Madewell's execs were so impressed by Columbus' creative spirit that they decided to open the clothing brand's first store in the Midwest here. Not Chicago - Columbus.

Madewell's execs were so impressed by Columbus' creative spirit that they decided to open the clothing brand's first store in the Midwest here.

Not Chicago - Columbus.

"It's such a great city that has such a youthful vibe," head designer Kin Ying Lee said.

The sister brand to J. Crew opened Tuesday at Easton. Madewell sells women's clothing that's much more casual than J. Crew's but has a downtown, effortless chic aesthetic, Lee said.

"Two people with very different styles can walk in and find something they both like," said Gigi Guerra, Madewell's head of marketing. "You'll find pretty, silky dresses next to chambray shirts."

Lee said much of the difference is in the styling. "You can dress it up or dress it down, really make it your own."

Madewell has partnered with labels like hat-maker Stetson and boot company Jacobsen to round out its selection of accessories, which also includes lots of in-house booties and jewelry.

"We're constantly looking for new brands we love and getting them to our customers to make sure they're in the know," Lee said.

Denim is the essence of Madewell, however. The company started in 1937 with a workwear-heavy line, and today's incarnation revives that aesthetic but updates it with looks like skinny jeans and rail-straight jeans, a bestseller.

The store itself shines with reclaimed hardwood floors and vintage-industrial display pieces found locally, Lee said. The look is modeled after Madewell's flagship SoHo store.

"There's a boutique-y element to it," she said of the brand's appeal. "It feels very special."