Why Jeans Are The Unsung Hero Of These 3 Women's Wardrobes

Anyone who’s made their living as a creative or entrepreneur knows that pursuing your passion can mean gutting it out through long days and hectic schedules that zip you from one side of the city to the other. And yet, when you’re out front representing your business, you can’t exactly let your style slip. Which is why so many of the creative women we love rely on denim to do what they do. Quite simply, nothing else looks and feels as good — or is as magically confidence-boosting — as a great pair of jeans.
We spoke to a trio of makers who literally live in their denim more days than not about how their Madewell jeans make them feel like their coolest, most stylish, most ready-for-whatever selves. Turns out, when you make a living being the most creative version of “you,” comfort isn’t just a perk of the job — it’s key to your success.
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Monica Hernandez

Monica Hernandez was born in the Dominican Republic, moved to the U.S. at 6, and is currently making a name for herself with her raw-but-beautiful large-scale oil paintings of women.
But don’t let her recent ArtForum write-up fool you — Monica is still hustling. When she isn't painting, she works in a coffee shop, models, and travels. Here’s how she learned to “strut confidently from borough to borough.”
What's a typical workday like for you?
“Hectic! I wake up at 4 a.m. and commute from the Bronx to Manhattan for my coffee-shop job. I finish around noon, then commute to my art studio in Brooklyn. I’ll clean, paint, stretch canvas, draw, nap, eat, whatever needs to get done. Then I commute back to Manhattan and take a yoga class — a nice new addition to my schedule as it helps me unwind at the end of the day and take care of my body — before I head back home to the Bronx.”
A lot of your work is physical — how do you dress for that?
“I’m obsessed with denim. Good jeans you never think about — they become a part of your body and keep everything in motion. I can’t afford to be uncomfortable as I move throughout the city. I need garments that can keep up with me. I can be productive in good jeans; I can work on the floor, climb ladders in my studio, break a sweat moving around six-foot-tall paintings. They bend with my body.”
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Madewell jeans and jacket, I Am Gia bodysuit, Macgraw shoes, stylist's own hat.
So what makes a pair of jeans perfect for you?
“It’s a trio of things — when the hips fit, waist fits, and the butt looks curvy and happy! I like my jeans to hug my curves and make me feel good. In the right pair, I know I look good, and I can strut more confidently from borough to borough.”
Say you need to be dressed for a creative meeting in five minutes flat — what’s your go-to denim outfit?
“I would probably wear a medium-wash, high-rise jean with a wide leg; a soft, flowy blouse I can half-tuck into the front; hair tied back to keep my face bright and open; and combat boots to add a little hardness to the look.”
Complete this sentence: “In my perfect pair of jeans...”
“I am free.”

Madeline Poole

The editorial manicurist and creative consultant built a small empire around her fresh, colorful approach to nail art and bringing her bold sensibility to collaborations with your favorite fashion and beauty brands.
For Madeline, a typical day could mean running between meetings at a musician’s studio or a beauty-brand’s HQ — so in other words, there really is no typical day. Here’s how she dresses to stay ready for anything.
What's a typical workday like for you?
“I could be editing photos, doing interviews, working on merch design for a musician, or drawing a pattern for a fashion brand. I help friends with their projects... Basically, I'm always running around like a mad man!”
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How do you approach dressing for that?
“Denim is so key. I wear jeans five days out of seven; they’re a classic and go with everything. Since I wear a lot of crazy pieces, it's nice to have a great go-to pair of jeans to ground me when I'm wearing fluorescent colors or optical patterns.”
Madewell jeans, Orseund Iris top, vintage shoes.
Does the way you dress affect your creativity?
“Definitely. It’s like a uniform. Once I found the jeans that really suited me, I could spend less time getting dressed, it’s easier to leave the house, and thus I'm more productive. Honestly, I don't know what I would do without them.”
When you pull on a pair of jeans, how do you know if it's The One?
“At this point, I can tell just by looking at them! I like these jeans because they’re a little high waisted, but not like it's 1982. I don't like any kind of tightness around the calf area. Within those guidelines, there's a lot of different shapes and washes to get into.”
Say you need to be dressed for a creative meeting in five minutes flat — what’s your go-to outfit?
“This is a favorite of mine and a real crowd-pleaser: I wear my favorite, light-denim baggy jeans with this big leather belt that has two chunky silver chains hanging down on the hips. I pair that with either a white, poofy-sleeved milkmaid blouse or a black corset and pointy flats. It's divine.”
Complete this sentence: “In my perfect pair of jeans…”
“I feel like myself.”

Kelli Kikcio

Tattoo artist Kelli Kikcio spent most of her adult life in Toronto working as a menswear designer. That is, until three years ago, when she met her husband (on Instagram!) and moved to Boston, then Brooklyn.
Kelli is now co-owner of Welcome Home Studio, a tattoo shop and “safe community space” that provides workshops and lectures in addition to Kelli’s unmistakeable, intricate style of hand-poked tattoos. Ahead, how she gears up to greet her “all-consuming” role as business owner and artist and the outfits that make every day a good day.
What's a typical day like for you?
“I spend my first few hours shipping orders, answering emails, preparing clients' drawings, and putting out any fires. I also generally tattoo three clients each day. If I get a night off of work, Dylan and I will go out for dinner (our favorite activity), meet up with friends, or do a Peloton ride. Being a business owner can be all-consuming, but I love it.”
Madewell jeans, I Am Gia top, Helmut Lang turtleneck, stylist's own shoes.
Why do you choose denim most days?
“I’ve always preferred jeans when building my outfit for the day — the more you wear them, the more ‘yours’ they become. I love when my jeans tell a story of my day-to-day life: seeing where they've worn out or have been repaired and feeling how soft they have become makes them feel uniquely mine.”
When you pull on a pair of jeans, how do you know if it's The One?
“Right now, my favorites are the Madewell curvy high-rise skinny. Finding jeans that fit me in the thighs, waist, and hips often feels impossible, so when I get a pair pulled up to my belly button, do them up, and feel them laying flat on my body without gaping across my back… I’m sold!”
What’s your go-to outfit for a busy day?
“I’m all about denim on denim, so I’m grabbing my favorite dark-wash Madewell jeans, a vintage sleeveless button-down, and my favorite denim French chore coat from a vintage shop in San Francisco.”
Complete this sentence: “In my perfect pair of jeans…”
“I can get out the door and back to work!”

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