Google “men’s clothing subscription boxes” and you’ll find no shortage of options. Style subscriptions like Trunk Club helped to make these box delivery systems a thing a decade ago, and there are now roughly as many mail-order menswear services as there are podcasts for them to advertise on. All of them offer roughly the same deal: you fill out an uncomfortably probing questionnaire about your lifestyle and body shape and spending habits; a stylist or algorithm or some combination of the two selects a crateful of items suited to your tastes; and, finally, you’re only charged for the items you decide to keep. Easy-peasy, right?
Here’s the thing: if you’re even a semi-regular reader of this magazine—if you come to us to read up on hot sneaker drops, or the waviest new labels to check out, or whatever’s popping off in Paris right now—these men’s clothing subscription boxes are probably not for you. That is, they aren’t really for anyone who already considers themselves to have a discernible sense of style, or is actively working towards developing one. There are no wild grails to be found within their thoughtfully-designed cardboard confines.
What you will get—in the best of these boxes, at least—are a bunch of rock-solid foundational basics, the kind of clothes you can build an honest-to-goodness wardrobe around. If you hate shopping with an absolute passion but still need to look somewhat presentable, these services will be your jam. If you earnestly want to start dressing better and have zero idea where to start…well, buy a subscription to GQ…and then maybe consider signing up for one of these boxes, too. And sure, if you’re really into fashion you might occasionally receive something in a subscription box that you love and might not have considered otherwise—but it’s probably still safer to just shop for yourself and pick out stuff you’ll definitely like.
In any case, we spent months testing the patience and limits of our office mail department by signing up for as many of these style subscriptions as we could. Here are our thoughts on the cream of the crop—and a few on the not-so-awesome ones, too.
The New Kid on the Block: Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe
Amazon’s menswear offerings are getting better all the time, but actually navigating those offerings on the Everything Store’s often chaotic user interface is a whole other story. That’s where their newly-launched Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe service comes in: for just $5 a month, you’ll get a boxful of the choicest bits on Amazon—from brands like Lacoste, Calvin Klein, and Adidas, among others—all curated to your tastes, needs, and budget. You’ll have a week to try on the eight items in your box.
Given exactly how much the Bezos Empire has to offer, there’s plenty of opportunity to get hyper-specific with your choices and leave your stylist notes along the way. Got a job interview or outdoor wedding coming up? They’ll sort you out. Need some performance activewear or rugged outdoors gear to go with your new hiking obsession? All that’s available, too.
Personal Shopper is exclusively available to Amazon Prime members. If you’re not currently a Prime subscriber, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial—just in time for Amazon Prime Day.
Price: $5 flat fee per month, in addition to the cost of your Prime membership.
Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe
Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe
The Best All-Around Style Subscription Box: Trunk Club
Trunk Club has one major leg up on its competition: it’s owned by Nordstrom, which means it has access to the hundreds of designers the department chain carries. Couple that with an attentive personal stylist—we were paired with Brianne, who asked us a few clarifying questions about how and when we’d use these clothes and how much we were willing to spend—and you wind up with a box full of totally wearable, reasonably stylish stuff from labels you actually recognize. In our case, that meant a hardy Carhartt WIP chore coat, a Nike windbreaker, a couple of Rag & Bone tees, socks and underwear from Polo, AG jeans, and a whole lot more.