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What I’m Wearing This Week: Le Tote

Mary Zubritsky
ByMary ZubritskyJun 24, 2022 | 15 comments

Le Tote
3.6 overall rating
25 Ratings | 11 Reviews

TGIF! I know I'm old when this phrase takes me back to the days of watching Full House, Boy Meets World, and Step by Step Friday nights on ABC. I wanted DJ Tanner's hair, Dana Foster's attitude and to look just like Topanga.

The 80s and early 90s were an interesting time for beauty and fashion – from the blue, yellow and purple eye shadows to the puffed up and permed hair, leg warmers and thick, layered socks with high-top sneakers, and stonewashed denim everything – I'm surprised we bypassed this super fun decade and went right back to the early aughts in fashion trends again.

In the late 80s, I wanted nothing more than a closet full of Benetton, Guess? and Outback Red, 4" tall claw bangs (no matter how much Rave I used, they'd never stay up) and for any of the cute boys I crushed on to pay attention to me. Unlike the kids today, we didn't have social media and YouTube to tell us how to dress, do our makeup, fix our hair or talk to boys – so I'd have to rely on my monthly subscriptions to Teen Magazine, Seventeen and my bible, Cosmopolitan (I interned there in 2002-2003) for advice on EVERYTHING.

Maybe I should do an 80s-themed WIWTW? I'll see what I can find.

WHAT I’M WEARING THIS WEEK: Le Tote

Welcome back to What I'm Wearing This Week. For the newbies, every Friday on WIWTW I'll recap the clothing rentals I wore for the week. I’ll take you on a trip through my life, where I’m going, what’s missing in my closet, my current obsessions, what I’m excited to try, and maybe even buy. We’ll explore designers and trends, and a variety of styles and brands. And each week I’ll fill you in on why I chose each item, the total value of the rental compared to the retail price (as of today I've rented $2,295 worth of clothing on Le Tote), and more. For sizing reference, I am 5'11" with a 33" inseam and I weigh 140 pounds. 

Le Tote is a fashion subscription service that lets you try a new set of on-trend separates, dresses, jewelry, and more on a monthly basis. You can keep the pieces as long as you’d like or return them to receive a new set of items, depending on your membership. There are membership plans that include one tote per month to unlimited totes per month. Le Tote features brands you know and love like Tahari, French Connection, Rebecca Minkoff, and Rachel Roy, and there's also a maternity option. You can rent up to 10 clothing items and 5 accessories per month and the sizing options range from XS to XXL, or 0 to 16, but currently, there's no tall, petite, or plus-sized option.

Just like other fashion subscriptions, when I signed up, I went through an extensive style quiz to gather information about my preferences and complete my style profile. You'll add information like your measurements, current sizing in different types of clothing, looks you love, and more.

Le Tote offers free shipping both ways. Items you order will be sent using 2–3-day priority shipping, and ground shipping is included when returning items to the warehouse. Le Tote ships to valid residences, hotels, P.O. Boxes, and commercial establishments in the contiguous 48 States in the USA; however, they do not ship to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, APO/FPO, or Alaska.

This is a review of the Unlimited Plan with 5 clothing items and 3 accessories for $79/month.

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)

WHAT I RECEIVED 

 

This time my Le Tote products arrived in a plastic bag, and it wasn't very memorable, so I totally forgot to take a pic of the contents. All of the items by Ava, Adrianna Pappel, Noir, Tart, Gracia and Rebecca Minkoff arrived in great condition.

A little bad news though... Mr. HGL got a haircut last week, so he's been BUN-bathing at the window to stay warm and has avoided the couch. I also didn't really get to go out in my Le Tote shipment because I was super-glued to my desk writing a health profile for dogs which is why I had to skip my post last week.

THE GOODS 

Ava Gingham Sweater Dress, Retail Value $82, Le Tote $68, Ava Bee Studs, Retail Value $18, Le Tote $14

 

How I styled it: This dress is almost an optical illusion, and to keep in line with the lines on the dress, I wore it with a pair of Pierre Hardy strappy sandals that I hardly ever get to wear because they are just so painful and make me 6'4" tall.  I also wore the dress with a cute pair of Bee earrings from Le Tote that caught my eye because they remind me of Gucci.

Size and fit: Le Tote suggested I order the small, so that's what I did and the medium definitely would've been too big. Luckily, fit predictors are becoming more accurate and that's great news for everyone because sizing is all over the place nowadays. Since you can be an XS in Banana Republic and an XL Self-Portrait, how the heck are you supposed to know your real size anymore?

Anyway, this stretchy knit dress is a pullover design featuring an orange and grey gingham print and the bee earrings are crafted in gold-tone mixed metal with a post backing.

