Vanity + Wearables

Guess what? I like the same jeans everyone else likes.

I get ideas in my head about how certain clothing stores aren’t for me. My bias (OK, stubbornness) isn’t really against the stores themselves so much as it is against myself. I hold on pretty tightly to certain stylistic choices when it comes to my clothing (and my work, and my home, and everything else), and since I still have that teenage “non-conformist” thing hanging around my neck like an invisible chain of angst (OMG, shut up), I tend to write off a lot of options as being for pretty, popular girls—i.e., not for me. Anyone who has attempted to go clothes shopping with me (I’m looking at you, Jen and Jenna) knows how ridiculous I can be. Taking me into J.Crew is similar to taking a small, reasonably polite child to a fancy dinner party: I’ll put on a nice face and try not to throw a tantrum, but really…I just want to get the Hell out.

Aside from dabbling in a few accessories, Madewell is one of those stores that scares me. I don’t want to put my hair in a topknot. I don’t want to wear a chambray shirt. I don’t want to wear navy. I can appreciate these things on other people, but on myself? I don’t think so. Pass the skulls!

These jeans, though? They all look pretty nice.


A couple of months ago, I mentioned something on Twitter about needing new jeans. I’ve lost a bunch of weight this past year, and after wearing my old jeans from the last time I lost weight (HAHAHAHAHA…ugh) into the ground, I needed to find at least a couple of pairs that would fit me really nicely and help me to feel good about myself. My former favorites (these and these) have been discontinued, so those options were out. Pretty much immediately, several people (including Jaime, who knows my body type and gets my style) recommended that I try Madewell jeans.

So I got over myself, went in, and tried on a bunch of pairs of jeans. I’ve gotta admit, they are pretty swell. I tried on the High Riser Skinny Skinny fit in several washes, but settled on the classic, dark-blue Davis wash. They’re high-rise, yes, but not in a too high, costume-y way—they come to just below my belly button. The length is a little shorter than what I’m used to (and this style only comes in one length, weirdly), but I actually kind of like that in jeans that are this skinny. I have a feeling I’ll be going back for these black cut-edge skinnies, too, because apparently I’m just enough of a loser that I’ll pay $128 for perfectly pre-ripped denim. Sigh.

I also tried on a few pairs of Alley Straight fit jeans, which are a bit longer (they’re available in two lengths, too) and slightly looser around the leg. They’re more similar to the jeans I usually wear, and if they were available in a dark rinse, I’d probably have bought these instead. If I find myself needing a pair of plain black jeans, these will be my go-to.

For reference on fit, I’m 5′6″, about 145 lbs, with a high waist-to-hip ratio. I usually wear a size 6 or 8 (or even 10) depending on the store. Madewell jeans are pretty stretchy since they have a little spandex in them, and between that and the usual vanity sizing ridiculousness, I find they run pretty large. Depending on the wash, either a 27 or 28 works perfectly for me. Happily, my jeans can go for numerous wearings without stretching out or bagging at all, and they come out of the wash without any weird twisting or anything. And yes—they make your butt look nice.

Maybe you’re not so bad after all, Madewell.


Here’s what I wore to work today:

1. T-Shirt: Madewell, Slub v-neck pocket
2. Necklace: Madewell, Stonehold pendant (On sale…still!)
3. Sunglasses: Free People, Kensington
4. Blazer: Lucky, coated cotton (On sale! It looks like the product photo here, not like it does on the model.)
5. Scarf: Block Shop Textiles, Zipper
6. Jeans: Madewell High Riser Skinny Skinny, Davis wash
7. Boots: Frye Jackie Button Short
8. Belt: Wood & Faulk, Matchstick
9. Clutch: Renna Deluxe, gold coated & initial-stamped

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  • Reply Leah April 2, 2015 at 9:09 am

    thanks for the reccomendation! We are about the same size and the Lucky jeans you wore fit me also. Hope these work too!

  • Reply Jennifer Coyle April 2, 2015 at 9:35 am

    I can relate to this post in so many ways. Mostly because of The Uniform. I’ve been meaning to try Madewell jeans again since they’re now within my price range, so I appreciate the reminder!

  • Reply Amanda Mello April 2, 2015 at 9:48 am

    You should check out DSTLD Jeans! Ethically sourced, designer quality denim at a way better price point because they cut out the middle man. They’re the Everlane of shirts. These are literally the only brands I buy anymore and I am SUPER picky. And, for reference I’m the same sizes in the Madewell high risers as you and the DSTLD high rise skinnies in a 27 fit like a glove!

