Shopping: Madewell’s Finch Flats

Madewell’s Finch Flats

After several months of not really buying anything (!), I recently fell moderately in love with Madewell’s Finch Flats, in the willow green color. These are so unpractical, I told myself. They’re light green suede; they’ll be ruined the second I wear them outdoors.

You can get protective spray for suede, one of my friends pointed out.

Indeed, I can. So I ordered them, in my usual size 10, when they were 15 % off.

And…they were too big.

Let’s pause here and reflect on how that never happens. I’m usually struggling to cram my feet into ballet flats. But these were very loose, even with socks on. Without socks, I had about a half inch of space between the heel of my foot and the heel of the shoe.

Madewell does make these in a 9.5, which is a rarity, but I’m on the fence/too lazy to exchange them for that half size down, since the shoes are online only.

Another issue, the toe cap was short enough that, without socks on (and these do look funny with socks, by the way), you can see the spaces between my toes. Toe cleavage, I think they call it, but that’s a disgusting term. Anyway, it’s weird to see the spaces between your toes in shoes. I’d rather that not happen.

And one more issue – there’s no cushion in the sole of the shoe. I think I’m spoiled by Banana’s memory foam ballet flats (RIP) or by the very cushy soles of my Nisolo loafers, but I just can’t do with that any padding at all.

So, in sum: Madewell’s Finch Flats are pretty, nicely made, but run big and aren’t for me.

Shopping: The Search for Perfect Pants

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might have noticed that most of the items I buy and wear are skirts or dresses. I’m not opposed to pants, per se, but over the years, pants shopping has been a bit of nightmare, so I’ve pretty much stuck with skirts. There are a few reasons why I particularly dislike shopping for pants: my height and the reign of skinny jeans and very slim-fitting pants. I just don’t feel comfortable in the style.

My height doesn’t necessarily make finding the right leg length a problem, but it does make getting the rise right an issue. Although a lot of clothing brands offer tall sizes, they simply seem to add a few inches to the inseam and call it a day. I don’t need 36 or 37-inch inseams. I need about an inch more in the rise of the pants to get a comfortable fit.

Still, winter is coming, as they say, and I thought it might be nice to have more than an pair of jeans for those particularly chilly days, when a skirt and wool tights just aren’t warm enough. Thus began the great pants hunt of 2015. I went through five pairs, which I guess isn’t that many, before I found the ones.

First up:

Madewell Flea Markets Flares (Rollins Wash)


I tried on a pair of Madewell’s Flea Market Flares over the summer and wasn’t particularly enthralled by them. That pair was a classic blue jean denim and the summer was just getting under way, so I knew I wouldn’t get much wear out of them for the next few months. But, as fall rolled around, Madewell introduced the flares in a few more washes including a black denim. Since I’ve always been a fan of black jeans, I thought I’d give them a try.


They were just a bit too short – giving me flash backs to middle school and all the kids asking me where the flood was. Yikes. No thanks. As it turns out, the black denim (or Rollins Wash) flares are a bit shorter than the other Flea Markets – for whatever reason, they have a 33 inch inseam. The flare at the hem is also less wide – measuring about 21 inches around. They also felt a bit tight in the waist and thighs in my usual size 28.

So, those jeans were a wash. Perhaps, I should try some trousers:

J.Crew Full Length Pant in Wool

Damn. These pants sold out quickly. J.Crew doesn’t really offer full-length pants, so I guess when they did, everyone jumped at the chance to buy a pair. Particularly the aubergine (dark purple) color, which at first sold out in my size, then came back and quickly sold out again.









I managed to order the purple pants in my usual size (6) and, just to be on the safe side, since the reviews said the pants ran small, I got a size 8 in the black (the purple 8’s were all gone).

The purple pants would have been perfect, except for the rise. It was just a touch too short, like seriously, all I need was another 1/2 inch. The black pants were a bit roomier and sat lower on the waist because of that (these are meant to be high-waisted trousers). They still look nice, but I think the baggier fit of them made them a bit less flattering than their purple cousins. The inseam, 34 inches, was fine on both pairs.

