Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Trying Out Le Tote

Greetings Faithful Blog Readers,

Needing a wardrobe that can expand with my waistline, I tried out Le Tote which serves regular and maternity clients. If you decide to try Le Tote, you can get one for free by using my referral link. Le Tote is different than Stitch Fix, so please read carefully so you know what you're getting into! I paid for my own Le Tote, but I did find an 85% off coupon to try it.

What is Le Tote: Unlike Stitch Fix, Le Tote is not a styling service. You look through their website and pick out what you want in your tote ahead of time. Also unlike Stitch Fix, you are not picking clothes to buy. You are paying one monthly subscription price to be able to rent unlimited totes. When you are done with your tote, you return it (in the envelope provided-shipping free of charge) and get a new one. You don't have to worry about laundering, as Le Tote handles that for you. Le Tote will sell you any pieces you love, often for a great discount. You can cancel at any time, but if you don't cancel, you'll be billed for the next month. You can also pause your membership (you must have returned your tote by the next billing date to pause).

Had I paid full price, my monthly membership would have cost $84 for unlimited monthly totes each containing 4 maternity items. The prices are lower for non-maternity members (I think the lowest package starts at $49 a month). They do have "Le Tote Select" for people that wish to buy and not rent clothes, but this is not a review of that service.

Why I Wanted to Try It: I have one pair of jeans that sort of fits right now and no work pants that fit. I don't care to invest a lot of money in maternity clothes, and since I could try this for $13, I figured it was worth a shot. I wanted some clothes for work that I can wear in colder weather.

Since this is a review of an entire month's membership, I figure I'll show you what you're getting for the cost of one month of membership:

Tote #1

Selection Process: It was pretty easy to figure out my size and select clothing. It didn't take me too long since I knew what I was looking for (a couple of work dresses and a couple of work friendly pants).

Shipping Time: I ordered my tote Saturday night and got it in the mail Friday morning. I really wasn't impressed with how long shipping took, but my tote tracking said it should have arrived Thursday so maybe the blame lies with USPS.

Days Kept: 7 (including day it arrived and day I sent it back), though the first 3 days were a waste since I'd already dressed for work Friday and have plenty of lounging clothes for the weekend.


Up first, Octavia Maternity Dress:

I love this dress so much! It's comfortable, work appropriate, and cute. It was on sale for $27, so I decided to keep it. Since I knew I wasn't sending it back, wearing it ASAP didn't have to be a priority. I wore it on Thursday. 

Second, Leota Maternity Dress: 

This dress was super comfortable, but it was so low cut! I had to wear an undershirt under it to wear it to work. I think it's probably designed with breastfeeding in mind, but I'd appreciate a higher neckline. I wore this to work on Monday: it was a beautiful day, and I felt put together and comfortable.

Up next, Maternal America "Skinny" jeans:

You can't tell from this photo, but these jeans were super baggy at the bottom. Also, they were more like work trousers and nothing like jeans, which worked fine for my purposes. I wore them to work on Tuesday with a blouse and cardigan. They were comfortable enough but nothing special.

Finally, the Noir Maternity Classic Legging:

I originally intended to wear these once and send them back. I was saving them for a super cold, wet, rainy Wednesday. Once I wore them for a full day, I realized just how amazing they are: these feel like pajamas but look professional. I paired them with a sweater and felt cozy despite the miserable weather. Since they were on sale for $48, and that seems like a reasonable price, I decided to keep these as well. I wore them to work again on Friday.

Tote #2:
Selection Process: I made a mistake and made all my selections at 11PM (Thursday night--as soon as my Le Tote was scanned at the post office after I dropped it off Thursday, I got an email inviting me to pick out my next tote). Inventory seemed limited. I couldn't find maternity jeans or pants that were seasonably appropriate. I emailed customer service, and it turns out, the best time to swap your tote is 9AM (Le Tote will pick items for you, but you can "swap them out" and pick all your own items). Since I couldn't really get my ideal selections, I focused on getting dresses for work and maybe something cute to wear for Thanksgiving.

