Madewell Denim Guide: Lots of Styles Reviewed

I’ve got a Madewell Denim Guide for you today!

This post was purely born out of my own curiosity to try out a bunch of their different styles to see if their were any that I liked.

I’ve owned a few pairs of their skinny jeans over the years, which I really loved actually, but were victims to closet purges solely for the reason that I don’t really wear skinny jeans anymore.

But it had been years since I checked out their denim section so I added a bunch to my cart, and thought I would do a try on/first impressions type of guide for you today so you can go through the process with me.

A couple things to note:

I would normally do a try on in stores instead of ordering a bunch, and then returning them but with stores closed that wasn’t a possibility.

I didn’t want to wait because they are having some pretty big sales right now, and a lot of their denim is part of the sale which is pretty rare (I think? I don’t often see their denim in their sales at least) so I wanted to take advantage of the discounts.

And finally, I won’t be keeping every pair I show you today, and I’ll explain why in each individual review.

I just wanted to make that clear because, no, buying out the Madewell denim section is probably not necessary, and I don’t want you to “follow my lead” 😉.

For this reason, you’ll probably see a few tags in photos. Don’t be alarmed.

And actually, on that note, you’ll notice this in the review, but I ended up ordering the wrong size in every pair except one so keep that in mind when looking at the fit.

For the pairs that I do exchange for the right size, I’ll circle back with updated photos/thoughts.

I didn’t pick up every pair that they offer (there’s way too many!), but I went for the pairs that caught my eye, and that I thought would be of interest to you guys.

SO. Let’s hop to it!

Here’s my Madewell Denim Guide:

My measurements:


130-135 lbs.

26.5″ waist

32″ hips

I’m typically a 27/4 in denim, but after trying on all of these styles I realized I must be a 26 in Madewell denim so keep that in mind when ordering.

Madewell denim comes in sizes 23-37, and in Petite, Regular, and Tall Inseams.

All of the styles I’ll be reviewing are linked here:

Links to products are affiliate links

Updated on 9/21/20 to add: I ended up keeping the Dad Jean, and I returned everything else to get the correct sizes, but I ended up only picking up two different washes of the perfect vintage jean (in the correct size), which I have now added to the review so you can compare washes.

Updated on 5/3/21 to add: the stovepipe jean

:: Straight ::

Style: Stovepipe Jeans in Devoe Wash

Cost: $128

My Size: 26

What the Website says:

Made of denim with just a touch of stretch for comfort, these raw-hemmed stovepipe jeans have a French-lady-with-a-capsule-wardrobe feel.

  • 11″ high rise, fitted through hip and thigh, 12″ straight leg opening, 27″ inseam.
  • Do Well: For each pair made at the Fair Trade Certified™ Saitex factory, we contribute to a Community Development Fund managed by the workers.
  • 99% cotton/1% spandex denim.
  • Magic Pockets; raw hems.
  • Machine wash.

What I say:

These might be one of my new favorite styles from Madewell! I had always passed over this style in the past, but this wash really caught my eye, and now I’m in love with the fit. They have that Madewell magic at the waist and they don’t slip down at all even though they are very stretchy. The cut is also really flattering with a slimmer fit, but with a more straight leg shape instead of a taper to the ankle. They are a bit thinner than the perfect vintage jeans or the dad jeans, but they are definitely a “legging feel” type of jeans. They also have a really high rise, and a normal cropped inseam… both of which I love.

Final verdict: I had thought about sizing down (which is why you can see the tag in these) because the waist has a little bit of room, but the more I’ve thought about it, I don’t want the style to be too fitted in the leg so I’ll be staying true to size in these (and definitely keeping!).

Style: The Mom Jean in Downey Wash (this wash looks sold out, but there are tons of other washes available so I’ll link to the Mom Jean section here)

Cost: $79.50

My Size: 27 regular

What the website says:

Product Details:

These mom jeans of our dreams hit at the high waist with an easy fit through the hips.

  • 12 1/4″ high rise with slight slouch, roomy through hip and thigh, 12 1/2″ tapered leg opening, 26 1/2″ inseam.
  • Do Well: We partner with the Better Cotton Initiative to improve cotton farming globally.
  • 100% cotton rigid denim.
  • Machine wash.

What I say:

This truly is the perfect mom jean. These remind me so much of what my mom used to wear in the 90’s with all the volume being at the hips, and the taper to the ankle.

I ordered them in a size 27 which is my typical size, but I sized wrong in all of the jeans I picked up. Madewell denim seems to run a tad big so I would definitely need these in a full size down for them to be comfortable.

