Thursday, August 18, 2016

Le Tote, Stitch Fix, and Rent the Runway - Review and Comparison

One of my very favorite non-bookish things is subscription boxes.  I love them!  It's like Christmas in my mailbox every time a new box arrives.  At first I mostly just stuck with makeup (Birchbox and ipsy) because they were relatively inexpensive but then I discovered that I could get clothes this same way!  I love clothes but struggle with finding pieces that I really love.  Plus, sometimes, shopping is just hard.  Anytime I go into a store (or multiple stores) with a specific need I end up empty handed so I just knew I had to try out some of the subscription type options.  If you're interested in trying any of these you can use these referral links and save a bit with any of them: Le ToteStitch Fix, and Rent the Runway.

Le Tote:

For other reviews check out Beth Fish Reads here and or visit Trish over at Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity.  Le Tote is actually a clothes RENTAL site.  It took me a little while to wrap my mind around how to use it but essentially for each tote I pick out clothes I want to wear that next week or if I know I need something specific I schedule that in.  So if I have something dressier I'll try to make sure I pick a dressier dress for that tote. 

What I Like:
It's easy to use.  It's delivered to my door, I wear the clothes until I'm done with them, then pack them up in the included postage paid envelope and drop in the mailbox. 

I can customize what I get.  Whenever they're notified that I've sent my Tote back I get a customize your Tote message.  They have some clothes and jewelry already picked out but it's easy to change up.  I use the app or sometimes customize it on my desktop.  Each tote includes 3 clothing items and 2 accessories.

They have a ton of options and they're always getting new stuff.  Really it seems like there are a few new options every week or two and they have tons of everything - from sweaters and jackets, to skirts and sundresses, purses, scarves, necklaces - pretty much everything you can think of except shoes. I talked my mother into signing up and she's loving it too.  We are very different ages, body times and life styles and both are happy with our options.

It's an inexpensive way to try new looks.  I wasn't quite sure if the tunic/legging look was for me so I got an outfit from Let Tote and LOVED it.  The same with a pair of joggers but with the opposite results.  

If you love something you can keep it and their prices are pretty decent.  They'll just bill you when they get the tote that's missing item back and you'll get an extra item in your next tote as a thank you.

Their customer service is really good.  I've had 2 incidents in the year I've had this service.  Once I was billed for an item I had returned and in another a Tote I had sent back had gotten lost.  Both times I heard back from customer service within 24 hours and both times the problem was quickly corrected.  

What I Don't Like:
You're limited by what's available.  When you go in to customize your Tote you can only pick items that are currently available which means that some of the items you love most might not be an option.

There's a delay of a few days.  Normally it's at least 3 days, sometimes 4 in between Totes which means it doesn't quite work completely as my replacement closet. 

For me their summer options are really limited.  I think if I worked in an office I'd have more options but for casual clothes in a super hot environment I'm struggling to find things.  Luckily I can just put my account on hold for a month or two.

Referral Link: Le Tote

Stitch Fix:

As much as I want it to be this isn't going to be an unboxing post but I'm seriously tempted because I LOVE some of these pieces.  I had wanted to try Stitch Fix for awhile but had kept putting it off until this summer when I realized I HATED everything I owned.  I was doing that thing where you try on like 15 different things and hate them all pretty much every morning.  So I decided now was the time.

Here are some of my favorite items out of my 2 fixes and the one item that I really didn't like (the shorts - all kind of wrong on me)

What I Like:
I really like how personal the service feels.  After my first fix I asked for breathable and light weight fabrics because I live in Alabama and it's seriously hot and I really feel like that was listened too and my 2nd stylist actually commented about how she thought the dress would work well for hot days.  There's also a questionaire to fill out, multiple places to leave notes, and they encourage you to start a Pinterst board and pin outfits and items you like.  I left tons of specific notes and had a grand time pinning outfits on Pinterest (apparently I wand to dress like a combination of Reese Witherspoon and Kate Middleton with a dash of Mila Kunis) and I've had great luck.  Out of the 2 fixes I've only received 1 item that I really didn't like and I loved my 2nd fix so much I kept it all.  And seriously those shoes in the upper left of the picture just make me happy.

I had set my limits pretty high ($150 - 200 per item of clothing) because I'm looking for pieces I will really love and get lots of wear out and I don't mind paying for those.  The most expensive item in my first box was $74 and $90 in my second which makes me feel like they're picking the best pieces for me instead of just looking for the most expensive.

It's a flexible schedule.  Right now I have my fixes scheduled to arrive every 2 to 3 weeks but in the fall I'll probably push it back to once a month.  On the other hand if I decide I'm bored and want something new I can go on and schedule the fix now and have it in a few days.

It's easy to use.  The website is pretty simple and also has tons of reviews you can look through for clothes to Pin for your Pinterest board to help out your stylist.  The box arrives on my doorstep.  I go through it, try everything on and make my decision.  You have about 4 or 5 days to do that.  After I make my decisions I log in to my account, answer some questions about what I liked and what I didn't, and pay.  Then I pack everything I'm sending back up into the included pre-addressed envelope with postage paid and pop it into the mailbox and I'm done.