Shipping Time: Ordered Thursday evening, arrived Monday afternoon. The much faster turnaround was much appreciated! This means I have work clothes ready for the week.

Days Kept: 5 (including the day it arrived and the day I sent it back). I thought it was awesome being able to have all my work outfits for the week and then sending it back in time for the weekend.


Up First, the Leota Maternity Boat Neck Dress:

Tuesday, our high was in the low 80s, so this cute and comfortable dress was the perfect outfit for work. I noticed a little pilling on the tummy of the dress (guess this one has seen some love), but I didn't find it bothersome. This one definitely shows off the bump.

Next, the Noir Maternity Stitched Shoulder Dress

I love this dress; with black tights, it was the perfect thing to wear to work on Wednesday. I was thinking of wearing this for Thanksgiving, but it looks like Thanksgiving in our area is going to be super cold, so I'll plan for something else instead.

Next, Octavia Maternity Tie Waist Dress

This was my favorite dress of the tote. Since Le Tote was selling it for $27, I decided to make it mine!

Lastly, the Gold Sparkle Cardigan

This cardigan was itchy, so at first, I thought I couldn't actually make myself wear it. But I wore it to work on Wednesday (with the black dress) and Thursday (with the Burgundy dress), and I forgot about the itchiness. Not my favorite Le Tote pick, but I ended up getting some use out of it.

Tote #3
Selection Process: I dropped off my Le Tote at the post office on Friday afternoon, and within a few hours, I had a text/email saying my next tote was ready to be customized. At first, I went in and there was not much available. I stepped away (not for long) and refreshed and saw the maternity jeans I had been eying were finally in "my closet" (meaning they were now an option to add to my tote). When I saw another pair of jeans were available too, I nabbed them both and also got a couple of dresses.

Shipping Time: This is where my Le Tote experience could have been better. On Monday, I checked in via email to say my tote still hadn't left the warehouse. They apologized, sent me a link to customize a new tote, and offered me a $5 credit and added three days to my membership. I wrote back that I wasn't satisfied with that resolution since I was really depending on my tote in order to have jeans that fit. I asked if they could track down the original tote and rush ship it...long story short, I ended up getting TWO totes. One arrived Wednesday, and one arrived Friday. I also got 1/2 off my next month's membership because of the inconvenience.

Days Kept: 8 (including the day it arrived and the day I sent it back).

Clothing (my pictures are more candid this week; didn't have much time with the holiday!)

The Ava Maternity Mixed Print Wrap Dress was perfect for both Thanksgiving and for wearing to work the next week.

I was so excited to try the J-brand maternity jeans, but since they have side panels rather than a full panel, they really weren't that comfortable. I got some wear out of them anyway.

Luckily, I also picked out the full panel Noppies Skinny Jean. These are amazingly comfortable, and I'll be buying them even though they're $90. 

Lastly, the Octavia Maternity Smocked Bodice Dress is another keeper...this one is only $20 and will be perfect for holiday parties.

My overall impressions of Le Tote: It was definitely worth the $13 I paid to try it! I spent $207 dollars extra and bought maternity jeans, maternity pants, and two dresses. I like that I get to pick what's in my tote, and I can wear everything before I have to make a decision about purchasing. It's hard to know whether or not something is comfortable when you just try it on once. I didn't love the wait time between shipments; it seems too long given what one would pay full price for this service. I also want the service to be reliable, though I was ultimately happy with how they handled their mistake. I like always having something new to wear, which is especially handy during pregnancy when I'm quickly outgrowing things.

Will I subscribe next month? Since I have a 50% discount, I'll keep my membership active and reevaluate again in January.

Want to check out Le Tote for yourself? Use my referral link and get yourself one free tote. 

Happy hump day, everyone. I'm definitely struggling with the whole back at work after a holiday break thing, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (the tunnel is just covered in papers, discussions, and finals that I have to grade). Here's to powering through the rest of the work week! I'll still be grading this weekend, but at least I can stay on my couch and sleep in!


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