March Box Review(s)

SeeJenDance - March Subscription Box Reviews

I’m trying something a bit different for this month since I received THREE boxes from a subscription-like shopping service this month. (YAY spring capsule shopping.) But rather than writing three separate posts about them, I’ve combined them into one review – for my own sanity.

This month, I got a Stitch Fix box with Sophie O. as my stylist again; another tote from KB at Golden Tote, and I tried Trunk Club with Carey Lee. My goal was to secure some items for the next three months. I threw in Trunk Club this month because I liked that I could call or message my stylist directly and tell her exactly what I wanted. In this instance, I needed some wardrobe basics – something that was sorely missing from the last season’s capsule. Since Trunk Club is essentially a personal shopper at Nordstrom’s, I knew I’d get some high quality items that I could use year round. And the other two shopping services would be great for seasonal, trendy pieces. (Affiliate links at the end of blog.)


Stitch Fix Mini Review

Let’s start with the Stitch Fix Box. As mentioned, my stylist was Sophie O. again from February’s Fix. I liked what she did and requested her again in my March note. Her note to me was longer, and a bit more personalized, mentioning that she tried to find as much as she could based on my requests and couldn’t wait to get items set for my capsule. I had asked for some jeans, a trench coat, and some other fun spring items.

SeeJenDance - March Box Review - StitchFix

Here is what I kept:

I haven’t kept a pair of jeans since my first postpartum fix last spring. Now that I’m chasing a very active toddler, the jeans aren’t holding up like they once were. (Unless I have an industrial strength belt.) Sophie sent me two pairs of Kut from the Kloth Jeans – one Dayna Skinny ($88) and one Catherine Boyfriend cut ($78).

A word about Kut from the Kloth – these things stretch and run slightly larger. They don’t always hold their size so some will advise you to size down. The skinnies were actually bit on the tight side, however, I kept them knowing they’d probably stretch out. The boyfriend jeans were actually the first pair of this cut where they didn’t feel like “mom jeans.” My only concern is that while they fit great now, they won’t after a few wears. I guess we’ll see.

I styled these with an old Skies are Blue blouse I received last fall, a pair of TOMS I received from my Trunk Club stylist, and a white button down from TC which was returned due to sizing issues.

What I didn’t keep:

I had Pinned the Collective Concepts Katelynn Dress ($78) because the print was super fun and wedding season appropriate. However, it ran larger in the torso and sleeve area. It looked cute belted and with a cardigan, but I know I would not take the time to alter it. I did “keep” it, but I ended up selling it to someone on a BST group.

The 41Hawthorn Crue Belted Trench Jacket ($98) I received was more like a peacoat. Much heavier than I was expecting and not at all waterproof. This would have been great in winter, but not in spring. Shame – it actually fit really nicely, but I had no use for it.

The last item was a Daniel Rainn Bilson Silk Tabsleeve Blouse ($88) that is very similar to every other tab sleeve blouse I own already. Except this was silk and made me look pregnant. Nope, nope, nope.


Golden Tote Mini Review

SeeJenDance - March Tote - Golden Tote

For instructions on how Golden Tote works, check out my review of the February tote here. I’ll admit that the one of the reasons I tried Golden Tote again in March was because of this month’s tote style. I love bunnies! Truth be told, I found no interest in any of the items you could choose from this month’s boutique. Everything was a bit too BoHo/southwestern for my tastes. But, they did have a pair of jeans and a few other “classic” items available. I also had one of the stylists on the BST group help update my profile comments and I used a photo collage rather than a single image in my profile. These two add-ons actually helped a LOT with my surprise items.

What Worked:

I ordered a large Tote with two chosen items for $149. I received 6 items total, but decided to “keep” 4. One of my chosen items was a pair of black Ellison cropped trousers (Rise to the Crop Trousers in the boutique). They aren’t all that cropped on me, so I’ll have to get them hemmed or just wear them as regular pants, but they were trousers with pockets! A rare find, I feel.

Three of my surprise items were home runs, KB. I received a purple (!) pleated blouse by Naked Zebra, a light blue colorblock sweater from Skies are Blue, and a Paper Crane Geometric Print sun dress. The sundress will need some creative styling since the arm holes are huge, but it should be great for the warmer weather.

What I Didn’t Keep

SeeJenDance - Jolie Striped Top with Distressed Jeans - Golden ToteI ended up selling/trading two items from my Tote, but would have been pleased with them if the sizing was correct. For example, I really liked the Jolie Striped top, but I swam in it. And the Distressed Boyfriend Jeans were the perfect length and comfort, but I definitely needed to size down on them.


