10.14.19 4

Madewell & J Crew Denim Jackets

Madewell & J Crew Denim Jackets

I’ve been searching for the perfect denim jacket for years. I’ve bought and returned Madewell & J Crew denim jackets. To settle it once and for all, I ordered both to do a proper comparison of the Madewell & J Crew denim jackets. 

A little background before I get into the details. I ordered an XS in both jackets from Nordstrom. I am 5’2.5” tall and classify myself as petite. 

Madewell & J Crew Denim Jackets

Size: XS
J. Crew Classic Denim Jacket in Light Patriot Wash (style #H5593) – The tag has SP19, which indicates it’s part of the spring 2019 collection.
Madewell Denim Jacket in Pinter Wash (style #F0370) – The tag has SP19, which indicates it’s part of the spring 2019 collection.
Material: 100% cotton


Madewell: Regularly $118, I paid $94.90 on sale (also available at Nordstrom and Shopbop)
J. Crew: Regular $110, I paid $77 on sale at Nordstrom (also available at Nordstrom)


In my experience, the color can vary even within the same style and wash. The jacket rarely looks the same as the stock photo IRL. That said, in the two jackets I ordered, the J. Crew jacket is slightly lighter in color and has some distressing to it. The Madewell jacket is a medium to light denim shade. 

While I was initially drawn to the J. Crew color and slight distressing, I want this purchase to be one I have for years to come. For me, I think the Madewell jacket will hold up better over time, style-wise, since it’s plainer (no distressing).

Fit – Dimensions


    • Length (top to bottom): 21 3/4”
    • Chest (armpit to armpit): 16”
    • Sleeve (armpit to end): 15”

J. Crew

    • Length (top to bottom): 20 1/4”
    • Chest (armpit to armpit): 16”
    • Sleeve (armpit to end): 15”

Fit – Feel

I think both denim jackets run small. I am typically an XXS in J. Crew and Madewell tops and XS in J. Crew sweaters. There’s no way I could have worn an XXS in the denim jackets. As it is, the XS fits on the smaller side. 

I found it interesting the dimensions were the same for both the Madewell and J. Crew jackets except for the length. The Madewell jacket is 1.5” longer than the J. Crew version. Depending on your height, this may be a deciding factor in the best fit for you. Personally, I preferred the extra length of the Madewell jacket. 

The sleeves are on the shorter side. Since I plan to wear the jacket with the sleeves rolled this wasn’t a deciding factor in which jacket that I kept. I noticed on the Nordstrom site the sleeve was listed as bracelet length.

I wasn’t able to fully button either jacket. This didn’t bother me as I don’t see myself wearing it buttoned, but if you want to do so I’d suggest going up two sizes. In addition to short sleeve and tee shirts, I was able to comfortably layer a thin sweater with the jacket.

Both jackets are a little tight and stiff. I think they will wear in well over time. I’ve been wearing the Madewell jacket around and it’s already started to loosen up.

Other Random Stuff

This is really getting into the details, but a few other random things. Both jackets have 6 pockets, four on the outside (2 hand pockets + 2 chest pockets) and two interior pockets. The two pockets on the inside do have a small opening at the bottom corner so I wouldn’t use them for anything that could slip out.

The buttons on the J. Crew jacket are a shinier rose gold, which IMO look better. 

So Which One Did I Keep?

After wearing both jackets around the house (and in the case of the Madewell jacket, outside of the house), I am keeping the Madewell denim jacket. I like the extra length and think it will wear well over the years. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something about the Madewell jacket that’s just a tiny bit more comfortable. 

After searching for a denim jacket for years, I’m excited to finally have one that I want to reach for each day. I hope this post is helpful if you’re in a similar search!

On a side note, I was concerned about having enough outfits to wear with a denim jacket. My favorite is to pair it with black denim jeans and a white top. I also like to wear it with darker denim jeans and a sweater. I’ve yet to wear it over a dress, but that’s on my list to try! You can see how I wore it a few times in this post.

Leave a Comment


  1. Jenn wrote:

    Thanks! I was comparing these and your input was helpful!

    Published 4.24.21
  2. Blanca wrote:

    I have been looking for a denim jacket and it was difficult finding the perfect jacket. I love both of these jackets but, I read your review & I went with the Madewell Jean jacket! Thank you for such a great comparison artie!

    Published 5.17.21