My Review of the Universal Standard 2021 Mystery Box
Universal Standard is a size-inclusive (00-40!) clothing brand carrying a proprietary catalog of high-quality clothing in shapes and cuts that are engineered to feel good and flatter. They have a broad range of clothing to choose from: everything from basics to dresses, jeans to outerwear!
In February, Universal Standard announced a mystery box sale that would include 11 limited-edition Mystery Boxes each containing 3 pieces starting at just $55.00 (but valued up to $708.00)!
Each box is personally curated with a selection of best sellers & never-before-seen exclusives! This year is so good, you can only have 3. It’s only fair.
This is a review of the Dresses Box for $98.00 with 3 pieces valued up to $358.00.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About the Universal Standard Mystery Box
The Box: Universal Standard Mystery Box
The Cost: $55.00 to $198.00 depending on which box you choose
The Products: 3 pieces of clothing from Universal Standard. Universal Standard offers sizes from 00-40. You just select your size, and the items will be a surprise; but with emphasis on dresses.
Ships to: The U.S. for free.
Good to Know: This is NOT a rental service, nor a subscription, but rather a one-time mystery box purchase.
How does the Universal Standard Mystery Box work?
For this round of mystery boxes, Universal Standard offered 11 different boxes, each with 3 pieces in them. The cost of each box ranges depending on the types of pieces and fabrics you choose, and the value you receive will vary as well. This will be my third time around ordering a US Mystery Box (check out my reviews here and here), and since I have purchased several of their dresses on my own since discovering them (sign up for their emails- they constantly send great coupons and deals!), I was so excited by the prospect of a box full of mystery dresses! They did have a lot of other options this month, but since I am such a fan of their dresses, I decided to take my chances with this box.
Universal Standard Sizing
One thing that is a bit different with Universal Standard is their sizing. I love their ideas on Universal Sizing since it seems to be a bit more inclusive than most companies. I have never in my life been a size XS in my life, but since a 10-12 is what I typically wear, this is the size I wear when ordering from them. I have found them to be pretty true to size and even when my weight fluctuates a bit, I am always comfortable in this size range.
Mystery Box Survey
After submitting my order, I received a link to a survey that would tell the stylists exactly what I was looking for.
These are the questions that they asked on the survey. I can't quite remember how I answered everything, but I know I was dressing for warmer weather with short sleeves and I like to keep it casual, so my answers were along those lines.
Late Box and Customer Service
Just to give you a sense of the timeline, I ordered my box on 2/9/2021 and received it on 3/17/2021. That is quite a delay, and one that I normally would have been a little upset by, but one thing that US does so well is customer service! I received several emails (on 2/24, 3/4, and again on 3/9) letting me know that they hadn't forgotten about me and were still working on my mystery box. In fact, in the last email they sent before my box arrived about a week later they mentioned some extra goodies that I would receive just for the long wait and sent a 15% off coupon code towards my next order. I really think they went above and beyond!
In addition to the 15% off code in my email, I receive a bag a few days later that contained a small bottle of laundry detergent and one of their face masks.
Universal Standard Mask in Merlot - Retail Value $15.00 *see note
This face mask is a really nice cloth one with double layers of Jersey fabric and little slits in it that allow you to add one of the 7 filter inserts they provide you with. The mask has great coverage, and while it fits a little tight on me right now, I think it will quickly adapt to my face once the elastic stretches out a bit. Although, that may not be ideal in the long run depending on how much it stretches. Just a warning, this color did bleed when I washed it the first time in the detergent below, so it's definitely something you may want to wash separately!
*I did link to the newer version of this mask, while it seems we did receive their older version (clever way to get rid of excess inventory?) since ours does not have the adjustable straps, so the retail value is probably not quite accurate.
Soakbox Slim Set in Scentless, 3 fl oz - Retail Value $28.00
This laundry detergent is really cool, and it even came with a little mesh delicates bag, which is something I feel like I should be using more than I actually do! You mix a teaspoon per gallon of water and all you need to do is soak your garments in it then you wring them out and they are good to go. I just cut the portions down and washed the face mask in a small bowl and it came out clean! This is the unscented version, which I appreciated, but I'm definitely intrigued by the other scents they have! This little bottle is good for 18 washes.
Okay, so let's get to my actual box! At the top of my box was this card with a scratch-off section which revealed that I get a free Tee Rex if I pay for $10 shipping. What a nice way to start my unboxing! Now I am going to start with my "extra" item and then get to the dresses.