Thoughts on fit: these fit really well through the hip and thighs which is hard for me to find in 100% cotton, as I do have a little curve in that area. However, typical to other rigid denim that fits well in my seat, the waist is too loose. With this kind of style, I like the waistband to be snug to really create that hourglass shape. In the correct size that wouldn’t be so much of an issue, but with the perfect fit in the hips and thighs I think a size down would be too tight. The rest of the leg is nice and loose and you don’t get the dreaded knee pulling that I’ve gotten with other rigid denim. I think if you have a smaller ratio between your hips and waist, these would be perfect. Finally, these hit me right at the tops of my ankles so they aren’t too cropped, but they’re not a true full length either.

The cotton is actually very soft and comfortable. I know sometimes the term “rigid” can kind of scare people off, but rigid denim when done well, is actually really nice to wear. This rigid denim is done well. It’s soft, thin, and easy to move in. It really does remind me of a great pair of broken in vintage denim… plus they feel like they have the quality to last as long as denim of yore.

Final verdict: I will be returning these for two reasons: 1.) the waist/seat issue. I really do think in a size down the thigh area would be too tight. 2.) I’m not totally in love with the “mom jean trend.” I LOVE it on other people, which is why I keep trying it thinking I’ll love it on me… but it never seems to work out for me. If you area mom jean kind of person, and you think the wast/hip ratio won’t be an issue for you please do give these a try as they really are a great pair of jeans.

Madewell Denim Guide, Perfect Vintage Jean
Madewell Denim Guide, Perfect Vintage Jean

Style: The Perfect Vintage Jean in Englewood Wash (top), Ainsworth Wash (middle), and Enmore Wash (bottom)

Cost: $135

My Size: 27 regular, but should have ordered a 26 in Englewood. 26 in Ainsworth and Enmore.

What the website says:

Product Details:

With their waist-accentuating high rise and tapered legs, these are “mom jeans”…if your mom was a ’90s supermodel. Made of denim with an authentic old-school look but tons of comfy stretch.

  • Please note: Yes, they’re stretchy, but please choose your usual size.
  • 11″ high rise, fitted through the hip and thigh, 12 1/4″ tapered leg opening, 28 1/2″ inseam.
  • Do Well: For each pair made at the Fair Trade Certified™ Jade factory, we contribute to a Community Development Fund managed by the workers.
  • Premium 95% cotton/3% poly/2% elastane ISKO Reform™ XP denim.
  • Machine wash.

What I say:

Here I am trying the Mom Jean trend again! Ha! These do feel a lot different than the official Mom Jean above though, and here’s why:

First: they are VERY stretchy. Like, yoga pant stretchy. Second: these are much more figure hugging, and I attribute that to my first point about the stretch. And finally: these are much better for people with a higher waist to hip ratio. So again, I ordered these a size too big… BUT I know that if I got them in the next size down they would fit perfectly because the stretch allows for the denim to fit a curvier frame. They have a slightly lower rise than the Mom Jean, but they felt super high anyway, and I think it’s because the stretch makes the waistband sit more snugly around the waist. These are slightly more cropped as well, which is funny because the Mom Jean’s inseam is supposedly shorter… not sure how that works! In the side shot you can really see the best where they hit on my ankle.

Like I said above, the material on these is unreal. It’s like you are wearing yoga pants, but in a denim version. I’ve heard people rave about Madewell denim for that very reason, and now I know why! It’s so comfy, and makes them the jeans to reach for on days where you just want to be cozy.

Final verdict: will 100% be exchanging these for the correct size because, well… magic yoga pant jeans people! However I may swap them out for the Ainsworth Wash which is a lighter wash with a bit more of a vintage vibe.

Style: The Dad Jean in Bradburn Wash. This wash is currently sold out so I’m linking to current wash in stock here.

Cost: $118

My Size: 26 regular

What the website says:

Product Details:

Slouchy and slightly oversized, this boyfriend style in black denim was inspired by the kind of low-slung jeans you might steal from your dad’s closet (you know, the one place where it’s still pretty much the ’90s).

  • 11 1/2″ long rise, slouchy and roomy through hip and thigh, 15″ wide leg opening, 28″ full-length inseam.
  • Get ’em in your usual size for a relaxed vibe.
  • Do Well: We partner with the Better Cotton Initiative to improve cotton farming globally.
  • Premium 100% cotton denim from Italy’s Candiani mill.
  • Button fly.
  • Machine wash.

What I say:

Okay we talked about the Mom Jeans, and now we need to even it out with a chat about the Dad Jean. These were a pleasant surprise friends! They remind of the AGolde 90’s Jean, but at a fraction of the cost.

