It is the time of year where the closet opens up, the clothing comes out and the sweaters are moved to the back while lighter weight garments take center stage. Usually I take the time to go through and remove clothing that is now too worn or no longer fits. In twenty-twenty my weight moved up and down, but it mostly stayed in the same range so there was no elimination of sizing at the end of the summer last year when I brought the fall clothes out. This fact was something I found a little depressing, even though I made the justification that last year was just bonkers. I was also a little annoyed with myself. So I didn’t go through the summer clothes. I simply made certain they were washed before sending them into the dark depths of the closet.
While I am not down any sizes, when I took my warmer weather clothing out, I found that quite a few items had seen their last summer. I think it was a combination of not shopping as much and hoping that before I did go shopping I’d be down another size. Regardless, I found I was in need of of a purge and some new clothing.
I have wanted to try out a clothing subscription for a long time and quite frankly this seemed like the perfect excuse to do it. I am still not spending a lot of time shopping. I really like to try on clothing before I purchase it, yet not too keen on changing rooms at the moment and I am very much in need of new clothing.
And we all know I love subscriptions. Plus it seemed like an interesting way to not only get pieces I like, but to push myself out of my comfort zone.
The question was what subscription to try first.
The first determining factor was my weight. My current size is just beyond the range of many of the subscription services. If I lose two dress sizes, I have a much wider range, however currently, my options are limited. It was one of the issues I faced when looking at underwear subscriptions, and ultimately why I chose to go with Underclub. In the few month’s I’ve had that subscription, I have not once regretted signing up with them so I hoped the same would prove true for a more size inclusive clothing subscription service. Incidentally Underclub has a deal going on.
Select your gift plan, then we’ll delight them every month with a beautiful surprise. Each month of their subscription, they receive a pair of designer underwear from brands like Natori, Hanky Panky, Commando and more.
The subscription service I decided to try first was Nadine West. They had my size and at $9.78 per month it is very budget friendly. The $9.78 is the styling fee and if you choose to purchase any items in the subscription then the styling fee goes towards the item purchase. At the time I signed up you could get your first month with no styling fee with the code NADINE. I don’t know if the code is still valid (it was the last time I checked) but it meant that I paid nothing for my first bag.
Which seemed like a good way to try it out.
I really appreciate this, not only from a budgeting concern but because I suspect that any subscription service is going to need a few months to basically learn my style and tastes. I suspected the first shipment wouldn’t really suit me so it was nice that the code gave me a getting to know you bag bbefore actually charging me.
How well they learn will be part of the factor that determines how long I keep the Nadine West service. As it was the first month and we are still getting to know each other, I wasn’t expecting to adore everything sent. With this first bag I wanted to see if the clothing was of a quality that would make the subscription service worth bothering to receive.
After all it may only be $9.78 but if they aren’t going to send me items of a quality that I could wear, there was no point in using the service. And I wanted to see what they sent based on the initial survey. Essentially this bag is the baseline for the subscription. With each bag I will comment on the items and see if the selection of products they send adapts.
The questionnaire that you fill out at the beginning is very vague. It gives a basic style category (classic, romantic, trendy…). Ask what parts of the body you want to hide. (I said arms and belly). And asks what colors you will not wear. It also had check boxes to check what items you are interested in receiving. I did not see this on my first pass through the profile survey so all of the items were checked. I have since gone back and removed a couple.
So what happened when I signed up?
I took my style quiz and did all the sign up items and then two days later I received a tracking number for my first bag. It should be noted that you can choose to receive a bag once a month or once every two weeks. Three days after receiving the tracking number the bag was at my house. Because this was my first bag I was hazy as to how long I had before I needed to send the items I didn’t want back. To be honest the website is not fabulous. They do send you a series of welcome e-mails detailing what you need to know but quite frankly I would have preferred Just one or two paragraphs on the site giving me the information. Since my first bag was free I wasn’t charged up front and found it really difficult to find out how much each following month would cost me. The information came in a later e-mail. Also in a later e-mail was the fact that the return by date would be on the packing slip.
I do like that the packages are scheduled to come in mid-month (I think they ship around the 14th). This month my packing slip says I have until April 28th to return what I don’t like. I will be charged for what I keep when they receive my return shipment and process it. I really like knowing that as I can make certain my bank account is ready for the charge. I very much like that. I just wish all of that was spelled out in a paragraph for me on the site instead of a slate of follow up e-mails.
There is no previewing the items sent. You just get what you get. There also seems to be a point system that I hope will be explained in a later e-mail. On my packing slip it says that I have 100 points and am classified as a beginner. I understand the beginner part as this is my first bag, but have no idea what the points relate to. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.
The bag that the clothing comes in is a plastic one. You open it, take the items out and the bag is reusable so you use it to send the items back. The clothing is wrapped in tissue paper. This means that there is no real wasted packaging with shipping. The packing slip is inside and it is very clear how to send items back.
So what was in my first box?
The first item I removed was a scarf, Butterflies and Peonies print in gray (retail $16.99). It is a gauzy material and feels well made. The tag was through all of the folded layers so it was impossible to unfold without removing the tag. I did not remove the tag. While I do occasionally wear scarves and I like the gray color, I’m not the butterfly wearing sort of person. It is nice but certainly not for me. The tag is simply a Nadine West tag so I am guessing it is their brand. I will be sending it back. I have also checked no scarves on the list so we will see if that matters going forward.
