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Subscription Boxes That Are Actually Worth It

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From socks to maternity clothes to toothbrushes.

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Onyx Box Photo: Onyx

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Subscription services — especially those for fashion and accessories — are a dime a dozen these days. But honest to goodness, some of them are actually useful. The best versions, whether they’re boxes of clothes, accessories, shoes, or something else entirely, are the ones that purport to solve a problem rather than just add extra clutter to your life.

To help you figure out which, if any, subscription services will actually save you time, money, or convenience, we’ve made a short list of the very best ones. Check them out below, and see the best subscription services for gifting here.

Rent the Runway Unlimited, $139

Who it’s for: People who love designer clothes but can’t afford or don’t want to buy them all the time.

Odds are you’ve tried Rent the Runway for a wedding or two (or at the very least, know some friends who have). But if you’re someone who a) has to dress up for work or go to a lot of events, b) spends a lot of money on clothes and then gets sick or them fast, or c) wishes you could afford to shop designers above your price range, then you should really consider the unlimited subscription. It’s $139 per month, which isn’t nothing, but you’re getting a lot in exchange.

Basically, you pick out three pieces at a time and can keep them as long as you want. When you’re done, you just send it back — you don’t have to wash or dry clean it. But the best part is that the list of 450 designers you can rent from are labels you probably can’t afford to buy on the regular: cool, expensive brands like Tibi, Veda, Opening Ceremony, The Kooples, Diane von Furstenberg, and on and on and on. So basically, you get to dress like you have a $3,000 monthly shopping budget for the price you’d accidentally drop on a blouse from Club Monaco.

Gwynnie Bee Monthly Subscription, $69

Who it’s for: Curvy girls who like to try new trends and want a lot of variety in their wardrobe.

Gwynnie Bee’s service is basically the same as Rent the Runway’s unlimited subscription, but for women who wear sizes 10 through 32. Plus-size shoppers are ridiculously underserved by the fashion industry, especially when it comes to trends — until very recently, it wasn’t uncommon for typical plus-size brands to be three or four seasons behind straight sizes when it comes to trends.

Gwynnie Bee knows you don’t care about what’s “flattering” and that you’d rather just get to try out the same trends as everyone else. Plus, the styles offered run the gamut from work clothes to date outfits, so you can expand your closet on all fronts. Top brands include Eloquii, BB Dakota, City Chic, and others.

Sock subscription

Richer Poorer Quarterly Socks Subscription Box, $28

Who it’s for: Anyone whose mom no longer buys their socks.

Real talk, Richer Poorer is one of our favorite underwear and sock brands. It makes a killer bralette, and the socks are exactly the right balance of cozy and cute, and not overpriced. The brand’s sock subscription box will drop three pairs of seasonally appropriate socks on your doorstep every three months. The current offering actually includes four pairs: a roll-top ankle pair, an embroidered ankle pair, and a two-pack of no-show socks (perfect for fall shoes like loafers). You can take their arrival as your cue to do a top-drawer check and recycle any hole-y pairs.

Panty box

Panty Drop Quarterly Box, from $35

Who it’s for: Literally every woman who wears underwear.

You know how you, like, always need underwear? And probably put buying new ones off as long as possible? There’s a surprising number of underwear subscription boxes out there — MeUndies, Embody Box, Frisky Britches, and Bandit, which is the same thing but for bras — but Panty Drop was one of the first and remains one of the best. It sends you three pairs every three months, so you never have to think about it.

The brand stocks up to size 6x, lets you customize by cut and material, and features great brands like Cosabella, White Rabbit, Hanky Panky, Commando, and Honeydew Intimates. You can opt for “Basic” ($35) or “Premium” ($65), but for the price difference, the brands featured in Basic are pretty amazing already.

Switch Monthly Subscription, from $29

Who it’s for: Those who like classic, luxury jewelry but haven’t inherited a collection.

Most jewelry subscription services out there consist of junky costume jewelry you’d probably never pick out for yourself. Not so with Switch, which buys you membership into a designer jewelry collection. You can opt for either one piece at a time ($29/month), two at a time ($49/month), or three at a time ($69/month) from brands like Chanel, Hermès, David Yurman, Céline, Eddie Borgo, Chloé, Givenchy, and more; the average retail price per piece is $500.