A Little Bit About Trunk Club

Trunk Club styles both men and women and is based out of Chicago. As mentioned above, I wanted some very specific items I had a hard time finding online on ThredUp or Target or wherever I could managed to sneak away shopping. Trunk Club is not really a subscription service at all – more like walking into Macy’s and Nordstrom and heading to the Personal Shopping department. There are no subscription or styling fees. But the prices are Nordstrom prices, so be prepared if you decide to try it.

After signing up, my original stylist called me and found out all of my likes, dislikes, goals, styling preferences and so forth. I signed up based on the recommendation of a friend, so I was transferred to her stylist, Carey, so we could both get some sort of referral credit. (Cool.) Carey prepared a “trunk” of about 15 items for me based on my notes, and sent them to me to preview. At that point, I was allowed to remove items I knew were too expensive, not my style, or something I already owned. The remaining items were shipped to me to try on and return after 10 days.

I ended up keeping a pair of TOMS and a black blazer. Carey indicated that the first Trunk can be a little rough while the stylist tries to figure out a person’s style and size. So I look forward to my follow up Trunk. Carey has also been very good about keeping my items affordable and low maintenance (which is a plus when you have a toddler.) She will throw in a few pricey items here and there, but the majority of the items I see are within Stitch Fix pricing guidelines. They have a much larger petite inventory to choose from. (Something I’m struggling with in Stitch Fix and Golden Tote.)


If you would like to try any of these services, you can use one or all of these (affiliate) links: Stitch Fix, Golden Tote, or Trunk Club. Golden Tote’s April Tote is going to be released on April 4th, so get that profile ready for the craziness. Previews for the April chosens are being leaked on Instagram and will probably be on their Tumblr page here soon.

As far as Stitch Fix goes, I have decided to keep Sophie O. as my stylist (because she’s been doing awesome), but switch my box subscription to every quarter, rather than monthly. My wallet should love that. (Plus that whole, don’t shop during a capsule season rule thing…)

 

 

 

Friday Five: Busy Weekend Edition

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I realize I haven’t done a Friday Five in a LONG time. This week in summary…


1.| So this happened.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my Dexy. Except when it doesn’t work. At all. Clearly, Dexy enjoyed too many St. Patrick’s Day Green Beers a day early. (I removed it and enjoyed too many Irish Shortbread cookies without it screaming at me.)


2.| My monthly Stitch Fix, Golden Tote shipment, and Trunk Club trunk are ALL coming at the same damn time. Fantastic timing, because I’m supposed to be figuring out my seasonal wardrobe around now. I might write summaries about all three of them in one post rather than individually. Because, tired. And Fuller House is on Netflix. (Priorities!)


3.| I’ve never really taken an interest in politics until recently. Maybe it’s the whole, being a staff member under a lobbying firm thing. I can’t make sense of the circus, even being a left-leaning centrist who prefers science over woo. A friend of mine recommended a Podcast that has been helping guide her in discussions. It’s Pantsuit Politics – or a conversation between two female friends with different political views. Their podcast began last November, but they’ve been covering more and more of the election process. (Because even they admit, they can’t escape it.) But it’s just refreshing to hear both perspectives of the political spectrum without all of the Facebook drama and subsequent unfriending. (Speaking of, post-Primary, I may retreat to Instagram. This is getting ugly, y’all.)

download


4.| I’m ridiculously excited for some time to be an adult this weekend. It’s been far too long. M and I got tickets to a local craft beer festival and we’re seeing “The Book of Mormon” as well. Sitters (and grandma) are all lined up to watch Bean. The sad part was finding out how out of touch from the local scene we are. I don’t know if we ever really were in tune with it, but now we’re so far gone, it’s analog. Thank God I have savvy friends who can tell me what’s happening.


5.| I used my travel time last week to start (and finish) listening to an audiobook for the first time. I had 6 hours, one way, to kill, so I figured I’d try it. One thing is for sure – the new Apple earbuds are NOT made for extended wear. And, Girl on the Train was a really depressing read. But I’ll give myself kudos for picking it up before it was released as a movie.

 

 

Golden Tote Review – February

SeeJenDance - Golden Tote Review February

Subscription boxes are kind of the “new trend” in shopping, aren’t they? There are a TON of services which allow you to shop for clothes for yourself, your spouse or partner, your kids, your jewelry, your groceries… whatever. I personally love them because I usually don’t have time to shop, let alone the energy to pour through racks of clothes. (And I won’t even attempt it with a toddler in tow.) As much as I love StitchFix and its convenience, I wanted to try out some of the other “fashion box services.” After seeking some suggestions from fellow SFers, I came across Golden Tote.

