Le Tote: First Impressions
It’s no secret that I love Stitch Fix, but this subscription box isn’t the only online service that offers personal stylist recommendations. For $59 a month, you can choose five clothing items or accessories to be sent to your door with Le Tote. You keep the items as long (or as briefly) as you wish, and as soon as you return them, you choose five new items to be shipped.
You also have the option to purchase any or all of the items at the special Le Tote discount price — and if you choose to purchase your entire tote, you will get one month of your subscription free.
Before you get to choose the clothes you like, you first have to add items that you like to your “Closet” — this helps the Le Tote stylists know what your style is so they can recommend three garments and two accessories for your box. However, you don’t have to choose the items they recommend; you can exchange any of the items for other items if you wish. Once you’re satisfied with the items you’ll be receiving, you submit your order and voila! Your tote is on the way.
Or at least, it’s supposed to be that easy. I’ll be honest — I was a little unimpressed with this part of Le Tote’s process. It seemed to me that the items you have to choose from when adding to your “Closet” aren’t the same as the items you see once you get to your actual recommendations. For example, the featured brands on the site included Free People, Cupcakes and Cashmere, etc. — but as you can see below, none of those same brands were offered in my “recommendations.” Also, I wish there was an easier way to see all of the options that you have for each item rather than scrolling through a million pages of tiny thumbnail images.
In the end, though it took me about half an hour of sorting through the options, I finally settled on five items that I was willing to try. Though these weren’t all items that I would have picked myself, I was keeping an open mind.
- Noir Buffalo Check Tunic Dress ($78 retail/$21 on the site): 5 out of 5 stars
- Ava Blue Tie Dye Scarf ($38 retail/$28 on the site): 3 out of 5 stars
- Octavia & Co. Tassel Chandelier Earring ($24 retail/$18 on the site): 4 out of 5 stars
- Jack Contrast Stripe Cardigan ($98 retail/$74 on the site): 1 out of 5 stars
- Hayes Tencel Button Up Shirt ($75 retail/$58 on the site): 2 out of 5 stars
When the box came in, the packaging was really cute and reminded me of when I get my Stitch Fix boxes — it feels like getting a present for yourself. However, the difference is that the contents of my Stitch Fix boxes are a mystery, which somehow makes it even more exciting. As I was opening up my box of wrapped goodies from Le Tote, I was reminded that most of the items I chose were a bit lackluster. There were a few things I was excited to try, but overall the quality of the clothes was a bit disappointing — especially when compared to the high-quality photos you see online.
The silver lining: I did enjoy wearing a handful of the items I received, even some that I wasn’t thrilled about. The style of the tunic dress wasn’t something I would normally go for, but I was pleasantly surprised when I stepped outside my comfort zone and paired with bright red rain boots and accessories on a rainy summer day. Though the pattern and colors of the scarf were a little loud, once I tried it on with a plain white T-shirt and jeans, it made for a good casual, comfy-cute outfit — though I will note that the scarf is much thicker than it appears and therefore was a bit much for the lingering 80-degree weather. I liked the earrings a lot (this may be the only item I end up keeping), but I didn’t really have anything that would look good paired with them besides the same plain white tee.
Now on to the disappointments: The black and white cardigan was probably the item I was the most excited for when I made my selections — however, once it came in, it looked extremely worn and the sleeves and shoulders were way too big for me. I didn’t even wear it once. Similarly, the denim button-up shirt is definitely my style, which is why I chose it, but the material felt very cheap and the fit was less than stellar.
The Value: $313 Retail/$199 With Discount
Though this tote is valued at $313 retail, I’m not sure I completely agree with this assessment. For starters, these are used clothes, and some of the items in my tote seemed grossly over-priced, even if they were brand-new. Though the discounted price is a step closer to reality, it still seems a little high to me for some of the items ($74 for a worn, stretched-out cardigan? No thanks). I can’t help thinking I could easily find similar used clothing items in my local consignment shop for MUCH less money.
One thing I do like about Le Tote is that you can send back and receive new totes as often as you wish and you will only be billed once monthly. So if you are dissatisfied with many of the items in your tote, then you can simply send it back and see if the next box seems to be more worth your money. In my opinion, this is the only feature that almost makes this box worth it to me — $60 a month for five items is a bit steep, but $60 if you end up getting 10 or 15 things to try isn’t so bad.
The Verdict: Is Le Tote Worth It?
For me personally, this is not a service I would subscribe to. Based on my own lifestyle and budget preferences, receiving used clothes that I have to send back is not only a waste of time, but also doesn’t seem to be worth my money based on my initial impression.
However, I can recognize that this could be a valuable service for people with different needs and preferences. For example, they have a maternity option that I think would be very useful and cost-effective because you simply pay a monthly fee for clothes to wear throughout your pregnancy without breaking the bank buying a whole new wardrobe that you only wear for a few months. Additionally, if you’re losing weight, this could be a good way to get transitional pieces without spending a ton of money on new clothes as well.
For the value, renting clothes is obviously not going to be a good monetary investment. For the experience, I personally prefer Stitch Fix — but I can recognize the circumstances where Le Tote would make more sense—if you’re interested in a trendy new style but don’t want to commit to buying before you try, if you need a new outfit for an occasional event, or if you just want to refresh your wardrobe at the beginning of the season.
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Last modified on June 1st, 2017