While I always give an honest review of all products that I receive in exchange for a review, (see my Keurig review with which many people disagreed--even though I was reviewing the 2.0, but they were only familiar with the first version) this review is not in exchange for anything. After reading glowing reviews of Le Tote, I decided to try it out for myself.
So, after finding a 50% off coupon, I decided to give it a whirl. A second reason for doing an independent review of the service is that all of the reviews that I saw only included pictures of one or two pieces mixed with the reviewers' own clothes. No one ever gives a comprehensive review of an entire month's worth of clothing.
Since this is a product that I don't believe in--unless they make a lot of changes for to their business model--there won't be any referral links in this post.
This post is just review of my month of totes, general concept of the business, and the customer service.
If you aren't familiar with Le Tote, they have been described as the Netflix of clothes. When you sign up, you are given the opportunity to "like" any and all of the clothes and accessories that they offer. These items will make up your "closet," and give the stylists an idea of what you like. You get to fill out a short questionnaire about what you like and don't like, but it is not very thorough. And the totes you receive are not guaranteed to include any of the items that you have liked. Additionally, there is no way to exclude items that you would never wear, like dresses.
Customer Service: B+
They were thorough, but unable to follow through, but likely due to the business model. They tried their hardest, but I honestly don't want to have to be in contact with a company that much. I also found their email address to be unprofessional. I know it's picky, but every email I got was from email@example.com, therefore, the sender would show up as just "hi" in my inbox. It wasn't even capitalized. By the end of my experience, I knew that I was probably going to be texting a rant to my husband everytime "hi" showed up on my phone. And the emails were never ending!
Clothing: D Choices were plentiful, but I found out that the supply was not. The actual clothes were fairly low quality. I could pick up (and keep) two dresses at a discount store for the amount I would pay at full price for a month's worth of totes. And those dresses would be a lot higher in quality. And a savvy shopper can easily pick up the basic tanks that they love to send in January for a fraction of the price.
Shipping: F At first, I thought the shipping was going to be great because they shipped packages with 2 day shipping. The next bag was sent when the current one was scanned by the post office, however, even though I never wore a single piece, I never received more than 1 bag in a week. Sometimes I received them even less frequently. See all the details of the delays below.
Overall Experience: D- They don't get an F because I got a refund after an excessive amount of emailing with customer service. I wasn't always the one who initiated contact, either. They did notice that I rated all of the items very low and tried to find out what I liked. You can read below why I think that email should never have been needed.
First Tote:I forgot to snap a picture of the EXTREMELY wrinkled maroon sweater dress that was made from a lay flat to dry dress that I was uncomfortable about ironing without ruining.
The first tote took 6 days to arrive. When I contacted customer service, they kindly added a week to my month because that was unusual for shipment to take that long.
The only two items in my tote that I asked for were the necklace and earrings. Unfortunately, the necklace turned out to be a choker! A choker! The first and last time I wore one of those was 8th grade.
I didn't select any dresses on the website, yet they sent me two. Neither dress was high quality, either. When I tried them on, I figured that the black dress would be work appropriate and that the maroon dress would work as a party dress, if I put a ton of work into dressing it up because it was very plain. The length made it less of a meet-your-friend-for-coffee dress and more of a dinner date dress. The point of the tote is to mix and match what you already have with the tote, but when the dress would require tons of work, I'm not very interested, unless I have a special occasion. The black dress also turned out to be work inappropriate. It looks nice on the hanger, but even a blazer couldn't add class to it. Le Tote told me that I could let them know if I have a special event coming up, so they could send a party dress then. I did not have a special event coming up. I think that most people would have a hard time incorporating a party dress into their wardrobe on a weekly basis.
I was very disappointed because my "closet" contained only casual tops and cardigans. Considering that the bag was at least supposed to be based on my selections, the two dresses and dressy top were not anything that I would wear.
