This post includes affiliate links.
As I’ve written about before, my style word of the year is “Professional.” My aim was to develop my personal style at a higher level of dress than casual. An obstacle toward me achieving that goal, besides being a broke grad student, is that I am also actively working on losing weight, and I didn’t want to invest in clothing, only to be a different size shortly thereafter. I’m also just not a thrifter, and when you go cheap, you usually sacrifice quality, and this tends to be especially apparent to me in professional wear. But I really need these kinds of clothes, because not only is dressing more professionally my style resolution, but I also go to professional events, and my industry is very small so I can’t just wear the same thing all the time,. Plus, I will start going on interviews soon.
Enter Banana Republic Style Passport. I randomly got an email offering a free 30-day trial of the service. Basically, you choose from a selection of clothing, and they’ll send you three items at a time, for $85 a month. That’s cheaper than most full-price items than Banana Republic. If you want to keep an item, you get a discount. I’ve never tried out anything similar before, but I felt like it seemed perfect for my needs, because Banana Republic has a ton of clothes suitable for a 4/3 FG. So here is how it’s worked out for me.
Before I start, there is one major caveat with this service: Right now, it only carries sizes 0-14/XS-XL. If you fall outside of that–if you need plus size or petite–you are out of luck. This isn’t a problem for me outside of pants, and I can sometimes get away with it, depending on the pant, but if I were actually buying pants from Banana Republic at full price, I would definitely want petite. I hope that petite and plus sizes are something that is added to this service in the future.
So how it works is that you can choose an unlimited number of items from the site to put in your virtual closet, and they will choose three items to ship to you. They suggest at least 20 to ensure that you don’t have delays in getting your box. You can select certain items as your priority items, and they’ll try to put those items in your box.
I selected three priority items before my first box was sent: Modern Sloan Skinny Fit Pants in black in two sizes, and the Sweater Blazer in black (currently only available in Petite on the Banana Republic website). These were pieces that I felt could be basics for me, if the price for purchasing them were right, and I wasn’t sure what size to get in the pants.
For my first box, which shipped Friday evening after I put together my closet in the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, I ended up with the pants in the smaller size I had selected and the blazer, plus the Merino Ribbed Sweater in Neon Fuchsia Purple. My box was delivered today, on Sunday afternoon, via Priority Mail.
You don’t find out what the discounted price would be until the box ships, but the pants are $22 as opposed to $89.50 (and the smaller size is the right size for me) and the blazer is $34.50 instead of $139, which to me are worth it for basics that can really get me through the next few months and can be worn with other items. At $47.50, though, I’ll wear the sweater and send it back. You can’t just send the items back one at a time, however. You have to send back all the items you aren’t going to purchase at once before your next box can ship. (They include a prepaid mailer.)
So overall, I’m very pleased with this service. It will definitely be useful for me for these next few months, and maybe beyond. I do have a referral link, which will give you $20 off your first month, and I will get the same amount in a credit toward my own account, if you think this is something that could work for you too. (This post was not sponsored, though!) I just hope they expand it to petite and plus sizes, as I mentioned.
Have you tried any similar subscription services? Did it work for you?
Double Letter LadyJanuary 13, 2020 at 11:57 am
I love the idea of clothing rental services. I used to use Le Tote. I kept a few interesting jewelry pieces that they sent me. They have a lot of options for services, the one I chose was five items, three pieces of clothing and two accessories, for around $60 per month. They used to make it so that you could get unlimited totes (boxes) of clothes each month, I’m not sure how it works now. My issue was always in the fit of the clothing. I would try to get something that would work as a complete outfit, but one item wouldn’t fit and I wouldn’t have anything to replace it in my own wardrobe. Also, sometimes the quality of their pieces were not up to par and I just didn’t feel comfortable wearing it. As a regular patron of good will, that’s really saying something. I think it would have worked better for me if there were more items in a box. You might like ThredUp. They have designer pieces at really steep discounts. It is secondhand though.Reply
stylesyntaxJanuary 13, 2020 at 4:32 pm
I have a lot of friends who love ThredUp, but it always seems time-consuming and overwhelming to me, the same way thrifting does.
That is interesting that you felt like Le Tote stuff seemed cheap, because the brands seem good. Maybe the stuff they have is like the stuff manufactured for outlet stores. At least with this service, it’s only one brand, so the fit won’t vary much, and the clothes are the same as the ones in stores.
Double Letter LadyJanuary 13, 2020 at 4:44 pm
ThredUp does have a “goodybox” system, where you tell them what you want and they have a shopper find it for you, in your size and in the condition you want it. (new with tags, like new, gently used) and they even have a price range, so you decide what to spend.
About Le Tote, it wasn’t everything that seemed cheap, when I only get five items I expect them all to be immaculate. I might try banana republic’s style passport in the future (I’ll use your link!)
stylesyntaxJanuary 13, 2020 at 5:15 pm
Thank you! <3
I don’t trust other people to shop for me, haha. I actually do enjoy picking out my own clothes, and when you have a strict color palette and other requirements for clothing, people don’t really get it.
Double Letter LadyJanuary 13, 2020 at 5:17 pm
I agree with that 100%