These are a similar feeling cotton as the Mom Jean, but in a much thicker version. Still, they are very comfortable to wear, and don’t feel restrictive at all. I think I accidentally ordered these in the correct size (because I’m not sure why these were the only size 26 I ordered??), but it was the right decision as these are the only jeans that fit me correctly right out of the box. The name of these jeans sums them up quite nicely: they fit like the type of jeans your dad wears. But in a really good way? Ha! They are straight from top to bottom, with just the slightest taper at the bottom, and are full length hitting right at the heel. They are slouchy all the way down, but they also sit snug on your waist so you still get a nice cinch there.

The denim is really easy to wear, and they feel like any vintage Levi 501’s you may come across in your local thrift store. Like I said, it’s a bit thicker than the mom jean, so it does feel really authentic. Oh! And they have a button fly.

Final verdict. Ummm yes please! You may think I’m crazy to be vibing a pair of jeans called Dad jeans, but these totally do it for me. I love the full length, slouchy fit and think these will look amazing with boots and a sweater come fall.

Style: Classic Straight Jean in Coldbrook Wash

Cost: $128

My Size: 27 regular, but should have gotten a 26

What the website says:

Product Details:

Old-school straight-leg jeans cut just the way we like them: high, tight on top and totally sexy.

  • 11 1/4″ high rise, fitted through hip and thigh, 13″ straight leg opening, 26″ cropped inseam.
  • Do Well: For each pair made at the Fair Trade Certified™ Saitex factory, we contribute to a Community Development Fund managed by the workers.
  • 99% cotton/1% spandex denim.
  • Machine wash.

What I Say:

This is a great, classic pair of straight leg denim in a really comfy fabric.

Okay, what is this Madewell magic? These feel really similar to the vintage denim, with just slightly less stretch to them. Lots of movement, very soft, and another pair of yoga pant denim! I got these in the wrong size (again. I’m so sorry for my failures as a blogger) so it’s hard to tell exactly how the correct size will fit, but as with the vintage denim these feel stretchy enough that going down a size will still be very comfortable. As it is, there’s just too much room in the waistband. I have pretty prominent hip bones (is that even a thing?), and I hate the feeling of a waistband just… sitting on top of them. Does that make sense? Going down a size will get these nice and cinched in at the waist. From the front, these do look like they have the slightest bit of a taper, but you can see from the side that they are a true straight jean.

As I mentioned above, the fabric is very soft and stretchy. These feel like they have a slightly less thick material to them, so they might be slightly better for warmer weather, but honestly? That’s just splitting hairs.

Final Verdict: I will for sure be keeping these after I get them in the right size.

:: Skinny ::

Style: 11″ High Rise Skinny Jeans in Maricopa Wash

Cost: $128

My Size: 27 regular, but should have gotten a 26

What the website says:

Product Details:

Our 11″ high-rise skinny jeans are lean and legs-for-days sexy in a bright indigo wash.

  • 11″ high rise, fitted through hip and thigh, 9 3/4″ skinny leg opening, 28 1/2″ inseam.
  • Do Well: We partner with the Better Cotton Initiative to improve cotton farming globally.
  • Premium 88% cotton/8% poly/4% elastane denim from the Cone® mill.
  • Magic Pockets.
  • Machine wash.

What I Say:

I’ll confess: I only got these to try out because I know a lot of you guys like skinny jeans. I’m not a huge fan, but if you are hopefully you’ll benefit from this review!

These have a really similar fit to the classic straight jeans, with the exception that they are a true skinny so the leg is tapered from top to bottom. They are really curve hugging, and like a proper skinny jean mold to your legs. They do have a slight bit of bagging at the knees, but I don’t think you can escape that with stretchy skinny jeans. These definitely bag out far less than other skinny jeans that I’ve tried. What you can see in the photos is a good representation so you can make up your mind on whether that amount of bagging bothers you or not. K? These do have a really cinched waist even with a size too big, and honestly I could have gotten away with a 27 in these so I would say if you are in between sizes, try to size up. They hit me right above the ankle bone, which in my opinion is where skinny jeans should hit.

The material on these feels very similar to the material on the classic straight jean, which is interesting because the material makeup is quite different. I did used to own a pair of the road tripper jeggings from Madewell, and I would argue that these are actually a lot comfier and stretchy feeling.

Final verdict: I will be returning these, but simply because I don’t wear skinny jeans ever… although looking at these photos does tempt me to keep them… but no. I won’t wear them so return!

