Shopping for clothing at brick and mortar retail stores may not be something you're eager to return to; fortunately, an online clothing subscription service can help you spice up your closet without leaving your home.
But choosing the right clothing subscription box might feel overwhelming. There are subscriptions for workout clothes, a personal styling service, clothing rental, women's clothing, men's clothing, maternity clothing, and that's just to start. A quick Google search returns dozens of subscriptions to pick from -- many of which you may not have heard of. Though the services ultimately work the same way, each one has its own unique features.
Deciding on a particular service comes down to your needs, style and budget. The most important thing to know about any of these services is that a stylist can't read your mind. The more information you can provide about what you like (and don't), the better your experience will be.
I tried several clothing subscription boxes, and will update this as I continue to try more. Here are the best clothing subscription boxes for 2020.
As a Stitch Fix user, I can report a positive experience with this particular clothing subscription option. I'm always excited when I get a box, which you can customize to come at whichever frequency fits your schedule and budget -- no membership fee or monthly subscription required. My account is linked to one of my Pinterest boards, so my stylist can get more ideas of what I like, and she always leaves a thoughtful note in my box, which is a nice personalized touch. The Style Cards that come with each box also show different ways to pair the pieces (and often with basic items that are probably already in your closet). My advice, though, is not to shell out cash on an item unless you're sure you're going to wear it often enough.
Sign up online or in the app (available on iOS or Android). Fill out a detailed style profile, including your sizes, whether you detest or love shopping, if you wear heels, what parts of your body you like to show off, and more. Stitch Fix offers styled boxes for men, women and kids, and lets you set a preferred price point between $25 and $500 per item (kids items start at $10 per item). I picked the lowest price bracket when I signed up, and in my last box, none of my individual items were over $60. You pay a $20 styling fee when your box is assembled, you get three days to try on the clothes, and you can return anything you don't want or like. The $20 fee applies to whatever you keep, and if you don't keep anything, you pay only that fee. If you love your box and keep everything, you also get a 25% Buy All discount.
Stitch Fix also has a direct buy option called Shop Your Looks. At the top of the app, click Shop between Fixes and Style. This lets you purchase individual items -- pants, shoes, accessories and more -- to match the piece you already have. These can be ordered without getting another box.
Even though the average US woman's clothing size is between a Misses 16-18, many stores still cater to smaller sizes. This can make for an uncomfortable and discouraging shopping experience.
But Dia & Co.'s style service defies the often limited and drab choices that make up extended sizes. The service offers sizes 14-32. My box was packed with vibrant, colorful items -- blouses, dresses, skirts, jeans, even a clutch. I always have trouble finding jeans that fit my waist and hips, and Dia nailed that. The box also mixed classic pieces, like a polka-dot blue wrap dress, with more colorful, patterned pieces that stepped outside my comfort zone.
To use Dia & Co., you first take a style quiz that asks about your sizes, how clothes typically fit you, your style preferences and your preferred price range for items like tops, pants and dresses. You pay a $20 styling fee to have your box assembled. When the box arrives, you can buy what you like and return what you don't. The $20 fee applies at checkout to whatever you keep. You can order style boxes to best fit your schedule -- a monthly, bimonthly or a customized frequency -- as long as you try on and return clothes within five days. If you love your box and keep everything, you also get a 25% Buy All discount. There's also a boutique, if you're not quite ready to try a whole box.
Trunk Club's affiliation with Nordstrom marks that it is a higher-end styling service for men and women. When you sign up, you create an in-depth clothing preference profile, which asks about things like your style, how you want your clothes to fit, price range, colors and patterns you hate, and more. The clothing subscription box offers tops and pants in petite, regular and plus sizes (XXS-XXXL or 00 to 16). Dresses run from size 00 to 16 and shoes range from size 3 to 14.5.
The site paired me with a stylist named Sydney, and allowed us to chat about what I wanted via a messenger feature available on the site and in the app. It was nice to be able to go into more detail or send a picture of an outfit to her. I could connect my Trunk Club account to my Pinterest board too for further personalization. Before sending out my trunk, Sydney sent me a digital preview of the items in the box. I could look over the items I was going to receive for 48 hours, give feedback, and if I didn't like something, she would swap it out with something else.
