This year we like to think we’ve really got your back—from gifts to buy, to what to wear, to how to make present wrapping not totally terrible. We’re sitting down with our team to glean a little pro advice to get you through the season with flying colors (blue being a nonnegotiable, of course). Next up is our stylist Lisa with a seasonal style hack you’re gonna want to get in on.

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How to mix well

Lessons in the art of pairing color and stripes—courtesy of our genius stylist, Lisa.


“Whimsical pieces make an already colorful pencil skirt even less formal.”

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“Maritime stripes and colored pants pair perfectly—adding a silk boyshirt underneath keeps things off-center.”

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“I always encourage pattern play—as long as you stay in the same color family.”

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“Everything in this look is graphic—the oversized bow, the stripes, the bright boots—that’s why it works so well.”

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For even more mixed looks, head over to

Hair how-to: The braid from our spring catalog

So you guys have been telling us how much you love these awesome tresses from our spring catalog but that you aren’t totally sure how to recreate the look. Well, fear not: We’ve enlisted our head stylist extraordinaire, Lisa, who was on set at the Paris shoot, to give us a step-by-step tutorial on how to make that pretty braid.

360-degree style: Marketing maven Lauren gets a braid makeover.

“Before you get started braiding, use a little hairspray so your hair isn’t too slippery. As you go along, be sure to keep the braid loose. Don’t worry about making it too perfect—the messier, the cuter, we say!”

“First, create a deep side part and start your French braid from there. Remember to keep it loose.”

“Continue the braid down the side of your hairline, being careful not to poach too much hair from the center region of your head.”

“Once you’ve rounded down to the nape of your neck, you can start incorporating the hair from the center of your hair into your braid. Make sure to save a section on the opposite side of your head to be braided later.”

“Once the nape of your neck is complete, you can start working your way up the opposite side.”

“Finish off with a standard braid, again keeping it loose.”

“Tie the end with a rubber band.”

“Tuck the end underneath the overlapping original braid and secure with a bobby pin. Go back and add texture by gently rubbing some breezy fly-away pieces into the braid. Don’t forget that you can redefine the shape of your braid with bobby pins when you’re finished.”

Voilà—braided bliss!

5 Style Resolutions to Relish

You say you want a resolution? Well, here are five easy ways to shake up your style this year—straight from our genius stylist Lisa. Read all about it, then head over to to see the rest.

P.S. We’ll be sharing even more resolutions all week long—from Team Madewell to some of our favorite bloggers. Keep an eye on our blog for all the continued New Year inspiration.


In Lisa’s words: “The soft pink color is so sweet—leopard socks add a little edge.”

Pictured: Skinny Skinny Colorpop Jeans, Striped Outfield Sweater, Happy Socks® Animal-Print Socks and The Lace-Up Clog Bootie


In Lisa’s words: “Pair a tomboy tee with a ladylike silk skirt—it’s unexpected.”

Pictured: Flyball Tee, Deco Dot Skirt and Scooter Jacket


In Lisa’s words: “When you go slouchy on top, keep your jeans skinny. Oh, and these boots feel like you’re wearing slippers.”

Pictured: Alpine Ridge Tunic Sweater, Skinny Skinny Jeans in Eastern Wash, Happy Socks® Mini-Stripe Socks and Minnetonka® Suede Ankle Boots


In Lisa’s words: “I gave this look a schoolboy twist with a boyshirt layered under the sweater and a leather satchel.”

Pictured: Gold Rush Jean Jacket, Outfield Sweater, Gingham Shrunken Boyshirt, Denim Midi Shorts in Locomotive Wash and The Railway Minibag


In Lisa’s words: “Mix things up by swapping out your cardi for a denim vest—and wear your belt as a bracelet.”

Pictured: Longroad Denim Vest, Dawnlight Houndstooth Dress, Suede Skinny Belt (on wrist) and Jazz Age Multi-Tassel Necklace

Awesomely Bad Gifts We’ve Received

If you’ve been on lately, you may have stumbled upon something we call the Sad-to-Glad Gift Guide, where we colorfully rehash the lamest gifts we’ve received—and then provide much happier alternatives. But did you know that we actually polled the team at Madewell HQ to get those stories? Well, we did. And there are even more. Check out the peculiar group of holiday gifts some of our designers, stylists and marketing mavens have gotten in the past.

Giftee: Kate, marketing guru and ceramic armadillo recipient

Gift: Mexican talavera

In her words: Oh, god. We saw an armadillo in Austin and I was fascinated by it because I had never seen one in person. My dad took that too literally and bought me this talavera armadillo from a Mexican imports store on Congress Street. Mind you, I was living in a 450 square-foot apartment in NYC with absolutely no outdoor space. Needless to say, the armadillo now lives in my parents’ cactus garden.”

Giftee: Ash, dress designer and spice seeker

Gift: A big ol’ vat of Tabasco sauce

In his words: “My love of spicy food is well known, so my good friend thought to give me the ultimate ‘perfect’ gift: a mini-keg of Tabasco sauce. The size is a bit insane, but I actually end up putting it on almost everything and am working my way through it pretty quickly!”

Giftee: Jac, denim designer and avian aficionado

Gift: Quacky shower cap

In her words: “I had a pet goose growing up named Squawee and I just love all things feathered, so I have become a habitual recipient of weird bird memorabilia. This latest gem is from an old boss who bought it for me while on a work trip in Copenhagen.”

Giftee: Lisa, superstylist and graphic tie getter

Gift: Dramatically illustrated neckwear

In her words: “If you couldn’t tell, my mother (the gift giver in question) lives in the Southwest. These neckties were originally gifted to my uncle, husband and brother, but I soon found them stashed away in my own suitcase while unpacking from Thanksgiving with the family. Yup, everyone loves gifts from my mom.”

Gotten an amazingly bad gift? Send photos to us at—we’ll feature our favorites in a future blog post.

A Stylist and Her Library

by Khira Jordan (Madewell)

Resident stylist and day brightener Lisa Schulner is the girl you’ll find holding down the fort at each and every Madewell photo shoot. She’s also that girl with the towering stack of amazing-looking books on her desk. We knew beautiful things must be hiding between all those covers, so we did a little investigating. Check out the story behind (and the gems inside) Lisa’s impressive styling library.

When would you say you started your collection?

I’ve been collecting books forever, but working at Madewell has been a huge influence. Berenice Abbott’s New York in the Thirties and powerHouse’s Disfarmer probably wouldn’t have been on my radar before Madewell.

Where do you hunt your books down?

I love a museum bookshop! And there’s this great jewel box of a shop near our office called Dashwood Books.

Did any imagery influence the way you styled the Fall ‘11 Madewell collection?

Martin Munkácsi shot these sunbathers in the late ’30s, and their swimming costumes were tailored, graphic and mensy. The art direction was modern and very angular. It’s not a direct influence for fall, obviously, but there’s an ingrained image you can’t shake when something resonates—and that shapes everything you create after.

What are some of your favorite standout looks?

There’s this image in Shoot of a commuter train in India, and the passengers are practically hanging out of the open doors, ready to jump off at their stop. They’re all in these amazingly bright colors: chartreuse, bright pink, citrus yellow—an energetic, spring-forward lineup. It’s so beautiful!

Learn anything funny/notable/curious from the books?

Well, I can tell you what the funniest and most curious book I own is: Anu Tuominen’s collection of beautiful and hilarious textile “sculptures.” It’s a quietly funny reimagination of banal objects.