Over the past few years, men’s clothing subscription boxes have become all the rage. They promise to make dressing well easy by helping you find the right clothing without having to think too hard about it.
But can they really help you build the ideal Lean Wardrobe? And are the clothes they send actually good?
So how do these subscription boxes work?
You sign up and fill out a questionnaire or talk to an employee about your lifestyle, fashion preferences, and basic measurements. Then, they send you a box full of clothing they think will work for you.
Sometimes they send you stuff every month, or every quarter, depending on the particular company or program you sign up for.
And voila! You have an amazing wardrobe full of clothing that makes you look cool and feel confident. Right?
To be honest, I hate subscription boxes for men. At least the ones that are 100% focused on clothing.
This may be an unpopular opinion, I know. After all, aren’t they great? They make your life easy! You don’t have to go shopping! You always have new clothes!
Sure, that sounds promising on the surface… but here’s my argument against them, some possible exceptions, and 2 not-quite-subscription boxes that might work for you.
Why Men’s Clothing Subscription Boxes Are NOT Worth It
The supposed point of clothing subscription boxes are to help you find new styles and add them to your wardrobe. But in reality, they usually do the exact opposite.
Curating your personal style is something we talk about a lot at EG. Developing your Lean Wardrobe is all about getting to know yourself, discovering what styles you love, and learning to dress in a way that gives you confidence.
That’s a deeply personal, rewarding process. So how could you delegate that to some employee at a subscription box company?
Simply put, monthly men’s clothing subscription boxes are not for you if you’re:
- Picky about what you wear
- Someone with specific taste and style
- Advanced in your style journey and already know what you like
The gimmick of these boxes is that other people pick stuff for you. More often than not, they curate outfits based on what they like, what they think you should wear, what they think may sell best, and what their customers generally might like.
Contrary to what these companies say, nothing about these subscription boxes are specifically tailored for you.
In my experience, after a few months with a subscription box, you’ll wind up with a pile of stuff you don’t like and won’t ever wear. Basically, the opposite of what we recommend at EG.
And if you’re a neat freak, this is even worse. All those boxes add up to a ton of clutter… definitely no good for minimalists or city apartment dwellers.
Who Subscription Boxes Might Work For
If you’re currently a shorts, jeans, and T-shirts kind of guy and want to step it up, clothing subscription boxes for men might be a good place to start, but only if you are:
- Generally lazy when it comes to your personal style
- Totally new to the idea of style and menswear
- Don’t have any time or effort to dedicate to the process of developing your own style
Think of it this way:
- Curating your own wardrobe is like cooking from scratch using a recipe. You learn about the ingredients, choose the right ones for the dish, and develop your skills on your way to preparing a delicious meal.
- Ordering a menswear subscription box is like getting delivery. You’re tired, you’re hungry now, and you just need something to eat. You don’t care about the art of cooking, the ingredients, or the process. You just want to eat.
To be honest, everybody orders delivery sometimes. In a pinch, it’s a lifesaver. But it’s not the best way to eat, day in and day out, forever.
So—although I don’t recommend them—subscription boxes might work for you if you just need some quick additions to your wardrobe and you don’t have any sense of your personal style… yet.
Still figuring out your style?
A Not-Quite Men’s Clothing Subscription Box That I Like
There’s a subscription box-adjacent option that has the feel of a monthly box without the downsides mentioned above.
And most likely, you already have access to it! That is, if you’re an Amazon Prime member.
Amazon Prime Wardrobe
Amazon has a service called Prime Wardrobe (part of your Prime membership).
As of 2021, this is pretty much the only “subscription box” I can get behind, mostly because it’s not a subscription, and you can actually pick and choose what to buy and keep.
Here’s how it works.
- You can choose up to 8 items per Prime Wardrobe box.
- Fill it up with whatever you like!
- Once it arrives, you have 7 days to try everything on at home, keep what you like, and send back what you don’t.
- You only pay for what you keep!
So it’s not a subscription service, but it has a similar feel.
I should mention, they do have a Personal Shopper service, but this is separate from the Prime Wardrobe option.
I haven’t tried the Personal Shopper service, but it’s an option if you think the subscription box thing is right for you (based on my description a few sections up) and you want the breadth of options Amazon offers.
You get the benefit of Prime Wardrobe at your disposal, and the service is really inexpensive, $4.99/mo at the time of writing.
Overall, I suggest sticking with the Prime Wardrobe option. It’s a good way to learn about what works or doesn’t for you in the comfort of your own home.
Bottom Line: I Don’t Recommend Subscription Boxes for Men
I can’t endorse them.
I believe guys should be able to understand their own style.
Get out there, find inspiration, copy what you like, and then add your own twist (over time) to curate your own look.
You don’t want to completely hand over the reins to someone else.
Think about your lifestyle, your budget, your work environment, what you do for fun, etc., and then build your wardrobe around that. Skipping that process and outsourcing it to a subscription box employee is a disservice to yourself, not a convenience.
Have you ever tried a monthly menswear subscription box? What was your experience like?