Mr. HGL's style tip: While sheath dresses tend to be a bit more business casual, this body-hugging design can easily go from day to night with the addition of an edgy leather jacket, a wide belt, oversized jewelry, and a pair of on-trend heels. Just don't step on my paw!

Condition: Great.

Honest review: Since bees and picnics go together like vodka and tomato juice, I decided to pair them. The dress reminds me of a tablecloth with a much better color palette, but it is quite comfy and it's a thicker knit, so you don't have to worry about buying Spanx or a slip. It's better suited for the office than your favorite local dive. 

Rebecca Minkoff Beaded Hoop Earrings, Retail Value $48, Le Tote $36, Noir Luxe Stacked Criss Cross Cuff, Retail Value $28, Le Tote $20

 

How I styled it: I wore these items with the cool cape dress I'm about to review.

Size and fit: The Rebecca Minkoff hoop earrings feature colorful beaded embellishments in gold-tone mixed metal, and they are 2" long and 2" wide. Noir Luxe's stacked, crisscross cuff measures at 8" circumference and while Le Tote says it's adjustable, that didn't work for me, so the bracelet kept falling off.

Condition: Very good.

Honest review: Um, I don't understand why Le Tote forces you to order accessories with your subscription. None of the jewelry I've received so far is any better than something I would've found at Claire's Boutique. They need to add a plan that lets you bypass this option because it just seems like a waste of time and money.

Adrianna Papell Structured Cape Sheath Dress, Retail Value $169, Le Tote $115

 

How I styled it: If you've been following my posts, you know I love capes, but they don't always love me back. Whether it's a coat, a jacket, or a dress, it can be a difficult silhouette to pull off because it's bulky and can swallow you whole. I've had a Valentino Cape Dress on my wish-list on The RealReal for months but haven't purchased it because I'm just not sure what it'll look like on me and it's non-returnable, so I decided to try this one on for size. I wore it with the same Pierre Hardy sandals because I like the lines, but I wish I had thrown on a belt to see what that looked like too.

Size and fit: I ordered the 6 and it's a good fit but a tad big on me. The material is on the heavier side and the cape is split in the back which makes it a little complicated when you're trying to move around, as your arms get weighed down.

Mr. HGL's style tip: While this layered dress isn't the most versatile design, you can dress it up or down. Simply switch out dressy heels for a pair of ankle or thigh-high boots, add a contrasting belt to the inner portion of the waist, throw on a statement necklace, or slip on a pair of elbow-grazing leather gloves in the colder months. Just avoid anything with Angora fur.

Condition: Brand new with tags. 

Honest review: I'm torn. I like the design, but the cape part can be a bit annoying if you're moving around so it's a design that's best for a cocktail party or a night out on the town. Also, the fabric felt quite cheap, even though it didn't really look cheap in person.

Tart Tie-Dye Tank Dress, Retail Value $98, Le Tote $68

 

How I styled it: This dress is not my style at all because it's very form-fitting and feels quite young for someone who's about to turn 45, BUT I bought it anyway. Yay, I made a purchase!

Here's the deal – I needed a lightweight, comfy, casual summer dress that I can throw on and go, go, go. I wore this dress with a pair of Ancient Greek sandals and the Louis Vuitton x Takashi Murakami Cherry Blossoms Satchel in this photo, but in public, I paired it with the Fendi Fendista Pochette Crossbody Bag so I can use it to cover my stomach whenever I'm feeling insecure.

Size and fit: Le Tote suggested I get the small, and while I debated following their sizing suggestion, that is what I ended up getting. I'm not sure how the medium would've fit, but this dress does come with an elasticized lining that falls halfway down the thigh and it does a pretty good job of sucking everything in. This pull-on design also features adjustable shoulder straps to ensure it's not too short on someone tall like me.

Mr. HGL's style tip: Burn it, grandma, or wear it with undergarments that don't show every lump and bump. Ever heard of Spanx?

Condition: Great condition. Didn't appear to be worn much at all.

Honest review: I kept it, so I guess that's a good thing. I didn't even let them know when I sent the package back so I'm not sure if I'll get some sort of discount or credit. We'll see!

Gracia Cut-Out Blouse, Retail Value $99, Le Tote Price $75

 

How I styled it: Cutouts are a top trend for 2022, and while they may show a subtle peek of skin, most of these designs are sleek, stylish, and totally fine for everyday wear. I paired this top with a dress by Self-Portrait which is no longer a dress!

Self-Portrait is one of my favorite designers, and when I discovered the girly, frilly designs in 2014, I ran out and bought half a dozen dresses. The skirt you see above was a dress, but the top portion was made of silk, and it fell apart from too much wear, so I asked my tailor to remove the top and create a skirt out of the bottom. Voila! Since it's also got a lacey, cutout design I decided to wear the two together. Is it too much?

