Aside from actually booking a plane ticket and heading somewhere sunny, flipping through our spring lookbook is the next best thing to warm us up during the New York winters here at Madewell HQ. We can’t wait to get our hands on all the retro-cool, wallpaper-inspired prints, looks-like-vintage denim everything and breezy throw-on-and-go dresses. In the meantime, we chatted with our head designer, Joyce, to learn about her favorite pieces and where she imagines wearing the collection.
You know what time it is, friends? It’s the most wonderful time of the year (aka spring). And with it comes new shoes (!). Sandals, specifically, are the unsung heroes of sunny days. Dresses get a lot of fanfare (they’re scene-stealers, indeed), but sandals—utilitarian, cool, outfit punctuators—really do earn their keep once the weather warms up. Think of it this way: They’re likely the things you reach for every single day. So right now is the perfect time to prep yours for all that inevitable wear. Our design team helped us compile a list of tips that will keep them in tip-top shape.
If we, say, held a contest for “warm weather’s official pattern” and we were the betting type, our money would be on stripes. It’s a humble, basic graphic that doesn’t require too much finesse to get right and channels all the things you want to be doing once the sun starts shining regularly: hanging beachside (maybe even on a boat), strolling the Seine in Paris, drinking a soft drink out of the back of a pickup, [insert other iconic warm-weather activity here and likely the idea of wearing stripes will seem entirely apropos]. So the look that’s been catching our eyes this season isn’t the stripe itself—no, that would be too obvious—it’s the pairing of stripes, particularly horizontal with vertical varieties.
Like all great dishes, you’re going to want to start with quality ingredients. In this instance, we’re talking about jeans and sandals that get better the more you wear them (think: denim and leather that develop perfect patinas by the season’s end). Once you’ve got those, all you need are a few foolproof pairings that’ll take you from spring to summer without too much trickery. Here, our top three combos.
Certain seasons seem to require a bit of an accessory redux. That’s not to say you need to rid yourself of everything you’ve been loving (though we understand if your boots take a bit of backseat for a while), but a few new pieces can be subbed in for those cold-weather mainstays and feel so apropos as the days get longer and warmer. Spring is the quintessential season for this kind of renewal—it’s arguably code for “refresh”—so we asked our fearless leader, our head designer Joyce, to share with us the accessories she’s adding to her style arsenal. Getting a peek at her personal shopping list is a great place to start your own revamp, we’d say.
When it comes to warm weather, there’s an anything-goes attitude that’s arguably the hallmark of sun-drenched days—creating rules might then feel like a bit of a paradox. To that we’d say these “rules” are meant to help take a bit of guesswork out of the act of getting dressed, so you have more time to leave those first warm sunny days up to chance (inarguably the best ways to spend them).
It’s difficult to wrap our heads around the fact that crisp, glorious, warm spring days will return. But the fact that they indisputably will is what keeps us going the mornings it feels too cold to breathe. The annual launch of our spring lookbook always seems like a harbinger of all things good and sunny, and it’s just arrived (+ you can pre-order your favorite styles right now). To celebrate, we asked our friend Dayna Evans, writer at New York Magazine’s The Cut, to indulge our obsession with her genius works of micro-fiction—she’s been parodying our lookbooks over at The Cut for a few seasons now and we eagerly wait to literally laugh out loud (we’re talking serious, OMG-so-good belly laugh) every season while reading them. She was kind enough to work her imaginative magic exclusively for us and…well…just read.
How many dress-wearing, jeans-obsessed, New York–based farmers do you know? Because the answer now is at least one: Annie Novak. At just 27, she helped open the country’s first commercial green roof row farm—6,000 square feet she still tends to daily six years later—on a quiet street in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, but that’s hardly the only surprising thing we discovered while spending an afternoon at Eagle Street Rooftop Farm. The first? She’s even more down to earth (farmer pun!) than you’d expect. Here, she explains her love for farming, her approach to “workwear” and why touching dirt is good for everyone.