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Clothing Subscription Boxes: Worth the hype?

My first clothing subscription box arrived seven years ago. Since, I’ve had countless home try-ons and added many a favorite item to my closet.

But, are they really worth the hype?

I mean, I obviously love them. After all, the boxes keep coming! It’s never on a consistent schedule (although you can definitely choose a specific frequency when you sign up), but here and there when the season changes or I have an event on the horizon. It’s a fun treat and in the long run saves me time. I think that’s what keeps me coming back. A little dose of excitement in the mail along with the simplicity of avoiding the mall or scouring internet shops. I’m not convinced clothing by mail is the wave of the future though

If you’re new to clothing subscription boxes, the basic gist is that you complete a profile online - sharing your sizes and preferences, schedule a ship date, and then patiently wait. Soon enough a pretty shipment arrives on your doorstep and it feels like your birthday even if it’s not :)

Inside the box or bag, curated pieces are neatly folded, awaiting your try on in the comforts of your home. Usually there is a note from your stylist and sometimes a style card too, giving you ideas of how to pair each piece for maximum success. You keep what you love and send back the rest. It’s shopping from home at its finest.

Truly, I think everyone should try it at least once. But, before committing to a clothing subscription box, ask yourself these questions then you’ll know if it’s a hype that’s for you or one that you’re better fitted to skip.

Do you like surprises?

With a clothing subscription box you do your best to explain your body type and personal style, but then everything is in your stylist’s hands. Sometimes they’re spot on with their picks. One of my most favorite utility jackets came from a box almost 5 years ago and I wear it almost weekly. And this summer I got the most beautiful floral blouse; it feels like me embodied in a fabric!

Sadly though, sometimes they’re way off, I mean, they’re only human and can’t read your mind. In those cases it’s quite disappointing to excitedly await your box and then be sorely disappointed. All in all, if receiving mail puts a smile on your face, you will adore trying out a clothing subscription box.

Do you dislike the mall/browsing for clothes?

The mall isn’t for everyone. Searching racks for the perfect item can be disparaging. And if you have children in tow, forget about peacefully trying on a room full of options! There is a time in season for mall shopping, and then, well, there is a time when it loses its luster. If the mall isn’t for you, you’ll almost certainly enjoy the simplicity and ease of clothes and accessories being chosen for you. Some subscriptions even offer shoes! It’s like a virtual friend sending the gift of saved time your way. Bring it!

Are you all right paying full price?

When you shop for yourself - in stores or online - you have the luxury of migrating to the sale rack or popping in a promotion code to create your own sale. It’s not that way with a clothing subscription box. With those, you will be paying full price, even if you do select the “budget” option in your profile.

Now, some boxes do offer a discount if you keep the entire collection, but in that scenario you might end up keeping something you don’t love. And a well-curated closet is full of favorites, not extras you don’t necessarily need.

Are you shopping for a special occasion or specific item?

If yes, well, I highly recommend a clothing subscription box. This is where communication with your stylist plays an important role. You can say, “I’m looking for something classy but casual for my office holiday party” or “Send me a mix of dark wash jeans”. Once your stylist has the hang of your shape and preferences, it’s great fun to see what they choose and how they stretch your personal style into something new or edgy.

I purposefully avoided naming specific companies. I’ve tried a few, have many more on my wish list, and well, there are more popping up daily! Check out some of these clothing subscription box options and see which one might be the best fit for you!*

  • Stitch Fix - With many sizes and pieces for men, women (maternity, regular, petite, and plus), and children, some might consider Stitch Fix the leader of the pack. Perhaps best of all is that it is not a default subscription service, you can order just when you want or check the box for a specific frequency.
  • Trunk Club - If you love Nordstrom, you’ll almost certainly love Trunk Club, their by-mail personal shopping experience. With this option you get to chat with your stylist and preview items before they ship. My friends who work in an office setting seem to prefer this service as they can truly find complete outfits without losing valuable time.
  • Dia & Co - Specific to plus sizes and known for on-trend pieces. The reviews of Dia & Co are great!
  • Frank and Oak Style Plan - If you like a simple, clean aesthetic and prefer supporting more eco-friendly brands, this option is for you.
  • Le Tote - This plan works a little different, but it’s worth mentioning! With this service, you’re renting clothing. So, if you like a rotating closet with many choices this might be right up your alley.
  • Gwynnie Bee - Another rental option with sizes ranging from 0-32
  • Golden Tote - You choose one item from their monthly collection and then the rest is a surprise. It’s the best of both worlds!
  • Luxe Catch - Here’s where deal seekers might fall in love, each month you get 1-3 items with a value of $200 for just a $50 monthly subscription.
  • Wantable - With this service, you get 7 items to test out more options than most
  • Nadine West - Probably the most budget choice, at just $9.78 shipping each month (which applies to anything you keep), you get a few items that coordinate together.

*This is by no means a comprehensive list, just those I've either tried myself, had a friend/family member try, or heard a lot about.