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Shopping (even online shopping) can really be a pain sometimes, especially if you have a busy lifestyle that doesn’t allow you much time to spend updating your wardrobe. To make our lives easier, subscription boxes of all kinds have taken over the market, delivering whatever we need right to our doorstep (for a monthly cost, of course). From books to beauty products, there is now a subscription box for nearly everything — and that includes clothes.
In an attempt to curb my online shopping spending habits, as well as upgrade my wardrobe from college student to professional, I decided to try some of these clothing subscription services to see if they were worth the money. Stitch Fix and Le Tote are some of the most popular clothing boxes currently available; here’s a comparison of the two.
Is Stitch Fix Worth It?
I remember when I first heard about Stitch Fix — I was amazed. A personal stylist to pick out items just for me? It almost sounded too good to be true, and I couldn’t wait to try it out. How it works: You pay a $20 “styling fee” for each box that you schedule to receive (which, by the way, can be as often or as rare as you like). Based on your answers in your “Style Profile” (a lengthy survey you fill out when you begin your membership), your personal stylist will select five items he or she believes will fit your personal taste and ship them to your door.
You then have three days to try on each item and make a decision about whether to keep or send back each item. If you purchase anything from your box, your $20 stylist fee will be subtracted from the cost (making the service itself virtually free of charge); if you keep everything in your box, you will get a 25% discount off the total cost.
My experiences with Stitch Fix have been extremely good — almost too good, in fact. Nearly everything my stylist has ever picked out for me I’ve loved, which is why I haven’t scheduled a box for the past six months or so — the cost of buying everything in all of my boxes (even with the 25% discount) was really starting to add up; I had to force myself to take a break. Almost all of the clothes I’ve received from Stitch Fix are high quality, and the prices are much more reasonable than some of the higher-end clothing subscription services like Trunk Club.
If you really dislike shopping for yourself, this is a great service to consider. It provides exactly what it says it will with its personalization, flexibility, and (most importantly) affordability. Also, because you have the option to schedule your Fixes on demand, your credit card won’t be charged unless you want it to be. Therefore, if you’re unsatisfied with the service, cancelling it isn’t an issue — you simply stop scheduling Fixes, and you won’t have to worry about it.
One other major pro of Stitch Fix is that they now offer plus sizes, so they can style women ranging from 0 to 24W and XS to 3XL!
The only con to Stitch Fix is the possibility that you won’t like anything in your box (or aren’t willing to pay the price for it). If this is the case, then you’ll forfeit your $20 styling fee, and it will basically be like flushing money down the toilet. Fortunately, this has never happened to me, and my suggestion would be that if you do end up unsatisfied with an entire box, simply request a new stylist. Additionally, if you aren’t prepared to spend about $100 on a few items from your Fix, then don’t schedule one. Because the clothes are higher quality, they aren’t always cheap (though, like I said, I do think the price is generally pretty reasonable for what you’re getting).
Finally, unlike Le Tote and some other clothing subscription services, the items you receive in your Fix are a complete surprise until they show up at your door. This could be a pro or a con, depending on how you look at it. I personally think the surprise factor is pretty exciting, and because I’ve never been disappointed, I don’t mind it at all. However, if you do end up unhappy with the items you receive, it would be nice to have the opportunity to review and swap some items before they ship it to you.
Is Le Tote Worth It?
I recently tried Le Tote for the first time, and I had really high hopes for this service. For $59/month (recently increased from $49/month), Le Tote will send you five items (three garments and two accessories) for you to keep and wear for as long as you want. Whenever you want to send the items back, you’ll then get to choose five new items, and so on and so forth. If you want to keep one of the items, you don’t include it when you ship it back and LT will automatically charge your credit card on file (the price for each item is listed on their website).
Since you’re basically renting clothes rather than buying them, the only way to make the cost of the monthly membership worth it is by receiving more than one box per month — which doesn’t allow you much time to actually wear the items you receive. However, if you have commitment issues or chronic buyer’s remorse, then Le Tote may be the right choice for you. It is great for avoiding permanent consequences for temporary transition periods in your life, such as weight changes, freshening up your wardrobe at the start of a new season, or pregnancy (there is a maternity option for $69/month).
It’s also good for “test driving” your clothes before you buy them. Maybe you thought you would love the new ripped jeans trend, but after wearing them for a week, you decide it’s not for you — with Le Tote, you didn’t waste your money purchasing a high-ticket item before changing your mind.
Honestly, I wasn’t very impressed with my first experience with Le Tote. When you’re filling out your profile, one of the things they ask you to do is add items you like to your “Closet.” I did this, but once I got to my stylist’s recommendations, none of the clothes I had picked out were there. They also offer the option to swap any of your recommendations for something else, but the choices were very limited as well. I finally settled on five items I thought I’d be okay with, but after receiving them in the mail, many of the items felt very worn and cheaply made, and a couple of things didn’t even fit. I did get good use out of a few things, but not enough to justify the cost.
While $59 per month may seem like a bargain, you have to consider the fact that you won’t actually be owning the clothes — and besides, if you skip this service and buy your own clothes, will you really end up spending more than $700 for the entire year? If not, then this service is likely a waste of your money, especially when I’m fairly sure I could find most of the low-quality items in my Tote on any discount store rack for a much lower price tag.
Finally, after my dissatisfaction with my first month of Le Tote, I attempted to get on the website and cancel my membership. However, this is not an option on their website. You can suspend your membership, but you must choose a date within the next few months that your credit card will be charged again. In order to cancel, you must physically call Le Tote, and when I tried to do that, all I got was a voicemail. Finally, I emailed customer service, and they said they would cancel my membership, but they also said that if they didn’t receive my tote back before my next billing date, I would be charged again. Since I had already shipped my tote back and had no control over when they actually received it and processed my cancellation, that seemed a little unfair to me. To be put simply: it should not be this complicated to cancel a service you are not happy with, and I don’t enjoy feeling like I am being taken advantage of.
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The Verdict: Would I Switch?
In case you couldn’t guess my answer already: No. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I believe Stitch Fix is a far superior service to Le Tote, and although I can’t afford it all the time, it definitely feels much more worth my money than paying to borrow used clothes of poor quality.
Stitch Fix is perfect for building your wardrobe with high-quality pieces, and Le Tote would theoretically be good for any occasion in which you would like to “try before you buy” — but they have some organizational kinks they need to work out before I will feel comfortable recommending this service to anyone else.