Madewell HQ: Our Style Resolutions for 2012

At Madewell headquarters, we’re all very serious about committing to our New Year’s resolutions. OK, maybe not all of them and maybe not for very long, but we do take our style oaths seriously. Check out how some key players on Team Madewell are vowing to refresh their wardrobes for 2012.

GIGI, resident tastemaker

Resolution: Play Around With Plaid.

In her words: “I’ve always been a big fan of pattern-on-pattern dressing, and I’m all about taking style risks. Plus this look is offbeat and unexpected.”

What she’s wearing: Vintage made-in-Ireland poncho, Madewell Legging Jeans and a black plaid scarf—plus some very tartan reading material.

KIN, head of all things design

Resolution: Brighten Up My Blues.

In her words: “This ensemble may not seem very extreme, but I’m a huge lover of muted chambrays and washed-out denim, so this bold blue is a new thing for me!”

What she’s wearing: Madewell Silk Mosswood Shirt and Madewell Heritage Premium High Riser Jeans in Spur Wash.

CHRISTINA, spot-on stylist

Resolution: Dress It Up.

In her words: “I’ve always leaned more toward menswear-inspired style, so I’m trying my hardest to get into dresses.”

What she’s wearing: Madewell Lily Lace Dress and Madewell Clog Booties.

JAC, denim designer and devotee

Resolution: Stop Skirting Skirts.

In her words: “Everyone knows I’m obsessed with denim—in fact, I was wearing a denim jacket before we took this photo. So wearing skirts is something I literally forget to do because I just love jeans to death. I’m turning over a new leaf!”

What she’s wearing: Alexa Chung for Madewell Grandma Skirt and a vintage tank.

JOYCE, most excellent accessories designer

Resolution: Get Dotty.

In her words: “I’m very much a shirt-and-jeans kind of girl and even though I love prints and patterns, I forget to incorporate them. Dots are my first choice for branching out!”

What she’s wearing: Madewell Spotted Snowfall Sweater, vintage jeans and Madewell Polka-Dot Film Noir Pumps.

Trending in Tokyo: Cat Cafés

by Gigi Guerra (Madewell)

On a recent trip to Tokyo with some of Madewell’s designers, I caught wind of something called a “cat café,” which is basically a living room–like teahouse filled with friendly felines. Though I’m a die-hard dog person (and happen to be highly allergic to cats), I became obsessed with finding one of these cafés. Apparently they’ve been popping up all across Japan, and in no time, we stumbled across one (fittingly called The Caterium). Here’s a tour.

We knew we’d struck gold when we spotted this telltale sign on the sidewalk outside a nondescript office building. Our highly anticipated cat café experience was within meowing distance, three floors up. So I popped a Claritin and we started our ascent. In the stairwell, we were greeted with feline-themed banners, arty snapshots of the residents and a calendar documenting that month’s cat happenings.

Once inside, we were greeted at the reception counter by a content tabby (seen below lounging on a stack of papers), who lazily watched us pay the entry fee, 300 yen (about $3.50) per 15 minutes.

After removing our shoes, we were escorted by a friendly staff member to a sink nook and asked to wash and sanitize our hands. (As a germophobe, I very much appreciated the sickness-thwarting efforts they made on the cats’ behalf.)

Over the next half hour we padded around the compact carpeted nursery-school–like space, mingling with everyone from businessmen to a group of teenagers, all playing with cats and sipping a variety of teas (we went for a nutty brew from Okinawa). The whole vibe of the place was quiet and mellow. It was so relaxing, I was half tempted to take a cat nap (OK, bad joke).

A big basket of cat toys were provided to play with, which Kin happily took advantage of.

Some of the cats were feisty and ready to play; others opted to curl up in big ceramic bowls, nestle in boxes or hide under tables and silently observe. Another notable quirk? One of the cats had recently passed away, and a shrine—complete with the cat’s ashes in an urn—was arranged on a nearby shelf.

After 30 minutes, it was back to the streets. On the way out, we were each handed a commemorative, wallet-sized picture to remember our visit. Here’s the one I got:

For more on Japan’s cat cafés, check out this awesome feature. Next on my list? A dog café called Bau House that I just discovered in Seoul.

