Memes about mom fashion are my absolute favorite because they are 99% true, provide a good laugh during trying times as I’m parenting my wild child, and most of all, it makes me realize I’m not the only one. Some of my favorite memes show “before and after baby” looks (think well-polished, trendy woman vs. messy bun in camping gear), speaks to a mom’s love for athleisure, and highlights how some moms haven’t updated their wardrobes since their pre-baby era. I like to believe I’m a mixture of all the above; plus, I still struggle with styling my post-baby body…almost 6 years after giving birth.
I’ve never considered myself as stylish, but I have a passion for shopping and clothes. During the first year after giving birth, I was really patient and kind to myself and my body. I thought constantly about how I would eventually “snap back” to my pre-baby body and fit into my old clothes but never felt a sense of urgency. As I approached my daughter’s first birthday, however, I grew increasingly frustrated with how I looked in my pre-baby clothes and how I barely had time to shop for my new body. To make matters worse, I enrolled in a graduate program which brought my free time down to zero. So, I did what most of my mom friends did: I started exclusively shopping online for clothes. I spent most of my time browsing through Old Navy, H&M and Target websites to keep the cost low while testing out trends and figuring out how to dress my ever-changing body.
As school started to ramp up and motherhood became more challenging with my daughter entering toddlerhood, I started to look for ways to treat myself. I stumbled upon a clothing subscription box, Stitch Fix, that advertises curated boxes of clothing by personal stylists who get to know your style through a short quiz. I immediately signed up as it seemed to be the solution to my pre-baby wardrobe. Initially, I signed up for monthly boxes but eventually moved to quarterly boxes as I was a graduate student and mom –sticking to budgets was important! Stitch Fix only requires a small styling fee and if I liked any of the pieces, the styling fee would go towards the purchase of the piece. There was always a small survey for each of the pieces in the box to help my personal stylist adapt to my style. At first, I was really satisfied with my stylists, but as time passed, it seemed as though they understood my style less with each box. I completed my surveys thoroughly and thoughtfully as I hoped for better pieces in my next box. My last box produced pieces that felt like it was styled for another person. Once my daughter started a daycare program, I found more time to shop for myself, so I decided to end my love affair with Stitch Fix.
Fast forward several years later, a few of my friends joined the mom club and experienced the same clothing struggle. I recommended Stitch Fix, Wantable and the Daily Look to help them get out of their clothing funk. Several friends were quite satisfied with Wantable compared to the others, so I was tempted to try it. Also, one of the benefits of my job is that I get to work with younger and much more stylish women who recommended the novel concept of renting clothes from Rent The Runway (RTR). Recently, I’ve done a lot of work on my inner self and felt it was time to work on my outer self and revamp my wardrobe. But do I go with a personal stylist again? Or should I try renting trends and styles? I decided to try out both, and here’s what I learned.
My coworker enticed me to start my search for a better style with RTR by offering a 40% discount referral code. I chose the Most Loved plan (also the one recommended by my colleague), which included renting eight pieces of clothing a month. With the referral code applicable for the first month’s subscription, the total came out to be about the same as their new customer promo which applies for the first two months. I should have paid more attention but I was so excited to start the renting process that I overlooked it – don’t make my mistake! Also, the plan allows me to choose eight pieces of clothing per month; however, it is delivered in two shipments and the second shipment will not be sent out until the first shipment is returned. TLDR: you can only have four pieces of clothing at a time.
