Like many others, I’m a big fan of subscription boxes. I primarily indulge myself in those related to beauty, however, the recent trend in clothing subscription boxes has really caught my interest. There are tons of them out there, ranging from high-end designer styling services, to relatively inexpensive clothing rental services. Recently, I’ve noticed a huge jump in singular brands coming out with their own services. For example, Express, Loft and American Eagle have all recently come out with their own clothing rental service in the style of a subscription box.
When I heard that Express had come out with their own clothing rental subscription box, (thanks Instagram ads) I knew it would be something I’d be interested in trying. Of course, the fact that they offer a free trial month doesn’t hurt either. So I signed up for a the free month!
What is it?
Express Style Trial is a clothing rental service, much like other popular services such as Le Tote. The main difference is that the only line of clothing offered by the service is clothing from Express (duh).
How does it work?
You pay a flat fee of ? per month based on the amount of clothing items you have ‘checked out’ at the same time. They offer 3 items per box for $69.95. Once you’ve created an account, you start ‘closeting’ pieces, which is basically like online shopping for anything you’d want to wear, and saving it in one location. Based on availability and preference, Express sends you three items out at a time. You can ‘prioritize’ items that you REALLY want to try, or would prefer to get first.
What did I get?
I got three boxes in total during my trial month. Each box contained three items.
How did I wear it?
The picture quality isn’t great, but I figured you might want to see how these pieces look on a regular human.
Truthfully, the only item I got a picture in from this box was this navy pencil skirt. It was a perfect fit, very comfortable, and a great staple piece. I actually almost ended up buying it. I wore it with a lavender scalloped cami, a white blazer, and nude pumps. The other two items were a basic chiffon white camisole, and a plaid high-waisted skirt. This white camisole was too big, and honestly looked a little dingy, so I never wore it. The plaid skirt was too tight in the rear and WAY shorter than I thought it would be.. much more school-girl than office wear, so I didn’t wear that one either.
- Neon Berry Jumpsuit: Soooo cute! A fun, bright summery color, that is polished enough for a wedding or fun event. Part of me wishes I’d gotten a more muted color so I could wear it to the office with a blazer.. but it was a great date-night look!
- Patterned Jumpsuit: Another cute and trendy piece that I actually liked.. but didn’t quite seem appropriate for my office. As I’ve said a few times before, my office is on the stricter side of business professional, so I don’t push the limits. But that’s just me!
- Bodycon White Dress: This was much more of a going-out/club/party dress. Even though it was white, it wasn’t see-thru, so it was decent quality. I just dressed it down with sneakers, a hat and a chambray shirt for a more casual look.
- Off-the-shoulder maxi dress: cute, flattering and breezy. On the longer side for a short girl, but could easily be worn with some wedges and stay casual. Was SO wrinkly when I got it in the box though, which was pretty annoying. Nothing a steamer couldn’t fix in a few minutes though.
- Striped ankle pants: I had “prioritized” these, because I thought they’d be a great option for the office. They were comfortable and flattering. You could easily pair them with a solid blouse or blazer to get a pulled together office look.
- Black dress: I didn’t love this one. It wasn’t un-cute (if that even makes sense) but there just wasn’t anything special about it. So I wasn’t really motivated to even wear it out.
What did I think of the service?
In all honesty, I think the idea of clothing rental services are excellent. It pushes you out of your comfort zone to try different things. It also means you don’t have to commit to an outfit you don’t think you’ll get a lot of use out of. It also gives you the chance to realize how much you could actually wear something with other pieces in your closet, and helps you decide whether it would be worth keeping. It also allows you to be a little environmentally friendly and ‘recycle’ clothing that otherwise might end up in the garbage after only being worn a few times. Another perk is the fact that if you end up loving an item you are sent, you have the option to purchase the item at a nicely discounted price.
While all of the above are great reasons to use a service like Express Style Trial, I ultimately ended up cancelling my service after the end of the month. There are a few reasons it wasn’t the best fit for me:
- I have an interesting work clothing situation. Three days a week, I spend my days in various manufacturing facilities (think jeans, steel toe cowboy boots, and a casual shirt, hard hat and safety goggles). Two days a week, I am in my local corporate office, which has a business professional dress code (think suits, blazers, pumps, etc). My professional clothing situation pretty much demands very dressy work garments, which Express definitely carries. However, I found the overall quantity of these garments (at least which would actually be appropriate for my office) to be fairly limited. On top of this, the few work items I did select, never seemed to make it into my boxes, despite being ‘prioritized’.
- The turn around time for most of my boxes wasn’t all that great. You have the option to do a ‘return notification’ which essentially allows you to let the company know that you are sending your items back, so they can pack up new ones for you. Unfortunately, it took 3-4 days every time I sent a return notification for the company to mail out another box. For example, if I sent a return notification on Friday, I wouldn’t see another box ship out until Tuesday or Wednesday, meaning the next box didn’t get to me until Friday. This setup makes it difficult to get the best value out of the service. In total, I only got three boxes the whole month. There were several times where I sent back clothing without ever wearing it, because I preferred to get another shipment.
Ultimately, I think the service would be great for anyone who is going out to social events on a regular basis, or for someone who works in a more casual office. Since neither of these are true for me, the service was just not a good enough value to justify continuing. The other somewhat harsh reality (in my opinion) is this: the service just isn’t worth it. Since Express runs 40% or 50% off deals constantly, it just doesn’t make sense for me to rent 6-9 pieces a month at the price I could have purchased 3 items to keep and wear repeatedly. All that being said, I recognize that some people prefer to swap out clothing rather than purchase it. So if you are one of those people, it would be something worth considering. However, if you’d like to try out the service *for free* yourself, check it out here.
Have you had any luck with clothing subscription boxes? Let me know your thoughts!
Until next time,
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