Jcrew_full_length_wool_pant_black-side Jcrew_full_length_wool_pant_aubergine-side








Aside from the fit of the pants, there was one other issue, and that was that they were an unlined wool blend. The blend was just a touch scratchy, even in the looser pair. So I sent both back.

Which brings me to pants pair no. 3:

Theory Garetto Pants

Back in college, I had these stretchy black, flare-leg pants from New York & Company. I think that sentence gives you a fair idea of when I was in college. Anyway, although that sounds awful, those pants were great. They were very comfortable but still looked professional enough for work. When I saw Theory’s Garetto pants, which are made out of a stretchy knit ponte, I was reminded of those NY&Co. ones.


The big difference being that Theory’s pants were almost $300 (originally, I got then for 50% off from Saks) and I probably got the NY&Co. ones for less than $30. The other big difference being that the Theory pants had a hook and tab and a zipper closure and my favorite pants of old were pull-on.


So, by now, you might have guessed the issue with these pants. They look fine. The length is fine (35″ inseam). I really liked the stretchy fabric. I got them in an 8 and the rise was just too short. I was able to pull them a bit lower on my hips, but then I got that muffin top thing going on and that just wasn’t a good look. Back they went.

Finally, the winner:

Madewell Flea Market Flares (Kenner Wash)

Hey, you might be saying, I thought the flares didn’t work out for you. Well, as it turns out, not all Madewell flares are the same. The same jeans in the Kenner wash, or dark rinse denim, are completely different from the jeans in the Rollins wash.


These are longer and the flares are wider. They don’t look like flood pants when I wear them with a 1-inch heel.

I’ll admit, at first I was nervous that the jeans were a bit too flared and I looked like I fell out of 1975 or something. But I had a chat with the associates at Madewell and they assured me that they didn’t look too dated. They also showed me that hemming the pants would give me that flood look I wasn’t going for, so thanks to them for that. I’m always impressed by how helpful the associates are at Madewell stores.

So, now I have my jeans for the winter, and I’m happy. I’ll be adding them to my winter capsule – more to come about that in the next post!

Shopping: Flares

Apparently, Madewell had its first ever sample sale in New York this past week. As it turns out, I was also in New York this past week, but I didn’t find out about the sale until I got home yesterday. But, I did have a chance to drop in to the store in SoHo and browse around a bit with a friend.

The Madewell store in New York is a bit bigger than the one in Philly, or at least, it seems bigger because it is two floors. What I know for sure is this: it had the Flea Market Flares, which I have wanted to try on for some time now, and the Philly doesn’t (or  at least, they didn’t).

Remember back in the middle of what we’re now calling the aughts, when bootleg jeans gave way to skinnies? Those were dark times for me, at least when it came to pants and jeans. I hate skinny jeans. They look awful on me and they are very uncomfortable. Although bootlegs were hard to find and people actually made fun of them, I kept on wearing them throughout the skinny  jeans dark ages. I know what is flattering and what makes my large thighs look better proportioned to the rest of my legs.

I got pretty excited when the runways started featuring 70’s styles this year and  when the first rumblings started to be heard that flares were back. Oh, thank heavens. Can we all move on from skinnies now? Can we agree that they aren’t a universally flattering look?


Here’s the trouble: neither are flares. Like skinnies, you’ll probably look amazing in flares if you don’t have large thighs. But, if your thighs are your biggest area on your entire body, like mine are, the proportions will look off. These jeans don’t really look very flared, more like puddly.


Length might also be an issue, too. While skinnies went the short route, usually with inseams less than 30 inches, flares assume you’ll be wearing heels. The flea market flares have a 34 inch inseam, which with their high rise (these sat near my waist), meant that they just skimmed the floor when I was barefoot. Maybe the whole silhouette would have worked better if I had a pair of heels to wear, but really, what’s the point in changing your entire wardrobe and style (I hate heels) just to wear a single pair of jeans?


One thing I did learn from my recent trip to Madewell: I love the Anthem tank. More on that to come.