Over the past year, I have been contemplating joining a “personalized clothing delivery service”. My friends have done clubs in the past and some have been happy with the products and continued their memberships. I myself really want to see if this could work for me and I know I am not alone. Most of my friends are more well off than myself and they are more fit and trim. As a "more well rounded man," of a bigger stature and as someone who doesn't like spending $100+ on a pair of jeans, I wondered how these services would fare for me. Which service is the best fit for this gay male of 41 yrs of age and about 250 lbs?
This past June, I dove into the process of finding what service would work for me. I contacted about 11 different companies and four were eager to work with me. One said they were too busy, but I went ahead and reviewed them anyway. The five I ended up comparing were Bombfell, Five Four Club, FlyGuy Threads, Frank & Oak, and Men’s Style Lab.
What I looked at were: 1) Why did I pick this Company, 2) How was the Onboarding Process, 3) What's in the Box, 4) How was the Return process if there was one, and 5) What was the overall Cost and would they get my Repeat Business.
As you can see by the length of the blog, I loved this little experiment and wrote a good amount about each service. These are all my opinions, thoughts, and experiences.
FOR DISCOUNTS check out my review of Bombfell and Five Four where you can sometimes save up to 1/2 of the cost of one service and a discount on another ($25.00 to $30.00).
I as well did a SUMMARY at the end of all the reviews if you want to skip to that.
Here are my findings! I hope this helps.
Why This Company
Um, hello? Because of the cool name! Kidding aside, their website (https://www.bombfell.com/) looked cool and very interactive. It was also the ease of joining, no shipping costs, and they were clothes that seemed to be my style and in comfort zone. They were also a little bit higher quality and price so I was getting the clothes I liked as well as a little style boost at the same time.
There are three sections that deserve a customer’s attention; Settings, Measurements, and Style. Settings allows you to tell Bombfell how often you would like a shipment ( every month, every 2 months, every 3 months), how many items you want in your shipment (1 to 5 items), and what is your desired price range for each category. The Measurements page is pretty straightforward. The Style category allows you to elaborate on of course style, preferred fit, skin tone, color likes and dislikes, body shape, trouble areas, and what brands you may wear for shirts and pants. It’s well laid out. There are two more sections that your stylist may find helpful. The fourth allows you to post a pic(s) of yourself to give them an idea to go on and the fifth section gives you a chance to tell Bombfell what you do not wish to see in your shipment (colors, fit, styles, etc.).
What’s in the Box?
You know what you are getting before it arrives. Your stylist will send you a preview email with actual pictures of the clothes 48 hours before your box is shipped. This email allows you to say yay or nay to items and change color and / or size. It took the excitement out of opening the
present box upon arrival, but it as well limited some of the selections that you know would not work for you.
The automated email system is pretty good at sending out correspondences; the 48-hour preview email, the successfully delivered email, and the reminder to ship the box back within 10 days. I loved the 10-day time frame since I do travel a good amount and may miss when a box arrives by 3 to 5 days. Other services that have the try on window of 5 days makes it a little tight and shipping has had to happen during the week while at work. Returning was made easy by the fact that the Bombfell box was able to be shipped by USPS so I could do this one from home.
Before sending the box back, customers need to complete an online survey about all the items delivered. Bombfell wants to know which items you are returning and why. Results assist in styling your next shipment. Upon completion of the survey, you are given a confirmation number to write on the return form that needs to be included in the shipment. What a great way to guarantee customer feedback and better future interaction. Bravo.
Cost and Repeat Business
The clothes I have received have been in the average of $60 to $99 an item, a little more than I usually spend on articles of clothing. I need to pay more attention to the 48-hour preview emails they send me so I can tweak my shipment before it occurs. It’s a great tool and I could have eliminated a couple of pieces that I knew were just not for me.