What is Golden Tote?

Golden Tote is a Southern California based duo aimed to bring trendy, colorful clothes to the doorsteps of women, one reusable bag at a time. (Or, as I’ve seen on their BST group – sometimes, multiple bags at a time!) The Sarahs, as they are called on their website, design, shop for, and curate a boutique every month, and then pass along their killer deals to you by bulk shipping a Tote filled with anywhere from 2 to 6 items. There is no subscription or styling fee required. You just buy when you want one – or three.

How does it work?

Every 1st Monday of the month, the boutique changes, thus also changing the tote inventory. Shoppers then have a choice between 3 tote sizes and prices: a $49 tote, which includes one picked item and 1 surprise item; a $99 surprise tote, which includes up to 4 items unbeknownst to you but based on your style profile; and a $149 tote, which includes two picked items and up to 4 surprise items. You fill out a style profile indicating your likes, dislikes, and sizing info; much like SF or other services. Then you order and wait for your tote to be styled. The totes are shipped within a week or so, and depending on where you live, can take up to a week to arrive. (I am in the same state as GT, so shipping took about 3 days.)

So wow, you can get up to 6 items for $150? What a steal! Exactly – which is why they’ve catered their return policy to make sure it doesn’t come back to bite them later. Golden Tote is an all or nothing service. Did you get 5 items and love them all? Cool! But if you didn’t, or something didn’t fit, you can either return the whole tote for a full refund, or just keep everything and give away/sell/trade the items you don’t like. They did, apparently, recently begin to take back individual pieces, but that comes with a price tag.

SeeJenDance - February Tote Review

But really. Even if you love 4 out of the 6 pieces, you’ve essentially saved yourself a shopping trip and time at the mall. And these aren’t Forever 21 quality pieces either. Brands like Skies are Blue, Le Lis, Just Black and other Stitch Fix-like brands are included in the surprise items.

For this go around, I decided on a $149 tote, plus one add on item. I selected two items from their boutique and let my stylist pick the remaining pieces. I indicated on my style profile that I was creating my Spring Capsule, my accent color was red, and that I was a working mom. Let’s check out what I received.

My stylist was “KB,” who from what I’ve read online in their Facebook group, is a kick-ass stylist. My Tote (appropriately themed for the month) included all of my pieces, plus one-add on item I chose at check-out, packed inside.

GTFeb-5

I also received two Style Cards for the items I picked from their boutique to start my Tote.


Classic Trench Coat

Classic Trench - February Golden Tote Review

 

This was one of the two chosen items from the boutique. I really want to add a neutral trench coat to my spring wardrobe since El Niño is supposed to be dumping buckets of rain on us this season. (It’s currently coming down pretty good now.) But I know that outerwear and I have a love/hate relationship. Usually pieces like this can be too long, too bulky, too something else that doesn’t work for me. Against my better judgement, I gave this a spin.

Sadly, it’s too boxy and too long. Maybe a bit overwhelming for my little frame. (Added the GT stock image for comparison.) The material, while really soft, didn’t seem waterproof either. It reminded me of a soft suede. So – very stylish coat… if you are 5’5″ and taller. Verdict – Sell or Trade or Donate


Business Savvy Blazer in Navy (Skies are Blue)

 

Business Savvy Blazer (Navy) - February Golden Tote Review

My next chosen item was a navy Business Savvy Blazer by Skies are Blue. This reminded me of a different SAB blazer I had and then traded away because the color wasn’t right. A navy one, however, would be handy to have in my spring closet. The 3/4 sleeves are super for those with short arms, like me. It’s a knit, rather than a structured blazer, but this will work for the office when the A/C is blasting. The only odd thing was that there wasn’t a way to close or button the blazer. It doesn’t matter too much because I rarely do that, but something to keep in mind. Verdict – Added to Spring Capsule.


Back to Business Blazer – Gray

 

Back to Business Blazer in Gray - February Golden Tote Review

My add-on item was this 2nd blazer. An add-on item is an additional chosen you can add to your tote at a super discounted price. I have been looking to replace the gray, Kristah ruffle knit blazer I received in a Fix shortly after I returned from maternity leave. I have worn that gray blazer down to the seams, so it’s time to retire it. This was a killer deal as an add-on ($40) and it’s a structured blazer. Nice microfiber material and comes with a button closure. If I had known the trench wouldn’t work out, I would have just chose this instead. Verdict – Added to Spring Capsule.