Size and fit: I got the small and it was still a little large. This asymmetrical cutout blouse features puffed shoulders, buttoned cuffs, and a wraparound collar with a button closure.

Mr. HGL's style tip: If you decide to try a cutout piece, pick the body part you'd like to reveal first, and then look for a top, dress, skirt, or jumpsuit that shows a peek of skin wherever you're most comfortable.

Condition: Great condition. 

Honest review: This blouse looks better in pictures than it does in person. The material feels a little like neoprene, but a cheaper version and the cutout side of the blouse kept slipping off my shoulder. The cuffs were also pretty tight so if you've got biceps, you might be pulling a Popeye and popping off the buttons without even trying.

Noir Luxe Mixed Media Handkerchief Hem Dress, Retail Value $90, Le Tote $78

 

How I styled it: Since it's a pretty basic dress, I probably should've done more to dress it up, but I failed. I finally decided to throw on a belt and that seemed to help a bit.

Size and fit: I just realized Le Tote suggested a small for almost every item this week which is pretty cool considering I never would've gotten a small for myself, so their fit calculator is really accurate. This sleeveless, mixed media handkerchief hem dress is a lightweight, pullover design with flatting bodice darts in the front and back.

Mr. HGL's style tip: While the color reminds me of all the lettuce and celery she feeds me, this is a very versatile design that can be dressed up or dressed down just by adding a few accessories and switching out shoes. For the workday, add a lightweight cardigan, statement earrings and a pair of classic pumps. For nighttime wear, add a wide belt, strappy sandals, a leather biker jacket, a glitzy clutch and maybe even a cool hat like a newsboy cap.

Condition: Great condition.

Honest review: Meh. Don't really like the color or the design. Next!

DID THEY DELIVER? 

  • What items were most helpful and versatile to own this week to ensure I got the most out of my rental and completed the look I craved? I loved the Tart teeny-bopper dress so much, I bought it.
  • Did they meet or exceed expectations? I'm still wondering where they're hiding the rest of the clothes. Am I missing something? 
  • What’s the return process like? While they ship it in a branded Le Tote box or bag, they include a return bag that's pre-labeled so all you need to do is put your items in the bag, seal it up, send it out, and recycle the box. Easy! 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Two weeks ago, I mentioned how I filter through rental items based on the retail price and some of you thought that was smart, while others questioned why I would do something like that. If I were paying for these rental services, I would want to make sure I got my money's worth. What's the point in paying over $100 a month if the total value of your rentals isn't much more than that? Now for Le Tote, it's not really possible to filter like that simply because all the items seem to hover around the same price point – but on that note, how ironic is it that I've only purchased items from Le Tote?

Other rental tips and tricks?

  • Look at the previous renter's reviews and images, and filter through to see people who are built like you. Most women list their height and measurements, and sometimes their weight too.
  • Add your own reviews and images too!
  • Listen to the fit calculators. It seems in the past year they've gotten so much better at accurately predicting fit.
  • Before you try out a new designer, research the brand. While measurements aren't always available on the rental site, you can typically figure out how it'll fit you by checking out the measurements, product size guides, and fit predictors on sites like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and the brand's own site.
  • Keep adding items to your wish list. The more, the Mary-er! And on the day before your rental slot opens up, add the products you want the most to your bag so all you have to do when you wake up is hit the checkout button... or if someone already beat you to it, just add something else from your wish list.
  • If you want to be even more strategic, set your alarm for 11:59pm to check out at midnight on the next day to ensure you get what you want.
  • Rent an item that wouldn't normally be on your radar, or you'd consider purchasing. The point of rentals is to try something new!
  • Get out of a style rut and explore new designers.
  • If you rent something you absolutely love and want to purchase, do a quick Google search for the item first because there's a good chance you can find it for less elsewhere, and it might be new with tags too!
  • Pay attention to the material. Some are fine for summer, and some are much better suited for winter.
  • Rent the trends, don't invest in them. Trends come and go, and rentals are the perfect opportunity to give them a try and send them back before they go out of style. Invest in the timeless classics.
  • Don't take fashion advice from men. Seriously, they'll steer you away from billowy sleeves, oversized ruffles, empire waists, structured shoulder pads, bold prints, asymmetrical cuts, Selkie, or anything you find dreamy on shows like Bridgerton. Bodycon, miniskirts, and crop tops can be fun, but guys fail to understand that much of the time we dress for each other and not to impress them!
  • And finally, go out and adopt a pet bunny rabbit who has fashion sense like mine, but watch out for the Angoras. They can get pretty offended if you rent something that uses rabbit fur.

