Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Shopbop Sale Picks and Madewell Reviews

SALE ALERT: Take 25% off your Shopbop order with code FAMILY25, now through October 16th. It's a great opportunity to pick up items that otherwise never go on sale. They have a lot of high-end designer stuff that's too expensive for me, but luckily there are also some relatively affordable brands mixed in. Best of all, they offer free shipping both ways for U.S. customers, and if you have Amazon Prime like I do, you can even get free 2-day shipping!

My quick picks are the Madewell Transport Tote in saddle or black (classic colors that never seem to go on sale), the Sam Edelman Petty ankle boot (which I own in black and putty suede), and the Rebecca Minkoff Love crossbody bag (on my wishlist, a great dupe for the Chanel boy bag). Personally I ordered the Transport Tote in saddle and the rip and repair jeans that I reviewed below. 

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming: Madewell reviews! For reference, I usually wear a 00 or XXS at Madewell (see here for my detailed measurements), which is often online only. In store I just try on the smallest size available and use that to gauge the fit of an item. 

Silk Shirtdress in Newsprint Floral (Item B2436)
Size 0
Considering that I was trying on a 0 instead of my usual 00, the fit of this dress wasn't too bad. The top was a little roomy especially in the chest, but the elastic waistband disguises that fact. I liked the dark floral pattern, which was a little mumsy but would transition well into late fall. The material was a substantial silk, which felt cool and comfortable. My main complaint was the flutter sleeves, which made my shoulders look too broad. Not bad overall but nothing to write home about.

Verdict: Meh, true to size

Shirtdress in Willowleaf (Item B0631)
Size 00
Allow me to preface this review by saying that I don't like nonwaisted dresses. They generally look like big potato sacks, which isn't flattering on anyone. This dress was no exception. Here I tried on my correct size of 00, which was still way too big. I did like the material, which felt nice and silky (surprised to see online that it's poly). The dress was also lined, so it wasn't too sheer. The small square sleeves were an interesting detail. However, in the end, I just can't get over how boxy the silhouette is. Maybe it would look better belted.

Verdict: Dislike, runs large

Tweedweave Shiftdress (Item B0833)
Size 0
This dress is also nonwaisted. On the rack I thought it had the potential to be a cool sleek day-to-night number, but I ended up liking it even less than the previous dress. The silhouette was extremely boxy, and the dress was constructed from a confusing mix of materials. I feel like the zipper placement was arbitrary, and the extra black side panel was completely unnecessary, breaking up the shirttail hem in a strange way. While I appreciate pockets on a dress, I didn't like how there were two black rectangles across my hips. Not a fan.

Verdict: Hate, runs large

Premiere Skirt (Item B0435)
Size 0
This skirt looked very simple on the rack but had a few tricks up its sleeve (pleat?). The seasonally appropriate plum color caught my eye right away. I was a little surprised that the designers chose to use a summery silk blend for a fall skirt. Another surprise was the slightly asymmetric hem with the skirt being shorter in the front and longer in the back. The front pleats were interesting and flattering, but the back pleats added too much volume. Also the elastic waistband across the back half was simultaneously frumpy and juvenile.

Verdict: Meh, true to size

Skinny Skinny Sateen Jeans (Item B1382)
Size 26
I usually wear between a 25 and a 26 for denim. At Madewell I am more frequently a 25. I've been obsessed with plum colored jeans recently, so I gravitated toward this style in store and decided to try on both of my sizes. Fit-wise I could button up the 25, but it was rather uncomfortable. The hips felt fine, but the legs felt like compression cuffs and the waist was too tight. I would recommend sizing up. In the 26, the waist was a tiny bit large but fit perfectly everywhere else. The color is so saturated and gorgeous. The length is ideal with the hem ending slightly below my ankle. Visually they make my legs look sooo long (or at least longer than usual). I could gush on and on. One word of warning though: the material was very thin and very soft, so I suspect these pants may not be all that durable. Because they're so flattering, I'm willing to overlook the possible durability issue. The plum color is my favorite, but I also like them in olive brown which might be more versatile. I'm wishlisting these and will snatch them up if they ever go on sale.

Verdict: Love, runs small

Skinny Skinny Jeans: Rip and Repair Edition (Item B0233)
Size 25
I've been looking for a pair of slightly distressed lighter wash denim for a long time now, and I was so excited to find these jeans at Madewell. Usually distressed jeans tend to unravel over time as you put stress on the worn areas, frequently located at the knees. While I like the distressed look aesthetically, I don't want to pay good money only to have my jeans fall apart after a few wears. I think retailers are finally catching on that customers don't want to buy such fragile denim, because recently I spotted a number of these rip and repair versions (where the distressed regions are reinforced) popping up, like the J.Crew toothpicks in Miller wash. The denim material of this Madewell pair felt quite substantial; it was thicker than most of their jeans and doesn't show any panty lines. It was super comfortable and had just the right amount of stretch, enough to not feel confining yet not so much as to feel like jeggings. The knees also felt like they wouldn't bag out after extended wear. I took my usual size 25, which fit perfectly through the legs and hit my ankle at a very flattering spot.

Verdict: Love, true to size, ordered from Shopbop

Did you pick up anything from the Shopbop Friends and Family sale? What have you been loving at Madewell recently? Please share!


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  2. Thanks for the reviews! The sateen jeans are so lovely on you. I hope you're able to get them soon. I really like the silk shirtdress in newsprint floral but wonder how well the flutter sleeves will work under a jacket or cardigan, since it's necessary to wear one here most days now. What are your thoughts?

    The transport tote is a great deal with the Shopbop F&F since Madewell rarely allows their promos to apply to it. I am tempted, but these days I always carry either a crossbody bag or none at all, so I don't think it would probably get too much use. However, if the mini-transport crossbody was available, I would more than likely go for it. :)

    1. Hmm good question. I hadn't considered layering, but I think the flutter sleeves would poke up funny under a thinner cardigan. They should lie flat under a thicker one.

      Also you're in luck, because Shopbop does carry the mini transport bag. ;)

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    3. Thanks! You know, I looked yesterday and could swear that the mini was not on the website. I did notice that they added a different bag yesterday afternoon, so perhaps their stock is shifting? Anyways, thanks for letting me know it's there today. :)

      What about wearing the dress under a denim jacket or a blazer? Possibly the outbound jacket, too.

    4. Assuming the denim jacket isn't a dark blue wash, it could work. Otherwise it's too monochromatic. I'm not sure about a blazer or the outbound jacket. Whenever I try to throw them over a flared dress, the proportions look off to me. They seem to work better over A-line or shift dresses.