As a note, I did try to take pictures of me in the garments, but the pictures came out horribly. My camera angle was off and the sun slanted inthrought the window and pounced off of the mirror. Next month I will have my babydoll try to take them for me, but this month is mostly laid out garments as the first pictures were just too bad to post.
There were two jewelry items in my bag which I really wasn’t expecting. They were in the style pictures, I just didn’t realize they’d be in the bag as well. I thought it was mostly reference. The first was a sliver necklace in the style Lizzie that retails for $44.99. It was actually the most expensive item in my bag this month. It is nice looking and of decent quality. It isn’t excellent quality but it is decent enough that I would wear it. I have several necklaces similar to it in my collection already and would have liked the chain maybe half an inch longer to sit slightly lower on my neck. While I am sending it back, I am encouraged by the fact that it is something I like. And really if I didn’t already have several very similar pieces I would consider keeping it.
The earrings (retail $19.99) were also nice They thin hoops and it is easy to see why they are less expensive than the necklace. While still nice enough quality to wear, they are not quite as nice as the necklace. I’m not a big hoop earring sort of person. I do have a couple of pairs that I like, but most hoop earrings I am not a fan of. (My favorite pair of ‘hoop earrings’ are actually a pair of bronze squid tentacles if that helps with my hoop style) These are thin and delicate enough that I do like them, however they aren’t distinctive enough that I really want to keep them. While I tried on the necklace, I didn’t try the earrings on since I knew I wasn’t keeping them.
Now, we finally get to the clothing. There were three clothing items included in my bag this month. I’ll go ahead and be honest, I’m only keeping one item. I’ll cover the two I’m sending back first so we can end on a high note.
The first clothing item was a sleeveless shirt from the brand Sheila Rose. It retails for $39.49. While I will wear tank tops under clothing and to sleep in and I wear shells under jackets and blazers, I am not a big sleeveless shirt sort of person. If something is sleeveless I am putting a jacket or a cardigan over it. Even though at the moment I just don’t like showing off the jiggle, I have always wanted my arms covered. I will show shoulders, but there are very few times that I am willing to go without sleeves. This is not the shirt that is going to make me change that feeling. While it is beautifully soft and a nice color the fit is odd. It is strangely long and does not in any way suit me. It is tight across the breasts, loose just below them and then it clings to the belly fat. In fact it emphasizes everything I told them I wished to cover. It it were loose and baggy around the waist I would like it more, but alas I do not. I like the softness and the color and I even like the graphic on the front, but the fit is all wrong. Also while it was a short questionnaire, I did mention I didn’t want to show off my arms. So this was a big miss.
The second Item was a pair of Yummy Joggers from the brand Shosho. They retail for $$23.49. They are soft and I could easily see myself working in them at my desk. However, they don’t fit right. They are a little long in the leg and despite the fact that they feel super soft on, I don’t like the shininess of the material. I think if they were closer fitting then the shiny material wouldn’t bother me so much, but because they are baggy the shininess makes them look ill-fitting rather than just intentionally baggy. They are good quality though so that was encouraging. I was actually very disappointed that I didn’t like these pants. I really wanted to like them more than I did, so back they are going.
Finally we have arrived at the one piece I am keeping. It is a Alex A Line dress in black (retail $34.49). The brand is Zenana. The material is soft and light weight enough for summer use. The dress has some shape to it which I really like. So often when you are larger, dresses are just formless sacks or they gather in places you don’t want them to gather.
This dress pulls in at my ribs and has a decorative gather in the middle so it has some detail (although not much) and it has a loose skirt that comes down long enough for me to feel comfortable in. The stitching is nice. It is the sort of comfortable dress you can wear running around in during the spring and summer. It isn’t something you’d wear out to a restaurant. It is just a comfortable everyday dress. Which at the moment is sort of what I need as I had to bid farewell to four of my favorite summer dresses during my spring closet clear out. I also happen to like black. A large section of my closet is comprised of black clothing, however two of the three clothing items in my bag were black. It would be nice to shake things up a bit. And in my color selection I didn’t really limit it. I just left it wide open for any color they wanted to choose. That will be another thing I will monitor in future bags.
While I want clothing that I like, I also went to be surprised and maybe pushed a little outside my comfort zone. The dress I liked, and am keeping, is sort of the dead center bull’s eye of my comfort zone. Which is both a good and a bad thing. I was sent something that I will wear and get a lot of use out if this summer and is something I would definitely have chosen on my own, but I also want a few surprises along the way, things that fit generally with what I like but I might not have known I wanted until I tried them on.
I know, I can be so picky sometimes.
All in all I have to say I am quite pleased by this month. I know, it may not have sounded like it as I am only keeping one item, (and whined about not being surprised) but I genuinely had no real idea what to expect out of this Nadine West subscription. It is also a first bag, a testing of the waters. Nadine doesn’t know me yet so I am going to give the bag, and the stylist/algorithm behind the bag a few months to see if they can come to grips with me.
As my first foray into fashion subscriptions I am pleasantly please with the quality of the items and as I found one item in this initial bag that I liked it gives me hope that I will be able to find at least one item in the next bag so that my $9.78 styling fee will not be wasted. I am sure that I can add a few decent quality, everyday wear items to my wardrobe. I’m not certain that this is the subscription I would turn to for dressier items, but perhaps it will surprise me. As it is getting to know me, I am getting to know it. I think at the moment, I am willing to take that time and see how the subscription progresses. I also think this is a pretty easy clothing subscription to ease into. I’m sure I’ll branch out in the future, but for now, this is a pretty good start.