clothing subscription boxes: compare and contrast

4 Professional Clothing Subscription Boxes. See Which Works For You

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There are quite a few companies out there that offer clothing subscription boxes. The premise is to provide a fashionable service that allows you to dress to impress while offering convenience and affordability while reducing the stress of figuring out how to create styles and outfits.

Each company has different advantages and disadvantages and operates under different premises. I wanted to do a side by side comparison of the different clothing subscription boxes and their offerings so that you can easily decide if any of these appeal to you.

Comparison of Clothing Subscription Boxes

There are several clothing subscription boxes on the market today, but I wanted to focus on the four below as they seem to cater to the professionals. They’ve also been around for a while and are generally well known.

Trunk Club

Starting in 2009, the Trunk Club clothing subscription box is a service started as an independent personal styling company and was later acquired by Nordstrom in 2014. The brands, clothes, and accessories now are all from Nordstrom itself. In addition, you get the benefit of Nordstrom’s alteration services (which are free with purchase). Plus, if you’re a frequent Nordstrom shopper and are part of the Nordy Club then you get the benefit of racking up your points and using your Nordstrom notes towards the cost of your purchases.

How it works

You pay an upfront $25 styling fee to order your box. Then you fill out a survey about your style, preferences, and what you need/want from a “trunk”. There’s also a space for you to free type style issues, fit issues or specific brands that you like or prefer.

Each trunk comes with 8-10 pieces. Once its been put together you get a preview of it. You get to approve each piece. Anything you don’t like, you say so and your stylist will replace them with something else to suit your taste.

Once you receive your box, you have 5 business days to try everything on and decide if you want to keep it. Anything you don’t want you simply put back into the trunk, affix the prepaid return label and send it back.

Your $25 dollar styling fee will be applied to the final cost of your order. If you decide not to keep anything, you will not get the $25 back. If you keep three or more items, you’ll get 50% off the lowest cost item.

Curious as to what kinds of items are in the box, and how accurate they were in listening to my style survey? Check out the video below!

Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix is one of the first clothing subscription boxes on the market entering our lives back in 2011. I’ve used their services a few times. They have relationships with brands and companies and curate their boxes with a variety of items that they obtain through those partnerships.

How it works

You pay a $20 styling fee upfront. You take a survey regarding your style and preferences. Your stylist will put together a box of 5 items.

Once you receive your box, you have 3 days to try everything on and keep what you want, return what you don’t. Your $20 styling fee will be applied to your final order. If you keep everything, you get 25% off the entire order.

You choose the frequency at which you receive your “fix”. It can be as often as every two weeks, once a month, every two months, or you can choose to order one randomly as needed.

Daily Look

The Daily Look clothing subscription boxes are slightly more expensive as they include some designer brands. For many looking for a lifestyle upgrade for their wardrobe, this box may be the one for you.

How it Works

A higher-end option, the Daily Look asks for a $40 styling fee. However, the rest of it is similar to Nordstrom. You fill out your style and preference survey. You’ll receive an email to preview your box, which will contain up to 12 items. You can ask to replace items you don’t like.

You’ll have 5 days to try on items once you receive your box and return what you don’t want. Like the others, the styling fee will be applied to the final cost of your order. If you buy three or more items, you’ll be able to use a checkout code to get 50% off the lowest-priced item.

The frequency of your boxes can be predetermined. Your choices are once a month, once every other month, or once every three months. So depending on your clothing and styling goals, you can buy as little or as often as you like.

If you’d like to see a video of the Daily Look box that I got, what it contained and what I thought, then click below!

Le Tote

Le Tote was founded in 2012 and recently acquired Lord and Taylor. The company provides a different type of service in the form of a clothing rental subscription service. The above companies, in contrast, provide a personal styling service and send you clothes to try for purchase. While you are allowed to purchase items you like with Le Tote, the idea here is to be able to recycle your wardrobe quickly and/or have a constant stream of options available to you without having to pay full price or shop.

How it Works

Le Tote has two membership plans. The Classic starts at $59/month and the Maternity plan at $79/month. There are other plans available depending on how many Totes per month you wish to receive.

Once you set up your membership, browse the options on the website and choose what you’d like to rent. You’ll receive your Tote and can wear the items as many times as you like. When you’re done with that Tote you return the items in a prepaid bag. If you do decide to purchase something, just keep it and you’ll be charged 50% of the retail price.

In order to trigger your next Tote being sent, you have to first send back the Tote you have and a new cycle will begin.

Of note, you do not need to wash your clothes prior to returning them. The company has worked to minimize environmental impact by using a cleaning process that includes environmentally friendly soaps and efficient use of energy and water.

Bringing It All Together

This table summarizes the clothing subscription boxes so you can see their attributes side by side for comparison.

Trunk ClubStitch FixDaily LookLe Tote
Styling fee$25 $20$40N/a
Subscription lengthNone. Order
Trunk as
2x/month, monthly
every 2 months,
or as needed
monthly, every
other month,
Monthly rental
AffordabilityItems $100-
Choose your
price range
High endVaries
depending on
items chosen
Time to try things on5 days3 days5 daysMonthly rental
Number of items given8-105up to 12What you
Types of itemsclothes &
clothes &
clothes &
clothes & accessories

Stitch Fix, Daily Look, and Le Tote all operate primarily through monthly subscription boxes. You can defer or delay your upcoming scheduled box, or cancel your subscription at any time. Trunk Club is set up more like an “order when you need it” model.

They all offer free shipping and returns. All offer men’s and women’s clothing options with a variety of size options as well. The quality of clothing with each is excellent. You are definitely getting what you pay for.

Considering the Costs of Clothing Subscription Boxes

Yes, these clothes are priced slightly higher than what you may find at department stores. While I’m all for frugal living and budgeting, it’s worth considering the effects of fast fashion and cheaper clothes.

For one, fast fashion has had a horrible affect on the environment. Plus, the clothes are usually of poorer quality and don’t last as long. As a result, you have a high turnover in your wardrobe anyway.

Investing in key pieces of good quality may cost you upfront but save you in the long run and help you stop spending money again and again for the same thing.

Final Thoughts

Online clothing subscription boxes definitely are not for everyone. However, I think there are distinct plus points depending on what you need and what your goals are. For busy professionals who don’t have the time, the energy, or the interest in trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t, then these services can be super helpful.

The benefit of the rental service is that you can turn over your wardrobe as frequently as you like, or tailor a specific wardrobe for specific events and then return the garments. You are commitment-free unless you really end up liking something.

If you’re unsure if these services are for you, then hopefully this article helps. Also, many of these companies offer you a discounted styling fee on your first subscription box. You can check it out, see if you like it, and if you don’t, then send it all back!

Happy shopping!

Featured image courtesy of unsplash

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