Le Tote, round one (review)

(Disclosure: post contains affiliate links.)

Can you guys believe it’s November already?! Because I sure can’t! I feel like fall just started and we’re already segueing into winter.

This month I decided to try out something new and fun: a month of clothing rentals from Le Tote. For the unfamiliar, Le Tote is a monthly fashion subscription box that lets you borrow or buy new styles, without the full retail price. The company was started as an answer to busy working women who bought lots of new clothes every month for events, but only wore them once or twice. Subscribers can “rent” hundreds of dollars worth of clothes and accessories each month for a low fee, giving them a revolving closet without the hefty price tag.

Le Tote

How it works

As with basically every monthly subscription box out there, you fill out a style profile and select a monthly plan. You can choose from classic or maternity plans; on the classic menu, you can opt to receive three clothing items + two accessories ($64/mo.), five clothing items + three accessories ($84/mo.), or four clothing items with no extras ($74/mo.). Billing renews every month but you have the option to pause your account at any time.

Wear the items in your tote as much as you like. Keep anything you like at a discounted price (often half of the retail tag price) and send the rest back; LT then pops another package in the mail. (If you were going through your totes quickly, you might expect to receive a few each month!) You can preview and customize all of your totes before they ship and shipping is free both ways. Finally, there’s no need to launder your items—they’re professionally cleaned in-house—and a monthly $5 insurance fee covers any minor damage, so there’s no need to worry about spilled drinks or other mishaps.

Okay, now that you know how it works: what did I think of my first Le Tote?

First things first: you need to measure yourself so you can correctly pick out your sizes online, as they vary widely by brand. I was a little unsure of some of my selections since I have a small waist with a larger bust and booty, but I do appreciate that the sizing guides are pretty straightforward for each piece, so you’re not just guessing at what might fit.

The clothes come from a mix of brands found at Shopbop, Lord & Taylor, and Anthropologie. You can expect to find pieces from Vince Camuto, Free People, Jessica Simpson, Calvin Klein, and other mid-to-high-end labels. I feel like only about a quarter of what I see is really “my” style; some of it is too trendy and some of it is too conservative. I honestly had trouble filling up my first tote, which makes me wonder how I’ll fare in the future. I also noticed that there seemed to be a seasonal lag on the site; it’s November and snowing here in the PNW, but LT was still recommending strappy maxi dresses and shorts for my tote. Uh, no thank you.

My tote only took a couple of days to arrive. Everything was nicely wrapped and packaged, with a customized card accompanying the items that showed what I got and how much it cost. I opted to try the $84/mo. plan so I had quite the collection of items to try on…so without further ado, let’s jump in to some pics!

Here’s everything I got + pics!

Le Tote review: Vince Camuto dress, Camilla earring, Noir clutch

The first dress in my tote was a Vince Camuto One Shoulder Dress (retail $128, LT price $77, tote sale price $55). It’s a figure-hugging black crepe design that unfortunately fit the model on the website much better than it did me. Le Tote recommended I rent this piece in a size 10 to fit my bust; I sized up to a 12, which turned out to be a little loose around the bust and waist, but was somehow still snug around the hips. I’m still debating on whether I’ll keep this one since I do really love the design and color and could easily tailor it to fit. I feel like it’s one of those classy dresses I could wear for years without it getting old. Also: it’s actually long enough on my 5-foot-eight frame!

Le Tote review: Camilla earring

I paired this dress with the Noir Luxe Crosshatch Clutch (retail $50, LT price $32) and the Camilla Royal Purple Drops (retail $30, LT price $11). The clutch was a disappointment since it wasn’t even big enough for my phone; however, I’ll definitely keep the earrings. They cost about the same as a similar pair from Forever 21 or another shop at the mall, but have much more weight and sparkle. (Even more bonus points for this dress: I adore pieces that show off my shoulder tattoo!)

Le Tote review: Summer & Sage blouse

The next piece in my tote was this Summer & Sage Cut Out Tank (retail $42, LT price $27, tote sale price $18). This isn’t a color I’d normally pick for myself, but I love the cutout detail, and the comfy stretchy fabric and perfect fit (I’m wearing LT’s recommended medium) sealed the deal. I styled this with skinny pants, booties, and a blazer, but I feel like it’s versatile enough to wear a variety of different ways over different seasons. I’ll definitely keep this one!

