bien fait

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bien fait. french for “made well.” or madewell, my current store obsession. if you live anywhere near the forum in carlsbad, you’re probably well aware of the fact that north countians been recently been gifted/cursed with the opening of a madewell store right in our backyard.

for those who are unfamiliar with the store that boasts “denim” as their signature specialty (i’ve tried on a pair of their jeans and firmly stand behind their lofty claim), they are affiliated with my all-time favorite brand, j.crew. think of madewell as j.crew’s older, wiser, more mature big sister. other than a wide array of denim, they focus on the classics. classics, well, for lack of a better term, made well. 

i don’t know if it’s the fact that i’m getting older or that i’m just choosing to embrace that whole “less is more” ideology, but i’m finding myself more and more drawn to simple shapes and classic cuts and a neutral color palette. accordingly, i think i could get some great mileage out of a few (dozen) of madewell’s current collection. full of reds, whites, and blues, i can’t think of a more perfect wardrobe to don all summer long. seeing as shawnuary is right around the corner, here are my picks i hope to find on the other side of all of those 29 birthday candle wishes:

whenever i take inventory of my wardrobe (which is basically every day that ends in “y”), i’m always saddened by its lack of dresses. i have plenty of skirts and shorts, but aside from the striped anchor gem i have on constant rotation, i’m always looking to add a few more frocks into my repertoire. enter madewell’s current offering of effortless-throw-on-and-go summer styles. after this style got a glowing review from rachael of laces and likes, i’m kind of convinced it’s a must-have for my wardrobe.

madewell's sleeveless tee dress.

madewell’s sleeveless tee dress.

speaking of glowing reviews, do you guys read the customer reviews on apparel sites? they are actually really helpful, and most of the time, pretty accurate. i can’t tell you how many mediocre reviews have curtailed me from pulling the trigger on a funky-looking blouse from the anthropologie sale section. but in the same way, i have been pleasantly convinced to reconsider a garment based on its cyberspace lauds, too. kind of like this fairsky tunic dress. it looks like another effortless item that could seriously come in handy in the warmer summer temps. but it would also probably be regular player come fall with tights and boots and a big yummy over-sized scarf. between the two colors, i think i’m leaning more toward the olive color. because if i’ve learned anything in my years as a redhead, it’s that i look great in green.

madewell's fairsky tunic dress.

madewell’s fairsky tunic dress.

one of the challenges i face is making my wardrobe pull double duty -for work and for play. if a dress could be just as appropriate for work as it is for the weekends, i would be willing to shell a few extra pennies out for it. because it would just get that much more mileage (this is how i justify about 97% of my purchases, just an fyi). with a high-neckline and it being floor-length, this dress could certainly pass the office guidelines. and pair it with a fedora on the weekends and forget it.

madewell's embroidered kilim maxidress.

madewell’s embroidered kilim maxidress.

finally, last but not least. the over-sized tee-shirt dress. i’m a tad bit skeptical this will be long enough to cover all of my lady parts, but it looks like it could be a contender for those days when you just want to lounge around the house but also still look totally cute in case you get a last-minute invitation to a bbq where there may or may not be cute boys in attendance.

madwell's skargorn #60 tee dress.

madwell’s skargorn #60 tee dress.

in terms of tops, tees, and tanks, i’m kind of into the whole over-sized look. mostly for the fact that you can totally eat more at dinner and no one will notice your bloated belly. i make a lot of my clothing decisions by how it’ll affect my food intake. anyway, madewell normally steers clear of the message tee trend, but on occasion, they’ll print a few cheeky sayings on some of their signature knits and the result is always comfortably chic. i am currently coveting this adorable slate-colored tee. “comme ci comme ca” can be translated from french to be “like this, like that.”

madewell's comme ci comme ca banded tee.

madewell’s comme ci comme ca banded tee.

here’s another “i can totally eat a chipotle burrito and no one will question if i’m pregnant” kind of blouse. it’s part billowy, part boho, part see-through, part baby baby polka dotted. so all parts awesome, basically. i think it would be great tucked into a pencil skirt for work or over skinny jeans for play. see, there’s that double-duty thing again.

madewell's openview tunic in dotted line.

madewell’s openview tunic in dotted line.

