If you’re like me, you have likely seen Kate Hudson’s smiling face and super toned bod pop up a few times recently on your fb feed or sidebar ads. You may also be like “hey, cute workout threads, Kate. How trendy yet comfy-casual do you look?”
The $25 first outfit offer was too much for me to take.
So I finally gave in and decided to sign up for VIP membership to her athletic clothing line “club”, if you will, Fabletics. The premise is similar to Stitch Fix (which has also been tempting me for several months now and I just haven’t been able to pull the trigger because I rarely pay full price for anything and it’s probably almost surely out of my price range), or Nature Box, or any of those subscription type specialty shopping services that offer “custom” packages on a monthly or so basis.
While you can shop Fabletics without a membership, following are the perks that are included with VIP membership, straight from the website:
- Up to 40% off retail prices.
- Free exchanges and easy returns.
- Free shipping on all orders over $49.95.
- Earn rewards points (aka free outfits!) with every purchase, friend referral, or product review.
Here’s how it works, and my review after joining and receiving my first outfit (Note: this is not endorsed or sponsored by Fabletics, I am just sharing my opinion. If you sign up with my referral link, I will earn $10 in Fabletics credit – as is offered to all VIP members):
- If you sign up as a VIP, you are signing up for one “outfit credit” every month.
MostSome outfits include 2 pieces and cost $49.95 at VIP cost. However, you have the option to login to your account by the 5th of the month, skip that month’s outfit – and be charged nothing – for that month. You can do this as often as you’d like.
After you’ve skipped the month to avoid being charged, you can still shop later that month and purchase items if you change your mind.
- If you don’t either purchase an outfit or skip the month by the 5th, you are charged $49.95. This gives you 1 outfit credit on your account, which can be applied toward a purchase at any time. Fabletics will not automatically choose outfits that you must purchase, or send you monthly packages.
I love that there are really no obligations, fees, or penalties associated with membership. Yes, you are signing up for a monthly subscription. If you are responsible enough to remember that fact and login once a month, you could place one order under VIP membership for only $25, and never pay another dime if you don’t want to. You can skip any and all months, and cancel at any time. I’ve seen some reviews warning of a “scam! – you will be charged without permission!, etc.” Come on people. If you’re too dumb to read the 4 bullet points on how it works when you sign up, I have zero sympathy for you. Also, the money that you are charged if you are a bit forgetful goes 100% toward outfit credit.
- When you sign up, you go through a short lifestyle quiz to choose the types of athletic clothes you prefer, colors, body type, workout preferences, etc.
- At the beginning of each month, Fabletics suggests “looks just for you”, based on your preferences.
This is the part that I’m not fully sold on – you will get an email notifying you that your picks are ready for the month. When you login, there will be 3 outfits that are suggested for you. You can select something from your suggested looks, from “Kate’s Picks”, or from any of the other options available that month. OR, mix and match individual items and only purchase what you want. However, with the somewhat limited variation in styles offered, I’m not convinced that the “personal style picks” are really unique. It feels more like they may come out with 15 to 20 new outfits each month, and they suggest 3 for each person – but everything that they offer is essentially the same style. Just some slight variations from running shorts to yoga pants, or a slim fitting top vs. a slouchy shirt. Again, just my impression.
So it’s pretty straight-forward. Now, here is my experience so far – and some info that you may not get from the website:
USER FRIENDLINESS: I’ll give it 4 out of 5 stars. It’s quick and easy to get signed up as a VIP. You will get multiple emails around the first of the month to notify you that your new picks are available – thus reminding you that you need to login and skip the month if you don’t plan on purchasing and want to avoid being charged. I received 3 Fabletics emails between April 30 and May 2 (and several more throughout the month), they look something like this:
With just two clicks from the email, I was able to skip the month (and you don’t even get an annoying pop up asking “are you sure?” Or urging you to reconsider spending money.) The only reason I’m holding back the 5th star is that supposedly you can shop Fabletics without signing up for membership, by unchecking the VIP box at checkout. For the sake of a complete review, I tried shopping the site without logging in. Adding an outfit to the cart seems to require you to sign up for an account (“To order, simply take our quick lifestyle quiz”… Which then requires you to enter an email address and password once complete), or to login if you are already a member. So while they say you can uncheck the VIP option at checkout, I was not able to get so far as to test this without creating another account. Bottom line, if you want to shop, you likely are best off signing up for VIP. So far I have not encountered any difficulties, unfair/unexpected fees or downsides to doing so.
