It’s a little unfair, and even presumptuous I suppose, to speak on matters in which one is not even a semi- or quasi- expert, but I am prefacing this now by declaring there’s a lot I still don’t quite get about Gwynnie Bee.

Gwynnie Bee bills themselves as a clothing rental subscription service for women sizes 10-32.  Which really, sounds pretty fantastic for people who are looking for services which cater to a wider range of sizes.  Depending on the brand, I can wear anywhere from a size 10 to a size 14, so I fall at the lower end of this spectrum, but in perusing the selections on the site, I still found a lot of pieces that might work for me, fit wise.

I think how it is supposed to work is that:

1. You open an account. Either by invite or referral? I am not certain. I got an invite.  It might be the same thing, and I think either way the person who invites/refers you gets some kind of credit. This post, by the way, is liberally peppered with referral links, so if you decide to sign up, I may get some kind of credit.
2. You choose what sort of plan you’d like  -one at a time/two at a time/ three at a time – it’s sort of like netflix, I guess. And then start browsing through their selection and adding things you like to your “closet”.
3. As I understood it, once your closet hit 25 items, Gwynnie Bee starts shipping things to you according to your plan… but I hit a snag when I couldn’t even find 25 things on the site that I liked all that much.  So after playing around with it for 15 minutes or so, I promptly forgot it.
4. They send you the stuff, you wear it for as long as you want, you either send it back for more stuff, or you buy it.

Imagine my surprise when, a week later, I received a shipping confirmation! I wasn’t overly concerned because the first month is free and I figured well, ok, they’ll send me some stuff, I will check it out and send it back, and there’s really nothing at all to lose here, right? Alright, then.

Right off the bat I like that although you’re guaranteed that what is being sent to you is something you’ve already expressed interest in, you don’t really know exactly what is being sent to you, so there is still an element of surprise.  I mean otherwise, it’s just regular online shopping and while that’s fun, it sort of loses the element of novelty that these services really capitalize on.

The box arrives via FedEx, neatly packed with several cards that I did not bother to read, a return envelope, and the three dresses are contained within.




The IGIGI Francine Dress In Mulberry Tapestry is pretty much exactly the sort of thing I like to wear, even though I do suffer from extreme rhodophobia.  There’s something about this particular red that is lush and opulent and I really quite love it. The ornate, scroll-y pattern is right up my alley and the dress is very flattering. It’s long enough that I wouldn’t have to wear it with leggings or tights, although that would look quite nice, too.  The tie/sash thing, however, is really long. How are you supposed to tie this?  In the front?  In the back? Hm.  On the model they’ve somehow made it look like an obi, and I’d like to figure out how they’ve done this.  They are calling this size a 14-16 and I am not sure why I didn’t just go with the 12, because I think I could definitely afford to size down. It is $53.50 to purchase outright.

Sage and Spruce

Sage and Spruce2


When I saw the shipping email listing the SPRUCE & SAGE Eclipse Sketch Fit & Flare Dress I thought to myself “…um, why did I think I liked this?” but in person it’s really great.  I love the print, I feel like some manic toddler really went to town on it with some ill-advised Sharpies. The fit is absolutely perfect and I think it’s the first time that a dress waist hits my actual waist, as opposed to right up under my boobs, which is what usually happens.  It’s just a smidge away from being slightly snug, but since movement is not hampered and there’s no weird stretching or puckering, I think it is probably fine.  I also think I am probably just not used to having things actually fit me.  For reference, this is the size 10-12 and $30 to purchase.  Which seems like a fantastic deal, since I didn’t have to pay the box fee during this free trial month (otherwise it would be $80 +$30?)




The Karen Kane stripe uneven hem dress is the one that I thought I might like the most and surprisingly it’s the one I am least happy with. I love the white stripes against the black, the asymmetric hem, all of it…but it just doesn’t add up to a very flattering picture.  I got the smallest size they offered (0X) and unfortunately, it’s still pretty baggy on me.  Which is makes me a little sad, because it really is adorable and it is so soft and comfortable.  I checked on the pricing and apparently I can purchase it for $50 which seems kind of strange to me, as this seems to be the most casual of the lot, with the least bells and whistles.  Ah well, you can’t win ’em all.  And this is not really an unusual style, so I can probably find it elsewhere.  Or else gain 20 lbs so that it fits better. Hey, I like pizza and bagels, I can make that work.

