Style

A Week of Outfits: Joyce Lee

A Week of Outfits: Joyce Lee from Madewell

Joyce Lee, who lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with her husband and two kids, is the head of design at Madewell. So, it makes sense that she loves easy clothes. “I love Madewell because it’s relatable and everyday,” she says. Here, Joyce shows us five outfits she wore in a week, including the other brands she adores…

A Week of Outfits: Joyce Lee from Madewell

Gingham dress: Ganni, similar. Shoes: No. 6.

“If my four-year-old daughter, Poppy, sees something she loves — like this long dress — she’ll say, Mommy, when I get older, can I have that? She tries to steal my jewelry, too. I’m like, you can’t take my engagement ring! And this is my cat, Panda. I found her in my old backyard as a stray kitten when she was teeny tiny, and now she’s 12. She’s the laziest, chillest cat in the world.”

A Week of Outfits: Joyce Lee from Madewell

Jumpsuit: Madewell. Sneakers: past Vans/Madewell collab, similar.

“Most pants are too long for me — I’m 5’4″ — so I roll them up. I like the cuffed look. On this jumpsuit, I also love the pockets and the comfort of the fabric. The design is based on a vintage jumpsuit, with a few fit tweaks.”

A Week of Outfits: Joyce Lee from Madewell

Shirt: Madewell. Jeans: Madewell. Shoes: Mango.

“My favorite places in Williamsburg? Marlow and Sons is a good neighborhood spot. For lunch, their crispy rice with a fried egg is so good. Tacochino makes me feel like I’m on vacation sitting outside eating tacos on the water and drinking a michelada. And Bedford Cheese Shop! As for people watching, I love Chinatown. My eye often stops when I spot a cool granny combining fun colors and patterns – often not to make a style statement, but that’s why it looks especially amazing.”

A Week of Outfits: Joyce Lee from Madewell

Hat: Samuji, similar. Sweatshirt: vintage, similar. Pants: As Ever. Shoes: Converse. Bandana tote: RTH.

“I love high-waisted pants but I have a short torso, so I need to somehow give myself a waist. That’s why I like to do a front tuck. Casual looks call out to me — I’ll throw a sweatshirt on with almost anything, even over a dress, and I wear sneakers all the time. I’m not going to suffer for fashion. You should feel like yourself in what you’re wearing. I also love a touch of bandana — around the neck or as a belt. Here, I have a bandana tote.”

A Week of Outfits: Joyce Lee from Madewell

Top: Zara, similar. Jeans: Madewell. Clogs: Brother Vellies.

““I wear all white year round, even with kids. I can’t help myself. Who cares, you can wash it! Anything monochromatic I love — I wear lots of denim on denim, or white on white. I always knew I wanted to be a designer. At six years old, I tried to craft my own jelly shoes when my mom wouldn’t buy me a pair. I also painted polka dots on so many shoes, bags and clothes over the years — much to my mom’s dismay!”

Thank you so much, Joyce!

P.S. More women share their weeks of outfits, including a Seattle-based consultant and a funny writer in Brooklyn.

(Photos by Julia Robbs for Cup of Jo.)

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  1. jdp says...

    i’d love a see a week of lockdown outfits as a joke. i never knew how uncomfortable jeans could be until i stopped wearing them, or anything not made of sweatpant, for weeks.

  2. Megan O’Leary says...

    “I wear sneakers all the time, I’m not going to suffer for fashion.”

    I have never felt so understood. Long live converse!

  3. Sharon says...

    Love white on white. For whatever reason, I wear lots of colors, but I always admire the monochromatic look on others; especially the neutrals. So nice!!

  4. Lori K says...

    This is totally my style! Love everything. And am also a short-waisted, front tucker!

  5. AJ says...

    Great style! Love this look and all the outfits – and got some serious apartment envy too!

  6. Yvonne says...

    Love her style! She is so beautiful. Need more posts about petite short women. I am 5′ 2 and I have to cuff my pants which make my legs look shorter (just my opinion).Love her appartment and would love to know her beauty regimen. PLEASE!

