Madewell Balloon Jeans Review – Size 30

Madewell Balloon Jeans Review
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Madewell Balloon Jeans Review on a Size 30

I was not going to buy the balloon jeans. In fact, I was convinced that the dramatic “balloon” leg that shows up so well on Madewell’s smaller-sized models would be no match for the curve of my hips.

But when Elaine at Fairly Curated reviewed them (negatively, actually), I decided that they may just work for me. At any rate, ordering them would give me a chance to review them even if they didn’t work out.

But they did work out, way better than expected…

Madewell Balloon Jeans Review

Mid-Size Balloon Jeans Review

I like doing these reviews because I feel like there are so few mid-size bloggers offering detailed fit reviews of everyday items like denim. As a reminder, I’m 5’7″, 34″ bust, 30″ waist, 42″ hips with a high rise and a relatively short waist.

I ordered these in a size 29, per Madewell’s fit finder suggestion.


The Balloon Jeans are made with a heavy-weight, 1% stretch cotton denim. They have a 11 1/4″ rise and a 26″ inseam. They also have a button fly, which I didn’t realize when I ordered them.

The cotton used for production has the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) stamp of approval, which theoretically means it was sourced without exploitation in the supply chain. This has been murkier ever since the Chinese government began retaliating against them for speaking out against Uyghur forced labor. But it’s still a start.


On my “curvy” frame, these are a really good fit. The balloon effect is indeed less dramatic than it would be on a straighter figure. But that means that these skim my hips nicely without pulling, and provide more wiggle room in the seat. The weight of the denim is particularly good for spring days where you want to be outside without having cool air rushing through your clothes.

The 26″ inseam takes some of the bulk out of the silhouette, but I could have done with another 1/2″ to 1″ in length.

The waist hits right at my natural waist thanks to there being enough room in the hips and seat. There is a little bit of a gap at the curve of my back even in one size smaller, but not enough to warrant going down a size. The button fly could do with one more button for less gapping, but that’s more of a personal preference. It doesn’t impact the appearance.

Wash and Wear:

I washed and dried these on regular settings and things tightened up a little at the waist and hips, but not enough to significantly change the overall fit. Because there’s only 1% elastane, these will also stretch out a bit with wear.

Madewell Balloon Jeans Review

Do I recommend the Madewell Balloon Jeans?

It’s a hearty yes for me.

I don’t usually spend this much on jeans, but I did use the 15% off student and teacher discount you can register for on the Madewell site.

Shop the Balloon Jeans. Shop Madewell Denim.

Other denim posts.

Leah Wise

Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.

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  1. I never would have even given a second glance at something called balloon jeans, but these look great on your! You are right that there aren’t that many mid-size fashion bloggers, or even models, out there.

    1. Thanks! I felt the same way. It felt gimmicky and not cut out for a variety of body types. But they’re actually good.

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