CAN YOU STILL GET THIS BOX IF YOU SIGN UP TODAY? Yes, all these items are still available to rent. 

VALUE BREAKDOWN: The 5 clothing and 3 jewelry items plan costs $79/month and so far, I've received styles with a retail value of $2,295!

What are your thoughts about Le Tote and rentals in general? Let me know what you think about this week's looks!

Starting at $79.00
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Le Tote is a monthly styling and clothing rental service. Fill out your profile, subscribe, and 3 garments plus 2 accessories will delivered to your door. Additionally, subscribers have the option to purchase the items they try: the cost is $50 for dresses, $30 for separates, $20 for necklaces an... read more.

Mary Zubritsky
Mary Zubritsky

If shopping were an Olympic sport, I’d be a gold medalist. And while my bank account often feels the crunch, I just can’t stop buying secondhand clothing and accessories, under-the-radar designer goods, stuffed animal unicorns (I have about 75), and toys for my pet bunny rabbit. After 20 years of city slicking in NYC and DC, I now have a car and love to tour the Virginia countryside looking for vintage shops, undiscovered wineries and breweries, historic sites, and Thai restaurants—I’m addicted to Thai food. I never leave home without a spare phone charger because I love horror movies and therefore have an irrational fear of being stranded somewhere with a dead battery.


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15 comments

Aarjullor

I thought you looked great in everything, as always. I’m so glad you bought the tank dress, I thought that whole look was fabulous on you! Those sandals are adorable. I must know what your skin care routine is. I’m just a few years older then you and your skin is just incredible! Ugh, makes me feel like a hag lol

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Mary Zubritsky

I was a beauty editor back in the day and tried all the lotions and potions and went back to Olay. I’ve been using the basic everyday moisturizer with 15 SPF since I was in my late teens and nothing special otherwise. I was also rarely in the sun for a good 15 years of my life after frying myself too many times in tanning beds in college and paying the price. Now, on the up-close pics I have a slight skin smoothing filter on my face so don’t believe everything you see. But my family also has really strong genes and everyone ages really well. I think it’s mostly genetics because I definitely do all the wrong things! I have pretty bad rosacea, so I’ve been on medication for that for years and I have very oily skin which is why I’ll sometimes use a filter because my skin looks really greasy!

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Tolin

If she were selling skin care products, then yes, I’d be upset about the filter. But these are posts about clothing, so what’s the harm? I don’t know Mary, but she seems to have a deep sense of self-worth, which is completely compatible with wanting to use a filter on photos. If you’re comfortable with being “au naturel”, that’s great, but that’s not the right choice for everyone at all times, and that’s fine. Do what makes you happy!

P.S. Mary, that dress looks amazing on you! I’m around your age and will continue to rock form-fitting clothing until I’m 90 if I want to.

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JoJoB

Yikes that is truly disappointing. A filter really? I feel like I’ve been duped by a tick tocker. There’s really no need for that and at almost 45 it’s just depressing to hear that. After all you seem to have been through I would hope that you realize your worth is not in how flawless your skin “appears”. I guess kudos for at least admitting to using it.

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Paige

Everything looked great on you. I especially loved the green dress and the way you styled it with the studded belt and chunky heels. Your skin looks amazing. And turning the dress into a skirt is genius. It’s nice to see reviews where someone puts their own style into the outfit and thinks outside the box. Very well done!

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Mary Zubritsky

I have a bad habit of trashing everything (thanks, mom), but with this dress, the skirt was so amazing, I figured there had to be a way to salvage some part of it. Luckily after a two-year search, I was able to locate an amazing tailor in Virginia who made it happen.

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Eileen Klinck

Any guy would swipe “yes” for you in the tie dye tank dress. Really pretty and sexy tight. Guys.

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Mary Zubritsky

I heard about it from a few guys who then told me I should only rent short, tight outfits. That’s actually why I wrote that.

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Caligirl

Missed you last week. That cape dress if fabulous on you. Great for the holidays.

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Mary Zubritsky

It’s a great dress for work, holidays and date night, but not for mid-June.

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Uhhhhg

A body shaming bunny. How hilarious.

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Mary Zubritsky

If only I could tap into his real thoughts and feelings. He judges all the time.

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Jody E

I really liked most of the outfits on you this week. Too bad no big events to use them. The cape dressed looked fab too.
I agree on the jewelry and shouldn’t be included if you don’t need it.
I want you to do a 80’s theme. That would be fun!

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Mary Zubritsky

I was living to work for about two weeks and hardly got up to walk around outside, but luckily things have calmed down and I’m going to events again. I’ll see what kind of crazy, 80s-type stuff I can find since I’m in a nostalgic mood.

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