Trunk Club is more expensive than most of the other services, even with the $25 styling fee credited back (or waived if you have a Nordstrom debit or credit card). If you get the urge to splurge on higher-end items or spend that tax refund, you can select Trunks > Schedule Next Trunk. From there you can choose the time you'd like to receive a trunk or if you'd like to get them regularly.
There are also options to get specific trunks, like the Date Night Trunk, the Activewear Trunk, the Spring Essentials Trunk and more. In addition, Trunk Club has tips under the Advice tab on things like how to mix and match items, wearing denim at work, different ways to tuck in your shirt (who knew?) and more.
ThredUp is both an online clothing consignment and thrift store as well as a styling delivery service, offering lower prices on high-end items -- new and used -- from brands such as Kate Spade and Coach. ThredUp's Goody Box clothing delivery box doesn't require a membership fee or subscription, though there is a $10 styling fee. After making an account, you can select Goody Boxes in the app or in the web browser to get started.
I liked the flexibility of the Goody Box creation process. Instead of a rigid "this or that," ThredUp lets you pick two dress sizes, for example. I also appreciated that the sizing went an extra step, asking if I preferred shirts to fit tight or loose, long or short. Like Stitch Fix, and multiple other styling services, I could link my Pinterest board to help my stylist understand my clothing preferences.
The price range was also a bit more comfortable than some other similar services. You could choose items to arrive in prices ranging from $20-$40, $30-$60 and $40-$120. (In comparison, Stitch Fix items range in price from $20-$600, with an average cost of $55 apiece, according to its website.) A Goody Box also comes with more items than a Stitch Fix box -- up to 10, to be exact. When my Goody Box arrived, the total cost to keep all 10 items would've been $304 (with the $10 styling fee credited back). If the 10 items had all been at their original prices, the total would have been $1,155, according to the ThredUp receipt. Given some of the brand names included in the box, like Ann Taylor, I thought paying under $300 for 10 items wasn't a bad deal.
ThredUp gives you seven days to try on the items in your box before you mail back what you don't want. They also give you the option to provide a wide range of feedback in the dropdown menu during checkout, such as "not flattering" or "too expensive," to improve your next box.
Similar to the Trunk Club clothing delivery box, you can explore themed boxes like Tropical Getaway, Spring Essentials and Workouts Optional. You can also "pack" your own Goody Box with or without the help of a stylist. If you want to get a feel for ThredUp before ordering a box, you can explore the website or app and shop like any regular clothing store. On top of the discounted items, there's also a Sales section. You can also get a head start on spring cleaning (and make a few bucks) by donating or selling clothes to ThredUp -- just click the Clean Out tab.
Frank and Oak sells eco-friendly men and women's clothing, shoes and accessories. The site describes the company's continued steps towards ethical business practices to minimize environmental impact from its factories to fabrics.
You can shop individual pieces on the website or try the Style Plan box. If you choose the box, you'll take a quiz and make a profile. Your stylist will send you a preview of your items, which you can further customize if you want, and then your box will ship.
Frank and Oak offers more or less typical sizes for women, XXS to XL (00 to 14). Tops for men run XS to XL, pants range from about 28x32 through 36x34, and blazers and suits come in 36R through 44R. Even though there aren't as many size options as Dia, for example, Frank and Oak does ask how you prefer your clothes to fit. For example, you can say you prefer your pants to be skinny, slim, tapered or straight fit. I was thankful for this option, since my lower half is curvier, and the pants in my box fit quite well.
My box had four items in it: A pair of high-waisted linen-blend plants ($99.50), a grey crewneck sweatshirt ($79.50), a brown long-sleeved modal-blend ribbed tee ($44.50), and an oversized (though it fit more "loose" than oversized) black linen shirt ($89.50). Due to COVID-19, Frank and Oak is letting customers have 30 days to try items and 10 days after to mail them back. There's a $25 styling fee that goes toward what you keep.