    • Anna @ D16 April 2, 2015 at 9:55 am

      I’d never heard of this brand before, Amanda, thanks! I found their website and their jeans look great. It’s too bad that they don’t have retailers (I don’t like to buy clothes without trying them on), but I guess that’s part of how they keep costs down. Maybe I’ll take a chance and order a pair. 🙂

      Here’s the link, for anyone else who might be interested:

  • Reply Laura C April 2, 2015 at 10:12 am

    I’ll have to give these a try. I also have a high hip to waist ratio and my problem is always that my thighs and butt are a solid size 8 (sometimes 10), while my waist is a 4 or a 6. By them time I get jeans big enough to go up over my butt, the waist always has that gigantic gap at the back – not a good look.

  • Reply Clare April 2, 2015 at 10:48 am

    I found the High Riser Skinny Skinnies a few months ago too, and am in looooooooove. Why so hard to find jeans designed for a body that is not tube-shaped? I had been running the jeans I used to buy from one Australian brand into the ground, but they hadn’t brought out any higher-rise cuts in a few seasons, and I needed to find an alternative. I hadn’t found a pair of Levi’s that was flattering on me.

    For other fit references, I’m 5’8″, 132 lb, 34-27-38. I’m a ‘curvy’ in the Levi’s measuring system (which, like, with the height, and my pancake-ass (flat but wide), noone ever believes), and I take a 27. ALSO I’m really long-waisted. So the high-rise does not sit high-rise on me, but it is still comfortably on my hips and I can safely bend over without revealing anything.

  • Reply Grumble Girl April 2, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Gee, you look pretty today, Miss… xox

  • Reply Lizzie Modern April 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    I’m going to borrow “invisible chain of angst” as my new excuse for why I’m so stubborn and stuck in my ways at times.

    • Anna @ D16 April 3, 2015 at 12:13 am

      Black cloud solidarity!

  • Reply Kristin April 2, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    We now have a Madewell store here in STL, so I’ll have to try those out. I have this weird relationship with jeans. I try them on in stores and like them, buy them and like them, and then a few weeks later I hate them. I’m not sure why that happens. I’m a reasonable thin person with some curves at the hip, just enough that really skinny jeans look like they are trying to hard around my thighs, and comfortable jeans that accommodate the curves quickly feel like mom jeans to me.

  • Reply Marlena April 2, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Does anyone have recommendations for nice-looking plus-size jeans? I tend to only find them hit or miss at Marshall’s or thrift stores, but if someone has recommendations for a consistent, good-looking brand, that would be awesome. I’m 5’3″ and wear a 16W or 18.

    • Anna @ D16 April 2, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      Marlena, ASOS has some great jeans in their Curve line. In fact, they still have my former favorites, the ones I wrote about in this post (see the “also in plus size” link):

      The straight size version was discontinued, but you’re in luck. 🙂 Just keep in mind that ASOS’s clothes tend to run on the large side, so you may want to size down. (Also, try Old Navy!!)

    • Marlena April 2, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Thanks, Anna!

    • RebeccaNYC April 3, 2015 at 12:16 am

      I second the ASOS recommendation…and Old Navy is superb in their size and style choices for everyone over the size 12. I have been living in their skinny legging jeans all winter, now have ordered some side zip ankle length jeans that look interesting. And you just cannot beat the price.

      Can I just take a moment to thank the jeans gods for bringing high waists back in style? The low waist was just killing me, yanking up my jeans every few minutes so I wouldn’t get plumbers crack. Jeans that stay on! What a concept.

  • Reply Steph April 2, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    I smirked throughout this entire post, related to so much of it. I have always had a “thing” about Madewell too. I love their stuff but they are so expensive and never have a real sale. 10% off of an $100 shirt? Who cares? I do hear good things about their jeans all the time though and now your post makes me a believer.

    I felt the same thing about Paige jeans for a while but I just tried their maternity jeans (because other frumpy maternity jeans made me want to cry) and they fit really well so I guess I have to keep an open mind.

    Curious to see how the shirt holds up too. I don’t mind spending money on items that are made well. Get it? Made well? Ugh.

    • Anna @ D16 April 3, 2015 at 12:13 am

      Steph, do you mean the t-shirt? I’ve washed it about five times now, and it still has its shape. The fit is good. It’s nothing remarkable in terms of construction or material, but the fit is great and the length is just right. It actually reminds me of the v-necks I used to buy from J.Crew years ago that they don’t seem to make anymore. Is it worth $25? Probably not, but I don’t buy a lot of clothes…so I’m happy to have one that at least looks good on my body.

  • Reply KCF April 2, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Just a note to say that I always get the best ideas from your blog. Just ordered 4 of those clutches/makeup bags for gifts!

    • Anna @ D16 April 3, 2015 at 12:10 am

      Woo hoo! 🙂

  • Reply renna deluxe April 2, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    Thank you!!!

    • Anna @ D16 April 2, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      You are very welcome! I love your pouches. 🙂

  • Reply Anna April 3, 2015 at 8:13 am

    Why keep blogging? Because we love to read your posts! I’m a big city person stuck in the middle of a rural state, living in a small town, only because of my job. You remind me that there’s a larger world out there and that just because I live where I do, I don’t need to be bland. I hope you keep it up – think of it as a service to all of us cooped up on the frontier.

