(what I wore at home yesterday, sans makeup)
Madewell Tracklist Sweater | DO NOT BUY, first seen in September
AG The Tomboy cropped jeans | mine are an older wash
Vince Blair perforated sneakers
**update!! I took the sweater back to Madewell yesterday and got store credit since I didn’t have my receipt. I explained my disappointment, etc., and the manager was very understanding and gracious. Now, I may have to revise adding Madewell to my no-shop list!! (just kidding)
**another update – after my review was published on Madewell.com a CS agent reached out to me personally and offered to make it right. I explained that I’d already taken the sweater back to my local store, but I have to say, I’ve been incredibly impressed by the customer service. They haven’t hesitated in the least.
I have absolutely made my share of sartorial mistakes, most recently shared in WTF Was I Thinking? – which interestingly enough, also included a Madewell item, but this is the one that has really put me over the edge. I wore it once, on Saturday, and it has stretched out so much, it would literally fit a 9-month pregnant version of me easily, and it has pilled like CRAZY. And I just WORE it, I didn’t sit with my knees up in it or anything.
At least I learned a few things:
- NEVER EVER NOT EVER buy out of season. I already don’t do this, but I did buy this sweater in September and didn’t wear it until last week, so it’s way past it’s 30-day return window.
- TRUST MY GUT. I literally tried this sweater on a zillion times after I got it, and then a few more while I was trying to decide if I should keep it or not. I went back and forth so many times, my head was spinning. At the end of the day, I decided to keep it because I liked the longer length, and the color, but I should have paid more attention to why I was having doubts about it in the first place.
- I’m adding Madewell to my DO NOT BUY FROM list. Out of all the things I’ve bought from Madewell (which was a lot), I only have the white button front shirt left. Which is a REALLY good shirt, I’ll agree, and I’ve definitely worn it enough to make it worth while (I paid full-price for it), but I’ve had too many other things from Madewell I wore once or twice and never again. Hell, I got married in a dress from Madewell and do I still have it? no way. It was sort of ugly, and now looking back, I’m sort of shocked that I wore it!What tends to get me at Madewell are the prices – I bought a lot of things on sale, and then an extra percentage off, and I was “friends” with the manager of the store in Austin who was always giving me 20% off cards…so I was absolutely blinded by price, not considering enough if it was something I needed, or even wanted.
- Pay more attention to FABRICATION. The sweater is a cotton/viscose/nylon blend, which I suppose lends itself to stretching, and pilling, but I don’t have a lot of experience with blends, honestly, so I didn’t know what to expect. From now on, I’ll stick to 100% wool, cotton or cashmere I think. Thank goodness I have a lot of Inhabit cashmere that I’ve purchased over the years during sample sales…
I did leave a review of the sweater on Madewell’s site, but it hasn’t shown up yet. I’m really concerned/disappointed with all the positive reviews though? Honestly, if it was any other store, I would probably take it back because I feel like it’s a quality issue, but I’ve never done that with Madewell, and I’m not sure how they’ll react. Maybe I’ll try…what would you do?
At this point, I’m paying my “stupid tax” as Dave Ramsey would say – I should have trusted my first instincts and taken the sweater back when I could have, but I didn’t…so now I’m paying for it. Sunk costs and everything…
What’s your last expensive mistake? What happened? Did you also not listen to your intuition about returning/keeping it?
Good points, Jen! “Don’t BUY or KEEP anything you’re unsure of.” And mistakes are still going to happen!” 🙂
I really like the look, too, Kelly! I didn’t realize that it was a mall store. (How tricky of them…;-) )
Have any of you noticed that online stores now send you out an email requesting that you review the product you purchased? I haven’t paid much attention to the time frame, but I wonder if they send it out relatively quickly so that the review gets posted before you’ve had a chance to launder the item. (That sounds really paranoid!)
I can’t do wool anymore, either (Like Kathryn, only very fine merino and with a layer under it.), but I have terrible luck with most viscose and rayon…the dreaded “shrinkage”! (See “Seinfeld” episode 😉 ). Although, I’d be willing to try it with Eileen Fisher, one of my go-to brands, the other being VINCE.
And, on the reverse side, if you find something that fits so wonderfully and is something perfect for you, it is probably worth getting. Pants are my most challenging item to fit, and I’ve been in search of gray pants. I have tried on a bunch of pairs that were all okay, and then tried on a pair of Vince pants that were AMAZING on me. Of course they were not on sale, and not cheap. But this is a perfect working case of “it’s better to have one item that is great than 3 or 4 mediocre ones” so I’m going to just get these pants and be done. Because the price is the same as 3 or 4 okay pairs. We’ll see how this works in reality.
For a lot of us, Grechen, I dare say even MOST of us, the mall has been the place we buy our clothes. And believe me, iced lived in a lot of small towns where the mall was an hour away (at least!), so that was how I judged quality. It’s all relative! If you can only afford Banana Republic as your “high-end,” then the majority of your clothing budget is probably going to be spent at Target and Old Navy. It’s the economic situation for most people in our country!
My 2 brothers and I grew up with a dad who was an elementary-jr. high school principal, and a stay-at-home mom. We didn’t have a lot extra for shopping. I think that’s why certain stores just feel “off-limits” for me. When you grow up with less (and truly, we had everything we needed), you know intrinsically which stores are “for you” and which are not.
