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Review: Madalynne x Urban Outfitters Dawson set

Disclosure: the pieces in this article were sent to me free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own.


Madalynne x UO's Dawson cut-out bra. All photos by Erica.

Whenever I can, I prefer to buy my lingerie from indie designers, mostly because I can be more certain that their products are made ethically. Urban Outfitters is far from being an indie retailer and their history of dubious labor practices and problematic marketing has turned me off of shopping with them often. That said, UO often has extremely cute designs at a mid-range price point and their new Madalynne Intimates line has a sexy, femme look that I like a lot.  

Madalynne sent me the Dawson high-waisted undie ($30) and Dawson cut-out bra ($50) in L and M, respectively. The bra was a little smaller than expected, and I'd recommend sizing up when ordering that piece, if possible. I say “if possible” because UO only carries sizes up to L for almost all of their lingerie. While financial and logistical constraints make it understandably difficult for indie designers to stock larger sizes, it's disappointing when a successful multinational corporation makes the choice to limit their sizing this way.


Madalynne x UO's Dawson cut-out bra and high-waisted undie.

The bra has soft polyester cups with a nylon mesh lining, and the stiff band provides a decent amount of support in comparison to most soft bras. Unfortunately, I don't love the look of that band; its lace trim is simultaneously bulky-looking and too fragile. In every other respect, I'm happy with the quality of these pieces, but the lace on the bra started to fray after a couple of wears; the silver thread detailing on the band is also much too shiny for my taste and looks cheap up close.

Band detail on Dawson cut-out bra by Madalynne x UO

Band detail on Dawson cut-out bra by Madalynne x UO

It's a pity because I like everything else about the Dawson bra. It's comfortable for all-day wear, and offers a good compromise between support and unstructured fabric. The short lace trim on the cups is a cute touch that softens the sexier elements like the ring-joined gore and cut-out in front. In the back, four bra straps meet at a central ring for the kind of lightly bondage-inspired aesthetic that I really enjoy.


Madalynne x UO's Dawson cut-out bra and high-waisted undie.

The strappy, high-waisted Dawson undie appealed to me as soon as I saw it online, mostly because it also has lots of lovely straps. Happily, my enthusiasm for this piece has yet to waver. The fabric is comfortable, soft, and breathes well enough to be worn outside in the summertime because of its mesh lining. For folks who tuck, the fabric is a little too loose for good compression on its own, but that looseness and extra material make these ideal bottoms for wearing another pair of panties underneath.


Madalynne x UO's Dawson cut-out bra and high-waisted undie.

In the back, the Dawson undie has five straps that meet at a central ring, the top two of which wrap around and clasp under the ribcage. The straps are easy to adjust and don't tangle easily, but the front clasp tended to migrate downward toward my belly button if I was at all active while wearing it, no matter how tight I made the strap. On me, the straps in back only stayed taut if the front clasp was relatively high, so I found myself pulling the front clasp back up pretty regularly. I found this whole process slightly annoying, but it was worth it for the visual effect.

With the exception of the not-quite-ideal band on the bra, the quality is pretty good for the price range. The fasteners and buckles look and feel reassuringly solid, which is extra important given the set’s emphasis on straps and clasps. I've worn this set maybe a dozen times since I received it, and they've survived both hand washing (recommended) and a trip through the delicate cycle in a lingerie bag with no ill effects.

For the most part, I was impressed with the Dawson set. Despite my frustration with the construction on the band, the design and aesthetic of the set as a whole was very appealing. I loved the combination of a pretty, femme floral pattern and lace trim with the sexy straps all up and down the back of the set. The pieces are comfortable and stand up well to regular wear, which is always appreciated. The price isn't especially affordable, but if you do happen to have $80 to spend, the Madalynne x UO Dawson set is a new favorite of mine.