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After spending several years in social services, Nicole has finally followed her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer. In addition to her work for The Hudsucker, Nicole is also a staff writer for Womanista. An avid comic book fan, BBQ aficionado, professional makeup artist and first-time mom, Nicole can be found exploring Kansas City rich history when she's not blogging about suburban life at Suburban Flamingo.

Style in the Mail: A Look at Gwynnie Bee

GwynnieBee

Image Credit: Gwynnie Bee

You can either love or hate shopping. Even if you love shopping, it isn’t always a straightforward affair. Sure, you can try things on in-store, but until you really incorporate an article of clothing into your life and wear it around, it’s hard to tell how it will really work. And if it doesn’t? You have the hassle of having to try to return the item, and depending on the return policy of the store, that isn’t always possible.

When you are a plus size, that whole cycle can be exponentially more difficult. In addition to the general frustrations of shopping for clothing, having to try them on, and hope they work for you, larger lovely ladies have the added issue of actually finding things that are fashionable in sizes that fit. Sure, there are stores like Lane Bryant that cater specifically to plus size shoppers, but their items are often expensive and not everyone has a mall close by. Online shopping is always a possibility, but that just brings back the return struggle. For many plus size women, their best options are stores like Target or Walmart where the selections are severely limited and, frankly, not always cute.

It sucks.

So what if you could pay a service for access to a huge closet of curated plus size choices from a variety of brands and designers at a range of price points? And what if they send you a rotating selection of clothing that you choose to wear and return without having to fuss with the commitment of outright purchase, or the struggle of spending a fortune on a wardrobe? 

Gwynnie Bee is exactly that kind of service. You pay a fee depending on the number of garments you want to have sent to you at any one time, and then you shop their catalog of clothes ranging from size 10 to 32 and select your items to put in your virtual closet. Once you have filled your closet, they send your selections along with prepaid envelopes to send them back once you are done. By chance, if they send you something you love, you have the option to buy it at a reduced price and keep it forever. They also have a store where you can occasionally purchase other items at a deep discount.

Not having the frustration of shopping in store or the commitment of buying something that will not fit online? I can just get things sent to me and test-drive them before I decide to buy—heck, yes! I signed up for a free, one-month trial of their services just to see what would happen. Sign up was easy and standard (name, address, payment method for once my trial ran out, and what service level I wanted.) I selected the one item out at a time plan because my primary wardrobe need right now is the occasional injection of professional dresses for work, and that seemed like a good level for me. I then moved on to the part where I was able to select my size. This is what I thought was pretty awesome about the service: I could enter my precise measurements to be matched to sizes, or I could just enter what I felt I wore. Since I am multiple possible sizes due to current ongoing weight loss, I was able to search for items in all those ranges. After inputting my sizes, various options came up. This part was just like any other online shopping experience. I looked at the item, read the reviews, checked the sizing, and chose accordingly. For my trial closet, I filled it with fifteen items (all dresses) and then waited for them to send my first shipment.

Less than 24 hours after filling my closet, I was notified that my dress had shipped. Three days later, my box arrived at my door. It was a slim, simple box very much like a gift package. When I opened it, the dress was neatly and professionally packaged in tissue paper and included my return envelope.

Image Credit: Gwynnie Bee

Image Credit: Gwynnie Bee

I was initially a little apprehensive when I pulled the dress out and looked at it. It looked a little smaller than I would have thought. If I had seen this dress in-store, I would have just passed it by because I would have guessed that I couldn’t wear it, but I went ahead and tried it on. The dress fit beautifully. That was one big win for Gwynnie Bee! They found a dress for me that I would have passed over because they understand measurements. I wore the dress to work the next day, absolutely fell in love with it, and got a ton of compliments. I felt like a supermodel in that dress and was kind of stressing about having to send it back. To my delight when I logged into my account that evening, I was offered the ability to purchase the dress for 30% of its retail price—making the dress $47. This fit my budget easily. Sold! I simply clicked that I wanted to buy the dress, they charged my card on file, and the dress was mine. This also allowed my next dress to ship. That second dress, while still nice and well fitted, just wasn’t my taste. I wore it out to dinner and decided to send it back. As soon as I dropped the dress in the mail and marked that I had done so on my account, they readied my next package. I haven’t gotten that new package yet, but I should see it come Monday.

Two weeks into my free trial, I can already see that Gwynnie Bee is going to be a service that I am keeping. The selection is great. Shirts, skirts, pants, dresses, jackets, sweaters—they have it all! They have great brands (I’m particularly fond of Triste, London Times, and Nic+Zoe) and they are constantly adding new things. Shipping is super-fast, customer service is friendly, and being able to buy what you love is great. The only complaint I have with their store, and it’s really a very minor complaint: During my free month, I am unable to buy things from the special store because it is for paying accounts only. This bummed me out as I found a perfect dress for $18, but couldn’t purchase it. As soon as my free account expires, you can bet I’ll be pouncing.

Beyond that, the member’s only stories are the best part of the service. I am able to build a wardrobe a piece at a time with great items at a fraction of the cost. In addition, they donate good condition, but lightly worn clothing that we don’t see in the special shop to charity. I feel really good about that.

Bottom line: If you are looking for a clothing subscription service and fall in the 10 to 32 size range, check out Gwynnie Bee. You will be happy you did and look fabulous while doing it.

Have you tried Gwynnie Bee’s service? What did you think? Share with us in the comments below.

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Check out Gwynnie Bee for yourself and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google Plus.

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3 Comments on “Style in the Mail: A Look at Gwynnie Bee”

  1. roxellamay June 6, 2015 at 3:18 am #

    Gwynnie Bee sounds great! I’ll be trying it soon as I am sick of not finding good stuff in my size. Hope I’ll love it.

  2. Going Loopy (@goingloopy) June 23, 2015 at 10:51 am #

    They have issues.

    Many issues.

    I subscribed for about a year and a half; quit for a while; recently came back with a good resubscription offer, and have discovered that little has changed. Their turnaround time is crap. You return stuff, and it’s usually at least 2-3 days before they even SHIP anything. Their summer clothing selection is tiny, and if you’re on the higher or lower end of their size range, the selection is lacking. A lot of their stuff now is “house brands” — i.e., manufactured by Gwynnie Bee. It’s mostly polyester knockoffs. They used to have a lot more from higher-end brands (Kiyonna, Igigi, Rachel Pally, Anna Scholz) and a lot less filler. I would say 2/3 now is either their house brands (Spruce & Sage, Triste, Isabel + Alice, Flor, Flutter, Jete) or City Chic.

    I like the idea, I like that the company is female-run, but I don’t like their current crop of clothing much. I’ve thought the buyers sucked from the beginning, and I haven’t changed that opinion.

    I think if you’re an 18/20/22, it’s probably a better deal.

    I will probably cancel again after my trial subscription fee ends.

    • hellzbelle2013 April 23, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

      I definitely agree. The selection tapers off markedly at the ends of their size range and so much of what they offer is overpriced polyester in humdrum styles and ugly prints. Anything high-end or fashion forward takes forever to show up in your shipment (if it ever does) and in my two months of membership I have gotten the wrong order or items in the wrong sizes twice. i could just as easily invest the subscription fee into just buying better looking stuff elsewhere so I’ll be cancelling soon.

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