Before I started browsing, there was a brief survey (much shorter than the Stitch Fix and Wantable surveys, as I will get into later) asking for body dimensions and clothing preferences. Eight pieces a month sounded like a tease and I thought, “how can I limit myself?” Once I started browsing though, I was thankful that I didn’t give into the temptation of the 16 piece plan. I was quickly overwhelmed with the amount of clothing and different categories, including 4th of July Favorites, Wear to Work, and The Vacay Edit: Capri. For the pregnant audience, they also have maternity clothes. Many of the pieces have customer reviews and pictures that were helpful, but after the first 20 minutes of browsing, I longed for a personal category: this is what you want for your upcoming vacation. It took about three days of on and off browsing to settle on my four pieces: two cute crop tops, overalls and a summer dress. Also, I didn’t end up needing it, but I noticed that there would be an extra fee if I wanted a fifth piece in the first shipment. I struggled with finding pieces to rent in my size, which was very disappointing as there was a variety of popular brands I wanted to try but weren’t available when I wanted them. My first shipment arrived within three days and just in time for my trip. It felt like Christmas day when I opened the garment bag. I loved most of the pieces but I realized I had to find pieces from my own wardrobe to style the crop tops. I missed having a stylist to provide outfit ideas (remember I’m not stylish). Overall, as a busy mom, I found that the browsing process required too much of my time to justify continuing the subscription. I couldn’t find the time to find another 4 pieces to rent, so I plan to cancel at the end of my month.
RTR pro tips provided by my fashion-savvy coworker:
Soon after the arrival of my RTR shipment, I missed having a stylist so much that I decided to start a Wantable subscription.
The enrollment starts with selecting an edit (aka a look) amont Style, Active and Sleep & Body. I decided to go with Style as the other two reminded me too much of the athleisure look popular amongst moms, which I’ve already mastered. Unlike Stitch Fix, there wasn’t a dedicated edit for maternity clothes. Once I selected my edit, a series of questions populated, asking about my body dimensions/type, clothing preferences, and price range. The clothing preferences (think clothing moodboard, short/midi/long dress lengths, high/low rise jeans) always gave three options: love, like and dislike. I chose to like about 90% of the clothing combinations and styles, and immediately, I wondered how someone could nail my style when I liked everything! At the end of the quiz, there was a free text comment box that I could use so that the stylist could get to know me. I added: “I’m a mom who loves fashion but has no time to shop.” The concept is very similar to Stitch Fix, including a styling fee that is applied to any purchases. Wantable also gives the option to update the quiz at any time which helps to accommodate a mom’s ever-changing body.
Wantable gives you five days to try on the pieces once it arrives, and of course, it arrived during my vacation. Once I returned home, I ran straight to my package room for the box and it felt like the cherry on top of my relaxing vacation. The box opened with a personalized label that said “Styled for Jeanne,” along with a note from my stylist, Stephanie. Although I selected love for several colors in the quiz, Stephanie knew I gravitate to green clothes and she selected a green dress that perfectly matched the shade of green I was actually wearing when I opened the box. There were seven pieces altogether, and in those seven pieces, she managed to nail my style–from my love of green and camo print to jeans (both long and short). Stephanie also suggested ways to style my pieces. I was faced with the very difficult decision of picking the pieces I wanted to keep. Stephanie picked pieces all within the price range I selected in the quiz (the lowest range–each piece of clothing fell between $38-96) but the total did not fit my budget. Wantable offers a promotion of 20% off at checkout if I keep five pieces, in addition to applying the styling fee credit of $20 that I paid during sign up. The styling fee is applied to any purchase, regardless of the number of pieces. I chose to keep only one piece that made me feel beautiful and trendy, a crop top with an open back. Similar to Stitch Fix, there is a survey for each piece of clothing to help provide additional direction to my stylist for my next box. There is also a thing called The Stream on the Wantable website, which, similar to online shopping, lets me browse and pick pieces for my next box. This also helps my stylist learn my style–however, I only found mostly basic t-shirts, dresses and jeans. As a mom wanting to get back in touch with fashion, I would not want my box to be full of basics. Overall, I found the experience to be more fun than RTR and the stylist to be more in tune with my taste than Stitch Fix, and I could see why my friends recommended it over the other services.
Being a mom doesn’t mean you have to become a mom meme. As with most things about being a mom, you can get creative–with your options and your look. Parenting can be deliriously taxing and it is important to invest in anything that will make you feel pampered. As my Wantable box tells me, “You deserve to feel beautiful.”