Have you heard of clothing subscription services? I must admit, I had no idea you could get a clothing subscription box until a few years ago.
I wondered if a clothing subscription box might be a solution to my dislike of clothes shopping. Over the past eighteen months I’ve tried three clothing subscription services, Stitch Fix, Le Tote, and Rent the Runway.
I decided to give these three popular clothing subscription services for women a try and decide which was best for me. Now, you might think that a clothing subscription is a bit extravagant, and maybe it is. But after taking the Adore Your Wardrobe course I realized how I dressed was important, even if I’m just running errands or taking my kids to practice. (You can read more about the course Adore Your Wardrobe here)
My preference would be to wear a black t-shirt and jeans every day of my life, but I found that when I dressed to fit my shape I felt better about myself and was even more productive! After I lost weight and got fit for good, nothing in my closet fit, so I’ve spent the last several years rebuilding my wardrobe.
An unbiased review of Stitch Fix, Le Tote, and Rent the Runway
My first experience with a clothing subscription service was Stitch Fix.
First you create a free account. Once you enter your personal information you complete your style profile. Your style profile consists of your height, weight, sizes, and preferences. For example, do you like skinny jeans or flare jeans?
Once you complete all your measurements and preferences you are shown a series of outfits.
You rate these outfits, which helps your personal stylist put the clothing subscription box together for you. Do not rush this step! I did this part very quickly and initially ended up getting a lot of items in my subscription box that were not my style.
After this step you answer additional questions about where you usually go and where you shop and how much you want to spend on certain items of clothing. The entire process takes about 25 minutes to complete.
Finally, Stitch Fix recommends you create a style board on Pinterest. Your stylist will use this to help pick out your clothes. I recommend creating a totally new board on Pinterest for this step. I used a board I had already been shopping from for a few years and ended up getting a lot of clothes I already owned.
It’s time to Schedule Your Fix!
Once you have completed all the steps you schedule your fix. You have the option to receive your subscription box of clothes every month, every other month, or every three months. Your stylist will put together a box of clothes based on your preferences.
With each fix you are charged a $20 styling fee, however there is a way to get that credited to your account.
When you receive your box of five clothing pieces and/ or accessories you have three days to try them on and decide what you want to keep and what you want to return. Do not take the tags off anything unless you are going to keep it! You won’t be able to return any item without a tag.
Before your three days are over, check out by signing into your account online and select the items you want to keep, return, or exchange. Stitch Fix charges you for any items you decide to keep. The $20 styling fee will automatically be applied as credit toward any items you purchase. If you buy everything in the box, you receive a 25% discount off the entire box.
Stitch Fix has subscription boxes for Women, Men, Kids, Maternity, and Plus sized women.
What I liked about Stitch Fix
As I mentioned before I’m a jeans and t-shirt gal, so I decided to try Stitch Fix to mix up my wardrobe. I ended up purchasing items I would never had purchased if I saw them in the store or on-line. But after I tried them on I really liked them.
You can go three months between fixes. Most people don’t need new clothes every month, but five items every three months was definitely more my speed.
I didn’t spend any time shopping or returning items. Like most people, I don’t have much free time and I don’t like to spend what I have at the mall. The return process is super easy. Simply put the clothes you don’t want in the prepaid envelope and drop it off at the post office.
Most items fit. I rarely returned an item because it didn’t fit. Almost every item in the subscription box was a perfect fit.
What I didn’t like about Stitch Fix
Sometimes my stylist got it wrong. I ended up with a lot of animal prints and tight dresses. Occasionally I would keep something, thinking I might be adventurous, but I ended up getting rid of several things a few months later.
Note: This can be helped by leaving detailed feedback about what you like and don’t like and updating your profile. I didn’t invest enough time in doing this.
Some of the clothing quality was not great. Stitch Fix clothes are not cheap. Most shirts are around $40 and pants and dresses are even more. I found that after a few washings a few of the items had holes or thread issues. I wash all my clothes on delicate and don’t dry any of my clothes. Most of my clothes look great after years of wear. Several of the items I purchased from Stitch Fix lasted less than six months.
I ended up with a lot of odd and ends. I like basic clothing items. Many of the items I purchased from Stitch Fix were not items I would wear regularly. They were too bright or the print was too loud to match anything but solid shirt or pants. I like items that go with everything and I ended up with a several clothing pieces that I’ve only worn once or twice.
Stitch Fix Review Summary
I paused my Stitch Fix subscription last year because my closet was full of clothes I didn’t need any new items.
If you are looking to jump start your wardrobe or break out of a black t-shirt and yoga pants rut, I would definitely give it a try. I did get some good pieces from my subscription, but after a while I didn’t need any more clothes and decided it was time to take a break.
Le Tote Clothing Rental
I run a few conferences and I need to wear clothing that I don’t normally wear in my everyday life. Typically I would purchase a few clothing items (usually dresses) for the conference, but I rarely wore these dresses after the event.
A friend told me about Le Tote, a clothing rental company. I’d never rented clothing before, but thought it would be worth trying out before the next conference.
