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When it comes to clothing, I consider myself an online window shopper. A million tabs, multiple things in each cart, endlessly scrolling and daydreaming about what I would buy, if I could only make the commitment.
What is the reason behind my indecision, you ask? You didn’t, but the answer is threefold. As someone who often fluctuates in size, it’s hard for me to figure out what size or shape of garment is worth investing in. Second, my personal style is kind of tofu –– I tend to envision an entirely new wardrobe for myself based on what I’m watching, who I’ve hung out with that week, and whichever Bay Area microclimate I happen to be passing through that hour. If I get past these first two humps and decide to commit to a purchase, I prefer to support smaller, independent brands whose ethos align with mine.
Luckily, wearwell is made for exactly these types of conundrums. Part marketplace, part personal stylist subscription, wearwell is a one-stop shop for sustainable and ethically-made products. Though I had never used a type of service like this before, I was interested in delving deeper into this one, to see if it was the answer to my online shopping woes.
One-Stop-Shop for Sustainable Shopping
Simply put, wearwell is a hub that helps you shop, style, and recycle sustainable fashions:
Shop. Whether it’s clothing, jewelry, or homegoods, every brand featured on wearwell’s site has made it through the company’s vetting process. wearwell makes a point of only partnering with brands that are actively working to protect the environment, and provide fair wages and safe working conditions to their employees. As you shop, you can even choose to filter by things like “Black Owned Brands,” or “Vegan.” The site guarantees both good quality and good practices no matter what ends up in your cart.
Style. As part of the brand’s membership offering, you get unlimited access to a virtual personal stylist. Once you take a personalized style quiz, you’ll receive an email in the week from a personal stylist, with hand-picked selections straight to your inbox.
Recycle. With the wearwellagain program, you can return your gently-worn wearwell pieces and receive a discount code toward a future purchase. Then, depending on the quality, each piece will either be resold secondhand at a more affordable price or donated to a trusted nonprofit partner.
When used to its fullest potential, wearwell is a closed-loop system that seeks to change the standard of online shopping. So, is a membership worth it?
To Join or Not to Join?
You are more than welcome to browse the site’s selections as-is, but to access the styling component you need to become a member. You can choose between a Monthly ($10/month) or Annual ($96) membership, which will get you:
- Free shipping & returns
- 10% discount on every purchase
- First access to new drops & special member discounts
- Rewards program
- Unlimited access to a personal stylist
I was gifted the $10/month option. Once I logged in, I started my style quiz and was impressed by the types of questions it asked. It covers the basics like measurements, eye color, and hair color, while also going more in depth with questions like: Are there any parts of your body you prefer to dress more modestly? You can indicate how you like each type of garment to fit on your body, if you’re more likely to size up, down, or stay true to size. It asks which color schemes you’re drawn to, which patterns you like, which colors you absolutely don’t like and even gives you the option to associate with different words and established brands –– like “preppy” or “vintage” or “Reformation.” Finally, it lets you mark which causes you’re most passionate about when shopping: workers rights, animal rights, climate change, fair trade, organic, and so on. If that doesn’t capture it, there’s an option to drop a link to one of your pinterest boards.
Basically, this thing is thorough, and after filling it out, I trusted that the assigned stylist had more than enough to go off of. While I think that the stylist feature is incredibly user-friendly, fun to navigate, and all-around well done, I didn’t choose to use it any further. Of the entire selection of clothing on the site, there wasn’t a critical mass of items that matched my personal style, so it suited my needs a lot better to be able to cherry pick myself. I was looking for three things: jewelry staples, comfy intimates/activewear, and 1-2 simple work dresses.
My wearwell Haul
Jewelry Staples. The jewelry section is where I really cashed out. I got a few incredibly cute pieces from Black-owned jewelers, and a few versatile, everyday basics. Now, my daily uniform consists of: Polly and Priya ($39-49) hoop earrings for my second and third holes, and the Dana Necklace in Lemon Quartz ($59) which is perfect for layering with various charms and chains.
Intimates & Activewear.
I am always in the market for breathable cotton underwear and loungewear, so that was my initial mission when I was perusing the site. My first purchase in this arena was the ever-so-comfy Active Tank Crop Top ($64) that I now live in. I was also pleasantly surprised to see how many shapes and cuts of period underwear wearwell carries! I ended up getting the Elemental Lace Hipster ($36), Elemental Mesh Hipster ($36), and Comfort Boyshort ($45), and OMG. Game-changing convenience, ease, and comfort. While we’re makin’ it menstrual, I also got the Saalt Soft Period cup in Desert Blush ($29).
Simple Work Dress. I only ended up settling on one article of clothing, but boy, have I gotten some mileage out of it. The Soleil Dress ($110) has been with me everywhere. I’ve worn it countless times to work, to meet my boyfriend’s entire extended family, and frolicking from park to park throughout the warm seasons.
Note: unlike other subscription or styling services, wearwell won’t ship your stylist picks until you buy them. From an environmentalist perspective, this makes perfect sense –– waste prevention is a worthwhile goal in the online shopping space. But, if you’re used to a service with a free try-on option, then that is one thing to keep in mind.
It’s Not Easy Being Green
Greenwashing is ubiquitous in consumer culture at this point. In a world where just writing the word “sustainable” on your website can be enough to give you the green light, wearwell aims to do the grunt work of background research for you. While making informed purchases should be a mindful process, let’s face it: the less work you have to do, the less likely you are to revert to more convenient and accessible fashion sources.
While I didn’t end up getting the most out of wearwell’s vast offerings, I think it’s a wonderful place to go if you’re looking to create a new capsule wardrobe and want to ensure that you’re shopping solely with mission-driven brands. If the clothing suits your style a bit more than it did me, then I think a membership is more than worth it. Even though I did not partake in the styling aspect, I was still able to utilize the member discount and free shipping, which ended up feeling worth the membership price to me anyway. I am not kidding when I say that every item I chose from wearwell is among the most frequent in my rotation. Using it as a marketplace alone, I was able to handpick great quality pieces that I felt good about owning––and one open tab was all I needed.
5 More Reasons to Love wearwell
1. As a TQE reader, you get 50% off an annual membership with the code TQE50.
2. From XS to 3X, this size-inclusive company has a bit of something for everyone.
3. Earn points every time you shop & share as part of wearwell’s rewards program.
4. 1% of every sale is donated to an environmental organization. You can choose between The Brigid Alliance, Surfrider Foundation, and FABSCRAP.
5. The company is transparent about what percentage of its brand partners are BIPOC and women owned, and publicly marks the yearly growth in those areas.