Tales from a Madewell Stylist: Finding Your Denim Soul Mate

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In this brand-new series, we’re handing the storytelling reigns over to our stylists. The teams in our shops get up close and personal with the realities of jeans-seeking day in and day out and know firsthand that, whether you love it or hate it, finding the perfect jean is arguably a sport. We held an open call of sorts, asking our stylists to send us their most memorable experiences to date. We were so overwhelmed with the responses, it was impossible to pick a “best”—so we didn’t. You’ll be reading more personal stories in the months to come, but this one from Jess in our St. Louis store felt like a nice way to kick things off. She shares one of her little victories: helping a woman fall in love with a skinny jean (a style she’d sworn off for life). But we’ll let her tell you about it.

It’s a Tuesday at our Denim Bar. Things, for the moment, are quiet. The Orwells play. Meticulously, I attempt to make certain that every size is displayed while losing time in rhythmic folding thoughts. The moment is abruptly halted with a shuffling to my left. And there “she” is, not making eye contact. This won’t be easy.

It takes me five whole seconds to decide she’ll be perfect in our signature jean, the Skinny Skinny. But that’s not how it works. I have to remind myself that I’m the enemy right now—an agent working on behalf of the intimidating stacks of indigo that are only here to reveal all her insecurities. So we begin.

“Don’t worry, I’m fine,” she shoos me away. I smile, nod and allow her to grab The Boyjean (which I can tell is two sizes too big). I quietly suggest she try another fit while she’s here. No dice. I could attempt to convince her, but that’d be a rookie mistake. Confidence and trust are a delicate balance and, as such, can never be rushed. So I hand her the High Riser Skinny Skinny without any fanfare.

She begins her trial. The Boyjean is too big. The rise of the High Riser is too high, but she likes the way her legs look. Ah, sweet music to my ears. Progress. I pull out the Skinny Skinny, the High Riser’s less rock ’n’ roll, more French-ingenue counterpart. I know these are “the ones,” but I just casually offer them to her. As expected, but not hinted at, they are perfect. “Wow, I look great.” (Oh my gosh! Did she just say that? She really does look great, but women so rarely acknowledge it when they do.) “I can’t believe these are my size!” I can. “I never thought I’d wear a skinny jean in my life.” Victory.

On the sales floor, it’s the little victories—the ones you chase a repeat of.

Shop our brand-new Denim Bar here.

Photography by Angi Welsch.