The Gwynnie Bee Review: A Psychological Experiment — Month #1.5 ?
I hadn’t planned on writing my next review for another couple of weeks to give my opinion as well as surprises on Month #2 of my experiment with the Gwynnie Bee clothing subscription service. I’m half-way through and receiving dress #12 for the month today but I’m genuinely surprised at how this experiment is highlighting certain shopping habits of mine. For one, I’m spending less per month on clothes. Yes, you read that correctly. Even for a 3-items-out-at-a-time plan, I’m still spending less on my wardrobe. I’ll chalk this one up to self-discovery.
I’m enjoying myself immensely in this second month. Maybe too much. This service is causing me to rethink clothes shopping completely.
First off, I’m always looking forward to my next dress in a box arriving in my mailbox. It’s as if Christmas comes several times a week. Some of these dresses fit very well and I absolutely love them. I’m not necessarily willing to buy them because my body is still changing in unexpected places thanks to my ketogenic diet, and I have no idea how long I’d be able to wear a dress in any particular size before hauling it to Goodwill. That’s true for dresses from my favorite department store, too. It’s just an entirely different way of looking at clothes shopping, enough so that I’m still mulling it over.
I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t buy any work clothes, party clothes, or date clothes in department stores while on the Gwynnie Bee plan. I figured that the only way I could justify spending $79 a month for a subscription was to give up buying dresses “off plan” because it seemed expensive to rent a wardrobe. That deal I made with myself did not include jackets, workout clothes, or shoes. Of course.
The last time I bought a dress at a department store was 2 weeks into my trial subscription, and it was for a specific event. None of my Gwynnie Bee outfits worked for this event. That was a month ago. Since then, I’ve worn dresses from Gwynnie Bee or my own closet–no new dresses. During that time, Gwynnie Bee has provided me with dresses for 2 parties and 5 dates, plus work dresses. While I had decent date dresses in my closet, I didn’t have to buy 2 new party dresses because I was renting them from Gwynnie Bee. Either one of them would have cost me more than $79. Hey, you know how it is: you can’t wear the same dress you’ve been seen wearing a week earlier or, heaven forbid, last year. Guys can get by with wearing the same suit 3 days a week for 52 weeks and no one will notice but if a woman wears the same thing twice in a month–especially if she’s in the public eye–somebody will make a snarky remark about it. Ditto a date dress, unless the guy just drools over it, and you don’t want to wear it on every date with him. So Gwynnie Bee has kept me in fresh looks for the 6 weeks and I’ve been able to include special occasion dresses that I otherwise would have bought new.
I admit, I’ve just been having a blast with the new outfits. I did NOT expect to enjoy it so much.
But alas, my boots kicked the bucket, so to speak, and I also needed to pick up lots of little treats for a couple of deployed soldiers in my life…so off to a couple of department stores I went. I found the right footwear, the right treats, and a dressy jacket to wear to an upcoming event. (I’ve closeted some jackets and sweaters in my virtual Gwynnie Bee closet but none have been in my surprise package yet and I didn’t have a dressy jacket for the dressy dress I have for this particular event.) While there, I decided to just try on a few things.
I started to head to the racks that have my usual size, but I’ve learned from Gwynnie Bee not to stick to one particular size since all the dresses come in different cuts and fabric. This isn’t exactly my idea of adventurous but I tried dresses in sizes I’ve never dared to try on. I just picked out what I liked and paid little to no attention to the number on the tag.
What happened next was revealing. I chose 6 dresses in 6 sizes. Two were perfect fits (in different sizes). Under usual circumstances, I would have bought them. The other 4 were “I could make it work” dresses. You know, a well-placed cardigan or a belt or a pin or two. I probably would have bought at least 4, maybe 5 of the dresses I tried on, but instead, I walked out without buying a one of them.
I would have talked myself into the 2 perfect fits, knowing that as my measurements change over the next 6 weeks, I’d probably wear them for the last time in December or maybe, just maybe, in January. One was a great work or date dress that I could get perhaps 4 wears out of before it became too big on me. The other was a dressy dress that would be suitable for an office holiday party and maybe a special date. That’s 2 wearings before it’s too big.
As for the ones I could pin or tuck or fix up to wear, I suddenly switched to the mindset I have when I get a Gwynnie Bee dress that isn’t a perfect fit. “Hmmm, I could pin/tuck/fix this one well enough to get one great wear out of it.” I found myself asking myself if it was worth wearing once with a little “assistance,” even the ones I really, really liked. If the answer was yes, I put it back on the hanger. Worth wearing once–worth renting to wear once–but not worth buying. I have enough dresses in my closet already that were okay for one wearing but I just hated tinkering with them after the first time. I wanted to love the dress AND have a perfect fit. So THAT should be my criteria for buying–not loving the color, loving the fit, loving the price, or someone else loving it. It’s got to be all of those things for me to take it home…and….and my body recomposition must stabilize so that I’m not too little or too big for it in a month or 3 months. Any dress I buy must knock me off my feet and last the season.
Those 2 dresses that were perfect fits, though…wow. I really wanted both. When I tried on my usual reasons for buying them, including that they might not be there if I changed my mind later and wanted them, I applied the idea of renting them and found that they just weren’t going to be special enough long enough to suit me. Pun intended.
Interesting insights so far into my shopping practices. Next review will be in mid-December, to cover Month #2.