Frank and Oak offers a lot of neutral pieces, in terms of both style and in color. If you're looking for a few high-end base pieces that are easy to mix and match, you'll find them here. The items in my box were comfortable and the fabric was so soft. But the steep prices mean it may not be the styling service for you if you're hoping to drastically overhaul your closet. But the site does have sales every so often and discount codes you can apply. Most importantly, however, Frank and Oak's commitment to a more sustainable future shouldn't go unnoticed.
My husband and I both tried out The Mr. & Ms. Collection, a rental styling subscription service. It was a little intimidating at first because the site asked for our inseam lengths, dress shirts were sized numerically, and there was overall more fashion terminology involved, which was a little unfamiliar to us. The detailed process was worth it, though. When we got the packs, my husband was thrilled with how his jeans fit, and that the shirts could be worn at work or at home. The items in my pack lined up with my style perfectly, worked together as an outfit and could easily pair with other pieces in my closet.
You can subscribe to either The Mr. Collection or The Ms. Collection. The service works a little differently than many of the others. First, you sign up, pick a membership package and fill out your style profile. Once you get the box in the mail, you can hang onto the clothes for as long as you like, and then return them. If you really like something, you can buy it for up to 50% off. After you return your rentals, the service ships out your next pack, and your membership renews monthly.
The Mr. & Ms. Collection has four membership plans, which vary by price, number of items, and shipping speed. The standard once-a-month box that includes three items costs $59 a month. The premium once-a-month box includes four items and costs $69 a month. A standard unlimited box includes three items and unlimited boxes each month for $79 a month, and a premium unlimited box includes four items and unlimited boxes each month for $89 a month.
A Menlo Club shipment combines multiple aspects of menswear: clothes, shoes and athleisure. As with many other boxes, you first take a style quiz, and then you get two clothing items per month in the mail. The Menlo clothes are casual enough to wear on their own if you're a more subtle dresser, but the more items you acquire, the more you can put together new outfits and step outside of your fashion comfort zone. In addition, the Menlo store, which anyone can shop from without an account, often has good sales on designer brands -- like $58 pants for $10. If you're a member, you also get 25% off in the store.
My husband's Menlo Club package consisted of dark-wash jeans and a white long-sleeve henley. His style is very laid-back, so those items would fit easily into his closet. The jeans would be easy to dress up or wear casually. Since he usually wears dark colors, the white was a nice change.
A service membership to Menlo costs $60 per month, and it's easy to cancel (or skip a month) if you find out that it's not for you -- just make sure to do it before you're charged that month. Menlo doesn't offer returns on packages, but you can swap items if something doesn't fit. You can also subscribe to a seasonal membership, where a package is delivered every three months for $75.
Stylogic is a clothing subscription service that offers women's sizes 12-36. What I liked most about it was how fast the service picked up on my style based only on my style profile. I also liked that each box provides a full outfit, while other services tend to include pieces that may or may not go together. Stylogic included a skirt, a cardigan, a top, a pair of shoes and a bracelet. The outfit matched my style and was still a little adventurous.
A Stylogic box includes five items, and you get seven days to try them on. There is a $20 styling fee that applies to whatever you keep, and if you don't keep anything, you pay only that fee. If you love your box and keep everything, you get a 20% discount.
Each clothing subscription box from Trendy Butler includes at least two clothing items from brands like Eleven Paris, Civil Society, Zanerobe, WeSC and Superdry that're meant to build out your wardrobe. My husband's sample package included three items: a gray long-sleeve shirt, a dark blue button-down and a pair of dark blue slacks. The items were able to work together and could integrate easily into his closet, without stepping too far outside his comfort zone.
The packages cost $65 per month with no styling fee -- you get to keep everything. The credit card on your account is charged the day you place your order and the same day the following month. Trendy Butler also has an online shop where you can buy specific pieces with your account.
If something doesn't work in your box, Trendy Butler offers returns (not refunds) and exchanges for members through its support email. You must have received the items in the last 60 days, explain why the items don't work so Trendy Butler can improve your profile, and have the clothes in "unworn condition" with the tags still on. If the items meet these criteria, you'll be sent a prepaid return label.