I paid for Material Box styling service out of pocket.
Unsponsored Material World Subscription Review
I wish I could say otherwise, but Facebook ads really work on me. A few weeks ago, information about Material World‘s “Material Box” popped up in my newsfeed and before I knew it I was sucked into it. I completed the style quiz and paid for my first styling.
In general, I’m not a huge fan of subscription boxes. For every one thing you “discover,” you’re likely to end up with a handful of items you don’t really want.
It’s especially tricky with fashion-oriented subscriptions, because buying clothing online is hard enough without a middle man (or middle woman as it were) trying to decipher measurements and personal taste in order to “style” your box.
But what drew me in with Material World was the fact that, 1. all items are secondhand and, 2. all items come from designer and high-end brands. Since this is a blog about sustainable fashion, my interest in the first point is obvious.
But I also liked the idea of there being a minimum quality standard in terms of textiles and sewing quality. That means I wouldn’t end up with too many weirdly slouchy, polyester, itchy, overly trend-driven goods, as I expect people receive in other fashion-based subscription boxes.
How It Works
1. First, you create a style profile based around your measurements, preferred silhouettes, and favorite designers.
2. You pay a $29 styling fee and a stylist is assigned to create your box.
3. Styling is supposed to take a few days. Mine took almost a week and a half. Your stylist will pick out 10 pieces for you to preview. You may select five to be sent to your home address.
4. After a few days, your items will arrive and you have 4 days to ship what you don’t want back.
5. If you choose to purchase all five items, you’ll be given a 20% discount off the total. The $29 styling fee is reimbursed if you purchase at least one item. Otherwise, you’re out that amount.
6. You can consign with Material World by sending designer items back in your Material Box return. Additional consigning information is on the website.
What I Received In My Material Box
Sea NY Sweatshirt // $78.00
Derek Lam 10 Crosby Dress // $85.00
Joie Blouse // $60.00
Alice + Olivia Pants // $65.00
See by Chloe Dress // $48
I’m also wearing an Everlane Pima Tee and Flats in these photos
Far and away my favorite item is the Joie blouse. It’s flattering and made of wonderfully soft silk. I also like the Derek Lam dress in terms of shape and pattern, but I don’t find it that flattering.
The pants are about two sizes too big, which is sort of inexplicable to me because I’m pretty sure I didn’t say I wore that size in my profile.
And the sweatshirt is actually really cool, but I don’t like to wear white. The See by Chloe dress looks like pajamas, but the fabric is nice.
All in all, I had a fun time trying things on. The Derek Lam dress smelled like fancy perfume, likely from the previous owner, and somehow I found this to be one of the most pleasant parts of the experience. It’s like I could see, touch, and smell how the other half lives.
I haven’t had much experience with designer goods outside the realm of ethical fashion, so I found this box to be a nice opportunity to experiment.
In the end, I decided not to make a purchase because I didn’t fall in love with anything.
But I’m not going to quit my subscription just yet. I’d like to see how things go the next time around.
If you have any questions, ask away in the comments.
Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.