Office Craze: Taking a Stand

by Kendall Meade (Madewell)

That’s me, workin’ it a little too hard for the camera, but proof is proof, right? I’m still standing, believe it or not.

Recently, our tiny marketing department went on a lunch outing. At the end of our delicious meal, I started whining about my sore back and promptly blamed both my soft bed and the occupational hazards that go along with being a writer (translation: sitting for hours upon end). Gigi suggested standing up at my desk, which seemed supercrazy until I came across an article that suggested that sitting for most of the day at a desk can take years off your life. A panicked spark flew, and we instantly decided to band together and stand at work for as long as we could. My journey was filled with triumph, odd looks from coworkers and many suggestions for a playlist (you’ll find that below, too). And guess what? My back feels better. And I’m still standing.

Here, more true stories from the vertical front.

GIGI

Gigi gets major props for suggesting the standing ploy, as well as for successfully mixing stripes and prints. Days standing? A good solid eight.

When it came time to practice what I preach and actually work standing up, I was kind of like, “whoa.” But since I’d convinced my esteemed coworkers to do it, I figured I should be a team player. So I kicked off my wedges, slid into some sandals and entered the nine-to-five vertical productivity game. Then our designer Kin fed my fire by telling me about something called a treadmill desk, which I actually briefly considered, picturing myself breezily running a 5K while answering emails, taking meetings and having conference calls. I was further inspired by a guy I read about who leisurely walked the equivalent distance from midtown Manhattan to Secaucus, NJ, in a work day. And then, without explanation, I lost all momentum. But the biggest upside of working while standing? It gave me better perspective on my messy desk, which inspired me to address my most pressing well-being issue: getting rid of clutter. 

KHIRA

This is Khira (in her not-so-sensible shoes). Number of days standing? An impressive eight and a half.

First, let me say that I have no clue whether standing up at my desk for a week made any positive impact on my lifespan, but it definitely did wonders (or horrors, depending on your perspective) for my aptitude for death-related wordplay. It seemed I couldn’t even go 10 minutes without making a joke about how we were “standing up—to death,” how sitting people were getting “the chair” or generally remarking that pushing through the pain was about personal will—you know, to live. The one practical thing I can say about the whole ordeal? My shoes were very much platformed on Day 1—and that is so not recommended.

FIORELLA

It’s safe to say Fiorella did this purely as a reason to play R.E.M. in the office. How long did she last? Ten hours.

I admit, I do a lot of things that I’m well aware will probably take years off my life: I don’t get nearly enough sleep; I’m usually stressed about something; I frequently eat things that wouldn’t qualify for inclusion in any of the major food groups—I could go on. But I didn’t realize until my desk neighbor Khira clued me in that the simple act of sitting also deserved to be on that list of health no-nos. So when my coworkers decided to stand, I figured I should also rise to the occasion. I promptly cued up “Stand” by R.E.M. (Michael Stipe literally says I should “stand in the place where I work,” after all). The first few hours were fine—I had a new view, better posture and my posterior felt decidedly less pancake-y. But come Monday, I lasted only a few hours. Yes, I know I may be sacrificing time in my twilight years, but I think I’d rather live in the moment, comfortably. So after 10 hours of standing, I called it quits. Bizarrely (and sadly) a few days later, so did R.E.M.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: THE PLAYLIST

“Get Up, Stand Up” by Bob Marley

“Stand” by R.E.M.

“Stand!” by Sly and the Family Stone

“I’m Still Standing” by Elton John

“Stand Back” by Stevie Nicks

Meet the bloggers

Well, first off, there’s us. We’re an ever-changing group working on all sorts of creative things at Madewell. Designers, media mavens, tastemakers, industrious interns—the gang’s all here.

We’re really excited to share all the stuff—big or small, far and wide–that constantly inspires us. Hop over here and you’ll get the story on each of us.

But wait, there’s more…

We cast a net from coast to coast, sweeping up some of our favorite writerly women who we think are just so Madewell. (We have a hunch you’ll think so too.) Read up on the group, whose musings you’ll find mixed in with our own.