What I Don't Like:
It can get expensive with buying all those new clothes

Referral Link: Stitch Fix

Rent the Runway

This is another rental service but instead of casual or work appropriate clothes it caters more towards formal wear.  They do have accessories, jackets, skirts and tops but they mostly have dresses from sundresses to as formal as you can get.
My 2 dress options
What I ended up wearing

What I Like:
I don't live the dressiest life but every once in awhile I need something a little more formal than a sundress and heels.  Since I definitely don't have the need to dedicate the money and closet space to a new dress for every event but I don't want to wear the same dress every time so this service is perfect.

These are actually designers that I've actually heard of like Erin Fetherston (okay it is her line designed for the regular people but still!), Diane Von Furstenberg, Moschino, Halston Heritage and just so many others.  I have no desire to buy a $1200 (or more) dress but it's kind of fun to wear one for a night.

Your order comes in it's very own garment bag and when it's time to send it back you zip it all up in the bag, put on the little zip -tie type lock and drop it off at a UPS store or drop box.

The customer service is really good.  When my first shipment didn't work at all for me I got a complete refund and was give an 50% off code for my next order.  They respond within a few hours and really try to make everything right.  I do recommend having your dress delivered on Thursday (or at least a day where the next day is a business day) because if the dress doesn't fit or isn't what you expected they'll overnight you another.

These may be Pro benefits (a $30/yr fee) but you can get a 2nd size if available free or another dress entirely for $32 as a backup.

The reviews are really great.  They're detailed, lots of pictures and seem to be very honest on fit and size (like if you need to go up or down a size)

What I Didn't Like:
It's expensive.  While I know the cost of the actual item is more expensive than the other services there are more fees than just the rental fee like shipping and insurance.  I got a Pro account ($30/yr) which dramatically dropped the fees but there are still some.  If you have to dress up a lot they do have a monthly service where you can get as many rentals as you'd like for unlimited days and free shipping but it's a little pricey and not something for me.

I've placed 2 orders with them and both times a dress I had requested was unavailable at the last minute.  I understand that their business model involves a quick turn so basically the clothes are coming in just as they're supposed to go out again and I'm glad that they do quality check their clothing so I'm not getting a stained dress.  They also send replacements either by you selecting 5 choices or by looking at what's available and at the dresses you've "liked" but it can still be frustrating.

The rental periods are short - 4 days or you can pay extra for 8 - so you have to be careful about scheduling.  You can drop the dress off in it's packaging at ANY UPS store or drop box so if you're renting a dress for an out of town wedding or trip you can return it from there and if your rental ends on a Sunday or holiday you have until the next day. 

Referral Link: Rent the Runway


All 3 of these are really different and I wouldn't say 1 is really a replacement for the others.  For the most part I'm going to stick to mixing Stitch Fix in with Le Tote but I'll keep Rent the Runway in mind for a fun treat!  If I was going to recommend only one I would say Le Tote if you're trying to keep from being bored with what you have and like getting lots of new stuff and Stitch Fix if you're more interested in finding a few pieces you can get a lot of wear out of that you'll really love.  As for me I'll probably keep both! 


  1. Love this!! I use Stitch Fix but it can get expensive and I have to really spread them out - like every other month or longer. Still I find I love the pieces I get for the most part. I have to look into Le Tote more seriously. I have thought about using Rent the Runway when I have some weddings coming up next year. I hate buying dresses and then only wearing them once!! Great post!

  2. Oh my goodness - for a South African that is just tooooo weird... Love those green shoes...!! Please tell me they are yours and you didn't rent them too!

  3. I've been meaning to get into this and Le Tote sounds like the perfect place to start. i'm always going to special events (okay maybe not always...but enough times that i do like to make an impression) so i am looking for cute dresses. Lovely post!

  4. Interesting. I really like how there are food subscription boxes; wish I had those when I was single.

  5. And you looked fabulous in that dress!

  6. How interesting. It sounds like a really great idea. How often to we buy clothes and hardly wear them. This sounds like a fab service or services really. Dress looked great! Now I wish they had something like that here in NZ. Maybe one day.

  7. I've only read reviews on StitchFix, so it was nice to see what you think of some other clothing subscriptions. Le Tote sounds like a good one. I like the idea of just renting pieces when you need them, but it's nice that you CAN buy a piece if you really love it.


  8. I hate These are all great options. I love the dress on you!

  9. I'm not a fan of shopping either, but I'm so hard to fit (short, extremely curvy, and currently overweight as well) that I've been leery of services like these because the choices are more limited. But I'm impressed with your experiences, especially with Le Tote and Stitch Fix, and might consider trying one in the future.

  10. For the formal wear you should see if any local stores have rentals. I know that the wedding apparel stores around here also have designer cocktail dresses to rent. That seems like it would be much easier. :)

  11. Thanks for the comparison - I've been wondering about what made one service preferable to another.

  12. Thank you for posting this!! I've never heard of Le Tote but I do Stitch Fix. And you are so beautiful in that dress from Rent the Runway!! LOVE!!!