Like Stitch Fix, you fill out a clothing profile when you first sign up. This helps them tailor a tote to your style, however you can swap out items (which is a HUGE benefit).
They have two membership options, regular $69 a month and maternity $79 a month. With your membership you get 3 clothing items and 2 accessories with each shipment. The totes ship very quickly (I always received mine within 2-3 days) and as soon as you ship your tote back you get a notification that it’s time to customize your new tote.
When it’s time to customize your tote you receive an email notification.
You have 48 hours to make changes to the items that are in your next shipment. This is my favorite part about Le Tote. With Stitch Fix I was occasionally shipped items I didn’t like, but with LeTote I’m able to swap them out before they are shipped.
What I liked about Le Tote.
No commitments. You only pay when you want to have the subscription. You can pause your subscription and you will not be charged the monthly membership fee.
Ability to wear clothes but not commit to them. I was able to rent some great dresses that I didn’t have to keep. I wore them to an event and shipped them back.
You can purchase items at a deep discount. If you like an item in your tote, you can keep it. You are charged a discounted price since the item is used. Over the six months I used LeTote, I only purchased one item, a sweater that I was able to purchase for $9.
No laundry. When you are ready to return your tote, put all the items in the prepaid shipping envelope and send them back… DIRTY! This is one of the best features of clothing rental!
It saves me money. Here’s how I’m saving money with Le Tote. If I’m speaking at an event I’ll typically purchase one or two dresses. Let’s say each dress costs $75. That’s $150 for two dresses. I’ll need to have the clothing dry cleaned after the event which is another $10-15. With Le Tote I pay $69 for a month. I’ll rent three clothing pieces (plus accessories). I wear each item a few times, then I ship it back.
This is a much better deal than buying a dress that sits in my closet for the next two years.
What I didn’t about Le Tote.
I paused my Le Tote subscription recently because of the lack of choices in my size. During the winter months there were numerous options, but once the warmer weather hit I found myself looking at only a handful of choices each time I entered the tote swap.
Since I used LeTote to rent clothing for events, if they didn’t have a great selection I was stuck purchasing items at the last minute.
I’m hoping they improve their summer selections over time because it’s definitely a service I would use again.
You are wearing used clothing. Honestly, this isn’t a negative for me because I’ve shopped at thrift stores for years. Also, all the clothing arrives clean. However if this bothers you, you should probably not use a clothing rental service at all.
You can try a month of Le Tote free and see if it works for you.
Like Le Tote, Rent the Runway is a clothing rental service although you do have the option to purchase items you rent at a discounted price.
Rent the Runway has several rental plans.
This is a great option if you need a dress for a wedding or a very special event. Prices start at $30 and you rent one dress for a period of 4 or 8 days. You get a free back up size with your order, just in case you order the wrong size.
I wish I would have known about RTR Reserve when my husband was in the Navy. We attended several military balls and I purchased gowns that have hung in my closet for years never to be worn again. I would have happily paid $30-40 to rent a gown for these special occasions.
If you have a military ball, wedding, or special event this is a great inexpensive option.
This service is $89 a month (but your first month is 20% off). You receive four pieces of your choosing every month to wear for the entire month. At the end of the month, ship back the clothing and receive a new shipment the next month.
You can choose from over 200 brands and you are also able to purchase the items at a discount if you want to keep them.
This option is $159 a month ($99 for your first month) and you receive four pieces in constant rotation. As soon as you send the four items back, you are shipped four more. You choose your clothing.
What I like about Rent the Runway
The have the best selection of clothing. While I don’t always get my first choice, my second or third choice is always available. They have a wide variety of items in my size and I’m always pleased with my options.
I’m not forced to rent accessories. With LeTote, two of the five items you rent are accessories. This is great if you don’t have a lot of jewelry or bags, but I do. So sometimes I find that I’m renting items from LeTote that are very similar to what I always own. I like that Rent the Runway includes four clothing pieces in their Reserve and Unlimited subscriptions.
The clothes are really, really nice. Rent the Runway carries brands that are WAY out of my price range. For my last conference I was able to rent four dresses that I would never have been able to purchase. I received numerous remarks over the week about my wardrobe and I always felt great in the clothing.
They have great customer service. Once, I had an issue with my order and they fixed it immediately. There were no hoops to jump through and the process was quick and simple.
What I don’t like about Rent the Runway.
It’s expensive. Unless you are dong a one-off rental (which is a HUGE savings) their monthly programs are expensive. Most people I know don’t have $89 or $159 to spend on clothing every month for themselves. Most of my clothing budget goes to keeping my kids in shoes that fit. 🙂
It’s definitely worth trying RTR if you have a several events to attend, but I’m not sure it’s worth it to keep on a monthly basis if you work from home or your main weekly activity is going to Target.
However if you work in an office or travel to events frequently, I would recommend trying it.
After trying three clothing subscription boxes for the past two years, I have to say I’m hooked! While I probably prefer clothing rental over purchasing items every few months, all the services provided me with some great clothing pieces.
I plan on trying a few more clothing subscription boxes over the next year and I’ll make sure to let you know what I think.