Is Madewell a Good Brand? A 100% Honest Clothing Review

Status: Review Complete

So, you’re here because you’re considering shopping at madewell.com but want a little bit more information, right? Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this post, I will share with you my 100% honest thoughts on their clothing and a bit of information about their brand. Keep reading for more!

Before you continue, be sure to follow my Facebook page and join my subreddit r/ClothingShopReviews! This subreddit is dedicated to helping each other avoid scams, exchanging information/research, asking questions, discussing positive/negative clothing shopping experiences, and sharing/discovering amazing clothing shops. Come say hello!

Table of Contents

About Madewell

What is Madewell?

They are a clothing brand known for their denim bought by J. Crew in 2004. They pride themselves on designing everyday clothing that’s refined and easy to wear. Additionally, they are committed to inclusivity and sustainability, with initiatives to offer a wide range of sizes, support minority-owned businesses, and keep their clothing in use for as long as possible.

Is Madewell fast fashion?

While they do follow a fast fashion model by keeping up with the trends (and therefore promoting overconsumption), they appear to follow some sustainable practices. According to their sustainability page, they’re focusing on a few key areas like making most of their denim from sustainably sourced or recycled cotton. They also have an ambitious goal of having over 90% of their denim be Fair Trade Certified by 2025. They are also working to make their packaging sustainable and aim to be carbon neutral by 2030. They have already achieved a significant milestone in their circularity efforts, having responsibly resold or recycled over 1.6 million garments.

I can confirm that my items arrived in recyclable packaging.

Check out this article, 13 Easy Ways To Know If A Brand Is Fast Fashion by Panaprium, for tell-tale signs of a fast fashion company.

Where is Madewell made?

The items in my order were made in China, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and India.

More Shop Details

madewell website circa 2011
Screenshot of madewell.com circa 2011 (the oldest version of the site I could find)

Statements & Press Details

  • According to their Diversity & Inclusion page, they care about fairness, understanding different cultures, wellness, and developing their team’s skills. They’re planning a mentorship program, partnering with external groups and suppliers to support a fair society, and created Associate Impact Groups (such as NOIR, Family, Pride, Unidos, and Women+), to empower different communities in our team.
  • According to their Size Inclusivity page, they worked hard to ensure that their sizes and fits align better with industry standards, offering sizes from 14W to 28W, and 1X to 4X. 
  • According to their Social Responsibility page, they check that their products are made responsibly and that they respect human rights. They ensure that they don’t use any conflict minerals, protect forests, and work to prevent slavery and human trafficking in their supply chain.

Policy & Program Details

  • They have a denim trade-in program where you can trade any used jeans (doesn’t have to be Madewell) and get $20 off a new full-priced pair. The pair you are trading in must be made of at least 90% cotton.
  • Madewell Marketplace is a selection of different brands Madewell likes. Product pages will show if an item is from the marketplace. These items are shipped separately from other items and returns aren’t accepted at Madewell. You would have to reach out to the seller. 
  • They offer first responders, medical professionals, military members, teachers, and college students 15% off.
  • They will make price adjustments on full-priced items within 7 days of the shipment date (if that item goes on sale during that time).
  • They offer free shipping for U.S. Madewell Insider members (this is their free rewards program).
  • They allow returns within 30 days. Return shipping is free for U.S. Madewell Insider members.

Product Details

  • They offer:
    • Standard and plus sizes from XXS to 6XL
    • Curvy sizes
    • Maternity sizes
    • Tall and petite lengths

Domain Details

  • The website madewell.com was registered in November 1997.
  • Fun fact, according to the Internet Archive, this domain was previously owned by a corrosion barrier systems company called ‘Madewell Products Corporation’ in 1998.

Madewell Clothing Review

I ordered the below items (two separate orders one day apart) on 1/27/24 & 1/28/24 to my address in North Carolina (United States). I paid a total of $542.12. View Order Confirmation 

1) The Curvy Harlow Wide-Leg Pant

Brand Label: Madewell

Color/Size/Cost: Acorn / 6 / $118

Country: Made in Sri Lanka

Material: 48% TENCEL™ Lyocell / 33% cotton / 19% linen

madewell curvy harlow pants comparison

Expectation: They are what I was expecting, for the most part, in terms of overall appearance. The legs look more straight-shaped in person, and baggier overall. This could just be due to the size I chose.

Quality: In my opinion, the quality is good. See my Quality Comparison & Rating Chart to know my current quality-rating standards.

Fit: I ordered based on the size guide provided, and they fit well, though on the looser side. I could probably size down for a more snug fit. View my Body Measurements for size reference. 

Keep or Return: I would keep these Madewell Harlow pants.

These non-stretch pants fit PERFECTLY and are good quality. They are also very comfortable, very soft and flowy, sit at my natural waist, give me a nice and flattering shape, and are a great length. My only real complaint is the price. I would get more colors if they were to go on sale.

2) Curvy Stovepipe Jeans

Brand Label: Madewell

Color/Size/Cost: Heathridge Wash / 28 / $128

Country: Made in Vietnam

Material: 99% Cotton / 1% Spandex

madewell curvy stovepipe jeans comparison

Expectation: They are what I was expecting, for the most part, in terms of overall appearance. The wash is a bit lighter than the jeans in the product image.

Quality: In my opinion, the quality is great. See my Quality Comparison & Rating Chart to know my current quality-rating standards.