When you’re done with the jewelry, send it back and choose something else. Members can buy pieces at a discounted price; they also receive a $10 credit for every month they are a member to put toward a purchase.

BootayBag Monthly Subscription Bag, $12

Who it’s for: Anyone who likes affordable lacy lingerie. (So, everyone?)

Another panties subscription service, BootayBag (the names for all of these are so terrible, sorry), is worth calling out on its own. It actually might be better than Panty Drop, aside from the size options (it only goes up to XL, and sometimes it’ll sell out of sizes). For starters, the lingerie included is just really, really pretty; check out Instagram for a few examples.

Second, it’s $12 for two pairs every month, which is a pretty great deal for nice lingerie — not to mention the fact that it’s a little more fun to get new underwear every month. And finally, you can add a matching bralette to any box for $14. Choose “only thongs,” “never thongs,” or “mix it up” (a mix of the two).

Onyx Box Monthly Beauty Box, from $19

Who it’s for: PoC who can’t be bothered with a Sephora VIB membership (or just really like trying new products).

The first (and only) beauty box curated for black women, by black women, Onyx includes five or more beauty products per month picked especially for the needs of women of color: think highly pigmented lipsticks and eyeshadows, deep conditioning treatments for natural curls, hair combs and travel-size brushes, and more. Onyx also makes sure to regularly feature black-owned businesses like Mented Cosmetics and True Moringa. Each box has a retail value of over $75, and prices get cheaper the longer you sign up; if you subscribe for a year, you pay $19 per box.

Le Tote

Le Tote Bi-Monthly Subscription, from $69

Who it’s for: Lazy people who like a lot of variety in their wardrobe; pregnant women who don’t want to have to actually buy maternity clothes.

The OG clothing subscription service Le Tote gives you a style quiz to winnow picks for you in two separate, twice-monthly plans. You can opt for either three clothing items and two accessories at a time for $69, or four items of clothing at a time for $79. When you’re tired of it all, send it back, and a new tote will be sent your way. Anything you decide you love you can keep, and your card will be charged. The style and brand options are definitely a tier (or two) below the Rent the Runway subscription, but so are the prices. Still, there are some fun things in there, like an LT x Olivia Culpo collab and brands like Vince Camuto, Free People, and Philosophy.

Those who opt for the maternity subscription might be getting the better deal, because it’s already so hard to shop for maternity clothes that don’t look cheap or make you feel awful. The style is pretty similar to the regular subscription, with some brand highlights including Seraphine, J Brand Maternity, and Loyal Hana.

Boka Brush

Boka Brush Quarterly Dental Hygiene Box, from $14.50

Who it’s for: Anyone who’s using those freebie brushes from their dentist — especially if you’re only going to the dentist once a year.

While absolutely everything else on this list, maybe with the exception of underwear, falls in the “want it, don’t need it” category, a new toothbrush every three months is literally a necessity; that’s how often the USDA recommends getting a new one. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that most people don’t remember to buy a new one every three months (if you do, that’s impressive). Subscribe to a toothbrush subscription box, and all you have to do is open your mail. This one includes a fancy charcoal bristle brush, mint floss, and natural toothpaste. There are also kids’ options and an electric set (though it’s only compatible with Sonicare models).

Dia & Co. Styling Box, prices vary

Who it’s for: Plus-size women who are frustrated with wildly different sizing across brands and fed up with the options at their local mall.

Dia & Co. is like the Stitch Fix version of Gwynnie Bee — it’s for building a wardrobe of clothes you own, rather than renting them, for women who wear sizes 12 through 32. Where Stitch Fix is probably only necessary for the busiest ladies (or those who really don’t like shopping), Dia & Co. actually makes a lot of sense for two reasons: one, because so many plus-size brands are online-only anyways; and two, because Dia does the annoying math of figuring out how curvy sizes translate across brands (surprise, they can be wildly different). Basically, it streamlines the whole process (with free shipping!) to help you find stuff that works for you and your body shape.

You set your style and budget per piece when you sign up and only pay for what you decide to keep. You can see example boxes here.