Like Netflix but for Clothing: JustFab, Adore Me, and Gwynnie Bee
As internet subscription services begin to outnumber websites featuring quizzes about things like ‘Which Caroline in the City character are you?” I find myself wondering which of them are actually worth my monthly fee and which have a press release that just fit nicely into a click-through blurb?
I decided to test a few of them out to get a feel for how they actually benefit a user, and how much they live up to their promising allure.
The Premise: Although two separate stores, JustFab.com and AdoreMe.com operate under the same basic concept. Every month a style expert gives you a personalized selection of products, either shoes and purses for JustFab, and lingerie for AdoreMe, and you can buy it for around $40-$50, which is considered a members discount rate.
The Experience: I lumped both of these brands together for this because I have basically the same feelings about each of them. Both sites operate on a subscription deal, so even if you don’t pick an item that you like, your card is charged anyway and the credit is applied to your account for future purchases. You can stop the charge from happening as long as you go to the site at the start of every month and opt to skip the month. But if you forget, you’re just out the money.
With both sites, I’ve rarely been that impressed with my monthly selections because they almost always ignore the things that I say when I fill out my style profile. JustFab continues to try to sell me 5″ heels even though I’m already 6’1″, and Adore Me keeps suggesting DD+ bras even though I’m an A-cup.
The Ruling: I would be hesitant to recommend these sites to anyone. While you can shop outside of the recommended selections and still apply it to your monthly subscription requirement, I’ve not been impressed with the quality of the merchandise. I was pulling loose threads out of a corset set from Adore Me before I’d even worn it, and I had to send back boots to JustFab because the material was so cheap they felt like a bad Halloween costume. On top of that, both sites spam the crap out of email, and you can’t cancel your account with them online (you have to call and jump through a million hoops). You should really take the time to browse the product selections and decide if you think being tied to this service is worth the somewhat cheaper than standard retail pricing.
The Premise: It’s essentially the Netflix for plus-size women’s clothes. Users can select plans allowing them to check out 1 to 10 items at a time, keeping them as long as they want, and then sending them back, with shipping and laundry services included in the monthly fee.
The Experience: As someone who enjoys constantly updating her wardrobe, I was really interested in Gwynnie Bee. The idea of having a steady stream of new looks, plus no buyer’s remorse if I tried something and didn’t like it was very appealing. I wanted to love Gwynnie Bee but I ultimately found myself feeling very “eh about it. On the positive side, the quality of the clothes was very impressive, so it was fun to play in stuff outside of my typical price range.
On a bad note, I quickly found the user interface frustrating because there was no real sense of a need to customize to one’s taste on the site. If you wanted a skater cut dress, you could only search dresses by size, and then dig through hundreds of pictures of dresses hoping that you’ll find one that fits your taste. When building your closet, there’s no automatic way to pair items like a top and skirt together or to state a preference for which items you want first. You’re able to directly contact customer service if you want a dress for a specific occasion, but otherwise, anything you select comes at random.
The Ruling: I think this would be the perfect service for a woman working in some sort of professional environment who wants to have a steady stream of different clothes without breaking her bank. But for someone like me for whom building that “outfit of the day” look is a bit of an obsession, it fell a bit flat. I also personally felt that while there was a nice mix of clothing styles, they all seem to gravitate around one sense of taste and really in my entire month trial, I only found one dress that I was at all excited about. I totally rocked that dress, but I also rock a lot of stuff I find at thrift stores.
Rye Silverman is a writer and comedian based in Los Angeles. Rye has been seen on the Fusion channel, is a contributor to the Huffington Post and runs a blog about style, pop culture, and gender called Chick Like Me.