  7. Ann says...

    Great Outfits!

  8. María says...

    Yes please!
    I´d love to, her style and vibe is great :)

  9. Nina says...

    Nice outfits, I love a relaxed look as well! It feels like a while since you had a week of outfits from someone not in a creative field of work. As someone with a science-y job, I always loved reading those :)

  10. A says...

    It’s interesting to see these comments about fast fashion – what defines “fast fashion”? Truly curious and not meant to be a troll post – wondering because I don’t consider Madewell to be in that bucket. Like I’m not saying they’re the most sustainable brand in the world or anything but I have Madewell clothes that I’ve had for years and years – I find their quality hit or miss at times, for sure, especially sweaters/knits, but the pieces I have I would not consider them to be fast fashion? I find it has pretty good longevity.

    Is it the price point? I guess in my mind stuff like H&M or F21 would be considered “fast fashion” but to me Madewell is on par with like, Levis or Ralph Lauren or something which I wouldn’t consider to be in that category.

    • Kelly says...

      Quoting from the blog Style-Wise…”while Madewell and its parent company, J Crew, have a standard corporate social responsibility document in place, there is no evidence that the brand enforces these policies. In fact, a cursory search on Google will render multiple results for evidence of sweatshop labor. This doesn’t mean that the J Crew-Madewell conglomerate is worse than most conventional brands, but it does mean they’re not prioritizing sustainable practices in their supply chain (though, according to a recent Fashionista article, the new CEO is working to get sustainability and fair trade certifications for J Crew brands).
      So you have a couple options:
      –If you’re a Madewell super fan, email them and let them know that you’d like greater transparency and attention to ethics in their supply chain. Your voice matters.
      –If you’re ready to find some ethical alternatives, use the list I’ve compiled to shop. See this blog article: https://stylewise-blog.com/ethical-brands-that-are-better-than-madewell/
      Update: Madewell just released a fair trade certified denim line produced at Saitex, the same company Everlane uses.”

    • A says...

      Thanks Kelly! I’m still confused, your response is helpful around the sustainability element but does that mean then that all brands that aren’t considered to be sustainable = fast fashion? I thought fast fashion pertained to companies that made clothes that were meant to be somewhat “disposable”

  11. Julie says...

    She is so pretty and stylish. I just wish Madewell was made in the USA. It is mostly made in China and the quality doesn’t seem that great. Prices are high; I know they’re not alone manufacturing in China but I’m just trying to stay away from it.

  12. Luísa says...

    I love her style!!! but that picture with Joyce and Panda facing the same way OMG ❤︎❤︎❤︎❤︎❤︎

  13. chicks says...

    Love those green pants. Plus Panda is one cool cat.

  14. Kelly says...

    Trying to think if there’s a better job than Head Designer for Madewell?!?

  15. Kristin says...

    Oooooh love this. And those As Ever pants are to die for!

  16. Kris says...

    She is the coolest! I want more- can we please see her apartment and know her beauty routine, please please?

    • Caroline says...

      Yes, apartment please!

    • Sya says...

      second that with a passion!

    • Becca says...

      I second that! Love her style.

    • abby says...

      agreed! Was just about to request this !

    • Sara says...

      Yes please!

  17. Claire says...

    this is my favorite part: ” I’m not going to suffer for fashion. You should feel like yourself in what you’re wearing.”
    Also- I’m with Poppy: I love a long dress.
    You have an awesome cat too!

  18. Karinyvr says...

    have you seen Greed, the movie by Michael Winterbottom-it’s a black comedy about how clothing is made overseas on the backs of women & children. You’ll change your shopping habits if you see it!
    Love the apartment

  19. Carrie says...

    I’ve never seen anyone rock a jumper so hard before. Looks SO cute on her

  20. Amy says...

    Love love love her apartment!

  21. Eleanorfrances says...

    Ditto on the apartment tour please.

  22. D says...

    I love her style and I LOVE her cat. :)

  23. Stephanie says...

    Love her style! I need a link to that chic cat scratcher/basket!