So…I am still not sure what I think about this, and at this point I am not even sure what to do?  Pack up the one that didn’t work, send it back, and continue to wear the others?  During this free trial month will they send me something else from my closet right away?  Or do I have to send the other two back/purchase them first?

And I see that a lot of people write on site reviews of the pieces they have received – do you receive some sort of credit for doing this?  I mean, I’d be all over that – I have stuff to say about things, and I can go on at length, believe you me! I mean have you read my yelp reviews?  I’m just saying – I have opinions and I like to share them.

Needless to say, I still have a few questions that need answering before I would fully recommend this to anyone, but I will say so far that the two dresses I have received in this shipment are some of the most flattering I have ever owned…for what it’s worth.

Thoughts? Suggestions?  Gwynnie Bee tips and tricks? Enlighten me – I am all ears!
And hips and bosoms, if you go by the pictures above!  Sorry to subject you to that, by the way.

Shana says

You send back what you aren't buying. I only pay to get one dress at a time, so when I send it back I get another right away. Oh and I seem to get them quicker if I go into my account and let them know the item is being sent back. No credit for reviews but if something fits strange I leave a review anyway because I appreciate the feedback from similar body types, I usually read them when picking items. A lot of times it allows me to pick items I would never choose in a regular setting and I have been pleasantly surprised over which things I love and which ones I send back immediately. Oddly I have worn every piece so far, just some with a lot more love. Good belts are helpful as I am short waisted and also shifts look belting fixes that 9 times out of 10!

S. Elizabeth says

Thanks, Shana! You know, I'd totally buy all three of these if the last one weren't so big on me. It was SO dang comfortable, though. This first month was free, and I don't know yet if I am going to keep the subscription or I sort of signed up for like 5 other subscription boxes. Eep! Sort of went a little nuts.

Shana says

It's a neat service for someone like me that needed less beachy, more work appropriate dresses. I have bought 3 and I love having the variety. So for now I'm keeping it. FIVE? Good lord woman....what have you done?

S. Elizabeth says

HAHA, YES IT IS TRUE! But they're all offering like, one month free or something, so I had to jump on board.

Popsugar Must Have
Daily Look Elite Box
Rocks Box

And then of course, gwynniebee and stitch fix!

I am probably going to end up canceling most of them...I just wanted to see what sort of stuff they'd send, and with a free trial for almost all of them I figured it wouldn't be too big a loss. I'm fairly certain that I will cancel most of them, heh. I just like to get stuff in the mail!

Pegi says

That finding 25 things I liked thing was the hardest part for me! I ended up canceling after my second shipment because I didn't like anything I got. Why do designers think bigger people need to wear polyester?

Beth says

Please look at this before you waste the rest of your free trial!!

I have used it for two weeks and the trick is to look at the sizing charts, read the reviews, and know what looks good on you to start with. There are some brands I just know won't fit me because they don't go small enough, so I know that I don't even need to give them a second glance.

And some people complain about the quality of the clothes and the selection. Honestly, at first, I did have a lot of trouble finding things I thought I'd like. But after getting to know some of the brands, I have gotten a better idea of how things will fit. As for the quality, like anything, it varies across brands. But sometimes I wonder if some people are pickier than others.. I'll see the same item reviewed and one person finds the quality to be amazing and another calls it "cheap." I've been very happy with some of the items that I've gotten.. and others, not so much. But now I just know that for my personal style/sizing, I can't wear Triste (one of the their house brands) and I stopped adding any of their stuff to my closet.

I was able to find things I liked mainly sorting by color and by size, and also searching for brands that I liked. There are a couple dozen Spruce & Sage fit and flare dresses, even if you only like a handful of the colors you already know they will fit you. There are bunch of Igigi dresses in 12, you can search by brand and size and find more that you like. Give it a shot! Don't waste your free trial! :-D

S. Elizabeth says

Yeah, I think I have found that Spruce and Sage works really well - and I have to stick with their smallest sizes, but out of three shipments I've gotten so far, I've actually kept four things! I'm not much for wearing it til I am done and then sending it back, so that aspect of the service really doesn't add any extra bonus for me. I try it on, and either I like it and buy it, or don't, and send it back heh! I am trying to squeak in one more shipment before my free trial ends.

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