Posted by on in POPSUGAR Must Have Box Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews, Subscription Boxes for Women | 56 comments

POPSUGAR Must Have CFDA 2016 Special Edition Box Review

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The POPSUGAR CFDA Limited Edition box was a collaboration with POPSUGAR and the Council of Fashion Designers of America. 50% off the profits of this box go to the CFDA Foundation – their goal is to strengthen American designers’ influence and success globally.


I’m loving the new branded packaging for POPSUGAR limited edition boxes!


My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).


The Box: POPSUGAR CFDA Limited Edition Box (Still Available for Purchase)

The Cost: $225

The Products: For the second year in a row, we’re proud to launch our limited-edition Must Have box with the Council of Fashion Designers of America. This fashion collaboration has little luxuries perfect for a relaxing day by the pool or a weekend filled with sun and music. Fifty percent of POPSUGAR’s profits from each box will be donated to the CFDA, in support of the CFDA mission to strengthen American fashion in the global economy.

Read our review of last year’s CFDA POPSUGAR Special Edition Box to learn more about this box.


Each Limited Edition box comes with a fold out card detailing the items included:



Lemlem Split Cover Up – Retail Value $198

(Other patterns on sale for $115)

This item was revealed as the spoiler for the box when the box was announced, and I’m really glad POPSUGAR took that approach. This is “one size fits all,” but definitely would not work for all sizes, so it was smart to let everyone know this would be in the box before anyone bought it.

I wasn’t familiar with this brand before the POPSUGAR spoiler, so I was happy to learn about their charity work:

Women are at the heart of lemlem. That’s why we’re so passionate about helping them flourish both within and beyond our studios. We proudly support our sister non-profit organization, The Liya Kebede Foundation, and its work to address the top health concern of women in Africa – access to life-saving maternity care. With its giving partners LKF aims to make childbirth safer by training midwives who provide care near where we source and manufacture.

5% of all sales and proceeds from special promotions support LKFs work to help African moms thrive. Learn more


This is a split hem tunic top. (It measures about 31 inches in length, so it is a top on my 5’7″, size 8 frame)

Here it is on a model to show you how it falls:


The fabric is very lightweight and sheer:


And here it is on my dress form (I’m working up the courage to start posing in clothing for reviews):



I ended up liking this cover up more than I thought I would based on the spoiler pictures. It’s not something I would spend $195 on, but I’m happy to have it at a deep discount, and it’s a pool/beach coverup that takes up very little space in a suitcase!

(Though, I think if my mom saw me in this she’d immediately tug down one side of it thinking she needed to straighten out the hem!)


3.1 Phillip Lim 10th Anniversary Limited Edition 31 Nano Second Pouch – Retail $195

This is exclusive to the POPSUGAR CFDA box! It’s made with high-quality materials – the leather is impressive!


And here it is with a gift card to give you a better sense of scale:



This item also falls into my “very nice but I wouldn’t pay retail for this” category!

To be fair, though, I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than $200 on any type of purse/bag! So die-hard Phillip Lim fans will likely be OK with this price tag!


Swell Shadow Water Bottle – Retail $32

This is another POPSUGAR CFDA box design exclusive! Before we even get to the bottle, how fabulous is this packaging:


Love it!popsugar-CFDA-2016-bottle

S’Well bottles keep drinks hot or cold for long periods of time, and perhaps just as importantly, S’Well has the best designs!

This design is from the up-and-coming accessories designer Lizzie Fortunato:



Derek Lam 10 Crosby Fragrance Collection Gift Set — Retail $95

I’m not much of a perfume wearer, but I’m IN LOVE with the packaging of this set. It is perfection!


Here are the different fragrance descriptions:

  1. Derek Lam 10 Crosby Silent St.: White Musks.
  2. Derek Lam 10 Crosby Looking Glass: Chinese Magnolia, Tonka Bean Madagascar
  3. Derek Lam 10 Crosby Hi-Fi: Pink Peony, French Narcisse
  4. Derek Lam 10 Crosby Drunk On Youth: Crisp Apple, Honeysuckle
  5. Derek Lam 10 Crosby Afloat: White Mimosa, Orris
  6. Derek Lam 10 Crosby Rain Day: Neroli Tunisia, Vetiver Haiti
  7. Derek Lam 10 Crosby Something Wild: Cedarwood, Vanilla Bean Madagascar
  8. Derek Lam 10 Crosby Ellipsis: Australian Sandalwood, Jasmine
  9. Derek Lam 10 Crosby Blackout: Osmanthus, Chai Tea Essence
  10. Derek Lam 10 Crosby 2am Kiss: Salty Wood, Crystalized Amber


I like quite a few of these scents, but I think my favorite is Rainy Day – I tend to like more unisex perfume/cologne.


