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The Year of Subscription Box

The Year of Subscription Box

Written by Amanda Vlavianos

As a devout fashion enthusiast and avid (oh fine, obsessive) shopper, my fellow fashion lovers can surely imagine my dismay as the pandemic hit and my brick and mortar shopping addiction came to a screeching halt. Suddenly, gone were the days of popping into Zara on my lunch break, trips to the outlets on Saturday afternoons and the ever-anticipated seasonal sample sale. In April, suddenly working from home, like many others I panic-ordered tie-dyed athleisure wear, and again in June as temperatures rose, this time splurging on trendy bike shorts.

Even as restrictions lift and stores begin to open, my inner germaphobe prevails. My fellow fashionistas, I feel compelled to reveal to you the single vice that that has satisfied my need to shop amidst the pandemic: SUBSCRIPTION BOXES. Delivered directly to your door, you can all imagine my excitement opening each item from my box and modeling in front of the mirror à la my 10 year old self coming home from back-to-school shopping at Abercrombie (I still buy A&F jeans, BTW, but that’s a story for another time). Fret no more, my style icons, and scroll below for my personal favorites of the subscription box world.

For the Zoom executive: Nordstrom Trunk Club

As we work from home, long gone are the need for restrictive pants suits and pencil skirts; Nordstrom Trunk Club will provide you monthly with blazers, blouses and button-downs to suit all of your waist-up needs. With styling options like business formal and business casual, the $25 styling fee covers shipping and is applied to anything you keep.

For the accessory obsessed: Switch

That Hermès bracelet you’ve been admiring? Switch has it. Those Chanel earrings you’ve been waiting to splurge on? Switch will lend them to you. From necklaces to rings and everything in between, Switch gives members unlimited access for a low monthly subscription cost starting at $29/month. Additionally, users can fully purchase any piece that has been borrowed for a ‘members price’, usually less than retail value.

For the gym boss: FabFitFun

For all my gym boss babes who have been Peloton and HIIT warriors during our time at home, FabFitFun is truly a fantastic bang-for-your-buck box. For $49.99 a box, subscribers receive 8-10 full-size, premium products four times a year. This seasonal box is typically valued at $200+ and can be customized by selecting specific products/add-ons if the user chooses.

For the beauty buff: Birchbox / ipsy

For my beauty, skincare and haircare gals, what is better than a low-cost subscription box filled with assorted try-before-you-buy items?! My go-to subscriptions for glamming up my Zoom calls and upping my self-care routine are Birchbox and ipsy; companies that have their users fill out short beauty quizzes that detail their hair and skin types and typical beauty routine.


At $13-15/month, Birchbox typically sends 5-6 samples-sized items per monthly box. Typically there is a promotion to receive extra samples for signing up when using a promo code at checkout, and full-sized items are available for purchase on the Birchbox website.

Contrasting with Birchbox’s adorably designed boxes, ipsy sends five beauty samples at $12/month in a super cute cosmetic bag. There are a variety of products, but makeup seems to be the star of the show. Unlike Birchbox, subscribers will have to do their full-sized item shopping elsewhere – beauty items are listed under the Shop tab, but are only available for purchase through links to specific company websites.

For the luxury obsessive: Rent the Runway Unlimited

As a lover of luxury, my personal favorite of this list is Rent the Runway Unlimited. The standard plan runs $159/month, a fee which includes dry cleaning and rental insurance and allows users to check out up to four pieces at a time, returning them at the user’s leisure. For the ~luxury~ of having a constant rotation of new designer pieces in your closet, the fee is a STEAL.


For the fashion novice: Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix is a great choice for someone who wants to update their wardrobe but isn’t sure what to buy. For a super affordable $20 monthly styling fee, clothes are hand picked by a professional stylist. Users only pay for what they keep from their box (the $20 styling fee is deducted from the total!) and the rest can be sent back.

In short, subscription boxes offer a sense of comfort and convenience during a time when just a simple trip to the grocery store proves less-than-safe. Consumers across all industries have looked to other ways to acquire the goods they desire, with nearly 90% of subscription services showing steady numbers and even growth during the pandemic. Small luxuries like subscription boxes are a perfect purchase for us all, my fellow fashionistas, and I hope they color your days as bright as they have colored mine.

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