Le Tote review: Summer & Sage blouse

I do think it’s fair to note here that I’m not at all surprised I had the best luck with the one top that came in my tote. I admit that I have an odd body shape that makes it very difficult to find dresses that fit without tailoring, and pants are almost an impossibility. Cute tops have always been a “safe” bet. So, it isn’t Le Tote’s fault that the top was the best-fitting item out of the whole tote!

Le Tote review: Jessica Simpson dress

The third item in my tote was a Jessica Simpson Lace Fit & Flare Dress (retail price $108, LT price $66, tote sale $56). I added this to my tote because I’d been looking at similar black & cream lace dresses for a few years without finding one I loved, and I was debating wearing this for a fancy date night. I rented this in a size ten but honestly I could have gone with an eight or possibly even a six; it was too loose in the bust. This dress can be worn strapless or with the detachable spaghetti straps. I do think this dress is really cute, but I feel like it isn’t quite one of those dresses I’d wear over and over again. For some reason I feel “meh” about it. It’s a bit “younger” of a style and I’m looking for more classic silhouettes right now, if that makes sense.

Le Tote review: Jessica Simpson earring

I paired this dress with the Jessica Simpson Glass Geo Stud Earrings (retail price $20, LT price $12). They’re pretty, and a nice alternative to my usual danglers, but I’m still not sure if I should keep them.

Le Tote review: Catherine Catherine Malandrino lace dress

The fourth item in my tote was this boho Catherine Catherine Malandrino Mock Neck Lace Dress (retail price $148, LT price $68). This was really cute, if a little stiff, but it’s too short for me—a shame, since I really wanted to wear this with some fall boots and a floppy hat this week. However, if I lifted my arms above my head my bum peeked out, and I’ve got enough dresses like that already! (Cue my perplexed look in this pic!) Also, this was a size eight and supposedly fits a 38″ chest, but I felt like it was the perfect size for me, as opposed to the other Simpson and Camuto dresses, which were too big in the chest at 35″ and 37″, respectively. So, it just goes to show you that sizing is a bit arbitrary and you definitely have to take style and fabric into consideration when choosing a size!

Le Tote review: Catherine Catherine Malandrino fit & flare dress

The last item in the tote was another Catherine Catherine Malandrino design, this time a Fit and Flare Dress (retail price $86, LT price $68, tote sale price $34). Can you tell by my face that this was an underwhelming pick? Ha! This was made of a very thick, heavy, stretchy fabric that was very comfortable but also very figure-flattering, as opposed to thinner stretchy fabrics. This was a medium but  I could have gotten away with a small. I think I would have liked this dress better if it was a hair shorter (I know, the irony!). I also already own two very similar dresses, so there’s no need to add a third.

Final thoughts

The pros of my first tote:

  • Great quality of pieces
  • Let me try a fancy outfit for a fancy date night without spending a bunch of money
  • Pushed me to try some items that I might not have considered otherwise
  • Quick delivery

A few of the cons:

  • Not the biggest selection for my style preference
  • Sizing was very odd
  • Not a good value if you don’t dress up for events often or you already tend to have a “uniform”

My tote had a full retail value of $614 but could be purchased from Le Tote for $286. For the items I decided I liked—the Vince Camuto dress, Camilla earrings, and S&S top—the retail value came to $200, but my cost to keep those items from the tote would be only $84.

I’m getting ready to drop this tote off at the post office, which means I should have a new one to show you next week! In the meantime if you’d like to try Le Tote for yourself, you can use the code “GETTOTES” to get 40% off your first month! Or, if you’d like to try a single tote for FREE, use my referral code and test-drive Le Tote with no commitment for 14 days! If you decide you like it you can keep the standard plan (three clothing items + two accessories) or upgrade your plan; or, if you don’t like it, just cancel.

Question time! Which of these pieces were your favorites? Any tall girls out there with recommendations for where I can buy dresses that are actually long enough? Have you ever tried a clothing subscription box like Le Tote? What did you think? Do you have any favorite subscription boxes to recommend to me?

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