SELECTION: 4 out of 5 stars. Like I said before, there is not a huge range in overall style. Meaning, all of the clothes have a similar/coordinating look. However, almost all of the clothing is cute and trendy in my opinion. Anything that makes working out a little more enticing, no? The similar look can also be a plus, when you consider mixing and matching outfits, and coordinating color schemes. I actually kind of roped myself into needing more outfits with my first order. The tank I got goes well with the tights I ordered. But after I got it and the weather started to warm up, I realized that I don’t have any shorts that go with the black/green/orange tank. Yeah, believe it or not, I have zero gray or black shorts. Guess I’ll be back for another order. Fabletics, 2. Kelly, 0.
SIZING: 3 out of 5. When you sign up for VIP membership, they ask your size preferences for tops, bottoms, and sports bras. I am 5′-2″, and weigh 105. For the tank top, I ordered an XXS. It fits well, semi-fitted but comfortable and not too tight. For bottoms, it was a different story. When it comes to jeans and pants, I wear a 25, 00, 0, or sometimes a 2. Usually an XS in athletic shorts. So I had a hunch that something was off when the Fabletics size chart put me at an XXS all-around.
Since this was my first order though, and I’ve never worn a size 4, I decided to trust the size chart. I shouldn’t have – my hunch was correct. I got my XXS Lima Capris in the mail and about fell over when I saw how tiny they were. I’m kicking myself now for not thinking to take a photo. I wasn’t even going to try them on, but to humor Jesse – who insisted that they would fit – I squirmed into them. They made it over my butt, but BARELY. Pretty sure they were made for a child. So, needless to say, I completed my first exchange with Fabletics. Which brings us to:
SHIPPING & RETURNS/EXCHANGES: 4 out of 5. I’m being all first-world problems on this one. It was very easy to complete my exchange. All you have to do is login to your online account, select the item you want to return, and choose whether you want a different size/color, reship the same item (I assume if there is something wrong with the one you received), or return for Fabletics credit. I chose to go up one size to the XS, and ended up having to get a different color because they were out in the size/color that I ordered originally. The color selection is pretty good though, so I chose a lighter gray. They ask the reason for return, and the item’s condition. You then print out a return packing slip, affix it to your package and drop it in the mail. All of this and the exchange shipping are free – so you have nothing to lose! The ONLY reason I am rating 4 instead of 5 is because I’ve been spoiled by Amazon Prime. I’m used to getting something the DAY AFTER I decide I want it and order it online. So the 7-10 business day shipment time from the order confirmation email date tested my patience. My exchange capris shipped from Ohio on a Monday, and they were delivered to my home in Wyoming on Saturday. Watching that shipment tracking crawl is painful. So like I said. First. World. Problems.
DESIGN AND QUALITY: 5 out of 5! All I’ve purchased so far is a tank and capri leggings. They are both flattering, and they fit well (once you figure out the correct size!). The tank top is light, non-constricting, and has a mesh back which should be great on hot days. The capris are soft and comfortable. They are thicker than I expected, which makes me think that they will last well and be durable. I ran 7 miles in these in about 45 degree weather and a nasty wind chill, and they kept me nice and comfy. They also boast a smooth, chafe-resistant design, moisture wicking technology, AND a hidden pocket. I saw this on the tag, and it’s true – it took me a couple of minutes to find the pocket. It’s small, but would carry a house key or I.D. Overall, I give the design and quality two thumbs up. That’s right – 5 stars and 2 thumbs, because why not.
