Friday, July 22, 2016

Are Subscripton Boxes Worth It?

If you have spent any amount of time surfing the web lately, you've probably run across ads for subscription boxes of various ilks.  You can get costmetics, snacks, books, meals or clothes delivered to your mailbox on a regular basis, but should you?  If you are in debt or if money is very tight, the answer is probably "no".  But what about for people who have a little extra money?  Are these boxes a good idea?  You be the judge.

Ipsy Glam Bags

I've gotten into a make-up rut and haven't tried anything new for a while.  I hate spending lots of money on make-up and I'm not the kind of person to spend a lot of time on her face.  I decided to subscribe to Ipsy to get some new make-up and types of make-up.  The box is only $10.00/month and contains five items each month, mostly sample sizes.  Here is what I got this month:

The blush compact is a "free" welcome gift; not part of the monthly bag.  Each month they send you a cosmetic bag, plus the five things.  This month I got the mauve eyeshadow and a brush, plus the mascara and a highlighter stick (kind of like concealer but a little sparkly).  The final item is some eye cream.  I'll give it another few months and see how it goes.  From this month's bag, I know I'll use the mascara and the eyeshadow.  The brush is nice.  I'll use the eye cream too.  I suspect the highlighter will hit the trash eventually--I've never figured out the whole highlight, contour thing.  I think I got my $10 worth.  If you want to try Ipsy, use my link and I get a referral credit.  

Dia & Co

I hate to admit it but in the last few years I've put on more than a couple of pounds.  Between being laid up with a sprained foot that took over six months to heal and going through menopause, and just generally finding a lot of sedentary activities I like, those pounds have crept on and don't seem to be going anywhere.  However, I'm still trying to dress the shape I used to have and I haven't figured out what to do with the body I have now.  I'm not much of a fashionista anyway but as my daughter says "You go shopping and come  home with another red sweater".  

Dia & Co is a styling service for women who wear sizes 14-32.  You register with them and then go online and fill out a personal profile about your style and preferred colors.   You can get boxes as frequently, or infrequently as you want.  You can sign up for a monthly or quarterly subscription or you can just order  a box when you want to.  Dia & Co's sylists put together five garments based on that information and send it to you.  The cost is $20, but that is applied to any purchase.  If you buy everything in the box you get a 20% discount.  Anything in the box that you do not want goes into the prepaid mailer and you send it back.  

I thought Dia & Co would be an interesting way to explore fashion that I might not pick off the rack.  Let's take a look at my first box.

I actually like this picture better than I liked the shirt.  It fit funny, and just didn't feel good.  It is a Zenobia Amelia top in Yellow and it costs $36.00. 

I don't know how well you can see by clicking on the photo, but give it a try.  These are Rafaella Carson Pants in Gray.  They cost $65.00 and were just big all over.  They were too long, and the crotch kind of hung, and the waistband slipped down closer to my hips.  I would like to try them a size down, but anything you order from Dia &  Co is not returnable so I won't do that.  The top is a royal blue Junarose Destiny top, which was basically a poly silk in the shoulder area and cotton knit from the chest down.  $59.00 is way too much for a t-shirt and this one was way too big anyway.  

Here I am wearing the blue top again, this time with an Emerald/Leslie Kimono in blue, which sells for $42.00.  I don't know if it was too big or if I just didn't like the look.  Basically I felt like I was in a robe.  The fabric is pretty though.  

This is a dress I never would have tried on in a store or ordered online.  For one thing, that style doesn't look good on me; for another, at $89.00, there are a lot less expensive clothes out there.  Guess what I'm keeping?  This is a Lysee Leanna dress.  The fabric is a thick knit and it is lined, but still machine washable.  My husband and college girl say it looks good on me.

Are Subscription Boxes Worth It?

I can't speak for every box out there. I've tried these two, and several years ago I tried Birchbox.  For $10 Birchbox and Ipsy are fun and expand my make-up collection in a low-risk low-cost way.  I'm not a big make-up customer so I'll probably get tired of this pretty soon.  People who have a tendency to spend too much on make-up may find these boxes help, since they get new toys monthly; or they may just encourage more consumption of more stuff.

As far as Dia & Co, you can tell by the prices that these aren't low-end clothes  You can certainly dress yourself for less elsewhere.  On the other hand, I found a nice dress that I would not have otherwise even tried.  Yes, it is a little high, but not so much that I can't afford it.  Honestly, if I had been out shopping and a salesclerk handed me the dress and suggested I try it, I probably wouldn't have bought it, just because of the price.  However, I had already spent $20 to get the box; if I sent everything back I would have nothing for that $20--so now I'm out $89 rather than $20, which makes all the sense in the world, right?  Obviously the way the program is set up, it encouraged me to spend money I would otherwise not have spent.

I don't think I will be getting a lot more of these boxes, but I will get at least one more to see if they do a better job of fiting my size--they say that the first box is hit or miss on sizes and it gets better after that as they get to know you.  After trying everything in  your box , you go to thier website and let them know what you are keeping and what you are sending back.  They ask you how you liked the color, fit and price of each piece and give you a space for comments.  Hopefully my next box is more moderately priced (the lowest price range they offer is $50/piece and that's what I selected) and has more clothes that fit.  

If money is a problem at your house, Dia & Co isn't for you; however, if you usually buy clothes in this price range (or even if you don't but can afford a piece or two) then Dia & Co is a fun way to explore fashion you might not otherwise try.   If you want to try Dia & Co. use my code and they will style my next box free, so if I don't like anything it can go back without guilt.  

Disease Called Debt


  1. I've been tempted by the subscriptions, but more the healthy snack/meal ones or geeky stuff than clothing (that's pricy!) or Makeup (I rarely wear any). Interesting read, though.

  2. I signed up for a year's subscription to Birchbox. It was fun getting the pretty box in the mail each month, but I still have a draw full of unused samples. In the long-run I don't think it was worth it for me.

  3. I'm a Dia subscriber too! 3 of the 5 things they sent in my first box didn't work for me, but the 2 that did - WOW! They sent me the same Raffaela pants they sent you, and they worked well for me. They also sent me a shirt that will be my new favorite - I've already worn it a dozen times. I've scheduled it to get a box every other month. I tend to be an underbuyer when it comes to clothes, and it's a good way to force me to try some new things. I'm trying to put a little more effort into my work appearance, so I think it'll work well for me.

    I could never get into the makeup ones. I loved Birchbox for a while, but then I felt like my bathroom was just being overwhelmed by samples that I'd never be able to finish before the next box came.

    - Pia @ Mama Hustle

  4. I've tried a couple of the food ones (veggies/fruit) and while it is fun and convenient, they are really expensive and you don't have full control - not for me!