Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Golden Tote Review - January Mystery Totes!


In October of last year, I tried a clothing-by-mail service called Golden Tote!  It's been a lot of fun so far, and I've gotten some great items.  Here are a few links to my previous tote reviews, if you'd like to check them out:

Golden Tote #3 - December 2015

Golden Tote #2 - November 2015

Golden Tote #1 - October 2015

Between Golden Tote and Stitch Fix (another clothing-by-mail service), my closet has definitely improved over the last year.  I get compliments on my outfits regularly these days, which is funny to me because I've never thought of myself as stylish.  Ha ha.  I'm learning, I guess!  :)  If you'd like to check out my Stitch Fix reviews, here they are:

January 2016 - #16

December 2015 - #15

November 2015 - #14

November 2015 - #13

October 2015 - #12

September 2015 - #11

Stitch Fix Keepers

September 2015 - #10

August 2015 - #9

I digress . . . this review is about Golden Tote, not Stitch Fix!

If you've never heard of Golden Tote, here's a short summary of how it all works:

When you sign up for Golden Tote, you fill out an online style profile.  It's pretty short - you answer some questions about your measurements, typical sizes, and how you like your clothes to fit.  Here are a couple of pages from my profile:

As you can see, they show you a few different style types.  You can check/uncheck as you wish - it's easy to update if you want to try something different for the next tote.

You are also able to specify certain colors and prints that you would like to avoid, which is helpful if you are not a fan of something that is "in".  For example, I'm not a huge fan of plaid (on me), which is everywhere these days!  Any stylist that looks at my profile would know to avoid it.  You can also attach an image to further depict your own personal style.  From what I understand, most people create collages (as I did).

You can order a tote at any time.  A lot of people buy multiple totes per month!  You can choose a small or large tote.  The small tote is $49 and includes 1 item that you choose and another "surprise" item.  The large tote is $149 and includes 2 items that you choose and 3 to 4 surprise items.  You can also buy a surprise tote for $99 with no chosen items - all surprises that a stylist picks for you.  There is also an option to add on additional pieces from their online boutique for a reduced price.

The one drawback is that, if you want the bargain prices (around $25 per item), you have to keep it all.  You can send the whole thing back for a full refund (though you do have to pay for return shipping).  You don't get a prepaid envelope/box.  Basically you have to box it up yourself and ship it back with the packing slip.  If you just can't part with an item, you can keep it and send back the rest, but you will be charged the full boutique price, which is often quite a bit higher than the $25 average.

If you're thinking about trying Golden Tote, please use this referral link to sign up.  If you do, I'll get a small credit.  (In case you're wondering, I was not compensated by Golden Tote in any way for this post.  My only relationship with them is as a customer and I have paid for all of my own items.)

So . . . what are these mystery totes?

After the insanity that is the holiday shopping season, Golden Tote offers a special deal on "mystery" totes.  They are a combination of items left from the 2015 inventory.  Each tote includes 4 items and costs $60, so it's a great deal if you like what you get.  They also offer jeans or accessory "mystery" totes, but I just got the basic version.

There are some catches.  The mystery totes are final sale, so they can't be returned.  Also, they are organized by size only.  Your style profile is not taken into consideration.  If you order a medium tote (I ordered two), you get a grab bag of medium items.  It's a little risky . . .

Here are the eight items that I received in my two mystery totes:

1. Ellison Button-Down Tab Sleeve Blouse 

As you can tell from my strange facial expression in this photo, I'm just not comfortable in this.  It's too long for a button down shirt (in my opinion) and too fitted through the hip area.  The sleeves are too short, but when I roll them and button the tabs, they are too tight around my elbows.

Also, I'm not really a fan of solid pink items, though I don't mind pink mixed in with a print.  This shade is a little too light and "girly" for me.

Here's the back.  It's just slightly longer in the front than in the back.

Someone else would love this, but it just doesn't work for me!