Personally, I thought that Le Tote would be a great way to spice up my wardrobe, but the only way to get the most for my money would be to receive pieces that I can wear. I would be especially pleased to get pieces that I can wear together, like a blouse and cardigan.
In my frustration, I reviewed the selections again, when hindsight is 20/20. They really only offer clothes in black, gray, and the "color of the year," maroon aka Marsala.
Total Items Worn: ZERO
One cool feature, though, that they use to maximize turn around time on returned totes and shipping totes is that as soon as my prepaid envelope from my returned (unworn) clothes was picked up by the mail and scanned was that they immediately shipped out the next bag! That's a lot better than when I used to use Netflix DVDs! Unfortunately, USPS was super, super slow and I didn't get my tote for many days.
I couldn't even bring myself to take a picture of this horrendous tote. I had higher hopes for this second tote because the first one was so horrible (see: choker).
I had to use the screenshot, so that you can see how highly inappropriate that middle bottom dress is. In fact, the dress is even trashier in person. I didn't think I could take a picture that would do it justice. Really, I can't imagine anywhere that I could wear it before 1 AM, and only under extreme intoxication. Again, the only items that they sent from my "closet" were accessories. While the necklace and earrings are cute, I decided to send the tote back immediately, with the hope the the third bag wouldn't be quite so horrendous.
I mean, the two tank tops could have been ok under blazers, but as far as my agenda for the week, a comfortable sweater would be way more appropriate for my activities. Again, I only put those types of clothes in my "closet." I was starting to get the impression that my "closet" is a joke. I hate that I spent a lot of time clicking on things that I liked and not only did I not receive any of those clothes out of two totes, I didn't receive anything remotely close.
Total Items Worn: Zero
Again, Le Tote did show a strength in customer service. I emailed them about the above wrinkled dress, so that's why they provided an extra piece in this bag. They also noticed that I clicked "dislike" on every item that they had sent. So, their email asked what types of items that I did like, so they could pass that on to their stylist. I asked them what the point of clicking "like" on 32 clothing items in my "closet," since I thought that would be consulted by the stylist. Since the closet seems to be not consulted, I did provide them with a brief outline of my days and the fact that I need comfortable and casual clothes (which I clicked on... for that closet thing...). Also, apparently you need to put 50 items in your closet. If you do sign up, send them an email with more details about what you want because their questionnaire is insufficient to provide that kind of information. Or their stylists lack the critical thinking ability to look at what liked and figure out what you want.
Third Tote:Oh wow. So, instead of just sending me a tote, Le Tote sent me an email with a link to customize my next tote, since I was so displeased with my last two totes. [Everything but the jewelry was rated "disliked.] I got pretty excited because I had "liked" a ton of shirts and cardigans that I would love to wear. Unfortunately, I was extremely disappointed when I went to customize the bag. There was one sweater that I liked and two pieces of jewelry that I liked, but I ended up switching them to a necklace and earrings that matched each other.
The other two pieces in the tote were definitely wrong for me. A long skirt that wasn't a maxi skirt, but almost ankle length. You would definitely need high heels for that type of skirt, but with my arch injury, high heels were out of the question. The other piece was a skimpy tank top. So, when I saw that I could pick from any category, my mood lifted a little. Then, I realized that there was only 1 available cardigan, no pants, no jackets, and no sweaters. NO sweaters. It was December 30! But there were an excessive number of tank tops. There was even an available romper. That's cool. I like rompers in January. #not
Again, the available dresses were more appropriate for working as an escort, a tropical vacation, or Vegas. I'm not planning on any of those, so... I tried to pick out an outfit (more time delay), but then I got an email from Le Tote saying that one of the items that I picked was unavailable (SURPRISE!). So, another time delay. When the bag finally shipped, several days after returning my bag, it took a long time to get here. I ended up with this trash: The sweater was ok. The dress was not appropriate for my lifestyle because I can't wear shoes that go with it because of my arch problems. The tank top was not worth the hassle.