so let’s talk exposed shoulders for a hot minute, shall we? i have a huge complex with anything sleeveless. despite knowing full well that my shoulders and arms are totally proportionate with my body, i still can’t help but feel like a linebacker in most tanks or cut-off tees. so i usually try to look for feminine detailing to off-set the guns. i’m also a proud member of the itty bitty titty committee and therefore, i also have to be mindful finding tops whose straps stay where they’re intended. this eyelet-detail fieldlace cami looks like it could be my answer to both plights. i actually love it in either the red or ivory color. both would be more than appropriate with a pair of distressed denim and my patriotic espadrilles come fourth of july.

madewell's eyelet fieldlace cami.

madewell’s eyelet fieldlace cami.

finally, i’m a firm believer that one can never have too many plain white tees. yes, just like the band. and while i’m pretty loyal to my gap tee collection, i wouldn’t mind mixing in a few madewell slub v-neck pocket tees, too.

madwell's slub v-neck pocket tee.

madwell’s slub v-neck pocket tee.

okay now for the denim. madewell’s self-proclaimed piece de resistance. i have been on the hunt for boyfriend jeans since, well, since i was on the hunt for an actual boyfriend (answer: it’s been a while). anyway, i’ve tried gap’s version, loft’s version, banana republic’s version, and a few other brands i can’t even remember now, but despite all of my attempts at nailing down a brand of denim that gives me that over-sized shape i love, i’ve always come up short. enter madewell. i tried on a pair of their boyjeans last month and kind of fell in love. they were big and baggy and made me feel like a tiny human. only problem was, they were a little too baggy. like saggy bottom baggy. so i shelved them at the time. but i’m kind of regretting not purchasing a pair. i think they look so adorable when paired with a tight-fitting tee and pumps or wedges (like this). perfect for all of those dates i’m not going on. but maybe the first step in getting a boyfriend is finding the perfect pair of boyfriend jeans. and if that’s the case, then i’m well on my way.

madewell's boyjean in afternoon wash.

madewell’s boyjean in afternoon wash.

this dumper (denim + jumper). you guys, it’s so wrong it’s right. it really has no business being in my wardrobe. but then again, maybe it does? the verdict is still out. but one thing is for sure, the peek-a-boo back is killing me (in a good way). 

madwell's indigo linen jumpsuit.

madwell’s indigo linen jumpsuit.

madewell's indigo linen jumpsuit.

madewell’s indigo linen jumpsuit.

speaking of killing me…worst segway ever, by the way. hemlines are killing me these days. at 5’7″(ish), i wouldn’t consider myself exceedingly tall, but i’m definitely not petite. i’m in that “you’re just kind of normal” in-between group. so depending on the length of a garment and which shoes i choose to pair it with, i can go from “totally tasteful” to “are you on your way to vegas?” very quickly. with that said, i’m learning that midi and maxi-length skirts and dresses have become my new best friends. there’s also just something about wearing a long skirt that makes me feel extra feminine, too. plus any garment that can evade me a wardrobe malfunction is always a good thing in my book. p.s. i’m obsessed with both the brandy color (shown below) and the vintage petal.

madewell's silk drawstring skirt.

madewell’s silk drawstring skirt.

finally, the perfect accessory. you know i love a good statement necklace. obviously if it sparkles or blings i’m all about it. but there are just certain occasions when even your beloved silver seas statement necklace from banana republic is a little much. so i’ve been on the hunt for a more casual piece that i could throw on over a tee and feel just a little bit fancy, instead a lot bit fancy. [breaks into iggy azalea’s “fancy”]. after seeing how cute this gold charm necklace looked on my friend natalie, i think i may need to snag myself one, too.

madewell's ensign necklace.

madewell’s ensign necklace.

anyway, the grand total on all of the aforementioned items has to be nearing fairly high on the “that’s ridiculous” meter, but that’s what birthday wishes are for, right? i dream big when it comes to shopping. and you should, too.

in all reality, i’ll venture to say that two-thirds of my picks will probably be weeded out based on sizing and availability alone. but i’ve been proven wrong before. if that’s the case, maybe these can be my birthday, christmas, valentine’s day, and easter presents for next year. or i should really look into getting a second job.

all images via madewell

1 Comment
  • Bri
    May 9, 2014

    Oh my my, the jumpsuit!!! I am sensing trouble as Madewell’s will soon be in my backyard too!!!

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