2.  Les Lis Crochet Back Maxi Dress

I have no problem with maxi dresses (or the color yellow), but this just isn't happening.  I don't love some of the colors in the floral print, and the combination just washes me out.  Peachy pink and/or sage green/blue don't do anything for me.  The elastic band also hits me at a weird spot.  I believe it's supposed to hit under the bustline (because it's ridiculously high for a waistband), but it's a bit tight and just feels awkward.

The crochet back is kind of cute, though my husband thought it looked really weird.  Ha ha.

This dress needs another home!  :)

3.  Puella La Boheme Maxi Dress

I really like the fabric of this dress.  It's super soft, stretchy, and very comfortable.  That's the best thing I can say about it.  At first, I was really confused by the middle (horizontal) panel.  Then I read (online) that the waist is supposed to be adjustable.  You can pull it down or up to create a drop waist, empire waist, etc.

It's an interesting idea.  I don't think it's flattering on me.  The combination and placement of the stripes widen my waist and narrow my hips.  Hmmm.  No.

Nice colors, though.  The print is all right.

4. Naked Zebra Drawstring Tunic Dress

This is another item with super-soft, cozy fabric.  Unfortunately, I knew right away (because of the color) that it probably wasn't for me.  I like bright, primary colors and jewel tones.  This dusty mauve color doesn't do a thing for me.  

The drawstring waist also hits me at a weird spot.  I think this would work a lot better on a skinnier person.  I just don't think it's flattering on me.  If I take myself out of the equation, it's kind of cute on its own!

5. Promesa Maxi Skirt

This skirt was one of the better items that I received.  I like the colors and pattern.  It's a bit tight in the waistband, though, and I really don't wear maxi skirts very often.  I also couldn't think of many things in my closet to pair it with.  (I'm not sure this black sleeveless top is the answer.)

In the photo, you can also see a free necklace that I got for buying more than one mystery tote.  Here's a close-up:

I suppose I could keep it, but I got the same necklace (in sort of copper/rose-gold color) in my last tote.  I don't need another.  It's a pretty necklace, though.

6. Lulumari Printed Jacket

I think this jacket was the cutest item I received in my two totes.  I was briefly tempted to keep it, but it was a little snug in the shoulders for me.  I think it would have been uncomfortable with anything but a sleeveless top underneath it.  I also wasn't crazy about the color combination of the trim - blue, aqua, and pink.  I'm not sure how many items I have that would look great under this.  Here's the back:

I've had way too much fun with Golden Tote and Stitch Fix over the last few months and I have so many jackets and cardigans.  I don't love this enough to keep it!

7. Comme Toi Tank 

This top is just all wrong!  It's a little too small and has no stretch to it.  I hate, hate, HATE the buttons.  It's not my style at all.  This is a definite "no".

8. Skies Are Blue Top

I have quite a few Skies Are Blue brand tops.  This one is all right, but it's not my favorite.  The fabric is textured and super stretchy.  The arms are loose and hit right at my elbows.  I don't know.  It's just . . . odd.

There's a decorative zipper in the back:

One of the perks of using Golden Tote (and Stitch Fix) is that I've become more aware of what kinds of clothes I like.  I've also realized how easy it is (too easy, sometimes) to receive lots of cute things that I barely have time to wear.

If I don't love something, it really should go.  Someone else would like this top more than me!

Well, that's it.

I'll be honest.  I don't see myself ordering any mystery totes next time around.  When you can choose some of the items and the suprises are based on your style preferences, there is a decent chance that most of it will work out.  This was just a gamble.  Now I have eight items to sell or trade!  (I've already sold three and the necklace, though, so I'm chipping away at it!)

In spite of the fact that these mystery notes did NOT work out, I've had fun with Golden Tote overall.  I will definitely order more totes in the future, though I think I will make a rule for myself:

NO MORE TOTES until the unwanted items from the last one have been sold or traded.  I'm excited to see what chosen items they will offer in February!

Please comment!  What do you think about the items I received?  Did you order a mystery tote?  How did it work out?

Thanks again for reading!

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