I'm skeptical when it comes to plus-size fashion, and trying on clothes is almost always an exhausting misadventure that makes me feel like a freak of nature. So when I finally got the cajones to try Gwynnie Bee, I knew I wanted to share my experience with you*. Knowledge sharing rocks!
Gwynnie Bee is a try-before-you-buy clothing service. It works like this:
- You pay for a monthly subscription (a la Netflix, 1-item-at-a-time, 2-items-at-a-time, etc. on up to 5-at-a-time).
- You build your virtual closet out of the multitude of plus-size apparel they have.
- They send you items from your closet, as they become available.
- You try them on, wear them as much or as little as you'd like, and return them when you're done (shipping both ways is free) OR if you love the item, you can buy it then and there for 50%+ off retail price.
Me? I have no style. And I want it. I often feel like the frumpy woman-child in a sea of executives, because aside from a handful of cute (but maybe too youthful for me) skater dresses, I basically wear jeans and shirts.
It's not the most flattering look and it certainly doesn't highlight my curves.
So I chose to try GB in the hopes that I'd stumble across style.
I chose the 3-at-a-time plan, which is $86.51 (including tax).
I also took advantage of their personal stylist advice service. Lisa called me and asked me about my style, colors and shapes I liked, fabric types I preferred or disliked, designers whose styles I enjoyed, etc. And then she sent me about a dozen GB items she thought I might like. It was a wide range, from things I knew I'd look good in to things I never would have looked at twice- EXACTLY what I wanted to get out of it.
Verdict: I've wanted for a long time (but not had the guts) to try on a wiggle dress like this and see. Ultimately, it's not flattering on my body. And I'm glad I got to try that without a purchase commitment.
Verdict: I thought the visual illusion of the higher waistline would be flattering, but the construction of it made me wider. Still, I've never seen a dress like it before, so I got to try something new.
Verdict: Horrible, unflattering, too clingy and odd construction. But I've been wanting to try on a Kiyonna dress for over a year now, so mission accomplished.
Verdict: I came SO close to purchasing this dress (couldn't justify it with the house costs, though). Other than the waist being about 1" too high to be perfectly flattering, it was awesome on me and I got a lot of compliments. I never would have tried this dress (even if I'd know about Cherry Velvet before this, which I didn't) because of the hem length. But now I've got my eyes on it!
Verdict: If the bust didn't have wings of excess fabric, and if the waistline wasn't so low that I had to do odd things with the thick belt to cover it, this might have been awesome. Instead, despite the cool texture, it was just meh.
Verdict: The bunching of fabric around the boobs looked bizarre on me, and the material was too thin and clingy to be flattering.
Verdict: This dress was adorable, and totally flattering to my body shape. I'm not normally a pink fan, but I got a ton of compliments on this and would have totally bought it if the material justified the cost (I'd have dropped $40 on this, but not $68).
Verdict: This would have been awesome if it was more A-line and less shift. It needed a black belt and/or princess seams to give me some nice curves instead of just hanging.
Verdict: Well, I clearly don't know how to wear a motorcycle jacket. But in this case, it fit well through the bust but felt loose and floppy on the arms. Not as flattering as you might think.
Verdict: I give up on Kiyonna. This fabric didn't hang well, and clearly my love handles/muffin top is just bursting out.
Verdict: The 'scuba' dress material is luxe! A great weight and very soft, and it covered my fat. Unfortunately, it was just too...shifty. I could've gone a size smaller, but the placement of the stripes was across my widest point, not my narrowest, which is visually unflattering.
Verdict: Conversely, this one ran way too small. The lining was difficult to get fitted, as it was loose (not attached to the dress at all) and twisted. The ruched sides are very subtle...more wrinkled than ruched. And there's my spare tire, in full view. This dress makes me look like a sausage.
Overall, I loved and wore 3 out of the 12 items sent to me within the month. I was amazed to be receive so many items in just 30 days. PLUS it really helped me figure out what things do and don't work for me, and why. And I discovered new designers (hello, Cherry Velvet, Effie's Heart and mm2!) and fabrics that I like.
I highly recommend GB. The customer service is fantastic, and it's such a neat concept even for frugal gals like myself. It's a great service if:
You want to try a bunch of different designer garments without shipping costs and time delays
You want to experience with styles and colors without a commitment
You have a small closet and thus can't accumulate the goodies you want to wear
Your career requires the appearance of having a lot of varied, stylish outfits (but your paycheck doesn't allow that)
All for the price of approximately 1 dress per month.
* I paid for this service with my own cashy money. I'm reviewing it because it's a non-essential service, which means if you're like me you may be nervous about spending the dough and really wanting an unbiased opinion of whether or not it's worth the fee.
Labels: clothing, fashion, gwynnie bee, plus size, product review, service review