Foundation Camisole in Black, Size XS - Retail Value $42.00
I love that their extra item was something from their Foundation line, and it's something so basic that I think anyone can appreciate it. Even if you already have a black cami, this one is special! It has a light ribbed detail, is lightweight and thin, and it is so soft! It seems well made with adjustable straps, and while it does provide a great base to wear a top over it, it still manages to have a somewhat flowy feeling on your body. I really love this magical fabric which is a stretchy blend of 94% Modal and 6% Elastane. The long length makes it a cute option to wear underneath of a sweatshirt, too!
Foundation Short Sleeve Crew Neck Dress in Mocha, Size XS - Retail Value $72.00
My first dress is actually from their Foundation line also, so it features the same amazing fabric as the cami making it feel silky and smooth. It is definitely clingy, and I have to admit, I was a little nervous knowing I'd have to try this dress on seeing as I am probably at my most unhealthy weight right now with lots of extra wobbly bits and wide hips, but somehow I still felt comfortable in this dress and I didn't feel like it was skin tight. Something about US and the way they create their clothing makes it feel comfortable whatever your body type. This mocha color is really great and unique, too. I am pretty sure I had a pair of corduroy pants in sixth grade in this color and they were my favorite.
While I have a huge rear at the moment and probably won't feel comfortable wearing this dress until I get that back down to normal proportions, I think this dress could work great with a cardigan over it! This cardigan is definitely not ideal, but it was the only one I had whose length seemed to work well with the dress. What would you pair this with? I love hearing all of your great suggestions!
T Shirt Dress with Slits in Olive Green, Size XS
This dress is the one item that I just don't know if I can get down with. I love the color, the fabric is super soft and comfortable, not clingy, but flowy, and actually kind of thick and heavy, but it's just kind of blah and unflattering to me. It does have a lot of give at the waist, so I feel like this would actually be a great maternity dress. It has these slits on the side which add a bit of style to it, but I think what I really don't like about it is that line right down the center. It seems odd. I think this will become my house dress or "mumu" for those days when I just want something comfortable to lounge around in, unless you all can give me some styling tips! This one wasn't on the US website anywhere so I wasn't able to get any great ideas on how it could look. This is kind of like a heavier, thicker version of their foundation dress with wider ribbing since it is made from 88% Modal and 12% Elastane.
*I did reach out to customer service via chat and they said this is a new item, but they do not have a retail value on it yet.
Helen Liquid Jersey Shift Dress in Black Cherry, Size XS - Retail Value $88.00
This last dress is my favorite, but....that's because I already own it! In this exact beautiful black cherry color! When I saw this dress online I had to have it because I loved the color and it had pockets and I knew it would be comfortable based one previous dresses I had purchased. I love the way the back is longer than the front and it has that great gathered area at the upper back which makes it flow nicely in the back instead of being clingy. The neckline is nice and high which is perfect for dressing up with jewelry and of course, the mix of comfort and style is what I love most about this dress. So while it is a bummer to have received something I already own, if I hadn't already purchased it, I would have been super excited to receive it.
I did reach out to them because in previous years it was my understanding that they wouldn't send you items you already owned (actually purchased, not received in a mystery box) and they were super understanding and while I wasn't able to exchange it (the black one is calling my name!), they did offer me credit for a future purchase. While I appreciate the gesture, I probably won't be making any purchases before it expires since I am probably maxed out on dresses for the moment.
Was My Universal Standard Mystery Box Worth It?
I really love the clothing from Universal Standard because it has proven to be quality clothing that is comfortable, and it really does just make you feel good with the way it fits. As for the items that I received this round, 2 of the dresses were hits (even if I already owned one), and the other (the green one) I just don't know about still. So I'd say that 2 out of 3 isn't bad for a mystery box. They did deliver on styles I can wear in warmer weather, and the Foundation dress takes me just a bit outside my comfort zone which I like. As for the value, this box had a promised value up to $358, and the two dresses that I could locate retail values for came to a total of $160. So even if we valued the third dress at around $80, that brings us to around $240, which is definitely on the lower end value-wise, but still well over the $98 cost, so I still think it's fair, but not anything to blow me away.
What did blow me away though were all of the extras I received like the mask, laundry kit, cami, plus the discounts and mystery offer. Their customer service is excellent and they communicated the whole way about the mystery box which I appreciated, and it definitely makes you feel valued as a customer.
My Universal Standard Mystery Box cost $98.00 and with three items in the box (not counting any extras) that gives each item an average cost of about $32.67 which is definitely worth it for quality clothing and a great customer service experience.