  24. Heather says...

    Where is that beautiful couch from!?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      abc carpet and home!

  25. Courtney says...

    Apartment tour please!

    • ceridwen says...

      Yes!

    • Jill says...

      Yes, please!

  26. Poppy says...

    Lovely! Are those Vitsoe bookshelves? I just ordered mine and can’t wait to install them.

    • Verena says...

      You’ll love them! The best purchase we ever made! The only thing is you’re getting addicted: we are planning the third ‘batch’ now…

  27. Milka says...

    I love her style and totally agree that monochrome is always a winner! Sadly, I’ve had to give up Madewell because it doesn’t fit with my goals of buying sustainable fashion. I’ve been loving the motto (which I learned from Cuyana via CoJ!!) “Fewer, better things”. I would love to see a post about someone who’s given up fast fashion… I’m trying to commit to that!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we have an ethical fashion week of outfits coming up next! xo

    • Judy A Greene says...

      I totally agree. Have you seen the documentary https://truecostmovie.com/
      Ever since seeing this documentary and learning more about fast fashion, I am avoiding companies like Zara and H&M. Thank you for raising the issue of sustainable fashion in your comment Milka. And thanks CoJ for having an ethical fashion week post coming up. Lemlem.com is an amazing company for example

    • Meredith says...

      Milka, are you allowing yourself to purchase things secondhand? I have a few Madewell pieces I have found in thrift stores and resale shops that I have enjoyed wearing for years :)
      I am also interested in giving up fast fashion and have mostly focused on purchasing new to me items from ThredUp, Goodwill, and a local resale shop called Clothes Mentor. But I am very interested in how others approach it and would love to hear more about your technique!

    • Adley says...

      Thanks for saying this- and thanks for responding CoJ! Couldn’t agree more.

    • Sasha L says...

      Thank you Eloise for pod cast rec, and Meredith for bringing up second hand. I guess I’m lucky that *fashion* just doesn’t speak to me anymore? Maybe it’s achieving a certain age (47), or just what clothes look like currently, but I just don’t like any of it. I’d rather pick through a few racks at a thrift store if I truly need something than buy new anything I see here, or anywhere else. Everything new looks simultaneously boring AND impractical, which seems like a tall order actually. Maybe I’m just too concerned about larger issues? Anyway, if you haven’t tried, thrifting is a diverting little treasure hunt, and the only clothing choice that is actually ethical.

  28. Lillian says...

    her lipstick! need makeup and apartment tour like everyone is saying.

  29. Monika says...

    I just look at white clothes and food magically appears on them…WHAT IS HER SECRET?!? She is clearly magic…

    • Eliza says...

      And I can never keep yellow armpit stains away – I don’t use a deodorant with aluminum and I bought a new white shirt when I was using an all natural deodorant for a year and the pits still turned yellow. I find it impractical (for me) to buy white because I can’t make it last!

  30. Random suggestion – looking at that third photo made me think, you should do bookshelf tours! I love to see what other people are reading :)

    • j says...

      I love this idea!!

    • Erin says...

      YES PLEASE!

    • Agnès says...

      Oh yes! do we have two new categories here? artists and bookshelves! yeeeeaaa!

    • Katie says...

      Great idea!!!! Or something like “10 books that changed XXXXX’a life.” I would love something like that!!

    • Michelle says...

      Love this idea 💡

    • Jill says...

      Yes to artists and bookshelves!

  31. JQ says...

    I’ve never posted a comment here before…but I need to know where that couch is from! Haha

    • Arielle says...

      omg my first thought, too!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      joyce says: “ABC Carpet and Home — it was a treat purchase when we bought our apartment.”

  32. Jenny says...

    She’s amazing and her style is so effortless! That hair!!!!!
    Am I alone, though, in feeling like Madewell just… isn’t for me anymore? I’m 31, so possibly just aged out. But I loved all of their tomboy staples and suddenly the fabrics feel cheaper (not the prices though!) and there are ruffles on everything. I miss the Tomboy stuff in fresh silhouettes and nice materials.

