Many of you are of course familiar with some variety of clothing subscription or rental service. As a bigger lady, though, I’ve been hesitant to try any. I am the kind of person who has to try on 5 dresses to find one that fits and even then it’s not usually a good enough fit to buy them. So when I found Gwynnie Bee with its supportive community, helpful reviews, and extensive plus size designer fashions, I was seriously tempted. Give me a $10 first month trial and I bought in.
The service works by subscribing for one or more items of clothing out at time, you wear them as much as you want, return them whenever you’re done with them, and they send you another item from your “closet” – a virtual queue – immediately. Or, if you can’t bear to part with them, you can buy it at deep discount and they’ll send you the next rental immediately.
Over my trial month I rented three dresses. I can’t afford the full monthly subscription right now, but when I cancelled after my trial, the site informed me that I can come back anytime and my closet will be waiting. I look forward to resubscribing, but for now, I wanted to share my finds with my trial.
My first dress had me hooked immediately. The Circle Print Pin Tuck Fit & Flare Dress from Jessica Howard slipped right on and zipped up perfectly. The belt was a little snug even on the largest size, but it was the perfect workday dress.
I paired it with an H&M blazer, black tights, thrifted leather boots, and a DSW hat (borrowed from the usual author of this blog.
The top of the dress was lined, but the skirt wasn’t, and it tended to bunch between my legs in the windy walk to lunch. But it was comfy and stylish and I almost didn’t want to send it back, except for the temptation of new dresses!
My second was a little more fun but I still managed to pull it off as a work dress before taking it out on the town with friends. This Square Neck Floral Dress from Lands’ End was a nice snug, cottony fit.
I paired it with green tights and some cheap Payless flats. But just look at this color!
Even though it was a bit too much in the cleavage department for work and I had to be very careful in the office but I was so comfy I didn’t really care. I wore it twice before returning it. I considered buying this one but a lot of the reviews said the fabric fades really quickly so I didn’t want to spend the money.
The last dress I rented was the Deep Amethyst Fit & Flare Dress from Triste. This one was an instant hit and I got a ton of compliments.
I paired it with an oatmeal cardigan from Old Navy, brown tights, and tan boots from Payless.
I think I ended up wearing this three times before I gave it up and cancelled my auto-renewal, because $35 a month to rent one item at a time was a bit much for my budget right now. I’d rather spend that on something I can keep if I’m going to be spending money on clothes. Someday when I have some more spending money I’ll join up again, because I really did enjoy this.
I was most worried about getting a piece and not being able to zip it, or it being way too big in one place and too small in others, as often happens with clothes, especially my biggest weakness, dresses. But the reviews on these items always warned when it was better to go up or down a size, and the Dress for Your Shape sorting feature saved me from looking through countless pages of dresses that wouldn’t flatter.
So, if you’re like me and obsessed with dresses but afraid of subscribing to a clothing service that is lacking in a good plus size selection and community, check out Gwynnie Bee.
The top photo includes my ever-present ring from TedandMag on etsy.