And when I first saw the spoilers for this box, I wasn’t sure how big these perfume vials were. (I was hoping they were bigger than the typical perfume sample vial.)

Good news – they much bigger than a typical perfume sample:


And they are spritzers, not rollerballs.


Elizabeth and James Nirvana Dry Shampoo – Retail $28

This is the dry shampoo version of Mary-Kate and Ashley’s fragrance line, and I really like it! I’m considering this to be more of a hair perfume than a dry shampoo. (It’s described as a subtle sexy scent – aromatic florals mixed with rich musky notes.)

I love the design of this bottle too – I’m all about black and gold. (Though, the “flamable” warning on this label really takes center stage, doesn’t it?)


Illesteva Leonard sunglasses – Value $177,(colors may vary)

More great packaging! This is a sturdy and oversized case – I’m already impressed!


When I first saw the spoilers for these sunglasses, I assumed they wouldn’t work with my face shape and I’d be swapping them, BUT! It turns out I really like them on!


Here is a closer look at the frame:


Verdict: I think this CFDA box is an improvement over last year’s box. Overall everything feels classy, high-end and high-design. $225 is a lot for a box, but that works out to about $37.50 an item, and I’m happy with that value. This box definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I was surprised by how much I liked the items once I had them in my hands! If you like the design of the items in this box, I think you will also be very happy with the quality.

What do you think of the CFDA 2016 POPSUGAR Must Have box?


Written by Liz Cadman

Liz Cadman

Liz is the founder of My Subscription Addiction. She’s been hooked on subscription boxes since 2011 thanks to Birchbox, and she now subscribes to over 100 boxes. Her favorites include POPSUGAR Must Have, FabFitFun, and any box that features natural beauty products!

All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.


  1. I’m ISO the plain brown sunglasses. Have an XL 1951 in python bri-gris for trade. Thanks!

  2. If anyone is unhappy with the box, let me know– I’d love to buy it off you! Comment here 🙂

  3. I enjoy mostly everything in here and am glad I bought it. I really wanted the Illesteva sunglasses anyway, I originally wanted the really reflective ones and got the plain brown in my box, but the brown is actually really practical and they look great.

    I love the Derek Lam perfume too so just those two products make the whole box worth it.

    I have a ton of water bottles but no S’wells so I am glad to have one, but I do think the graphic is kind of fugly.

    I think the coverup is OKAY.. and should be good to throw on after the beach/pool.

    I like to display my products so that giant warning label on the dry shampoo is so weird, esp for a high end product, but excited to try this none the less.

    The Philip Lim pouch would be way cuter without so much text on it.

    • Display dry shampoo and other products? Why and where?

      • She probably just means leave them out on the counter in the bathroom. That’s what I do. But you have to dust the products that you leave out. I have a big granite vanity in my bathroom, so I have the space to “display” my products. It’s really just a fancy way of saying “not putting your products away”. Lol.

  4. If anyone is looking to swap their S’well bottle please let me know. I don’t see any listed on the swap page yet

  5. I don’t know why everyone is ripping on the cover-up, that’s the reason I bought this box, I love lemlem! Yes it is a thin material but it’s supposed to be. It’s a cover up! It’s very good quality and very soft, and they are great to wear. My only complaint is that the sunglasses I received are crooked (hopefully popsugar will replace them?). And the pouch, while cute enough, is kinda lame. For that suggested value, I would’ve rather had pretty much anything else.

