E-Commerce Startups Open Door to Endless Virtual Closet

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styling service Trunk Club. Nearly 30 percent of the items in the average person’s closet have never been worn or have gone untouched in more than a year, the study said. That could be the pair of skinny jeans that still don’t look right or the cutout shoulder top that you think might look dated now.

So, the thinking goes, why actually buy everything you want to wear when you can rent it? “We can provide that variety for you,” says LeTote’s Fox.

LeTote comped a month’s subscription fee so I could try out the service. I created an account and completed a style profile, an online quiz that asked my preferences on types of outfits or garments you would like to wear. I clicked on some outfits that resembled something I’d wear—a dress and heels that could go from work to a dinner out, for one, and indicated that I didn’t want to be offered any shorts. I chose my body type (they offer hourglass, pear, straight, and others from which to choose). Then, I added in my waist, inseam, and hip measurements, as well as bra size.

The algorithm got to work with recommendations and LeTote texted me that my first tote—four garments and three jewelry items—was ready for review. The first batch was a bit wonky. First of all, one of the skirts was an XL; I wear XS. LeTote allows you to swap items, and I did, asking for an XS in that skirt and choosing other items. I was still underwhelmed by my package but was hopeful about a printed cardigan and that skirt, sized properly.

The end result is I did wear the cardigan once, and I considered buying it. (I live in Houston and we’re already hitting 80-degree highs so I’m not currently in a sweater-buying mood.) The skirt, unfortunately, was sent to me in a size XXL, and the fabric of a drape-front cardigan looked pilled. I mailed my tote back in a prepaid shipping bag.

Shoppers can get multiple totes a month. So, once the U.S. Post Office scanned the return the next day, I received a text from Le Tote that my second tote was ready for me to review. I liked this one much better but still swapped a few of the garments. I’m considering buying a few items from this package. LeTote says its prices are less than retail but I had difficulty confirming that through online searches. (Fox says that LeTote offers some brands that are exclusive to them.)

The verdict? I’m getting too many athletic wear options and I’m not sure why LeTote says sweaters are “trending in Houston now”—remember, we’re well into warm weather … Next Page »

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