Would I give them my business again? I still am. I am on my third box so far and love the ease of the process. Yes, it is a little more involved with filling out the surveys, but it leads to better fit and styling. Bombfell gives me the tools to assist my stylist on getting it right. This last box was pretty spot on. So if you are looking to work with a company that is looking to work with you to get it right, this one is for you.
The clothes they ship do not seem to be at a discount so this is more for people that know their style and just do not wish to go to the brick and mortar stores. It’s a convenience service with some good styling thrown in.
So if you want to try out Bombfell and get $25 off your first purchase, sign up by using this code / link (https://www.bombfell.com/?rc=134320QuFGk) and we will both get a discount.
Why This Company
I think I chose this since my first impression was that it was going to be easy. Get a bag of clothes at a good cost and be happy with them. (https://www.fivefourclub.com/)
Survey questions were the normal ones inquiring about pant, shirt, and shoe size as well as type of style you were looking for. There are no spots to elaborate on certain fits like some of the other websites. Maybe simpler is easier but may not be as accurate.
What’s in the Box?
The clothes I expected to receive would be ones that would not stretch my sense of style, but instead fit in it nicely. The Five Four label is on every item since they, like Frank & Oak, work with designers to create seasonal and / or monthly collections just for them. They as well sponsor a designer on occasion giving Five Four a chance to splash a little more style our way.
The box / bag of clothes is yours to keep. In one of the shipments, there was one shirt I really liked, but just wasn’t the right fit. Five Four does exchange clothes if the fit is wrong. I went through the process of exchanging for the correct fit, but it did seem to take a little while for my corrected item to get back to me. Then again, it is free shipping so I expected it would take a little longer.
Cost and Repeat Business
So you spend the $60.00 each month and that's it, but you are guaranteed packages valued at $120.00 and up. There may be 2 or three or more items in the package to get to that 120+ value. Would I do it again? Like Bombfell, I still am doing Five Four and they are doing me. I’ve liked everything they have sent so far and I look forward to each monthly package.
As of now, I’m up to three deliveries received from Five Four. The first two I had a ½ off coupon so I received $240+ of clothing for $60 over two shipments. I thought that was a no brainer. FiveFour fluctuates their promotional programs. I've seen it at save $15 and give $15 when you join using someone's code.
If you want to give it a try, sign up by using this code / link (https://www.fivefourclub.com/getstarted?referrer=RE734759). Right now it's the $15 deal, but it has been $25 and $30 in the past. It's how I got my start and I'm loving it.
Why This Company
I picked think this company because I thought it was going to fit like a glove the best. They were designed to meet my current fashion and make the shopping process hassle free. I wasn't expecting this company to open my eyes to new fashion, but just better clothes that matched my current style. Their "About Us" statement on their webpage (http://www.flyguythreads.com/) was very well put and earned my business.
Survey questions were brief and simple. Multiple choice questions ranged from what’s your style, neck size (nothing above 17.5 so I’m out), waist size, preferred pant cut, type of underwear, graphic or not tops, stripes, plaids, etc., and shoe size. FlyGuy Threads also asked what were three of my stores to shop at.
What’s in the Box?
I knew it would be two or three items and then a bonus item. Would I receive clothes from stores that I am use to? Would there be some funky designs I had never seen before? Reading their FAQ page, the answer was yes to both questions. I was going to have to wait and see.
What arrived was clothing that I would pick out for myself. There was a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, a button down dress shirt, and a bonus item of a pair of boxer briefs. I liked everything that was sent to me. Everything fit well. I was satisfied.
There was no return of these items since FlyGuy Threads did it right the first time and they don’t take clothes back since you bought them already. FlyGuy Threads does allow for an exchange due to sizing issues like FiveFour. Do the best you can to get your measurements right the first time.
Cost and Repeat Business
When you sign up, you can do a one month subscription or a three month subscription. Boxes are $60.00 a piece with a $7.00 shipping charge and that is all you will ever pay. How much do you get for the 67 bucks? Fly Guy Threads states that customers should receive a box worth at least $110.00 but most likely the value would be more. My shipment included $166.40.