  6. The products are gorgeous ! I would love to tray myself to this box.

  7. I gotta through some love out to this box! I got mine today, and I really like it. Everything feels classy and is very high quality. I LOVE the cover up! I think the mismatched stripes and uneven hem are cool and make it a unique piece. I will say it’s definitely not “one size fits all” though, so it was smart for them to use it as a spoiler. I wear between a size 8 and 10 and the fit is perfect. It might fit a little looser on a smaller size or a little more snugly on a larger one. The pouch is super luxe, and I love the “Stop and smell the flowers” graphic. It’s large enough to fit my phone, credit cards and a lipstick so that works for me. I often stash smaller bags like this in my day bag if I’m going somewhere after work so that I don’t have to lug my big bag around later. The Elizabeth and James dry shampoo is not your average dry shampoo. It smells delicious, and Nirvana Black (I got Black, but I think White is one of the possible variations) is one of my favorite scents. The sunglasses are fatastic and will probably replace the Chanel pair I’ve been wearing. I’ve been intrigued by the Derek Lam fragrances ever since I heard about them. Thrilled to get the entire set, and that packaging! Never had a S’well bottle, but I love the design and shape of the bottle (it’s high quality, insulated stainless steel) and am excited to try it. I agree that the box is a bit pricey, but it feels current and fashion-forward to me and if you like the design of the items I do think the quality is definitely there.

  8. Love all the comments, especially the helpful husbands! Also appreciate the review. So overpriced tho. I can’t believe these sell when all of the items, if not better quality pieces, can be found everywhere for much less than msrp and it seems no one likes the entire box.

    I’m not familiar with this box, but thought someone mentioned a portion of proceeds go to charity? It seems like another sales gimmick as I select my own known charities, and believe the charity approach shouldn’t be used to push people into spending. After overhead, so little ends up going to them anyway, vs sending $ directly to the charity of choice.

    I saw the cutest Swell bottles at Target yesterday for $24. Have to try one; hopefully they’ll go on sale over the summer.

  9. This box is the reason I will never, ever buy one of their special edition boxes. It seems like they just toss the label “limited edition” on something and then justify the ridiculous value of the item. I’m still shaking my head over that small makeup bag/pouch they’re valuing at $200. NO WAY.

    Sorry, that pouch value has me all ranty 🙂 But I guess that’s how they jack the box value up to make it look better than it is, imo.

    • I agree. I would pay max $60 for the mini leather pouch, and only if the leather was butter soft. I don’t sub to PSMH, but if I had any interest in this the”limited edition” was easy to pass. I like the glasses and coverup… but I can shop for those myself. The price tag was not justifiable with my budget.

  10. If you want to try out the DEREK LAM 10 CROSBY Vial Fragrance Set SIZE 10 x 0.067 oz, Sephora has it. It’s a smaller set for $30.00.

  11. Those sunglasses are divine.
    I’m meh about everything else.
    Except the S’well bottle. S’well bottles are the best. Not exactly a designer “find” though.
    I still can’t bring myself to pull the trigger on a $225 box.

  12. Ugh. Thank goodness for this wonderful blog so I can make informed decisions about purchases that would or would not appeal to me (I figure if something sells out, I wasn’t meant to have it, or I will get it on swaps). Love that some proceeds go to CFDA, even if they did not pick my choice for their winner(s) this past year :^(

    Sunglasses are such a personal item based on face size and shape and with no way to specify something from something like 3 shape choices that you could choose at checkout, that’s tough as those would be a fail for me. I am OK with items such as perfume being personal because it is a “surprise” in boxes, and I think they did nice curation for including a collection so you can blend to your taste (when I get scents I don’t like I usually use them as potpourri refreshers, rarely is something so disagreeable to me it can’t be used in this way). The PL 3.1 bag looks like a free gift with purchase for buying something else from the line, it may be leather but it isn’t striking me as luxe (it would have been more luxe to me to have been plain black with the text only showing on the inside).

    But that coverup. I get it, this is a fairly expensive item for what it is, and those in the know would “know” you had on a fairly expensive/trendy coverup, but for those not in the know, (and even for me who is now in the know) they would see this item as a rag.

    • Annnnddddd…I just found out the coverup is dry-clean recommended, so it looks like, and probably is going to fall apart with first wearing/washing…my husband just came in the room and stated, “that looks like a worn out item I would use to wash the car.”

  13. I just want to put in a word of encouragement for modeling the clothes! I know some people have had less than kind words about the boxes, but everyone has been really nice to Haley when she tries on her outfits. Of course, she always looks fabulous, but I’m sure you would too. I would be just as shy as you are, but I fully support some fashion bravery!

