Harlow Trousers Are Madewell’s Bestselling Pants. Are They Worth The Hype?

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Photo: Courtesy of Karina Hoshikawa.

Welcome to Refinery29’s So, How Is It Really? where we take a look at all of the topics that have the internet talking. In studying them up close, we answer the question of what it’s really like to try out a trend, a viral product, or an unexpected TikTok hack. This month, we review the Madewell Harlow, the bestselling pants that sell every 2.5 minutes and have sold out five times to date.

Since Madewell released the Harlow Pant in 2022, the trouser has become one of the retailer’s most popular items (and a TikTik favorite!). Not only does the high-waisted, wide-leg, pleated style come in several fabrics (cotton, linen, denim), but it’s also available in a myriad of colors (black, green, pink, brown, and more) and different sizing ranges (petite, regular, tall, plus). Here at Refinery29, we’ve had our eye on the customer favorite for a while. But it wasn’t until November when Madewell dropped the Harlow in a new satin fabrication, which comes in black and brown colorways, that we decided to test the trousers firsthand. A staple of holiday dressing season and eveningwear, could satin translate into a daytime must-have? To find out, we wore Madewell’s Harlow trousers day and night to see if they are as versatile as the reviews claim them to be. Ahead, our thoughts.

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Madewell Harlow Pant: Day Look

“I’m 5’2, so a full-length pant — let alone a wide-legged style — has always been hard for me to pull off; ill-fitting trousers had the unfortunate effect of making me appear shorter and frumpy, instead of nailing the whole cool-girl, intentionally oversized look. Madewell has been my longtime go-to for denim, especially for petite lengths that don’t require a trip to the tailor. Because of that, I was optimistic about trying the brand’s bestselling Harlow Pant (in petite size 0) reimagined in festive satin for party season. 

“First impressions: The fit was on point — it hugged my waist but the legs were swishy and roomy without being balloon-like. I also loved that the black satin fabric wasn’t overly shiny, but mimicked silk with its lightweight, draped feel and subtle sheen. (This also helped it coordinate effortlessly with everything from a crisp white tee to a sheer blouse.) Bonus: These pants are as comfy as pajamas.”

Madewell Harlow Pant: Night Look

“For daytime, I dressed down the pants with a cropped logo tee and white sneakers; for a date night with my fiancé, I loved going for a classic vibe. I paired the look with a sheer blouse (I wore a tank underneath, but could see myself sporting a lace bralette — or nothing — as well), with the sleeves pushed up in that French-girl way, and platform boots to elongate my legs. I love how these pants aren’t something I’d necessarily reach for first off the rack but, paired with some of my favorite pieces, it manages to feel very ‘me.’” — Karina Hoshikawa, Senior Affiliate Writer

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Madewell Harlow Pant: Day Look

“While a lot of people tend to stay away from satin pants for fear of appearing too formal, I like silky fabrics for the way they can instantly elevate simple basics like a button-down or a tee while remaining comfortable, unlike more structured pant styles. This pair, in particular, has a more casual feel thanks to the wide-leg hemline and loose fit. Speaking of which: If you are between sizes (I go between US sizes 4 and 6), I suggest sizing down as the fit is fairly oversized.

“For a weekend look, I paired the Harlow pants with a shirt-hoodie-hybrid top that I got during a recent trip to France. You can also wear these pants with a sweater: For Thanksgiving dinner, I paired them with a ribbed cream turtleneck, an effortlessly cozy look that got me through the entire day.”

Madewell Harlow Pant: Night Look

“While watching Platonic earlier this year, I fell in love with one of Rose Byrne’s character’s looks that consisted of a pair of silky cargo pants and a halter top. I instantly bought the latter from Staud (albeit in a black colorway rather than the orange featured on the show), and have been waiting to find the right pants. When paired with the top, heeled mules, and a sparkly bag, the Harlow trousers instantly took on a going-out look that can go from a cocktail party to a dinner.” — Irina Grechko, Fashion Director

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Madewell Harlow Pant: Day Look

“While I love tailored pants, satin ones always make me nervous. The material often wrinkles easily and it rarely carries the same weight as other heavier fabrics. Also, the shine makes it difficult to wear during the day. So I was pleasantly surprised at how versatile Madewell’s Harlow pants are. I recently packed them for a trip to Portugal, wearing them for a three-hour train ride, as well as a casual dinner in Lisbon. Throughout the trip, I found it easy to release the wrinkles created in the suitcase with a simple spritz of wrinkle spray.

“I’ve also styled them for work, wearing a chocolate brown shirt and Oxford shoes for a look that easily translated from work-from-home to in-person meetings.”

Madewell Harlow Pant: Night Look

“The thing about these Harlow pants is that while they are very comfortable, they’re good party pants. For a holiday party look, I styled them with a feathered top and glitter platforms. Given how much I’ve worn them in just a week, I can see why they’re so famous on TikTok. A good investment for holiday party dressing and beyond.” — Frances Solá-Santiago, Fashion Writer 

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