Style: 11″ High-Rise Roadtripper Jeans in Beckwith Wash: Button-Front Edition and 10″ High-Rise Roadtripper Jeans in Playford Wash

Cost: $79.50 and $75

My Size: 25

What the website says:

Lightweight and just stretchy enough, our 11″ high-rise button-front jeans are crafted in supersoft denim that really lets you breathe.

  • 11″ high rise, fitted through the hip and thigh, with a 9 3/4″ skinny leg opening, 28 1/2″ inseam.
  • Do Well: We partner with the Better Cotton Initiative to improve cotton farming globally.
  • 73% cotton/16% poly/10% viscose/1% elastane denim.
  • Magic Pockets; button-front.
  • Machine wash.

What I say:

Oh boy are these insanely comfy! I recently pulled an older pair of these out of storage to see if they would work, and I was instantly reminded why I used to love them so much! They are the stretchiest, comfiest pair of skinny jeans ever and they don’t fall down or bunch up around the knees like a lot of other super stretchy denim I’ve tried.

They DO stretch out quite a bit however in terms of overall fit so I would DEFINITELY recommend sizing down. I’ve now realized I’m a pretty true size 26 in almost every Madewell style of denim, but I did size down to a 25 in these. They were a bit snug at first, but they now fit perfectly.

The material is so soft on these jeans which truly does make them the best lounging jeans I’ve found!

Final verdict: LOVE these so much! I have them in these two washes, but I’m already thinking about the grey wash. 😉

:: Wide/Flare Leg ::

Style: Cali Demi Boot Jeans in Starkey Wash

Cost: $128

My Size: 26 regular

What the website says:

Lean and modern, these vintage-looking jeans kick out into a cropped mini-flare that works with flats and heels alike. This pairs come in our famous stretchhhhhhy holds-you-in denim with an authentic rugged look.

  • Please note: This jean runs small, so we recommend ordering a size larger than your normal size.
  • 9 1/2″ mid rise, fitted through hip and thigh, 15 1/2″ kick out leg opening, 26 1/2″ cropped inseam.
  • Do Well: For each pair made at the Fair Trade Certified™ Saitex factory, we contribute to a Community Development Fund managed by the workers.
  • Premium 95% cotton/3% poly/2% elastane ISKO Reform™ XP denim.
  • Magic Pockets.

What I say:

OKAY. So I should have gone with the suggestion on the website and ordered a size up. They fit me in the size 26… but it’s a tight fit and not the most comfy. So don’t make my mistake, and definitely DO size up. I will definitely be getting them in the correct size though because they are SO DANG flattering! They hug your curves, the slim flare out at the leg, and the sort of high rise… all perfect touches.

Now with that said, you do need to know a few things about these jeans before you buy: they are not anywhere near as stretchy as the description makes them sound. In fact, they are the most rigid pair of Madewell denim I own. They are also made of a thicker denim so I just don’t get the huge playing up of the stretchy factor in their description. I think with the right size they would be extremely comfortable, and might even stretch out a bit overall, but I still don’t think they’d feel super stretchy. So just a heads up. However, because of the thicker more rigid feeling denim they will definitely hold their shape, and you’ll never have to worry about them sliding down even though they don’t have the highest rise.

Final thoughts: I do really recommend these jeans, but definitely size up!

Style: Slim Wide Leg Crop Jeans in Reggie Wash

Cost: $128

My Size: 27 regular, but should have gotten a 26

What the website says:

Product Details:

We’ve updated our best-selling workwear-inspired jeans with a slimmer, straighter leg (it’s a fresh look).  

  • 11″ high rise, fitted through hip and thigh, 17 1/2″ wide leg opening, 25 1/2″ cropped inseam.
  • Do Well: For each pair made at the Fair Trade Certified™ Saitex factory, we contribute to a Community Development Fund managed by the workers.
  • Premium 96% cotton/3% poly/1% elastane denim from the Orta mill.
  • Magic Pockets.
  • Machine wash.

What I Say:

These are almost perfect. Let me tell you why:

I’m a huge fan of wide leg jeans (and wide leg pants as well) so these really appeal to me as a wide leg, but not so quite wide leg style. They’re kind of like a straight leg pair of jeans on steroids. Which is a good thing! I love this wash as well as it’s slightly lighter and more muted than some of their other washes. These are slim through the hips, and then widen at the bottom… with a slight pull back to straight at the bottom. They’re very high waisted, and I absolutely adore that the pockets don’t bag out (for some reason this is a problem for me with other wide leg styles)… BUT they are slightly too cropped for my taste. I think these are actually a similar inseam to other wide leg styles, but with the more straight “feel” to these jeans they kind of make me feel like I’m wearing my mom’s old capris. I 100% recognize this is total personal preference so don’t feel bad if you disagree with me. As with the other pairs I ordered, these have too much room in the waist, but with the correct size think they would fit beautifully.

