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If You Ordered Madewell’s Extended Sizes, Maybe Expect Delays

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Surprise: The brand didn’t make enough denim to meet shopper demand.

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A woman wearing a pair of dark denim jeans
Madewell’s Curvy High-Rise Skinny Jeans, which are on backorder in sizes 33 through 35 until April.

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J.Crew and Madewell’s launch of denim in a few more sizes hasn’t been without major bungling. Last week, both brands added sizes 33, 34, and 35 to select jean styles online, and according to Madewell’s size chart, the new sizing would now include women who wear up to a size 20.

But that might not be the case. Save for one size chart, the sizing breakdown has been pretty opaque; a writer at Revelist spent a good two days trying to figure it out, only to come away with the theory that Madewell’s size 20 is probably a lot closer to a size 14/16.

And now there are delays. You currently can’t buy the extended sizes in stores, which is also the case for anything the brand considers specialty sizing, like petite and tall lengths. Online orders are the only option, but don’t expect them anytime soon.

One Racked reader who ordered the Curvy High-Rise Skinny Jeans online last week was initially told that they were on backorder until February 5th. A day later, she received a follow-up: “Unfortunately, the delivery of the item from your recent order has been postponed beyond the original date promised. The new expected ship date is outlined below.” The new ship date is April 2nd. April, as in the month after March but before May. As in two full months away. (Madewell gave her the option to call or email its customer service department to “pick out another style or color” if “this date doesn’t work.”)

It’s unclear if the delay is due to poor planning on Madewell’s part or a very warranted fervor for jeans above a size 14. One particularly frustrating aspect of the lag is that now we won’t even know how the jeans fit for months, as almost all extended-size styles are backordered until at least February.

This isn’t about a trendy product like a bag or a pair of shoes selling out — this is about size, not style. That there was so much fanfare around the availability of new sizes without the inventory to back it up makes the entire thing feel like a real half-hearted attempt to satisfy customers. Or worse, a marketing ploy.