I would do another FlyGuy Threads purchase. There wasn’t anything style stretching in this package, but there may be in the future. If you were looking for a service that saves you from going to stores to buy the clothes you are comfortable wearing, labels you know and trust, this would be a good choice. I received 4 items for $67.00 and saved $100.00 off store prices. When it comes time slowly but surely purge my closets of old clothes and replace them with new quality garments, I think FlyGuy Threads will be a great option.
They are one of the few programs that charge for shipping, but hey, I still saved $100.00.
Frank & Oak
Why This Company
I think the draw for this company was that it is out of Montreal, it came recommended, and it was all over the internet. Why not give it a try. Being out of Montreal, my hopes were high for a little bit of flair and style that I would not find in the other American boxes left at my doorstep.
Frank & Oak is a design house / clothing store. When visiting their website (https://www.frankandoak.com/shop) , you can shop in the Frank & Oak store or join the monthly clothing club called Hunt Club.
Signing back onto the site, I realized I had forgotten my password. No problem! The site allows you to log on via your Facebook account. I was a little hesitant when the first question was my age range. Maybe they don’t want this old man at 41 wearing something too hip, but I answered honestly (41+ was the highest age group) and proceeded to the next set of questions. Unfortunately the survey brought back some of my Montreal shopping experiences since the waist size only went to 38 where I am currently a 38-40 kind of guy. Should I go back and change the XL shirt size to XXL? Blazer size only goes to 46 R with no place for explaining that this may be a little tight and I would need bigger. I range from a 46 to 50.
The Frank & Oak survey did contain questions about my personal style, where I spend my days and nights, what colors I wear, and where I usually shop. Frank & Oak is one of the few companies I reviewed (at that time) that had an app to make things a little easier and at your fingertips.
What’s in the Box?
When it comes to what is in the box, there’s a “Y” in the road and maybe I chose wrong route this time. Customers can either select a number of items (currently 3) from Frank & Oak’s monthly collection or have a stylist review your form and send you items ( I received 5 items). I received some pretty neutral items in my box. One was a pair of shorts that looked nice, felt nice, but did not fit due to them not carrying a big enough size. The items included were pretty dark and bland in color, not that exciting color wise for a collection that was supposedly their June Collection.
Another reason Frank & Oak caught my attention was that the only label they have is their own, like FiveFour. 12 monthly collections are made each year and that’s it! There are limited pieces sewn so if you like it, get it when you see it and no one else may have it. That’s enticing!
Shipping back and forth was free. It arrived either regular mail or FedEx, but could be done by USPS from your home. I chose to do it from work on my lunch break, which was great since the window to try on the clothes, make the selection, and get the crate back in the mail was a quick 5 days.
Cost and Repeat Business
Frank & Oak’s Hunt Club membership costs $20.00 a year, there is a 90-day free trial, and the website mentions there are ways to earn a free membership for next year. When the box is shipped, Frank & Oak will place a pending charge on your credit card for the entire value of the crate's contents, which in my case was $222.00. Once you return the crate / box , items sent back will be taken off the pending charge and the transaction will be finalized. Also, 4% of the purchase value will be given back to you as store credit.
I decided to return everything and cancel my free membership. I could have tried for the next month’s collection, but since I was having a hard time with the fit and their limited sizing, I decided to not continue. The clothes were of great quality and I liked the white shirt and the Jasper Oxford felt so nice, but was too small. I didn’t take the next step and ask for the next box to have the Jasper Oxford in XXL. I was also looking forward to stopping by their home spot on my next visit to Montreal, but with my limited success, I may just go to Campus instead. But that Jasper Oxford was so nice.
You can as well opt out of a month’s box delivery so you are not receiving 12 boxes a year. I’d like to give Frank & Oak another chance, but as a bigger guy, I would be limited to shirts, underwear, accessories, shoes, and apothecary, since pants, shorts, and blazers would be out of their size range. I think I would also like more vibrant colors. The palette is a little smoky and muted.