Fit: I ordered based on the size guide provided, and they fit one size too small. View my Body Measurements for size reference.

Keep or Return: I would return these Madewell stovepipe jeans.

Though they feel very good quality and I love the stretch and length, they aren’t super flattering to my figure. They flatten my backside, and the waist sits a little bit below my natural waist making them less flattering. A size up would fit better and help this issue.

3) Satin Shift Mini Dress

Brand Label: Madewell

Color/Size/Cost: Smoky Spruce / M / $59.99

Country: Made in China

Material: 57% Polyester / 43% Lenzing™ EcoVero™ Viscose

1) I paid $59.99, however, the tag shows a sale price of $39.99. Support told me:

The tag must be an error in the warehouse. Our items go on sale at certain times and they put a new tag for that. Once the sale period is over, that should be back to its original price which was what you paid for.”

2) The care label states, ‘Contains non-textile parts of animal origin’. This information is not disclosed on the product page. Support told me:

“The only thing that includes a non-textile animal part is the button on the back – it’s made of oyster shell. That detail is normally in the product descriptions online, but I’m so sorry that it wasn’t noted on this item. We’ll be sure to pass this along for correction.”

madewell satin dress comparison

Expectation: It is what I was expecting, for the most part, in terms of overall appearance. It seems thicker in person, which is a plus! You can see that it is somewhat see-through on the model. It may be a lighting difference.

Quality: In my opinion, the quality is good. See my Quality Comparison & Rating Chart to know my current quality-rating standards.

Fit: I ordered based on the size guide provided, and it fits well. View my Body Measurements for size reference.

Keep or Return: I would return this Madewell satin dress.

Though it is good quality, feels soft and smooth (like still cold water on my skin), doesn’t seem to be static-inducing, and is a really fun yet classy/conservative style, the label states that the non-textile materials are made from animal origin. As a person who does not wear animal products, I unfortunately would not keep this.

4) Lightestspun Cover-Up Maxi Shirtdress

Brand Label: Madewell

Color/Size/Cost: True Black / M / $89.50

Country: Made in India

Material: 100% Cotton

madewell lightestspun shirtdress comparison

Expectation: It is exactly what I was expecting in terms of overall appearance.

Quality: In my opinion, the quality is great. See my Quality Comparison & Rating Chart to know my current quality-rating standards.

Fit: I ordered based on the size guide provided, and it fits one size too big. View my Body Measurements for size reference. 

Keep or Return: I would return this Madewell shirtdress.

Honestly, this is VERY comfortable. It is also quite thick and feels like good-quality cotton. Unfortunately, it is much too oversized and would perhaps be better as an open swim cover-up. As is, it reminds me of nightwear or a robe. I could possibly see this being cute/stylish with a belt (as shown in one of my pictures), in a size smaller, and perhaps in a different color. This is so comfortable and thick that I would try this in their white color in a size small.

5) The Curvy Perfect Vintage Jean

Brand Label: Madewell

Color/Size/Cost: Myers Wash / 28 / $109.99

Country: Made in Vietnam

Material: 91% Cotton / 7% Wool / 2% Elastane

As with the above satin dress, I paid $109.99, but the tag on these jeans shows a sale price of $79.99. This is a mistake on the part of the store location/warehouse that shipped it. Online and in-store prices aren’t always perfectly aligned.

madewell curvy perfect vintage jeans comparison

Expectation: They are exactly what I was expecting in terms of overall appearance. 

Quality: In my opinion, the quality is great. See my Quality Comparison & Rating Chart to know my current quality-rating standards.

Fit: I ordered based on the size guide provided, and it fits one size too small. View my Body Measurements for size reference. 

Keep or Return: I would return these Madewell vintage jeans.

As much as I like how these feel (super comfy, stretchy, and good quality), they are both a size too small and made of wool (this was my oversight). As with the other pair, the waist is also about half to one inch below my natural waist which is not ideal. Not a deal-breaker necessarily, but for over $100, I want the perfect fit.

Is Madewell Worth It?

Based on all 5 items in my order, I absolutely think they are worth it!

Despite my run-ins with animal materials and some sizing issues, their items are good quality, they offer free shipping and returns for Madewell insider members in the U.S. (which is free to join), and many of their sale items are returnable. I am overall really satisfied with the material of each item and think they are all constructed well with few flaws.

Overall, I am pleasantly surprised with my purchase and shopping experience. However, next time I would size up on jeans (I followed the size chart and not my typical waist size/number, I should have just gone with the waist number), double-check material compositions (I didn’t even think to check denim jeans for materials like wool), and look at their sale items since they are a bit pricey. Also, if you are vegan/someone who doesn’t wear animal products, expect to possibly return items due to occasionally undisclosed animal materials being used.

To wrap up this post, regardless of my experience, be sure to read as many customer reviews as possible. If you found this post helpful in your search for Madewell reviews, please consider sharing and commenting (via Reddit) below. Have a great day!

– Noelle

Share This Post

Comments (via Reddit)

Click the ‘View more on Reddit’ or ‘View comments’ button below to go to this review’s discussion page. I encourage you to write a comment or read others’ comments if available!

Comments (via Reddit)

Click the ‘View more on Reddit’ or ‘View comments’ button below to go to this review’s discussion page. I encourage you to write a comment or read others’ comments if available!

Scroll to Top