    • SLR says...

      Agreed. I’m older than you so I am used to aging out of stores to an extent. I thought Madewell’s simple style would continue to work, but everything has been cropped (and I’m only 5’4″) and/or ruffled for the past several years. I’ve sworn off of ordering…except for bags. I love them still.

    • Joaquina says...

      I feel that way about Madewell and Anthropologie! Guess I’ve aged out of both so am looking elsewhere.

    • Alexandra says...

      Not to disagree (perhaps they’re really just not your style anymore!) but I have noticed the way Madewell’s styles vary a lot by season. Sometimes their current options are right up my alley, sometimes they’re not. Ruffles might go out of style soon :)

    • Mary says...

      Just something funny – I just turned 30 and just now feel like I’ve “grown into” Madewell lol

    • Danielle says...

      My mom (60) where 10x more Madewell than I (31) do! I like it, but I try to avoid the trend pieces and stick with jeans, the short sleeve button down shirts whose name escapes me and the bags now.

      Funny you should say that about Anthropologie. Mother dearest worked there for many years and would routinely make huge sales to women her own age. Loads of happy customers. Yet now they seem to focus on younger and younger (lots of influencer posts) which wasn’t their initial target audience or actual audience. (I worked there for years as well)

  33. AR says...

    What BEAUTIFUL skin!! Would love to know her skincare/beauty regime.

  34. Maud says...

    Yes! House tour please!!

  35. Audrey says...

    Yes more on Joyce’s career and apartment! She seems so interesting!

  36. AE says...

    This made me click submit on the Madewell Carr I’ve had open for 2 weeks. I blame you, Jo! Her style is so good.

  37. Beth says...

    I spotted a photograph of White Sands National Park in New Mexico on the wall in her 2nd photo! ;-) I know those iconic picnic tables having grown up in southern New Mexico.

  38. Wendy says...

    I also have the same body type as her and felt INSPIRED after seeing this!!! She’s SO COOL. Also, PLEASE do an apartment tour with Joyce! I kept looking through these gorgeous photos and saying to myself, “ok, but those PILLOWS. That CHAIR.”

    • Tania says...

      Undersigned!

    • Kristin says...

      Yes, to this!! :)

    • Amanda says...

      Good call. I would love to see a house tour too! Her outfits are great.

    • Erin says...

      it’s Hans Wegner’s folding chair, PP512 :)

  39. Jackie says...

    I want more! How did she make it to the top at Madewell? What are her boss tips? Life by Joyce, please!

    • celeste says...

      Second!

    • Yeah, unfortunately I feel like we didn’t learn a lot about her in this interview. But she seems so cool.

    • Jo says...

      Third!!
      Please do a series on boss women – how they got there and tips to stay there while being a great boss to their reports

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes, of course! Here’s a note from Joyce: “I try to be as honest and transparent with my team — I’ve always appreciated that as well and feel like it goes a long way in building trust and strong working relationships. I also like to strike a balance between being a ‘boss’ and being a ‘human.'”

  40. Abbey says...

    I love how I feel wearing white… but the “you can just wash it” trick doesn’t seem to work!! Hahaha! There was another Week of Outfits last year with a woman who also liked to wear a lot of white (even with kids) and she said the same thing! What’s the trick?? She even recommended a natural stain stick that I’ve tried and it does not work for me at all. What am I missing??
    Btw this is the most boring comment ever. I know. Laundry questions. Really.

    I really love Joyce’s style and I’ll thank her every time I am wearing Madewell which is pretty much every day. Thanks, Joyce!! ;)

    • Heather says...

      Abbey,
      I have four kids, and I’ve learned so much about getting out stains. Blood comes out easily if you throw a piece of ice on it or soak anything with blood in ice water. Is it’s still there, I’ll spray with OxiClean stain spray and wash. Trick is to treat before you wash. Once it’s gone through the dryer, that stain is probably here to stay.