Men’s Style Lab.
Why This Company
Why Men’s Style Lab? When I visited their website, that question was actually the first thing I saw (https://mensstylelab.com/). Why would someone venture into an experience where you get clothes in the mail?
My main reason I chose Men’s Style Lab was maybe just because of one word, STYLE. I’m a simple guy from Maine that moved to Florida 2 years ago and I think I need to up my game a little bit. I am not sure I would get the assistance to do this from my friends for I don’t have haute couture shopping buddies. I wasn’t looking for a complete makeover that would max out my credit cards, but instead an experience that would add a little flair to my basic wardrobe.
Looking at the Men’s Style Lab application, I appreciated the considerate and smart questions that were asked. I expected questions on waist size, shoe size, collar size, but they as well asked what body type I was as well as skin tone, hair color, eye color. Other questions were how did I like to wear my clothes, i.e. slim, classic, relaxed, and what specific items I may be looking forward to receiving, what items I don’t want to see in a box, and what colors or patterns I like, leaving room for me to elaborate on what I may want to stay away from.
When I joined back in June, I had the option of talking with my stylist via phone for an initial check in or filling out the application. Scheduling the interview for during my commute home, I couldn’t wait to get in the car. My stylist was fun, energetic, bubbly, interested, and very professional. It was like chatting with a friend that actually cared about your answers, your style, and your experience. My stylist was excited to hear my responses and when she asked what special item I may be looking for and I answered gun metal grey dress shoes. Her excitement over my selection was fun and energetic. I received an email the next day letting me know of the next steps and informing me that my first “style upgrade” would be shipped within two weeks.
In talking with Brock Conrad, Digital Marketing Director of Men’s Style Lab, there are some small changes occurring within the next month. There will not be the option to have an onboarding chat with your stylist, but phone calls can still be made later on in the process. Through research and polling its clients, Men’s Style Lab found that most were very satisfied with filling out the form. I was in the smaller percentile of those surveyed that desired the personal onboarding experience. As far as I am concerned, they’re doing the right thing by altering aspects based on consumer feedback and the application is very very thorough.
There are still many chances to interact with your stylist. Included in the first box was a lovely card with a wonderful message, but on it was a hand written note about the shoes, stating that she hoped they would work for me and that she included an extra pair of alternate colored laces (which I did end up using). Another hand written note stated one of the shirts may run tight, but she wanted to include it anyway, just to see about the styling. I also received emails from the company when the box was shipped and when it was time to consider sending back the items I didn’t desire to keep. I liked the reminders since each company works on a different schedule.
What’s in the box?
I didn’t know what I was going to receive in the first box except maybe those gun metal shoes I had been desiring for a long time, but could not find on my own. Knowing I had a fashion / art / music event coming up at the W Hotel, I had mentioned I would like to have a dress coat / blazer included in the shipment and had given her my chest dimension of 48. She had said she had just shipped the box and there was a blazer in there. She used the smaller 46 size I had provided on the initial forms and when the jacket arrived, it didn’t fit. The stylist can only work with the information we give them. Later, after a visit to a “suit store,” I found out my measurement ranged from a 46 to a 50, depending on the cut and brand of the coat. That was a let down, but the gun metal grey dress shoes with alternative light blue laces were exactly what I was looking for.
"Some of our brands include: Ben Sherman, Fossil, Original Penguin, 7 Diamonds, JACHS, Scotch & Soda, and Florsheim. They have a long-standing reputation for quality and style – we couldn’t be more excited to partner with them. We’ve also brought on up-and-comers like Grayers, Stock Manufacturing, ASPECD, Choke Shirt Co, and Sock 101. That way, you’ll have access to some of the best new styles before anyone else. We’re adding brands every week and continue to select the best in the business. This means you are guaranteed variety, and originality, in every order." – Men's Style Lab
Once the box arrived, I had 5 days to get it back in the mail. The 5- day try on period gave me enough time to really like the definite keepers and think about the maybes a little more. When it came time to return the box, I knew it would be a simple drop off at the UPS Store and shipping would be free. But what do I keep? At the time of my purchase, Men’s Style Lab was running a promotion that if I bought more than $300, they would take 20% off and that is what I did. I ended up keeping the shoes, two dress shirts, and a pair of awesome jeans. The jeans and the shoes were worth the experience.