  • Reply Sherri April 3, 2015 at 8:37 am

    I’m totally with you on being “afraid” of preppy stores.
    But I dig Madewell — I think their designs look really timeless.
    There is something they’ve got that transcends Ann Taylor and Banana Republic.
    I’ll have to check out these jeans — I’m pretty stubborn too — I only wear Cheap Monday (speaking of Skulls).
    I used to order them from Sweden, but they stock them in UO now.

  • Reply Tina April 3, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    First time reader, found you from Shutterbean! Great post, made me go to the Madewell website and get a few things for myself, including that tee!

    • Anna @ D16 April 3, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      Welcome, Tina! 🙂

  • Reply jaclyn April 3, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    I really wish the mid to higher end denim labels would make larger sizes. I’m a size 14 and it is almost impossible to find good quality skinny jeans that fit nicely and properly. Usually the brands that do carry that size, haven’t fitted it properly. They are either not really a 14 and probably sized to something like a 12.5 or they are so large they end up baggy and feel more like a 16.

    So far, I’ve relied on Old Navy for stretch skinny jeans but even though the price is great, the quality is truly terrible and I’m lucky if I can get 2 wears out of them before they’ve stretched beyond reason. Also, ON dark denim washes fade ridiculously fast.

    It also doesn’t help that I usually need at least a 34 inch length. I should probably just learn to sew my own denim.

    • Anna @ D16 April 3, 2015 at 5:31 pm

      Jaclyn, have you tried Lucky jeans? I was a size 14 not that long ago, and Lucky jeans have always fit me really well at any size. I’ve also heard good things about Paige denim for larger sizes, though I don’t have personal experience.

  • Reply soozey April 3, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    I used to just buy jewelry at Madewell until a “older” saleswoman (my age mid 40s) insisted I try the Alley Straights. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Or my butt. Sorry. But on me, (curvy, muscular legs, full hip, 5’9″) They really do almost fit as skinnies. They are beyond good and I’ve tried them all. I’ll keep the ones you mentioned on radar just in case. (Thx for the post. I love a discerning eye and discriminating consumer!)

  • Reply soozey April 3, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    OH, and a note, the Alleys do come in a dark rinse online, that’s what I have on my bod right now. Sometimes Madewell has a promo of $20 OFF when you bring in an old pair of jeans!

  • Reply Annabelle April 3, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    @steph and @anna, I can testify to the durability of those tees — I have approximately a zillion of the Madewell pocket Vs and haven’t managed to retire a single one (though a few have moved to the sleeping pile due to stains). They actually hold up much better than the similar J Crew ones.

    • Anna @ D16 April 3, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      That’s really good to know, Annabelle! J.Crew’s tees have sucked for a while now. That used to be the only thing I’d buy there, but the last time I bought one it was basically H&M quality. After one wash the seams were twisted! I hate that. Weird that they’re the same company but Madewell’s tees are so much better? And cheaper, too.

  • Reply Jennifer Manzano April 3, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    They really are the best! I’ve been wearing the high-riser skinnies for a while now—maybe a year and a half? Just high enough to be classy, and to work with your waist when you want to tuck something in. I’m got hips, and find that the high rise hugs them perfectly, where lower rise pants (even the madewell regular skinnies) hit me where I’m biggest and always fall down!

    For reference, I’m 5’6″ 125, and usually wear a 0 or 2. When I was about 10lbs heavier, I bought all 26s, but if I bought them now, I think I’d get a 25. I have blue (atlantic I think?), as well as grey and black. I wear one of them almost every day! The best!

    I actually don’t like the alley straights at all, though! I tried them on in several sizes, but the wider calves just kinda made it look like I had cankles. Not for me!

  • Reply Diana April 9, 2015 at 2:05 am

    we visited NYC in 2013 for our honeymoon, and i bought 2 pairs of Madewell jeans while were there – high rise skinny blue jeans, and a pair of dark rinse mid-rise skinnies. now, i have a lot of jeans. a LOT. i’m not known to wear anything besides jeans, really. and i have never, EVER worn jeans as good as either of them. they basically moulded themselves to my form, and i knew that even if my weight fluctuated a bit or i was having a meh day they would always fit me and always look good… this coming from a girl with the classic small waist and big butt situation – i find it hard to find jeans that fit on the best of days.

    the trick for me was not washing them frequently (or, well, at all actually). and when they got a bit dirty they were given a gentle soak in our bath. don’t put them in the washing machine!! that may sound gross but, yeah. it’s true.

    a year and a half later they have both just about given up the ghost because i wore them to death – but since i live in SA i can’t get new pairs until i visit the states again. bummer 🙁

    so, enjoy them jeans!

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