In Defense Of: The Simplicity of a T-Shirt Dress
an essay by Nia Porter

Until recently, getting dressed during those tricky first days of spring was one of my biggest sources of morning anxiety—right up there with my slog of a New York City commute and the realization that I have, yet again, run out of fresh coffee beans. How does one dress for weather that is perhaps too warm for a cozy coat, yet too cool for a breezy tank top?

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Ahhh—spring is finally, finally, finally here and, yup, that means a fresh batch of rules to dress by are too. We promise these are the fun kind of rules that are easy to adapt to your own style—think of ’em more like helpful suggestions (except for #3, that one’s a must). Keep reading for accessory inspo, color story ideas and more springy styling tips that’ll have you doing the whole new season/new wardrobe thing right.


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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.

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How to Care for Your Leather Sandals (And Keep Them in Brand-Spanking-New Shape)

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.

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Noticed: Stripes on Stripes

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.

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Style Recipes: Pants + Sandals, 3 Ways

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.

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What’s On Our Head Designer Joyce’s Spring Must-Have List? We Had to Ask.

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.

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5 Rules to Dress By This Spring


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).

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