Madewell first made an appearance in this column in 2010, when I lamented its absence from Orange County. Now, good—no, great—news: The storefront opened its inaugural OC store on March 29 at South Coast Plaza.
It can be described as the slightly cooler, slightly trendier, younger sister to J.Crew—parent company J.Crew Group Inc. owns both. Set to occupy the 3,500-square-foot space that once housed DKNY on the second floor of the Bloomingdale's wing, the addition of Madewell alongside the department store, H&M, Mango and Sephora actually—dare I say it—turns that one corner of the mall into a mini, mini (like, way mini) slice of Manhattan's SoHo. Just with more Newport moms and fewer hipsters.
Madewell at South Coast Plaza, www.madewell.com.
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The store still shares the same overall aesthetic sensibility as J.Crew, following the idea that a little bit of simplicity goes a long way. Americana basics with a twist here and there fill up both storefronts—lots of stripes, lots of denim anything, plus suede and leather. The label's best known for its popular denim line, which runs anywhere from $70 to $200. And it's not just skinny jeans: There's the flared, wide-legged jean that's back thanks to the 1970s resurgence; slouchy chambray trousers; skinny, cropped cargos.
Just like J.Crew, pay special attention to Madewell's accessories and shoe selection. The shoes, especially the spring/summer collections filled with strappy leather and wooden soles, are perfect ways to get some height and retain some class during the warmer months. The jewelry is playfully feminine, a nice contrast to some of the edgier or more-casual pieces in the store. Rhinestones do go with chambray. Effortless, no-brainer sundresses that just (maybe) need a belt and a lightweight cardigan are also aplenty.
Visit Madewell on Thursday, March 31 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to receive 15 percent off all jeans, plus snacks, cocktails and DJ Zinzi Edmundson of Kisses. Now, if Topshop were to come to South Coast Plaza, I'd be really satisfied.
This column appeared in print as "Madewell Goodshop."