Why is Madewell So Good Right Now?

Under-$200 leather backpacks, anyone?


I can’t stop doing two things: listening to Ashlee Simpson’s 2004 album, aptly titled Autobiography, and clicking on Madewell to begin planning my warm-weather wardrobe. Yes, at the same time.

You could argue that both have always been good. Ashlee Simpson, who is DIANA ROSS’S DAUGHTER-IN-LAW (????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and the SISTER-IN-LAW OF TRACEE ELLIS ROSS (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????????) (sorry Ryan Cabrera!), was a capable pop star with catchy songs who got a bad rap after an SNL lip-syncing debacle and eventually retreated from the spotlight. But I still play “Pieces of Me” or “Shadow” when I need to feel simultaneously upbeat AND melodramatic.

Madewell, meanwhile, has long been a store I’ve casually popped my head into — usually in the summer and almost always when I’m looking for new white jeans. But right now, Madewell is extra good. They re-lured me in with the promise of soft underpinnings and, as you know, I’m on an eternal quest to update my ‘drawers drawer.

Look at this marigold bra! And this pretty peach one.

Over in clothing land, they have a trench on sale for under $100.

This apron cross-back tank top is one to buy in every color, then wear all summer.

Suddenly, I don’t think I’ll be able to get through spring without this long denim skirt.

Here they are: this year’s white jeans — cropped, flared and torn at the knee.

Also here: a denim jacket to buy that will not make you look like everyone else who’s wearing one.

Where wouldn’t I wear this pink coverall suit, is the question.

I also really like their summer stuff (see slideshow above), which I am sitting on my hands and waiting patiently for.

Not to mention, they have under-$200 leather backpacks (I’ve been using my backpack a LOT lately, but it’s so “athleisure” that it looks funny with regular clothes), IG-friendly Adidas workout gear and, randomly but helpfully, these crystalline travel bags that I want to buy five of and pre-stock now so I feel efficient when it’s time to pack.


It all makes me excited that it’s spring, stoked for summer and want to uh…well, Ashlee Simpson, why don’t you finish my sentence for me to the tune of a song?

Photos via Madewell. 

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  • beccamu

    slide #4 is the exact aesthetic i never consciously knew i wanted but always subconsciously needed

    • Amelia Diamond


      • onellamatown

        But like where do you buy it??

      • Mollie Ward

        I am obsessed with this jumpsuit! I have been searching high and low for a jump suit like this but now I can’t find it on Madewell :*( :*(

    • Same! Can anyone actually locate it on the site? #desperate

  • Kristen Kiehm

    Laughing so hard at the Ashlee Simpson bit because I saw Amelia’s insta story before reading this article. Still just as shocked as I was this morning.

    • Harling Ross

      Amelia’s insta story changed my whole day

      • Same

        • Amelia Diamond

          It’s just that I barely scratched the surface.

  • Breezy

    I love Madewell. I’m able to work on my ascetic of a full rag & bone jean, current/elliott dream wardrobe with a much better price point. I agree, everything has been reeeally cute lately!

  • Alexis Thomolaris

    So excited about and inspired by this!!! I am a sales associate at Madewell and had a feeling that SS17 was one of the best collections yet…I want everything. YAY that you guys feel the same way! Ps. the intimates line is fabulous. Coming from someone who is slightly bustier they have found a cute and functional way to make the “no-bra” look work for all bodies!

    • Amelia Diamond

      I have a few and they are VERY comfy!

    • Lindsay D

      Oh I have to check these out. any other recs for bustier girls? ( i’m 32dd/110lbs). I find some of the tops end up tent like on me and others AMAZING

  • Read the majority of this post while listening to Shadow and, while I didn’t retain that much info about Madewell, I was transported back to 2004 for a few minutes. Gonna be honest, I didn’t hate it.

  • Samantha Lee

    Omg Ashlee Simpson’s Pieces of Me and Shadow songs were my angsty teen anthems in 2005 – though, we all knew she couldn’t actually sing, right? Madewell’s denim is always TOO GOOD. Lusting over that white pair and that jumpsuit.