I think our consumer habits have changed drastically and we always want more because it’s always in front of our nose! I KNOW I need to scale back, but I also have known quality….which is why it’s so difficult to do. Do I buy just one piece a season when there are all sorts of beautiful things online, every single day in my inbox? Hard to do. Hard to live.
Grechen Reiter says
we grew up shopping at the mall too, but my parents are both “brand” shoppers, so we stuck to department stores, loehmann’s, TJ maxx, marshall’s etc., instead of chain stores like the gap. we always bought “branded” things – never full price – and mostly cotton. actually, for a lot of my life, until high school, my mom made a lot of my clothes, much to my horror 😉
i don’t remember having “too much” either – we had just enough. but the focus was always on quality, and since my mother was a seamstress until my parents got divorced, she was a great judge of quality and construction.
and don’t get me wrong, i absolutely think you CAN find quality items at mall stores, even H&M/Zara/Etc. have quality garments sometimes, but they’re usually 100% cotton, or some other natural fiber, NEVER a blend. which i think is the key. for me anyway.
Grechen Reiter says
I think half my life is paying ‘stupid tax’. I’ve got to work on that percentage, and it is such a slow process for me. Every time I get rid of a load of stuff (hooray), I go out and purchase something that is ‘better’ for me. I finally returned my LaMer lifting and firming mask…not because it is bad…it is amazing!…but I just can’t justify that choice right now. Yet somehow I can justify picking up a skirt that is the same price that I will wear once this season. WTF? I can’t return it because I love it so much. Clothing will always be my achilles heel.
For what it’s worth, I knew that Madewell sweater was going to be trouble. Now if only I could wear my intuition goggles for my own purchases…
Hmm, I’d try and take the sweater back to the store – perhaps not for a refund, but maybe a store credit?
My last mistake was an H&M dress (w/the built in necklace) that was A-line, but looked maternity on me. It was $56 and I lost the receipt! I recently sold it on ebay for $13 and I paid for shipping so got like $7 out of the deal – which is better than giving it to Goodwill, I suppose (Live and Learn!!).
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Grechen Reiter says
um. i was JUST thinking about you when i saw this comment! i’ve been missing your comments…
yay for taking back the laMer, and yes, i do the same thing. again, we are twins, i think. clothing gets me every time, it’s something i would “rather” spend my money on, and i know it’s because i’m trying to make my outsides look “perfect”…
You’re really fortunate to have a mom who recognized quality and fit, and obviously passed that knowlege on to you. My mom bought a lot of expensive clothes when she was a young, single working woman (for a modeling agency, which is why she needed the stylish and expensive clothes), but then gave up that life to be a full-time mom. I think I just had an “Aha moment”….She saved all of those clothes and stiletto heels from that time period. I’m just thinking of how our clothes make us feel and what they represent to us.
Funny, but her words to me were always, “You’ve got champagne taste on a beer budget!” Looks like the apple didn’t fall far from the tree!
Thanks for this post, Gretchen! And, thanks for your do-not-buy list. I just started following you, and I love your style and your writing. 🙂
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Grechen Reiter says
thank you kate, for taking the time to leave a comment!!
i just took a look through your blog and i love it – my mother used to make a lot of our clothes, still sews a little, and i actually did quite a lot of quilting when i was younger (weird, i know!) and am really anxious to get back into it, but can’t seem to find the time. your blog brought back a lot of memories, and it’s so wonderful that you’re opening your own shop 🙂
Have you found the Ryan tanks to not shrink up in length? I really like the fabric and drape of the Ryan tees, and liked layering with them until they became too short (and I’m only 5″3!), so I’m curious.
I agree that Everlane customer service is terrific. It’s just that a purchase-then-return is costly, and a good month commitment when ordering from Canada, where I live most of the time. From the US, it’s actually pretty convenient. Good to know you feel like the sizing in headed in a more consistent direction – maybe it’s just growing pains!
Mamavalveeta, Nordstrom Rack does accept returns (but I think they have a time limit, as opposed to regular Nordstrom). Gilt, as far as I know, does not accept returns.
Grechen Reiter says
my first ryan tank shrank in length because i dried it. my others haven’t – i’m very careful about not putting them in the dryer now! but even so, i wear the one i shrank to layer still (i’m also 5’3″) so i DEFINITELY think there are variations in size if you can’t even wear it anymore. it’s definitely shorter, but still a good length for layering under sweaters and stuff…
i do think it’s growing pains to a certain extent, but i also think they should about have that worked out by now…sounds like you made a smart decision not to buy from them anymore though, especially since you’re in canada. i can’t resist, however. even though a lot of things lately have been misses. i actually ordered the wool turtleneck tunic with my laptop case yesterday 😉
Thanks for your reply, Grechen! I’ve only tried the Ryan tees, and they’ve shrunk for me (gentle cycle, hang to dry), but I’ve never tried the tanks, and I’m glad to hear a positive review!
I won’t give up on Everlane completely – I’ll still try stuff out when I’m spending time in the US (but my shipping days to Canada are probably numbered!). I have to confess, I’m looking forward to seeing some of the new items they’ve been hinting at for 2015!