      For mud, grass, dirt or grease, treat the stain with Dawn dish soap – the classic blue one. Wash and then allow to air dry to make sure stain is gone. If not, repeat. I’ve used Dawn for old grease stains too. If clothes get really muddy or grass stained, rinse off with sink sprayer first to get rid of any loose dirt. I’ve been known to spray down muddy pants in the driveway with a hose.

      And A good soak in OxiClean powder and water can work wonders.

    • Kara says...

      Not boring, Abbey, I literally had the same thought/question! Thanks for the tips, Heather!

    • Lauren E. says...

      I’m with you on the white – I always somehow get weird spots on my butt from sitting, and I just generally feel like a slob.

    • Tess says...

      Abbey- I feel you!! I don’t even have kids and I feel like I can’t really have anything white in my wardrobe, especially if it is expensive!
      Also- how do people have white sheets?? I feel like I missed a day in How To Adult school.

    • Kathryn says...

      Shout and drying in the sunshine generally do the trick for me, also changing when I get home. I have found, however, the only thing I can’t get out of white is ,strangely, bubble solution. Some bubbles, if they pop on your white clothes will leave these little tiny dark dots that show up after you wash and dry them, and they never come out. I ruined a favorite dress with bubbles.

    • Christina says...

      Kathryn, so true! So many of my childrens’ clothes got ruined before I discovered why! Bubble solution doesn’t come out of anything, no matter colour or material, it’s awful. I only let my children play with bubbles wearing already ruined clothes once I knew this, and never near me. So sad.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      says joyce: “Oxiclean when it’s dire, but otherwise, I’m not precious about my whites! I like my whites to look lived-in so maybe that’s why it works. Haha.”

    • Emily says...

      Remember to dry your whites IN THE SUN. The sun bleaches stains. It really helps.

    • Sasha L says...

      I’m surprised no one has mentioned bleach?!? If you consistently bleach your whites, well, they stay white. Other than that you can do all the spot stain removal tricks, but your whites will still become dingy over time.

    • Abbey says...

      Woohoo! So many great tips! I’m glad I posed my boring question :)

  41. Marie says...

    Her style is super cute, and it all looks great on her! But as a past customer of madewell, who really needs a new pair of jeans, I am begging you, please please make some mid-rise jeans again. Thank you!

    • sally says...

      This is exactly what I came here to say too — NO MORE HIGH WAISTED ONLY JEANS!!!! I love Madewell jeans as a whole, they are the only kind I wear, but I HATE high waisted jeans and am dying for this trend to freaking end, already. Please make mid or even low rise jeans, anything but all high waisted.

    • Roseann says...

      Perhaps you can find some secondhand on Poshmark?

    • Lori K says...

      Yes, please, please, please! I am short-waisted and high rise jeans look ridiculous on me.

  42. K says...

    She is stunning!!

  43. Joanne says...

    I feel like there needs to be a follow-up showcasing this apartment! it’s lovely.

    • b says...

      Yes, please! And a beauty uniform!

  44. Sara Nelson says...

    House tour, Pretty please with a cherry on top!

  45. Chandra says...

    She’s gorge! House tour por favor.

  46. Ellen says...

    So happy to see someone with the EXACT SAME body type and size as me! I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to know how she styled herself through pregnancy. I’m pregnant with my second and struggling yet again with a short torso and not being able to tuck anything into maternity jeans! Without a waist, I look like an egg with long legs. :P

    • Hannah G says...

      It’s so (sartorially) frustrating being short and pregnant right now when the styles are all high-waisted, tucked, and cropped, or beautifully oversized a la Hatch. Just a fellow preggo shortie that needed to comiserate.

  47. jessica says...

    ok but this apartment. THIS APARTMENT.

    • Kate says...

      I second that! Can you ask her where is her couch from? LOVE IT.

    • Tricia says...

      YES!

