Clothes show up at your door, chosen by a stylist who knows what's going to fit and flatter you. You might want to join the subscription-box movement!
Clothing through the mail didn't use to appeal to me. I like to browse and try things on. But I became an early adopter of Stitch Fix, and pretty soon I understood that good subscription boxes know your measurements and your style even better than you do (with some trial and error of course). Now I'm also loyal to Le Tote. And trying Gwynnie Bee. My colleague is signed up for Trunk Club. We are basically subscription-box addicts over here at Parents.
Three reasons why clothing boxes are great for moms:
- We don't have time, energy, or babysitting to shop for ourselves. A box to our door is the best.
- Motherhood changes your size and shape. Over and over again. Box companies take your current measurements into account when they choose clothes for you.
- The boxes force you to hit the style refresh button. It's too easy, as moms, to default to the same look all the time. Subscription boxes get you out of your style rut.
Over time, I learned there are three golden rules for getting good boxes:
- Give a company a ridiculous amount of information. Be honest about your current weight and size. Tweak those every few months if you go up and down.
- Make peace with returning a lot in the beginning. The first few months, the company is getting to know you. The system uses algorithms that eventually pinpoint your likes and dislikes, but it takes a little while.
- Use the apps to give feedback. Each works differently, but each has ways for you to mark clothing that you like, which makes your boxes better.
- RELATED: Ultimate Instagram Mom SomethingNavy Gets Real About Parenting
Here are some pros and cons of the boxes we editors are using. No one is paying us for these reviews, so you'll see our genuine thoughts here!
- You can give so much information. I have a Pinterest board for my stylist that I keep updated, and I share my Instagram feed. Each month I write a note to her and get super-duper specific about what I'm looking for (right now, floral pants). There's also a survey you can retake anytime to list things you like and what you never want to see (for me, animal prints and high heels).
- When I return things, I can give specific feedback. I complain if something feels cheap or is shapeless or if the print is too loud. I love to give constructive criticism, apparently! I also sing the praises of things I keep. I've typed "I put the wrap dress on and ripped off the tag. Keeping and wearing immediately."
- You choose your box delivery date. Get two boxes in a month or a box only every couple of months, there's total freedom to decide. I do monthly but often push it a bit so it's more like every five weeks.
- The clothes are a surprise. You don't pick what goes in the box, your stylist does. You can be very detailed about what you want, but ultimately she chooses what to send, and sometimes that goes better than others.
- Their pricing makes me crazy. Each piece is priced at retail, aka kind of high. You have to keep all five pieces to get the sale price, 25 percent off. What this means in real life is that I keep all five pieces or I only keep one or two. Why would I keep three or four pieces at full retail price?! I never would. Maybe one day they will tier the discounts so that you get a little off if you buy three or four. (Please, Stitch Fix!)
- When I first started, no one else had Stitch Fix clothes. But now it's popular. My co-worker and I have the same jacket. They're going to need to keep their selection broad so we're not all getting the same clothes!
- This is clothes borrowing with the chance to own. I did not know how much I loved NOT owning clothes until I joined this club. The genius of being able to wear a new top, then return it (without having to clean it, because they do the dry cleaning!) can not be overstated. It's always having new things to wear without overfilling my closet or doing as much laundry as I used to.
- I discover plenty of things I do want to buy, and then get a steep discount. I've purchased probably five pairs of earrings. I once wore a LeTote dress to a dinner and the hostess said, "I hope this doesn't embarrass you, but you should always wear that dress. It's amazing." I bought it, of course, and because LeTote clothes are preworn it was at a great discount.
- You build your own box. You'll know exactly what's coming, in my case always three pieces of clothing and two accessories. They'll suggest things and give you warnings if they think an item won't fit well, but they let you take control.
- Your monthly bill (mine is about $70 for five items at a time) is just for the borrowing service, and you don't own anything for that amount. That can feel weird at first. You have to embrace the fact that you are paying for a revolving wardrobe and that not keeping things is the appeal.
- RELATED: Sharing Clothes With Your Kid: Cute or Creepy?
- I get a little psycho about the time between shipments, even though it's only a few days. To maximize my monthly payment I want to pretty much always have a LeTote selection at home with me, but things do need to ship back and forth!
- Some of the clothes are so trendy that looking at the pictures on the app can make me laugh.
- These are subscription boxes for plus-size women. All the models and the default clothing sizes reflect that, which is refreshing. But you don't have to be plus-size, many styles do start in small. There's just a lot more selection for women who are sized larger, which is the opposite of shopping in most stores!
- The styles are elevated. There is no athleisure here, though there is nice denim. It's all work- and event-appropriate clothing that you can borrow and return so you're always in new outfits without shelling out a fortune.
- This is the same $70-a-month fee as LeTote but I only get two garments at a time. They're high-quality, but still, only two pieces.
- The prices for buying garments seems high to me. Granted, they are nice. But so far I have always worn and returned, because they just don't seem discounted enough to buy.
- A coworker with a high-level job and a toddler at home loves this. The clothes are from Nordstrom and chosen by top-notch stylists, so there's a "wow" factor with every box.
- If you live in Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, or Washington DC, you can get fit and give a lot of feedback in-person with a visit to a "clubhouse" in a Nordstrom store. It's the only subscription service I know that offers even the potential of meeting you!
- This is not a monthly commitment, you just order a box when you need something. Also, Trunk Club shows you what they are planning to send, and you give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down.
- Uh, it's Nordstrom, so this is not super affordable, and you are not borrowing these clothes, you are being offered the chance to buy or return. My coworker's biggest frustration is that she inevitably wants everything and has to stretch her budget a bit to do so.
- They ship via UPS, not USPS, which is important to note in case a UPS dropoff is not as convenient to you for returns.
Writing this post has Entertainment Editor Jessica Hartshorn down a rabbit hole of clothing boxes, looking at additional sites like MM LaFleur and wondering how many boxes is too many?