Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post but if you sign up using my link I get a free extra item for one month.
Earlier this year I showed off how challenged I’ve felt to put together outfits that look and feel good while I’m working to lose weight and stay on a budget. I do have some nice staple pieces that I rotate with cheap filler clothes but it sure gets boring, no matter how many fun accessories I try to include.
Enter Gwynnie Bee. I’ve seen lots of bloggers (Emily and Emily, for example) have great success with this service so when my friend Kathy suggested I move away from makeup subscriptions for a month (wait, was that a pre-intervention? hmm..) and then pointed out Gwynnie Bee was offering the first 30 days free, I decided I should give it a try. Beware, lots of horrendous selfies below.
What is Gwynnie Bee?
Think of it as a clothing rental service for plus size women. If you’re size 10-32 you can sign up to “rent” 1-10 items of clothing per month. Your subscription fee varies based on how many items of clothes you want to have out at once. For 30 days you can rent as many items of clothing as you can fit into your rental package – just like netflix, it’s up to you to return your clothes so you can keep new things at home at one time.
How does it work?
Just like Netflix (sorry, they’re not sponsoring this either, I’m just not creative today) you fill your queue or “closet” with the clothes you want to try. Gwynnie Bee packs them up and sends them to you with a prepaid return envelope. Try the clothes on, wear them out, then pack them up and toss em in your mailbox when you’re ready to send it back. No washing required.
Gwynnie Bee ships their clothes in plain, white boxes. I honestly don’t care what the box looks like but in this day and age of branded packaging theirs is pretty lowkey. I can see that being a security feature if your mailperson likes to dump packages on your doorstep and maybe it saves their customers money – like I said, I don’t care. It’s what’s inside that counts anyway:
That’s cute enough for me!
Um, hello – there’s no commitment here. That meant I got to try out clothes I would NEVER buy. Sometimes they weren’t winner but sometimes I was surprised by what actually looked nice on me! This relatively shapeless studded dress seemed a bit risky to me but check it out:
Same goes for this black and red dress. I looked at the picture on the website and thought it would be kind of ridiculous but in person it was perfect for work (that’s my sweater, the dress is sleeveless):
This service would also be great for people who don’t live near stores that offer a lot of options for plus size clothing. If you’re always forced to online shop this gives you the benefit of trying the clothes before you buy them and then you get a discount if you do buy something! And if Gwynnie Bee’s discount isn’t enough you might find the brand is offering a better sale price – once you know you like the product and the size you need it’s easy to compare prices.
I want to mention these because while I’m not bothered by them they may or may not be dealbreakers to you.
Obviously you are wearing used clothes. Gwynnie Bee cleans everything and I never received anything that was less than good quality. An outsider would never know you weren’t the first to wear the dress. If you want to buy something, you keep the used one.
Gwynnie Bee can’t guarantee you’ll receive your clothing selections in a certain order so if you’re thinking you want to wear a specific dress to a specific event, just forget it. You might get lucky, but you might not. You have to be ready to go with the flow.
This isn’t within Gwynnie Bee’s control so I almost don’t want to bring it up but sizing varies from brand to brand not just between size 16 in one brand and size 16 in another brand but some brands are size 16 and some are XL, 2X or just plain 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. That’s not different from normal shopping but it does throw me off to have to keep checking size charts. I end up measuring every time I go to update my closet. Like I said, GB can’t do anything about this and they do provide a sizing chart per brand so you can look it up but you should know to have a measuring tape handy!
They require a minimum number of pieces in your “closet” at a time. At first I had to have 8 and then suddenly they said I needed 10 with no warning or explanation. Um, okay. What if there aren’t 10 things I want to try? I found myself having to really reach to keep the minimum number in my closet – that meant putting in things I didn’t even like and, you guessed it, I didn’t like them when I got them either. Exhibit A:
This dress might have been okay if I’d gotten my sizing right (I keep having to take my measurements) but the fabric reminds me of a carpet bag. Not my taste for sure.
Maybe the answer to this is just having a really open mind. Also be sure to browse through the selections before you buy a package so you know if there are enough choices you’re interested in. I’m a bit frustrated that I’ve had pieces I’m really excited about just hanging out in my queue since I signed up while the stuff I added most recently just to keep my minimum is all they keep sending me.
Back to the Good
Customer Service seems like their strong suit. I haven’t had any issues so far but my free trial has been extended twice because they couldn’t get my shipment out to me fast enough – without me even having to say anything! I appreciate that a lot. Granted, that means I’ve also had delayed shipments but I honestly don’t mind because they extended my trial. Recovery at its finest.
They’re also adding new products all the time. It seems like I get a weekly email letting me know they have new items in. They have dresses, skirts, jeans, jackets, tops and cardigans (I didn’t snap a picture of the one top I’ve tried so far).
Okay, enough talk. I’m guessing you just want to see the rest of the clothes, right?
As you can see, this one is pretty bland (and pairing it with leggings was a bad call, I know). I didn’t get a side view but it wasn’t anything special. Maybe if I’d owned patterned tights at the time I could have made it work:
This dress looked like a winner at first but it had way too much going on:
If that Jetsons-style collar didn’t turn you off, the side view will:
So those two dresses never left the house.
I wore this black lace dress to the ballet with Mom (sorry you can’t see my necklace, I wanted the lace to come out clear):
I like that it shows off my waist and has pretty scalloped edges. I wore it with silver flats because I knew there would be walking but it would have been pretty with red heels too.
This dress is the only one I might actually buy out of everything I tried. It’s super comfortable but still work-appropriate.
Here’s how I wore it to work:
I got a ton of compliments on it but am still deciding if I want to commit! I almost never wear patterns so this is a tough choice for me – I know if it were a solid color I would be sold instantly. I’m still thinking it over.
What’s my verdict?
I’ve decided for now to keep going with my membership on the 1 at a time plan. It works best with my budget, allowing me some wiggle room in case I want to buy something I try, and that way I trust myself to keep up with the returns. I’m also hoping I’ll have better luck meeting the minimum item number that way!
If you’d like to try Gwynnie Bee they’re still offering your first month for free. Just click here (that’s my referral link and I’ll get an extra item free if you use that link!) or go to GwynnieBee.com. Again, this is not a sponsored post, nor did I get anything for writing it, I was just having fun with the clothes and thought I would share.