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Gwynnie Bee, part 1

Last week,after seeing my 100th ad for Gwynnie Bee, I decided to finally try it out. If you are not familiar with Gwynnie Bee, it is a plus size clothing rental/subscription service for women size 10-32. I had some big incentive to check it out. The first month is free. I went to the website to see what was involved. The process is actually very simple. You decide how many garments you would like to have at a time. I chose 3. That is the maximum allowed to still be eligible for the the free trial. Then you give your information and credit card number, and off you go.

Once I signed up, I began "building my closet". Gwynnie Bee offers the following categories: dresses, tops, pants and skirts. I decided to search for dresses first. You have the option to search within several different styles: Trendy, Casual, Work Professional, Classic and Day & Night Party. I was a little disappointed to find that there was more than a little overlap of dresses within each style.

The dress on the left appears in searches for "Classic" "Casual" and "Trendy". I tried to ignore the somewhat arbitrary labels and find items to fill my closet.

Gwynnie Bee recommends selecting 29 garments for your closet. I suspect that this is so they have more leeway when preparing your items for shipment. Not all of the items are available in all sizes at any given moment.

There are some helpful features that make it easier to guess what will fit. Some pictures have a button labelled "size up" or "size down". You can also look up the measurement for each size within a garment and make your selection that way. It took some effort, but I was able to come up with 14 items that I thought might be suitable and flattering. Below is a screenshot of my current closet.

Next, all that was left was to sit back and wait for my three items to show up. Within three days, I received this box from Gwynnie Bee:

The presentation inside was quite nice. The items were wrapped in purple tissue paper, and there was an envelope inside containing pertinant information (and quite a few advertisements).

The items which arrived first were the Karen Kane spotted crew neck sweater, a Modamix grommet stretch crepe dress in black, and a Taylor dresses zipper dress in black. While nicely packaged, the dresses did arrive somewhat wrinkled, but I expected some wrinkling from garments shipped in a box. As I pulled them out and hung them, I thought I detected an ever so slight odor of perfume, but I can't be sure. Each garment comes tagged with washing instructions. You don't have to clean items before you send them back, but Gwynnie Bee includes the instructions in case you want to clean garments in between wearings.

Above is the Karen Kane sweater. The fit was okay. I did wear it on Friday. It was a little scratchy, but I do like the bold print. At the end of the day, it is just a crew neck sweater, and I got bored with it pretty quickly. It is going back. Below is a picture of the Taylor zipper dress. I had high hopes for this one. It fit very well in the bust and hips, but the shoulders were too big, and the facing on the neckine was rolling. I decided to return it without wearing it.

Below is an image of the black crepe Modamix dress. This was my favorite of the three. It fit very well in the bust hips and shoulders. Unfortunately, the bust darts were in the wrong place. They were about 3" too high. I have this problem more often than you would think, because I am very busty. I wore the dress anyway. I was wearing a sweater, and I thought it would be the perfect dress for my NYC day trip to look at art and walk around.

The return process is very easy. Gwynnie Bee recommends letting them know ahead of time which items you are returning, so they begin processing your next shipment and get it out to you faster. I logged onto my account, selected all three items for return, and browsed some more items to see if there was anything else I wanted to add to my closet. I did notice that the reduced price to purchase the Modamix dress was only $31.00. (MSRP $129.00) If only the bust darts had been in the right place.

After notifiying Gwynnie Bee of the return, I folded the three items and placed them into the pretty blue pre-labelled mailing pouch. Later that afternoon, I dropped them off at the post office. That was yesterday. By the time I woke uip this morning, I had an email from Gwynnie Bee telling me that my next shipment was being prepared, and that I should have it in 72 hours.

Overall, the process was very simple. I was a little disappointed in the selection. There are only so many stretch jersey dresses you can have hanging in your closet. I thought too many of the options were not for the current season. There were dozens of casual summer dresses, and a disproportionate number of sleeveless options. The pant and skirt selection was rather sprarse, and there were way too many peplum tops. I think we have seen enough of that trend. I do wish there were some higher end plus sized lines represented here. That being said, if you are a plus sized gal working in an office, and you are looking for a wider selection of adequate workwear, Gwynnie Bee might be for you. I love the idea that when you are tired of something you simply send it back, and a replacement shows up like magic. I will be eagerly awaiting my next box. I hope they send me the BB Dakota Margot Capelet. It is the one item I am really excited to try, and the weather is perfect for it right notw. I will keep you posted. Until then, Happy shopping.

Update: My next shipment of clothing from Gwynnie Bee was equally disappointing. The quality of the clothing was not as I expected, and once again, I detected the scent of perfume, smoke and body odor in one of the dresses. I returned everything and cancelled my subscription.

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