Le Lis Ribbed Skirt – Gray

Le Lis Ribbed Skirt - Gray - Golden Tote Review February

 

Now on to the surprise items. Again, starting with the items I didn’t care for that much. The Le Lis skirt wasn’t really labeled anything on the packing slip other than it was a skirt. It was long, so I assumed a maxi skirt. The problem is that it was nearly the perfect length, if not a little short, to be a maxi skirt on me. Maxi skirts are ALWAYS too long on me.

It was also very confining. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t wear my garter and insulin pump on my leg. My Dexcom transmitter is obviously sticking out. It was also not very forgiving. Since it’s a knit, every single flaw and bump showed up. It also gave me a bad case of “mom butt.” What the heck is this thing?

Turns out it’s a mid-calf pencil skirt. Oooh. And quite obviously too long. Nope. Verdict – Traded.


Le Lis Polka Dot Blouse – Blue

Le Lis Polka Dot Blouse - Blue

This shirt was perplexing. In theory, I do kind of like it. It’s a chambray-like material that’s light enough to transition into summer. There are tie sleeve details. It can be dressed up or down. Belted or tucked in. There is a very small printed detail to give it some more interest.

It just seemed a bit big. I realize I’m a bit of a challenge because I am in between sizes. But, for a fit like this, I would have preferred to size down. But, GT’s stock of x-smalls are limited, so this could be as small as I could go. So, I’m torn on whether to hold on to it. I may save this for a future trade. Verdict – Not sure. Maybe a gift or sell.


Skies are Blue Floral Top

Skies are Blue Floral Top - Golden Tote February Review

 

This was the one item that I could snag in x-small. Probably a good idea since it’s a similar blouse shape to just about every one I’ve received from Stitch Fix. Roll tab sleeves. Fun floral print. Heavier cotton/poly mix, which is a nice change from the usual lot I get – which is generally an almost sheer poly. Definitely spring worthy, but not really in the Spring Capsule color scheme.

Skies are Blue Floral Top - Golden Tote February Review

But, it is cute when styled. Great for casual Friday or a coffee date with M. On the flip side, I’ve apparently snagged a unicorn piece for some of the ladies in the BST group. So even if I don’t decide to incorporate it, I should have no trouble selling it. Verdict – Keep, with reservations.


Gilli Dotted Dress

Gilli Dotted Dress - Golden Tote Review February

This was probably my favorite piece of the lot. It looked really odd coming out of the box (it’s runched on one side), but looked and felt great after I tried it on. This is probably what I’d consider a day to date dress. As it’s styled now, it might be a little too fancy for the office, but I can throw a sweater or blazer on over it for during the day. The skirt will accommodate my insulin pump and garter just fine. The dots are magenta. All in all, a good pick by KB. Verdict – Keep this, damn it! It’s Hot!


Final thoughts on Golden Tote – I liked the value of the items I received for the money I paid. Even if two items were definite “nos,” I essentially paid around $27 for each item. That’s highway robbery – and especially useful if you like to change your closet out every season and keep up on current trends.

Selling and trading items has been a bit tricky this last month, only because there seems to be a ton of inventory in the BST group, and not a lot of buyers. That’s been making this less appealing to me if I can’t get rid of the items I don’t want.

For things I’d like to see improved – maybe more descriptive labeling or a stylist note or something included in the tote to allow the stylist know what she why she picked something. (Or to clarify what an item actually is. Like the Le Lis Skirt.) That’s something I do like about StitchFix – their little bit of communication can help make a difference in how you feel about a piece.

Will this work for me and Capsule Wardrobes? Probably not. Especially if I’m trying to keep base pieces for neutrality. (Though, my pre-capsule self would be all over this!)

But, if you want to try it out, I highly suggest you sign up and fill out a profile. They are releasing the March totes and boutique on Monday, March 7th (yes, in two days!) at 9 am PST. You can catch a few (all?) spoilers on the Golden Tote Instagram or their Tumblr page.

I will probably sit out this month just because nothing in the preview really fit my style, but if you are into the BoHo look, I highly suggest you check it out.


*Disclaimer – yes, there are some affiliate links up there and I can get a small credit toward my shopping addiction if you sign up and order a tote/fix/whatever. I, however, wrote this review for funsies and received nothing in exchange for it. So obviously, all opinions are mine.