    • I second that! 🙂

    • third that! I love seeing the clothes and accessories on people.

  14. Have any of you contacted PopSugar for a larger size replacement for the coverup? I did on Friday as soon as I opened my box. It fits me everywhere (size L-XL usually and 14-16 in numbered sizes) except the bust . My fiance kept saying “Oh I’m sure it will be fine.” Well I finally put it on and he looked up and said “Ok it’s really too small in the chest,” so it’s definitely noticeable the way it stretches the fabric and smooshes. Anyway, I heard back from them on Monday and they said they’ll send me a bigger one but even when I wrote back, they wouldn’t give me any information about when, which I was kind of bummed about. Just wondering if anyone else had the same experience.

    • I have had nothing but bad things happen WITH PSMH. I cancelled after the 1st box (which is what I signed up for). After I got the May box , the NEXT DAY I emailed them on the site I was directed to to CANCEL. I double checked my account to see if they changed my status from active to cancelled. So, no problem,WRONG! I got an email saying my next box was on the way. The NEXT DAY the package was delivered. I have not opened it and contacted PSMH. They took 4 days to acknowledge me. So, they did email a label for Fed Ex, taped up the box, & have been waiting for Fed Ex, it will be a week soon. Andy at PSMH said that they were making an exception for me to pay for FedEx. But had NO PROBLEM tapping into my credit card.. I am frustrated, and I think they really have junk. Cheap stuff u get at flea markets. Low Class to me. Good luck cause I sure need it.

    • Yes, I’ve done the same.. I actually told them before I even received mine that I knew it wouldn’t ever fit me! They had me on a list, but I still had to wait to see the one that came in the box first. Then I contacted them, I don’t have a delivery date either..?

  15. Everything is extremely overpriced and for $225 I would expect everything to be full sized. Unimpressed. I think I’m officially over PS boxes.

  16. I agree that the curation is better this year. I do appreciate 50% of the proceeds going CFDA. But it’s not tempting at all. Personally $225 is too much to spend on products that don’t thrill me – I would rather spend that money on 1-2 products I love. Glad others like it tho!

  17. This box is nice and I love popsugar curation. What I don’t understand is why isn’t it more fashion related. I just don’t think the items are representative of fashion designers. I think Racheal Zoe is more fashion forward.

  18. Even though these items aren’t to my personal taste, I think they did a much better job this year of incorporating some bigger name fashion designers and putting them front and center. The wallet looks like a promo piece though-I dislike prominent logos on anything-and unfortunately, I agree with the other commenters who have said that the coverup looks worse in person. The awesome thing is that because the box didn’t sell out right away and many spoilers were released, hopefully the majority of the people who purchased did so with eyes wide open and will love their items!

  19. I thought the coverup was a bit of a joke when I saw the spoilers, but now that I see the pictures up close, I think it’s really nice. I love how thin the material is – it’s very chic, and exactly what you would see at high end resorts – all those rich people trying to act like they don’t care about how they look! Still, not regretting that I passed on this….

  20. “One-size-fits-most.” I must definitely NOT be in that category, lol! It barely fit over my chest and wouldn’t come down any further. I removed the stitching from the middle to open it up like a vest. I’d think I’ll wear it with a white tank or bodysuit. Still cute!

    • Seriously awesome idea turning the cover-up into a vest – such a great make-it-work solution! If you don’t mind me asking, what is your usual size? I’m debating the box and wondering if there is any chance the cover-up might fit over my ample busom. Thanks!

      • I usually-okay, ALWAYS, lol-get my basic t-shirts from Old Navy, but if it’s a number I range from a 16 to a 20. My chest isn’t humongous, 44D, but I’m tall, 5’11, so buying clothes can be difficult. That’s why I stick to what stores I know can work for me. I hope that helps.

    • That’s a genius solution, Francesca!

    • Did you let them know you needed a larger size? I did right away! They may be able to get you one

  21. I’d love the perfumes, the pouch and the sunglasses case. The bottle looks plastic (I’d prefer metal or glass) and the cover up is a joke (too sheer, uneven hem looks like a mistake and seams are poorly finished), it reminds me of what those annoying beach vendors sell for $10. I’d consider buying the box for $100 maybe? Or even less.