    • Amelia Diamond


  • I bought the madewell leather backpack two years ago and it is fantastic — definitely recommend! The stitching on one of the straps needed reinforcing a few weeks ago but that was because I had stuffed a ton of heavy things into the bag so about 90% my fault.

  • My Madewell denim wish list is always worth about 1-2 month’s rent haha, their vintage and summer jeans are perfection. My sister had to talk me out of this pink jumpsuit!

    “I could wear this all the time with any and everything”
    “you will never wear that”

    ^story of my life

  • dayman

    Thank you for this! I was wondering 1) if Madewell was especially on point right now or if I just hadn’t been paying attention to them in years and 2) if anyone else ever still thinks about Ashlee Simpson. I haven’t gone so far as to actually listen to her again but this was just the push I needed…anyway I have two pairs of Madewell wide leg jeans that I bought last month and they are so good! Way more flattering than I would’ve thought and I’m not tall or skinny, and the fabric is just right–not too thin or stretchy but still soft and not stiff. Just ordered some bras and underwear during the sale last week and have high hopes! I don’t really know of anywhere else with cute, plain-ish, decently priced bralettes at the moment. Now I need that apron tank and the gingham tank and skirt!

  • dayman

    I also feel like Everlane has been putting out Stuff I Want to Buy at alarming speeds recently

  • Brittany Marino

    Searching high and low for image #4! I neeeeed that light pink striped ensemble

  • onellamatown

    But where do you find that striped jumpsuit?? It’s not on Madewell’s website 🙁

  • Jenn K.

    I’m currently listening to Paris Hilton’s “Paris” so I can’t comment on Ashlee Simpson’s artistic or musical merit. But I freaking love Madewell. They usually have good background the pieces (to make the weird stuff work day-to-day) but this season they are knocking it out of the park. I’m excited for their fall stuff too from the glimpse I saw on your Instastories.

  • I’ve been a Madewell stan for as long as I can remember and now that I actually work for them, both the employee discount and having to sell their wonderful clothes constantly tempt me to also buy them. I can’t believe people ever slept on this brand!!!

  • **On a Monday, I Man Repel,
    On a Tuesday, I shop Madewell
    And by Wednesday, I’ll be brooooke**
    <3 <3 <3

  • Olivia Adamczyk

    “Oh, the pieces, pieces, pieces of me…” Dammit, Amelia

  • Kay Nguyen

    I have never had anything from Madewell but this post makes me want to go to the nearest store right away! Love that stripe jumpsuit <3


  • Elizabeth

    “Better Off” is such an underrated song on that album. So is “Love Makes the World Go Round.” I’ve been listening to this album for 14 years. I love it almost as much as I love Madewell, which this season – is a whole freaking lot. Needed that trench coat yesterday.

  • mapillski

    Part of my closet is entirely devoted to denim I don’t like anymore so I can take them to Madewell and get $20 off a new pair of jeans when I need them.

    ATM I wish I could put that $20 towards those striped pants…

  • Thank you so much for bringing Ashlee Simpson back into my consciousness. So many solar flares in that video!!

    But, damn, Madewell. I walk into there lately and it takes my breath away how perfectly everything suits my aesthetic. Unfortunately a lot of it is still out of my budget, so I’ve been pairing their little silk bandanas with similar styles from Goodwill.

  • Alison Weinreb

    Where can I find the top from image 2- NEED!

  • Anouk

    Great article, the clothes are so amazing indeed! Missed opportunity that the title of this article isn’t “Why is Madewell Made so Well Right Now?” (I’m sorry, I know this joke is really bad)

    • Hellbetty666

      Nooo, it’s not bad, you are totally right, it was a missed opportunity. fWIW, I laughed

  • Elizabeth

    Where can I find the white denim top in slide #2?! I need it.

  • Katherine Sargeant

    i can tell you why in 3 words: JOYCE LEE ROSE!! I am so friggin’ obsessed with her and her instagram. she has elevated madewell in the same way that jenna lyons did at the start of her tenure. i always drool at new arrivals