Miscellaneous,  Motherhood

Finding my sense of mom-style and this crazy thing called Le Tote

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This might be a lengthly introduction so just go with me here for a minute…

It was coming up on Christmas and I found myself increasingly frustrated that I feel like I have nothing to wear. My maternity clothes are finally too big, but my biggest pre-Little Brother clothes are just a WEE bit tight, (or more than that, depending on the item). I did get a pair of jeans back on, but they aren’t incredibly comfortable to wear, you know, for a long time.

Then for Christmas I get two gift cards for clothes. My husband also told me that he wanted me to spend $150 on clothes as a Christmas gift.

I SERIOUSLY considered Stitch Fix. (If you don’t know what Stitch Fix is, then you can Google it, and a million and one other people out there can tell you what it is and how awesome it is.) I’ve heard about it for about two years now, and I really love the idea. I am just not quite yet willing to pay $60-80 for one article of clothing, as I’ve heard is the target price point of their items.

However, I considered it so heavily that not only did I create an account and schedule a “fix” (which I subsequently cancelled, I’ll get to that in a second), but I spent an ENTIRE DAY looking at clothes on Pinterest to see what styles I like (in hopes that my StitchFix stylist would send me stuff I like). Here’s My Style board.

Then I thought about it. Okay, this is what I like on Pinterest, but what do I ACTUALLY wear?

You see, this is how I do clothes:

  • 1. Go to Goodwill or other low-end consignment store. Spend $50-100 on cheap stuff. Repeat once or twice a year.
  • 2. In the mean time, every other year hit a higher-end consignment store and spend about $100 on nicer stuff.
  • 3. Maybe buy a skirt or two or some tops at Target, the clearance rack at Kohls, if I’m lucky.
  • 4. HAVE CHILDREN. NURSE CHILDREN. HAVE A BODY THAT CHANGES EVERY TWO WEEKS BECAUSE OF SAID CHILDREN.
  • 5. Also HAVE CHILDREN THAT RUIN CLOTHES.
  • 6. HAVE A BODY THAT HAS INCREASING SENSORY AVOIDANCE PROBLEMS.
  • 7. Get rid of two garbage bags of clothes at least once a year, if not twice, due to them looking cruddy, stretching or shrinking, staining (see #5), or becoming randomly uncomfortable (see #6).
  • 8. Put all remaining clothes that don’t fit in big tubs in the basement and recycle them when body changes occur. See #4.
  • 9. Decide you just might live in yoga pants.
  • 10. Try not to cry when you look in the mirror.

So then, back to Stitch Fix. Because most of the stuff I see on Stitch Fix reviews, price aside, is stuff I would only wear MAYBE on Sundays (see #9), I was VERY WORRIED that my wonderful Stitch Fix stylist wouldn’t send me stuff I like and would actually wear while out and about. So I created another Pinterest board full of EIGHT years of pictures of myself, family pictures, bad bathroom mirror selfies, and the like. (Narcissist much?) I entitled this one My Style – What I actually wear then promptly retitled my other style board My Style – what I want it to be.

I actually highly recommend doing this. It was very interesting to me to see VISUALLY what my style IS and how it has evolved. It was also good for me to see pieces I’d gotten rid of and WHY I got rid of them. (For example, I realized that I HATE 3/4 length sleeves, as well as gathered/elastic sleeves, for sensory reasons. Hopefully this will keep me from buying stuff like this in the future that I will just end up getting rid of.)

So now I was armed for Stitch Fix and had it all scheduled, but that price point was just bothering me. A lot. As someone who spends between $2 and $20 for tops, $10-30 for skirts and jeans, and MAYBE $30-50 or a dress for a special occasion, like, say, MY HUSBAND COMING HOME FROM AFGHANISTAN, or a wedding, I just didn’t know how I would wrap my brain around spending $50-70 on a top that someone else picks out for me to wear. Especially knowing how much of my buyer’s remorse gets donated to Goodwill in garbage bags. 

So, I Googled “like Stitch Fix but cheaper.”

And this is when I found out about Le Tote.

le-tote

My fellow Triad Blogger, Madison Weatherill, explains things about Le Tote pretty well in her post, A Stitch Fix Alternative, but I’ll give you a quick scoop here:

It’s like Stitch Fix in that they send you a box of quality clothes (retailing between $50-100 per item) and accessories in the mail, that they pick out for you (but only sort of). You look at all of their items and you decide which ones you want to try, add them to your “closet,” and then they will randomly send them to you (and even then, you can see what’s in your “tote” before it’s sent and switch out things you don’t want in that shipment.)

It’s NOT like Stitch Fix in that YOU DON’T HAVE TO BUY THE CLOTHES. You can, if you really want to, but you can wear it, WITHOUT BUYING. You can also get more than one “tote” per month.

Short version: wear cute NEW-TO-YOU clothes, return them after wearing, repeat – all for a flat fee per month.

(When you sign up using a referral link like I did – HINT HINT HERE’S MINE – the first month is $25, subsequent months are $50.)

—–AND THEY DO YOUR LAUNDRY.—–

(All clothes are professionally laundered and jewelry sterilized upon return.)

