Aside from a collection of their airy “whisper” layering shirts and this good ole Transport crossbody tote, I haven’t had a lot of finds from J.Crew’s more casual sister brand, Madewell. They’re known for their knits and vintage-style denim, but offer so many styles (10+ cuts of denim!) I didn’t know where to start when browsing online.
Nori’s teacher this year happens to very petite, and I found myself often asking where her jeans or sneakers were from. It turns out she worked at Madewell and guided me to a few of her petite-friendly favorites. I recently worked with the brand on an Instagram video (if you want to see some of these pieces in motion) and wanted to share some additional hits and misses from everything I tried on!
Madewell try-ons – hits and misses
1. The Perfect Vintage Jeans
This is probably THE classic Madewell jean in their most popular cut and wash and I’ve been reaching for them so often. Ainsworth is a very versatile medium blue wash if you’re looking for that broken-in vintage jeans look with a more rigid medium weight denim. True to the item description, I’d size down if you want a more fitted look. I took a size 24 here, and the waist is loose on me but I didn’t want to size down since my waistline has been fluctuating a lot. If you typically always wear a 24 in denim, then sizing down to 23 should work.
These jeans appear cropped in stock photos but hit below my ankles (I’m 5 feet tall, for reference). After trying them on with different shoes, I couldn’t leave my comfort zone and ended up cutting them per my jeans cutting tutorial. What do you guys think? Would you prefer the longer original length below?
Quick note about this cardigan! I got so many questions about this camel sweater on stories, but have to say it is going back. It’s a little itchy and wider and looser than I had expected, and took a lot of finagling to look right on my frame. A similar sweater I’ve been liking is this under $50 waffle knit cardigan. This one is also looser by design, but it fits smaller and shorter overall and feels softer against bare skin. I also love Quince pieces and they have a similar petite-friendly cardigan in a lightweight alpaca blend.
2. Square neck sweater – on extra sale
If you’re sensitive to itchy knits, this was one of the more comfortable and soft Madewell sweaters I tried on. The square neck on this has a smaller opening than most, so you can still wear a regular bra with it and it’s also still work appropriate. The sweater naturally hits at my hips, and you can fold it under for it to appear shorter. Because the bottom is banded, you don’t even need to tuck it into your pants. I just folded the bottom up underneath and it stayed put!
3. High Rise Slim Straight Jeans (also in curvy) – on sale
I purchased these after trying the Perfect Vintage jean and found them to be a pretty good fit without any adjustments needed. In comparison with the Perfect Vintage, the length on these is shorter and the ankle opening is wider and less tapered, making it a little easier to tuck booties inside (see below). You can also see a photo of how these fit with sneakers at the very top of this blog post. Size 24 Petite worked with a little room at the waist on me, but not as much waist room as the Perfect Vintage jean in Ainsworth.
3. Double Faced Shirt Jacket
This is hands down one of my favorite Fall finds. As someone who doesn’t have the cool factor for rocking more trendy “shackets,” I love how this feels like a cross between a soft sweater and a classic layering shirt. It takes minimal effort to style and you can just throw it on quickly for weekend activities or school drop off / pick up.
The knit ribbed fabric feels nice quality, drapes nicely and is very comfortable and cozy against my skin. The drape is key, allowing it layer well over other tops and not feel bulky on a petite frame. I’ve worn this already over blue, grey, and cream jeans and my favorite pairing is with black leggings and black chelsea booties.
For my “misses,” their signature Larsen and Caldwell blazers look nice online but were very long and loose on me. Their oversized coats also made me look like a kid playing dress up. I would stick with their sister brand J.Crew for those two categories since they offer petite sizing, or look for jackets with “cropped” in the style name!