I Tried 8 of Madewell's Best-Selling Basics—These Are My Honest Reviews

There aren't that many brands that I can say I've been wearing for more than 10 years, but Madewell is definitely one of them. The brans has some of the best special basics on the market, and its jeans are as good as designer (and significantly cheaper). This is a fact that I've stated so many times that I'm practically a broken record at this point.

I'm always intrigued by what a brand's bestselling items are, as it's safe to assume that they're tried and true and therefore great. But an even better way to prove this is to try them out myself, so that's what I did. Madewell has great models (including size-inclusive ones!) but it's hard to really know how something will look IRL, especially when you're 5'4" like myself and the average height of a model is 5'9". So I chose eight basics that have reached bestseller status to try on in the comfort of my own home, from the perfect white T-shirt to jeans that Madewell shoppers rave about constantly. Keep scrolling to see how they look, read my reviews, and shop the bestselling items for yourself. 

Broadway Cardigan Sweater
and
10" High-Rise Skinny Crop Jeans in Sheffield Wash

Broadway Cardigan Sweater Review: I'm a sucker for a slouchy cardigan with pretty buttons, so I knew I had to try this one as soon as I saw it. The verdict is that I have a new favorite spring sweater. It's nice and lightweight but not thin, and it's the boxy, slightly cropped shape that I love in a sweater. I tried an XS but would probably prefer it in S, to get the cool slightly oversized fit of the models' cardigans.

High-Rise Skinny Crop Jeans Review: I don't know that they look all that comfortable but believe me when I tell you that these jeans are very much so. The denim is soft yet it still manages to hold everything in. I also love the length—not too short and not too long for my 5'4" height.

MWL Form High-Rise 7/8 Leggings Review: Finding great leggings that are less than $100 is surprisingly harder than it sounds, but trust me—I've tried a lot of leggings. These, from Madewell's new activewear line are right up there with some of the $125 pairs I've tried. They're compressive but are on the thinner side, so they're perfect for sweaty workouts.

The Perfect Vintage Jean in Maplewood Wash

The Perfect Vintage Jean in Maplewood Wash Review: I'm already a big fan of Madewell's Perfect Vintage Jeans, so I was excited to try them in this popular wash. My first impression was that they looked very clean and classic, so they're a pair that you'll be able to wear for years to come, and the high quality of the denim means they're built to last. They have a good amount of stretch (i.e. I could wear them to work from home), but they're not quite as stretchy as the skinny jeans that I tried. I highly recommend if you're looking for a classic pair of jeans that are between skinny and straight-leg.

Northside Vintage Tee
and
The Perfect Vintage Military Shorts

Northside Vintage Tee Review: First of all, I can't complain about a $16 T-shirt, but I'd be a fan even if I had no idea what the price was. I usually prefer T-shirts that are on the thicker side, but this one definitely deserves a place in my closet as it's the perfect weight for warm days to come and it'll make a great layering piece. It's not oversized per se, but it's also not tight (I'm wearing a size S, for reference). I'd recommend buying it in White first and then going for more colors if you love it.

The Perfect Vintage Military Shorts Review: I love shorts. Always have, always will. I have a big stack of denim cut-offs in my closet and have been looking for something different. These fit the bill to a T. They're a great length and I loved the material. They're stretchy but the material is very sturdy, so they hold their shape well. I'll definitely be adding the tan color to my closet as well.

Caldwell Double-Breasted Blazer: Two Button Edition

Caldwell Double-Breasted Blazer Review: I love a good double-breasted blazer, especially for spring when we get to shed the heavy coats but it's not mild enough to bare our arms just yet. It's also one of the few items you can throw on over almost anything and you'll instantly look 100 times chicer. I chose this blazer because it seemed to have a cool oversized fit, it's made from breathable linen, and it's machine washable. The fit was, in fact, great—the perfect length and just loose enough to wear a thin longsleeve shirt underneath. It looks like something you could've spent a lot more than $158 on. It does wrinkle a bit, but that's to be expected with linen.

The Perfect Vintage Jean in Ainsworth Wash

The Perfect Vintage Jean in Ainsworth Wash Review: Thanks to the light wash and frayed hem, these jeans were the most casual of the three that I tried. I'm not someone that minds stiff jeans, as I like the way they look but just a heads up that these are on the stiffer side, and I had to wiggle a bit to get them on, but after wearing them for a bit, they started to loosen up to the perfect fit. But if you prefer a slouchier fit, I recommend sizing up in this pair. (For reference, I'm wearing a 26.) All in all, I loved the '90s look of these and I think they'd be great with sneakers or casual sandals come spring.

Shop More Madewell Bestsellers I Love

Season after season, this highly-rated boilersuit sells out.

I have a strong feeling that moto jackets are making a comeback.

Meet Madewell's newest denim style. (I want them, HBU?)

Related Stories