Cost and Repeat Business
Would I do Men’s Style Lab again? I would. What was amazing was the personal touch they provided. They also gave me what I was looking form, some help in my style and it was much appreciated. What I was a little excited and timid about was receiving the first box and knowing that it was going to have just about 3 full outfits in it. The final monetary tally for the box was at $948.00 for 14 items. I had almost $1,000.00 worth of clothing in front of me. In talking with Brock Konrad, Digital Marketing Director of Men’s Style Lab, I was not alone in that feeling. Remember they’re changing their procedures based on consumer feedback? Boxes will now have 5 items in them and have a smaller total value.
Another aspect that may have been there before I signed up but didn’t notice, is that if you do not keep any items, a $25 styling fee will be charged when you return all the items. So even though shipping is free both ways and membership is free, you could look at it as a $25 minimum per shipment. If you do purchase something, that $25 would be covered by the cost of your item. Still not a bad deal.
So have I reordered? I have not and this is why. I was a little daunted by the $1k box on my bed and the items were a little higher than what I usually spend on clothes. But knowing that the total box is a little less and the fact that I am still looking for some assistance in the STYLE department, I should return to Men’s Style Lab.
Another aspect that I like about Men’s Style Lab is that I can order a box any time I wish. I could lay off the service for a month, 2 months, or ten months, and when I do return, I will be able to get the same stylist I had before. One more thing Brock Konrad mentioned was that Men’s Style Lab will be looking at some more changes based on consumer feedback. One such change may be the ability to become a member of the service and select the option of having a box every other month, or even quarterly.
Keep up the good work Men’s Style Lab and keep upping our STYLE.
Bombfell supplies you with a stylist. Use them! Free shipping. Keep and pay for what you like and send back the rest. Free until you actually buy. Use this service if you want a little more than the norm. Clothes are not at a discount. I'm still using this service. So if you want to try out Bombfell and get $25 off your first purchase, sign up by using this discount code / link (https://www.bombfell.com/?rc=134320QuFGk) and we will both get a discount.
Five Four is simple to use, clothes that fit your style. $60 a month and that is it! You keep everything they send, usually 2 or 3 or more items. Clothes are of their own label. Good service that provides you good clothes for what works out to be 20 or 30 bucks per item? I'm still using this service. If you want to give it a try, sign up by using this discount code / link (https://www.fivefourclub.com/getstarted?referrer=RE734759).
FlyGuy Threads is someone doing shopping for you, for the same clothes you buy, just less hassle and money. You know the quality, since you own the same labels, but now you're getting to what works out to be a pretty good discount, $60 a month plus $7 shipping and you keep everything they send that has around a $120 value. I may use this service again in the future, I just chose to use Five Four over them since I had a coupon.
Frank & Oak has their own store as well as their Hunt Club that will send you clothes monthly. Clothes are their own label, but there are size parameters that this bigger guy didn't fit in. $20 membership fee for the year and free shipping. They charge your card for everything they send, but will remove items once you send back what you don't want to keep. Clothes are not at a discount. My physical sizes didn't jive with what they offered. I did not renew.
Men's Style Lab is STYLE. If I wanted to expand my horizons and have a stylist right there with me, this is the service I would select. You can stay plain Jane as well and keep going with what you have in your closet, but if you're looking for an interactive, fun experience, go with this one. Clothes are not at a discount, but there are some great labels. I want to use them again, and may on occasion, but not monthly. You can use the service monthly or just order when you feel like it and you will have the same stylist every time.
As always, read the fine print when it comes to obligations, inseams, return times, etc.