    • I have a Swell bottle from Birchbox and I love it! It is metal and it does keep drinks cold for a long time (24 hrs) and hot for 12 hrs, plus its very stylish and slim fitting. Mine has a wood grain design and I really like these cute eyeglass print on this bottle. I am not into the beach cover up, plus I worry about the fit. I would like to see it on a normal person. I would want the Swell bottle, but that is about it. I like the sunglasses, but I have so many. I don’t really wear perfume, but I do like that set, I just really don’t need it or have space for it. I do see the value for the box and I agree it is better than last years, but I am glad I passed.

    • Bottle is metal, but it only holds 9 oz’s…..

    • Thank you ladies, metal sounds a lot more interesting!)

      • Just wanted to chime in and mention how awesome S’well bottles are! I personally can’t imagine having much use for this smaller size (seems like you’d have to fill it constantly imo), but I have the 17oz version and I’m obsessed with it. I brought it on a family trip to Disney World in the middle of July and it kept my drinks cold all day…I put some ice in the bottle along with the diet coke I was drinking, and despite the bottle sitting in my very thin backpack all day & being warm to the touch on the outside, the ice still wasn’t fully melted by the next morning!

  22. If the box was a bit cheaper I would be interested. The clothing item is what kills it for me…I agree that it was good to release it as the first spoiler bc as a plus size woman I kew off top the box would not be for me bc the item was a high value item that I couldn’t use off the bat. I love nirvana perfumes and have both scents but I have no need for dry shampoo as I have extremely dry kinky curly hair. I think if you can use the items the box is decent.

  23. As always, your review makes me like the box more than I did when spoilers came out. And I wouldn’t be able to pose in clothing for reviews-especially knowing that some things would just look horrible on me, so don’t worry too much about it 🙂 I’m completely fine with you using the dress form

    And my mom and grandma would completely be trying to “straighten” the cover up too!

    • Haha thanks Randi! 🙂

    • I agree. The dress form works fine for me too, Liz, please don’t feel pressured to model something unless you want to. Thanks for the helpful reviews!

      • Glad to hear the reviews are helpful – thank you! 🙂

  24. I’d be interested in the pouch…the sunglasses will likely not look good on me, so it would be too much of a gamble…don’t use dry shampoo…the coverup is too short for my taste…I have way too much perfume, but it does look luxurious…already have a swell bottle (large one). So, kinda glad that I didn’t spend $225 on this one. That being said, I purchased the Summer PS LE box, so I hope it’s not a dud (after the winter one being a dud for me – whole box up for swap).

    • I bought the summer one too,lets hope its a good one…..I bought the resort box this year and I was not impressed…..and this one was just too expensive,seeing I was not interested in half the items

  25. Lol, I work for a chemical company, and those symbols (called pictograms) are required on all aerosols now, but I’ve never seen them so prominent! And they messed up, they’re supposed to be black with red diamonds, not gold! This box is way too high fashion for me. I do like the packaging though.

  26. If anyone wants to sell their box please let me know at Id also be interested in individual pieces, especially that pouch 🙂

    • the box is still for sale on the website.

      • Thanx!

  27. Love it! I COULD NOT stop thinking about this box so I purchased one. If only they let us pick which variations we wanted that would be awesome as I understand the sunglasses and the dry shampoo have different options that could be in each box. Also note to Popsugar I’ve been saying this for years if they would have more variations in the boxes I’d actually buy more than one.

  28. If this box was 100.00 like most of their special boxes than yes…..but there is no way I would ever pay 225.00 for this box

    • I agree with this. I could think about doing this at $100, but that’s simply TOO MUCH MONEY!

      I always love the reviews, Liz. This one confirms this box definitely wasn’t for me!

  29. Happy I skipped this one. I’m shocked at how cheap looking the cover-up looks. It looked thicker in the spoiler picture.

  30. Everything looks much nicer than I was expecting, except the coverup. That actually looks worse. Still, if this box were ever to be discounted, I would consider getting it for the sunglasses, pouch, and perfume.

    • Agree 100%. I don’t mind the dry shampoo either.

  31. Seems over-inflated prices.

  32. The perfume samples! I love perfume but never finish whole bottles of them; samples are the way to go for me.

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