Here’s what I like about Le Tote:

  • Time to “try on” clothes beyond the 2 seconds you take in the dressing room. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought clothes only to get them home and after wearing them a time or two realizing they didn’t fit right, were simply uncomfortable, or didn’t go with anything else I owned. Le Tote lets me try new stuff and actually WEAR it (with no tags) before deciding if I like them or hate them.
  • No buyers remorse. I can wear something (whether I love it or hate it) and then GET RID OF IT without having to feel guilty for sending yet another garbage bag to Goodwill and thinking about the money I wasted, again.
  • Getting to customize my closet. If I don’t want to try an item that they carry, I don’t add it to my closet. Simple.
  • Getting to try new styles and wear HIGH QUALITY clothes that I would otherwise never buy without breaking the bank (at least not for the first month).
  • Getting to wear clothes that fit in between now and when I can fit into the clothes in the tubs in my basement that don’t fit without actually buying stuff that will just end up in the tubs in my basement in a few months because they don’t fit. In other words: TEMPORARY WARDROBE UNTIL I GET SKINNY!!!
  • If you like an item, you CAN buy it. If you don’t want to buy it, you can hit this button that will request to have it sent back to you at a later date. So you could wear a piece you love, AGAIN, without buying it. 
  • $5 per month for insurance. Because CHILDREN.
  • They have a TON of clothes to choose from, and plenty of it casual!
  • The referral system – anyone who signs up under my link gets 1/2 of their first month and I get a $15 credit.

Here’s what I don’t like about Le Tote:

  • Ummmmmmm…..no wait…I’m sure I can think of something…
  • Well, that nagging feeling that spending money on clothes you aren’t going to keep is pretty darn wasteful. (But don’t I already kinda do that on a regular basis? Sure, not $50 a month worth, but still…)
  • You can only rate items you have received by style and fit, not stuff like how it feels or how sheer it is. But that’s not nearly as important with Le Tote as it is with Stitch Fix because you decide what’s in your closet.
  • The clothes are USED, but I would consider them to be “excellent used condition” – and a heck of a lot nicer than anything you would find at Goodwill.

Now for the part you’ve been waiting for…

I sent back my first “tote” this morning, and I was pretty thrilled by the experience. I was actually shocked that everything I received actually fit!

The top I was most excited about receiving (and was even super excited about when I initially tried it on) ended up being the one I liked the least!

(See, this is what you learn when you actually have a chance to WEAR clothes before deciding you want to buy them!)

How I wore it:

tote 1 blog

Where I wore it: Church

What I liked: the color, the comfort

What I didn’t like: the style (I didn’t feel like it was terribly flattering on my mid-section. Then again, what is?) and how sheer it was (whether I wore the cami tucked it or untucked it was still very visible and that drove me nuts!

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Top #2 was a sweater that was heavier than I imagined from the picture. But it actually worked out nicely because we had some COLD days and it was perfect!

How I wore it:

tote 1 blog b

Where I wore it: 1) Right, accompanied with jeans and a scarf – taking hubby to work, taking Ezra to OT – which made me feel really silly because I never dress that nice for either of those “occasions” 2) left, accompanied with yoga pants and dangly earrings, touring another elementary school in the district

What I liked: the color, the warmth, the comfort level

What I didn’t like: Again, I didn’t feel like it was terribly flattering on my mid-section. (I’m sensing a theme here…)

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Cardigan. This was the one I was LEAST impressed with when I first tried it on because I thought it was too big. But I ended up liking it the BEST!

How I wore it:

le tote 1 blog c

Where I wore it: Taking Ezra to OT, accompanied with yoga pants, graphic tee, and Skechers.

tote 1 blog d

Where I wore it: at home, hosting our pastors over for a meeting

What I liked: EVERYTHING! How it hid my midsection, how comfortable it was. How it was lightweight and not overpowering sensory-wise. Also, I felt like ME instead of some faker Pinterest-mom-style wannabe. RESEND PLEASE! 

What I didn’t like: The color – orange isn’t my favorite; and that weird gathered section in the back. It grew on me, but I wasn’t crazy about it.

_____

The earrings. I loved these and how they coordinated with two of the scarves I own. I wore them twice in the week. Had they been $5 I would have totally bought them. RESEND PLEASE!

tote 1 blog e

The last item (not pictured) was a necklace that didn’t feel nice on my neck, nor did coordinate with anything I wanted to wear that week. So I didn’t wear it other than to try it on.

On the 5-star scale I give my first Tote 3.5 out of 5 stars. I can’t wait to see what comes next! I still have 20 days left in this first tote cycle, so I hope to get at least 2 more totes in before I decide if I want to try for another month or not. For now, the jury is still out, because there is such a thing as beginner’s luck…

What do you think? Would YOU rent clothes? 

mom style pinterest

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2 Comments

  • Leeann

    I don’t think I’m likely to do this, but I did want to comment that I *totally* get the sensory issues with clothes! No funky sock seams, no 3/4 sleeves, no appliqués that rub on my skin inside, no scratchy itchy lace or other weird textures please!

    I did try StitchFix out of curiosity and it was not for me. I had two shipments, bought nothing and basically “lost” forty bucks. I just don’t have it in me to spend 80 bucks on a pair of pants or whatever.

    I’m still most likely to hit up Goodwill or other thrift stores, plus Walmart or good sales in department stores on occasion.

    • Aprille

      I didn’t used to be like this and it has gotten worse with age. It’s so annoying. I can’t wear blouses (or anything with that material), scratchy sweaters, lace – bra shopping is a nightmare. I bought a cardigan yesterday at Old Navy and already have to return it! Even trying on clothes while shopping gets my body so angry.

      Glad to hear your Stitch Fix experience – nice to know I’m not the only one! There’s still a part of me that wants to try it, but not anytime soon.

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