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.
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.