Last week I received a catalog in the mail from Madewell. I almost entirely forgot that I had requested one in the first place. But upon first sight, I was instantly in love. From the typeface choices to the styling, I knew that this was a brand I can stand behind. And then, I found out that they were part of J. Crew. I don’t necessarily hate J. Crew. I just remember some of the animal rights controversy they were involved with in the past. But Madewell is a very different brand and demographic than J. Crew. It has a very uniform and utilitarian feel to it. And I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt since it was just PETA that gave them hell in the past for where they got their fur and wool. (Sure as a cat owner and animal lover, I’m not cool with animal cruelty. But PETA hasn’t exactly exercised favorable behavior either.)
Over the weekend, I met up with my bff Nisa who currently works at American Apparel at the corporate level. Nisa and I have been wearing American Apparel since our high school years and we remember when they used to only have 5 products. And whether or not a shirt was printed on American Apparel used to be the deciding factor in which online stores we would support. Well fast forward about a decade, and American Apparel is now this huge ever-expanding thing that just doesn’t know when to stop (even when they’re in financial trouble). Vintage watches & eyewear? Beauty products? WHAT?! We went from owning just a few American Apparel tees to wearing American Apparel every day. I wear at least 1 article of clothing from them every day. Nisa, for obvious reasons, wears American Apparel head-to-toe every day, but she was wearing them long before she got the job.
But what we laughed about over lunch was how we’re still stuck on uniforms. We both attended Catholic school for 12 years of our lives where we had to wear uniforms every day. And every since we graduated from high school, we’ve managed to create our own uniform from pieces of different brands. Nisa has a rule about wearing mostly oxford shirts and cardigans. I have a specific color rule: I own mostly white, greys, black. With the exception of darks. So I can have color, but they have to be the dark shades of colors. So colors like navy, forest green, deep purple, burgundy, etc. Sure, some people think our wardrobe is boring, but it suits us just fine. The case we make for it is that everything in our closets will always match. We never have to worry about getting dressed and having our clothes not match. We can seriously be blindfolded and pick stuff from our closet and everything will match.
So what does Madewell have anything to do with this? Well Madewell looks like the next logical wardrobe upgrade. This year I’ll be turning 25. I’m starting to hit that late 20s/early 30s age where I’m starting to transition out of young adulthood. And as comfy as an American Apparel V-neck is, it’s not always going to be the appropriate choice. I’ve been looking to upgrade my everyday uniform from V-necks and jeans to casual button-ups with jeans. It’s only been a matter of finding something I really like.
Here are some of my favorite looks: