend and is perfect for days when it’s chilly but not freezing out. Plus, the navy and white color will look great for seasons to come.
Get the Walton Shirt-Jacket in Colleton Plaid for $288
Washed Leather Motorcycle Jacket
Something worth treating yourself with is a genuine leather jacket that will last you for years, and this one from Madewell is a fan favorite. Is it pricey? Yes. But is it worth it? According to 300 reviewers, it is. Reviewers claim that, though it may be the most expensive thing they own, it really is the perfect moto jacket and is a forever piece. It maintains a balance of sexiness with practicality and isn’t too heavy that it will weigh you down during a night out. At this price, it will become your go-to jacket.
Get the Washed Leather Motorcycle Jacket for $498
MWL Superbrushed Easygoing Sweat Set
Loungewear is the new work from home attire, and when Madewell released its MWL (a.k.a. make weekends longer) Superbrushed Easygoing Sweat Set in fall of 2020 it became a hit with shoppers. Available in several color hues, reviewers love how soft and cozy this loungewear set is, but they do advise to size down in the bottoms as they run a bit large. Plus, if you order the full set, you’ll always get 20% off—which is more than reason to get both.
- Get the MWL Superbrushed Easygoing Sweatshirt for $59.50
- Get the MWL Superbrushed Easygoing Sweatpants for $75
I like to think bathing suits are a hidden gem at Madewell. I’m absolutely obsessed with the vintage-inspired offerings that feature retro patterns and plenty of high-waisted suits. Last summer, I finally ordered a bikini set for myself and was impressed by how well it held up during long days at the beach. I was also pleased to find the bottoms provided full coverage (I hate it when my butt hangs out!). For some fun, semi modest swimwear, I highly recommend checking out Madewell’s offerings.
- Get the Madewell Ribbed Spaghetti-Strap Bandeau Bikini Top in Double Dot for $49.50
- Gets the Madewell Ribbed High-Cut Bikini Bottom in Double Dot for $45
- Get the Madewell Second Wave Tank One-Piece Swimsuit in Paseo Stripe for $75
Side Panel vs. Full Belly Panel Maternity Jeans
Some women prefer a side panel versus a full belly panel on maternity jeans. I am in this camp for a few weeks in my first trimester but quickly move on to preferring a full panel maternity jean. I find that the time when side panels work I can also get by with using the hair elastic trick on my jeans. By the time my belly gets big enough, the side panel pants don’t stay up as well and aren’t as comfortable while sitting down. I do love that you can do a front tuck in side panel maternity jeans, though.
Think side panels are great for the first stages of pregnancy and for wearing post partum (if you do actually put on jeans). I find full belly panel maternity jeans more comfortable and easier to keep up. I’m also willing to pay more for a great pair of full belly panel maternity jeans because I’ll wear them more of my pregnancy and I wear them during the time later stages of pregnancy when I struggle to really like clothes / the way my body looks in clothes.
I ordered a 26 which is the same size I had at the time in a regular pair of Madewell maternity jeans. They were a little big right out of the bag.
As my pregnancy went on my belly got bigger and I gained some weight everywhere else and these fit perfectly.
The general recommendation is to order your pre-pregnancy size but depending on how far along you are and how much weight you have gained, your pre-pregnancy size may be a little big.
Unless you need these for a specific event or something where fit is super important earlier on in pregnancy OR you are one of those people who gains 15 pounds your entire pregnancy (I am not), order your regular size.
I’m 5’4″ and the inseam on these is 28 inches. They’re a bit long for me and I cuffed them the first pregnancy I wore them. This time around I’m just going to cut a raw hem at my preferred length (right above the ankle) at about a 25.5 inch inseam.
Quality of Madewell Maternity Denim:
These deliver the same high quality denim that regular Madewell jeans are known for. They hold up well. They have a good amount of stretch making them very comfortable (and a little closer to the jegging side of the spectrum while still being real denim).
I wore these regularly through one pregnancy and have started wearing them again this time around.
Where to Buy Madewell Maternity Jeans:
Your largest selection for Madewell maternity jeans is always going to be right on Madewell.com
You can also find a good selection of them at Nordstrom and a pair or two at Shopbop.
Amazon now carries Madewell pieces (I’ve ordered a few Madewell things from Amazon) so if you have a gift card or something, this is a great option. You don’t get the same discounts you might get at Madewell.com if you’re ordering on Amazon so it is worth comparing prices.
If they’re in your budget these are a great pick for a comfortable, quality pair of maternity jeans. They’re going to be more comfortable and flattering than a similar pair from GAP and I like these better than maternity jeans I have or have tried at higher price points (James Jeans, Mother, and AG).
This is the most common wash/cut/fit of Madewell maternity jeans that I’ve seen but they also have a few other pairs.
I just ordered these ones which I’m super excited about (I LOVE a non-skinny jean in my third trimester anyway and the light wash straight leg is very in right now).