  48. Louisa says...

    For your next week of outfits could you pick someone in her mid-40’s, 5’10” or taller, very long waisted, 2 muddy dogs and one artistic kindergartener, who needs to get ready in under 15 minutes (including a shower)? Maybe someone who loves to wear simple dresses but wants them knee-length or longer, and only wears exceedingly comfortable shoes? And is waaaay more stylish than me? Just a thought. thanks.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha we will try! love a challenge :)

    • Hannah says...

      Louisa,
      Are you my twin? I second and third this!
      For me, minus the muddy dogs but plus 30 lbs I need to desperately lose.
      Thanks!

    • Erin says...

      I second everything about Louisa’s request. Bonus points if the person has figured out how to find comfortable and stylish shoes for her freakishly narrow feet. ;)

    • Quinn says...

      Haha, this is the best! :) I’m much shorter but can definitely relate on a couple of fronts – especially the exceedingly comfortable shoes! :)

    • Jen says...

      That’s basically me, too!
      On the shoes front — Clarks Originals makes some super comfortable and very cool looking shoes. I always get compliments.
      Simple, longer dresses that are also stylish — try British brands Joules or Boden, lots of options and generally have pretty good sales.
      For hair – ask for a shag cut. I told my stylist I needed something that took 5 minutes but made it appear I spent much longer. A shag cut has exceeded my expectations all around.

    • Bev says...

      I have never commented before, but this speaks to me – maybe because we are very similar (but substitute another toddler for the dogs, although they are probably equally muddy creatures)! Bonus points if I can copy these outfits to wear in an business casual work environment :)

    • Kelly says...

      Simple dresses, knee-length or longer, and comfortable shoes is the best way to describe my wardrobe. With a current need for them to be breastfeeding friendly and a goal of them being sustainably made. Sigh.
      Two brands I’m loving are:
      –Pyne and Smith dresses
      –Ace & Jig (these can be pricey, but I’ve had luck on secondhand sites)

    • haha, yes! I am torn between saying that I would be great for this post, and that I neeeeeed this post. I’m39, 6’1″ tall, two kids, and I’m a floral designer. I get super messy from work, my hands are always destroyed from flowers and thorns, yet I still need to look cool and presentable for clients after I’ve spent alllllll day (all week, really) sweating through their floral installations. I’ve got a few good tricks up my sleeve to make things work, but I could always use more advice!

    • Amy says...

      My life is this! Check out carlyjeanlosangeles.com for great, stylish, not too expensive dresses! And they are mostly knee length or longer. Love their stuff!

    • Kylie says...

      Yes! Please.

    • Molly says...

      @ Louisa, are we the same person?!!? I only have one muddy dog, but she is a big one that feels like 2. Aside from that we have A LOT in common.

    • Rebecca says...

      YES to all. I’m loving the dress recommendations in the comments. Keep em coming! Also, what the heck to do with wet hair as you’re running out the door? I’m braid-challenged and cannot for the life of me figure out the hand motions to make those awesome side braids, french braids, etc. that allow you to start your day with damp hair.

  49. Cynthia says...

    I adore the gingham dress, and it’s great that she’s all about comfort.

    • Becky says...

      I’m also 5’4″, cuff my pants, like high waisted pants and love a front tuck!
      I’ve been thinking lately how much I do not love skinny jeans/jeggings anymore. They have seriously given me body image issues. It was so great to see non skinny pants in this post! I recently bough a pair of mens skinny jeans and cut off the extra length and they are the perfect non skinny pant on me. Men’s jeans, who knew!

    • Becky says...

      Sorry cynthia! I meant that as it’s own reply!

  50. karen says...

    Even her couch looks so relaxed, in that “come sit on me” way. I can always tell someone is comfortable in my house when they sit on their legs when on my couch. I bet everyone does that when they visit Joyce! :)

    • Amy says...

      As a fellow short person, she may have no choice but to tuck her legs up when she sits on that couch – it looks so deep haha! I’m either leaning waaaay back if my feet are touching the floor, bringing my legs up, or finding a pillow to go behind me for back support. It’s like being a kid again when I’m on a deep couch.

  51. liz says...

    great style! Love her hair too!

  52. amy says...

    The first dress!! So. Good.