PRICE: 3 out of 5. The first outfit is a 5 out of 5, no-brainer. I got my Berlin tank and Lima Capris for $24.97(a $90 tag value, and over 50% off VIP price). Beyond that, because the monthly charge for an outfit credit is $49.95, I kind of assumed that most of the outfits would include 2 pieces and cost $49.95. This is not really the case. Of the first 30 outfits that showed up for May’s newest, only 4 were offered for $49.95 at VIP cost. The rest are 2 or 3 pieces running $59.95 or $69.95. These prices are listed at about 40% off of the “Regular” Fabletics list price. They are still a good deal (I did some cross-shopping, below), but $60 or $70 per month on athletic clothes is more than I am willing to shell out. This is why I will likely skip most months of purchasing, enjoy not being charged anything, and treat myself to a new outfit a few times a year. To be sure I’m not just setting unrealistic expectations for price, I cross shopped a Fabletics outfit with something similar from Nike. Obviously you could go much more affordable by shopping off-brands at Target (and who doesn’t love Target?), but I would put the quality of Fabletics clothing up there with a major name brand. Also, the majority of my running wardrobe consists of Nike, so I think it’s a fair comparison.
I chose one of the outfits from “My Picks” that came out in May, the “Marathon”. Probably my immediate favorite after a quick browse of the newest options. It is offered to VIP members for $59.95, and includes 3 pieces:
Aventura Tank: $15.95 (Regular: $29.95). Much cheaper than a basic cotton blend tank, the Nike Gym Vintage Dip Dye tank, at $40. I’m also comparing it to a cheaper option from Nike in Dri-FIT (which I prefer to cotton), because I own several of these and wear them pretty much for every run: Nike Women’s Flow Thru tank, at $19.99. Not a huge savings here, and I would probably choose Dri-FIT over cotton for $4 more.
Suva Run Short II: $24.95 (Regular: $39.95). Compared to Nike 2″ Rival Printed shorts, marked down from $60 to $39.97. Both are a polyester blend, with a brief liner in mesh or polyester. The Suva short has an internal coin pocket, while the Nike short offers interior waist pockets (plural), AND a back zip pocket, so it might get the edge. However, at VIP cost, the Suva shorts still seem to be a bargain.
Sevan Sports Bra: $15.95 (Regular: $24.95). Compared to the Nike Pro Indy Freeze Frame sports bra, $39.97 on sale from $50. Both are cute with slim straps, and offer “light support”. The Sevan is 98% nylon, while the Pro Indy is Dri-FIT polyester. I can’t say how these compare. At $15.95, I like the trendy and unique design of the Sevan – and the price.
Total cost for the Nike outfit (Flow-Thru tank from Dick’s, Rival shorts and Pro Indy sports bra from Nike): $99.93. Both of these purchases happen to qualify for free shipping from these websites, and are taking advantage of sale prices.
Total cost for the Fabletics outfit with VIP membership: $59.95 – IF you purchase the outfit as an outfit. Not sure what I mean? Here’s a little hack I figured out by going through this cost comparison:
Rather than selecting the Marathon outfit, verifying sizes/colors, and clicking “Add Outfit to Cart”, try clicking on each individual item and adding them separately to the cart. Turns out, the individual pieces in the Marathon outfit total to $56.85 – a savings of over $3! Compared to the Nike outfit, that’s a 44% savings.
I tried this with one other Fabletics outfit – Ten Thousand Islands. This one ended up being quite a bit more expensive as individual items ($74.90 for the two vs. $59.95 for the outfit!) So it probably averages out overall, but it’s worth a minute or two to find out if you can save a few bucks!
Overall, I am on board. I plan to keep my VIP membership with Fabletics. Mostly to browse, and to treat myself to a new outfit once in awhile. If you want to try out Fabletics, get your first outfit for $25 and help me earn some credit, please use this link to get started!
Hope you found my review helpful. Anyone else have a good (or bad) experience with Fabletics? Any points I’m forgetting? Let me know!