They fabric feels really similar to the vintage denim as well with it being stretchy, soft, and with a bit more weight to the material.

Final Verdict: I’m still not sure about these jeans. I might return these and wait for the full length version to restock in my size, OR I may see if these would work better in a tall inseam. Not sure!

And that’s it folks! When I return the styles that didn’t work out for me, I may try out the Slim Demi Boot style, but again I’m not sure. Bootcut hasn’t typically worked out for me, but maybe this one will? Ha!

Oh and here are some links to the other things I’m wearing (affiliate links):

I hope you found this helpful. Madewell has tons of styles, so I couldn’t try out everything for you, but I’d love to help you out if you have a specific request for a style I didn’t review, so just let me know in the comments. Over time I hope to make this list more exhaustive, and once stores open I can try to pop in and try on any remaining styles (but that will probably be awhile yet so hang tight!).

I also have an Everlane Denim Guide if you’re interested in more denim reviews.

As always, thanks for reading!

Until next time,

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  1. 7.19.20
    Lexie said:

    This is so thorough! Thank you for the fantastic roundup.

    • 7.20.20
      Karin said:

      I’m so glad you found it useful!

  2. 8.2.20
    Faith said:

    Hey!! Where is that shirt from? Thanks!

    • 8.3.20
      Karin said:

      It’s linked at the bottom of the post! ♥️

  3. 12.21.20
    Darling said:

    Hi Karin, I am transitioning out of skinny jeans too and decided to go with the Madewell Perfect Vintage. My question is, what are the best winter shoes for this style? I was thinking of getting the Ainsley boot but I’m afraid it might be too short. I want booties that will keep my feet warm and dry. Where should the boot hit in respect to the pants? I need help understanding that. Thanks!

    • 12.21.20
      Karin said:

      Hi there! I think it depends on your style. To be honest, I prefer to wear sneakers with this style, but I also really have loved the Madewell chelsea boots as well. I’d go for something that has a slimmer ankle so that it can fit underneath the hem of the jeans. I hope that helps!

      • 12.22.20
        Darling said:

        Perfect! Thank you 😊

      • 2.15.21
        Desiree said:

        Hello! & thank you for the spot on reviews!! I absolutely agree with your sizing & fit summary / suggestions. ….just to give anyone out there who is on the fence to take your word for it.
        I do have a question about the Chelsea boots. I LOVE them but the reviews on sizing and comfort are all over the place. Because of this I’ve reluctantly put off buying a pair despite a love affair with the chunky sole overall style.
        In your opinion how does the fit run? Tts, small, large. And also, your take on comfort, break in time, if any, etc.
        Many thanks in your anticipated response!!!
        And again, fabulous job correctly nailing, imo, all aspects of the jeans for this post.
        Wishing you a beautiful day! 💫✌

        • 2.15.21
          Karin said:

          Thanks Desiree! I appreciate the backup. 🙂 As for your chelsea boot questions: I have a full review in this post: (and what I wrote then still holds true, except the rubbing at the ankle has gone away!)

  4. 1.10.21
    Elizabeth Diane said:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this! Thank you for pinning it, as this is my only form of social media 😂 I want so many pairs that you mentioned now!

    • 1.11.21
      Karin said:

      I’m glad it was helpful! Pinterest is my favorite social media so I get it! 😝

  5. 1.13.21
    Jill said:

    Do you know why Roadtrippers are so much cheaper? Thanks – great review!!

    • 1.15.21
      Karin said:

      I don’t know officially, but I think it’s most likely do to the fabric makeup. They’re a lot stretchier… more of a jegging really.

  6. 1.29.21
    Joy Comden said:

    It looks like you listed the slim wide leg crop jeans two times, I am curious the name of the black wash denim jean that appear to be a more straight leg style ? Thank you!

    • 2.1.21
      Karin said:

      Thanks for pointing that out! The link is fixed now!

  7. 1.29.21
    Jacqueline said:

    This was the best review! I referenced it so many times before purchasing my newest pair of jeans. I’d like to know what white tee you have on in most of the pictures because it looks perfect!

    • 2.1.21
      Karin said:

      I’m so glad it was helpful Jacqueline! I have the white tee linked at the bottom of the post. ♥️

  8. 2.20.21
    Heya said:

    Love this! Don’t see a link for the oatmeal long sleeve you’re wearing in the Enmore Wash. It looks so good with them.

    • 2.22.21
      Karin said:

      It’s an older style from Kotn that’s no longer available. 😢

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