At that point, I emailed Le Tote and asked to cancel my account. I could not tolerate another email exchange with them. All of the delays in shipment due to lack of stock, the horrible clothes that I returned immediately, etc, all ended up with me getting 3 totes over a period of around 4 weeks, even though I didn't wear a single piece that they sent me. I had anticipated getting a bag a week, if I wore the clothes. Since each bag was returned immediately, I should have had way more bags. I didn't want to be charged for a second month, so I decided not to bother with getting boxes and returning them. Plus, I just wanted to scream every time I got an email from them.
Fortunately, they offered me a refund due to my dissatisfaction. I do think that was only fair because they couldn't send me anything wearable.
Total Items Worn: ZERO
After my partial month's worth of totes, I cannot believe that absolutely every person who has tried it has had a perfect experience. Customer Loyalty tried to tell me that my experience was a fluke. I'm going to call bull shit here. Search "Le Tote Sponsored" and you'll see that the positive reviews come up for pages because Le Tote has been sponsoring posts, so they pop up first. In fact, I would be so surprised if many of them have halfway decent experiences. I guess it's a good experience if they provide you bags for free. So, since I couldn't find a negative review before trying the service, I tried it. I did read non sponsored posts by bloggers that I trust who gave good reviews, but those women actually received clothing that they could wear. Some people who comment on my blog posted good, non-sponsored reviews. Their very first boxes were mixes of casual and dressy. I am disgusted by the fact that my first three totes (all) were complete wastes. That's time of my membership lost by clothes that were cheaply made and non-wearable. If I had been paying full price for just 4 weeks, I would have been livid.
[Please note that I did an EXHAUSTIVE search on Google looking for a negative or even neutral review of Le Tote. I couldn't find one bad word about Le Tote because only bloggers singing the praises of the service came up for page after page. But, after my experience, I reread some of these posts--I noticed that they were only wearing a black tank from Le Tote with their own clothing items, etc. The nice parts of the items were not Le Tote's. You can buy basic clothing items for much less than the cost of a membership.]
I spent more time talking to their customer service than I would have cared to. I wanted to fight for getting the best experience possible, but I took the time to look through all of the clothes, pick the ones that I liked, and took the style quiz. I don't understand why a "stylist" couldn't look at that. Do they hire people with no critical thinking skills or do they only use a computer to send the clothes out? When I let the company know that the clothes weren't what I asked for, they said that they can't always give me what is in my closet. Yet, customer retention wanted to know what styles I liked, so they could pass that on to my stylist. It just boggles my mind that I picked 35 items that were similar and they sent two whole bags of clothes that were trashy and flimsy. Customer retention asked if I wanted work or play clothes. That seems like a question that should have been asked up front! Before I got TWO bags. Maybe they could put it in the initial style questionnaire. My husband joked that if they thought those were work clothes, they needed to reassess what work would look like for most people. He's the one that thought they looked like hooker clothes, actually.
Really, it's just dishonest to take people's money upfront if they don't have inventory to come close to providing the types of clothes that people want. They should probably reinstate the waiting list that they used to have. If they can only send tank tops and short dresses in January, don't talk to me about how your inventory is different than a normal store. I get that, but make sure that you have enough on hand to accommodate your customers. What sending me summer clothes in December says to me is that they want to take my money and give me summer clothes because they already sent out all of the winter clothes.
Le Tote is for you if...
You frequently need a cocktail dress.
You don't own any basic clothing items. They really only have black, grey, and maroon--so, if you want color, you have to supply it.
You love to wear high heels. All of the dresses and skirts require fancy shoes. It would be difficult to dress the dresses down.
Le Tote is not for you if... You want to receive items you like.
You want to try items that are trendy, but you don't want buy. They won't have it in stock.
You already own basic black shirts.
So, Tom Haverford, if you ever open up Rent-a-Swag, give me a call. You'd do a better job! If you want to complain that my experience was different than the current service, please read the entire review. In fact, I given the option to pick my own bag. My complaint is that they knowingly took my money when the inventory was too sparse to justify another customer.
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