I’ve never been a fan of J.Crew’s Madewell (or Club Monaco) because it was sold in-store or on Shopbop only. Their online launch was plagued with delays, and frankly, there are plenty of other places to spend my hard-earned dollars. But, the latest Alexa Chung collection and the new store on lower Fifth Avenue (nestled amongst many of my other favorite retail chains) piqued my curiosity enough to shop on their website.
I ordered a bunch of items during the recent 25% off promotion. Specifically, there were two versions of the telegram clutch: the calf hair telegram clutch and the embossed telegram clutch. Unlike J.Crew, there are barely any reviews to be found of Madewell items online, so it was a blind purchase like many of my other online purchases. It also does not help that Madewell images leave much to be desired. In case you are thinking of purchasing, here are some visuals and my two cents.
I’m a huge fan of leather clutches by Clare Vivier and the quality of CV’s leather sets the bar up high for other leather clutches. As pretty as the calf hair clutch looked, it was a huge disappointment in person. In its new non-store handled state, the sides were already beginning to fray. Ick! Also, the interior was a synthetic fuzzy material. The red embossed telegram clutch was much better, but even then, you get what you pay for in terms of quality of leather. It is stiffer and very simple. I’m really curious to see if H&M came out with any similar pieces because they typically don’t disappoint with their execution of leather accessories.
Lastly, to digress a bit, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to J.Crew’s $60 skinny calf hair belt, which was reissued and manglier since I purchased it, the Limited has a pretty good version that isn’t mangly for $32.90. The J.Crew belt is lined with leather, I think this one uses synthetic material, but it’s unnoticeable in performance. Also, the Limited has frequent promotions — currently they’re taking 40% off everything.
In my rush to get a few items photographed before heading to work, I dropped my new-ish 50mm lens on my hardwood floor. Hmm, thank goodness it looks and performs as if nothing happened!