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Universal Standard Mystery Box – How I Scored $300 Worth of Clothes for $75

Universal Standard Mystery Box

My Review of the Universal Standard Mystery Box

Universal Standard is a size-inclusive (00-40!) clothing brand that focuses on high-quality clothing in shapes and cuts that are engineered to feel good and flatter. They have an amazing range of clothing to choose from: everything from basics to dresses, jeans to outerwear! In February, Universal Standard announced that their annual mystery box sale had begun! Read on to see what I got in my mystery box.

 

About the Universal Standard Mystery Box

The Box: Universal Standard Mystery Box

The Cost: From $50 to $175 depending on the ‘theme’ you choose!

The Products: 3 pieces of clothing from Universal Standard. Universal Standard offers sizes from 00-40. Available in the following categories: Tops, Bottoms, Dresses, Luxe, Petites, Athleisure, Classic Style, Bold Style, Premier, and Surprise Me.

Ships to: The US for free.

Good to Know: This is NOT a rental service, nor a subscription, but rather a one-time mystery box purchase.

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

How does the Universal Standard Mystery Box work?

There were a few different boxes to choose from, and honestly, this was a hard choice! I ended up selecting the ‘Surprise Me!’ box because I felt like it would be the most open-ended. After selecting my box, I processed my order. This was straightforward and exactly like buying any item across the site in terms of the checkout process. In about 2 hours I received an email with a link to a questionnaire regarding my likes, dislikes, and other preferences:

 

It was a pretty minimal investment of my time. I simply selected 3 colors I like wearing, 3 I prefer not to, and let them know I have no allergies when it comes to fiber content. Easy!

I also made sure to add a few things to my wishlist since the team at Universal Standard looks through your order history and wishlist to make sure they are sending you items you like and haven’t already ordered.

Another item to note: this promo was SO successful that the team got a little behind on shipping dates. I waited a few weeks for this box to arrive! While I was antsy, I was more than willing to wait for what I was hoping would be a great deal and the personalized service that comes with someone thoughtfully hand-picking what goes inside my shipment.

My Universal Standard ‘Surprise Me’ Mystery Box

I was actually super nervous about what might arrive in my box. I don’t do a ton of clothing reviews and what if I hated what I received? This was also my first time shopping with this brand, and their size chart is totally different than other stores (but in a really great way)! I have to admit, the thought of something not fitting or looking terrible and then being all over the internet made me more than a little nervous. I am a picky clothing shopper who is going through a revamp of her personal style (less boho, more minimal, well-made classics), which is asking A LOT of a mystery box…

My box arrived with a notecard specifying who had a hand in selecting my items.

There was also a note about an extra 4th item being included as a thank you for my patience.

Want to see what I got? Let’s go!

Brooks Overalls in Slate – Estimated Value $120.00 (similar here!)

I have always wanted a pair of chic overalls, but usually, I feel pretty silly when I try them on. Because of this, I don’t own a single pair! I added the Olivia Denim Overalls in Black to my wishlist and crossed my fingers that maybe, just maybe, these were the overalls I had been looking for and they might make an appearance in my box. Instead, these very similar slate grey ones appeared inside! These cute overalls were from a Danielle Brooks collaboration a few years ago and though they are not in my comfort-zone black, the slate grey is totally gorgeous and very wearable! They also had loads of stretch but still felt fitted. The width of the legs is one thing I would change, but that is an easy hand sew alteration for me. Luckily, they look adorable cuffed, so I can wear them even without slimming down the legs. They also are fitted around the bum which I think is what I had been previously missing in other styles I had tried on. I think I really like these!!

Foundation Long Sleeve Crew Neck Tee in Heather Grey – Retail Value $50.00

This pretty grey top was an item straight from my wishlist. I am a fan of a lovely heather grey and find the look very classic and versatile. The US foundation line is designed for layering, and this top is fitted, thin, and SO soft. Like… soft enough to sleep in! I paired it with my new grey overalls for a minimal look and my favorite pair of (also grey) Sasha earrings. The look feels a little ‘hipper’ than I actually am, but fake it ’til you make it right? I plan on wearing this top a lot this spring, especially under some of my sleeveless dresses.

Short Tee in Black – Retail Value $40.00

This was probably the item that terrified me the most when I opened the box. It looks SO cropped! And it was short-sleeved? These are two details that normally nix a purchase for me. With trepidation, I tried it on. And, of course, I loved it! Though it is cropped, I wear really high rise jeans exclusively, and this shorter length actually defined my waist beautifully. It was a big change from the oversized tops I tend to prefer. The fabric is very soft and stretchy but feels a lot more luxe and durable than any of my other tee fabric tops. I feel really cute in this tee, and it is something I NEVER would have even added to my wishlist. Everyone in the MSA office complimented this one too, which made me feel even more confident.

Seine High Rise Skinny Jeans in Distressed Black – Estimated Value $90.00 (other washes and colors here!)

Speaking of high-rise jeans, my last item is a pair! These arrived in the 32-inch length (I prefer my inseam closer to 27-28) but a quick cuff made them wearable and even chicer. The distressed wash is subtle and hole-free (thank you!) and I like how the cuffs show off the lighter reverse of the fabric. The denim has loads of stretch but somehow manages to hold its shape long term. They also fit like a dream!

Was My Universal Standard Mystery Box Worth It?

Absolutely. Though $75 is a risk, I found each of my 4 pieces to be totally wearable. My box was worth $300 total which is quite a deal for such high-quality pieces. As someone who has always looked to services like Frank And Oak with longing (their size chart is limited in comparison), this was a perfect alternative. It was also a stellar introduction to the quality I can expect from this brand and the overall fit. I am really thrilled to have added 4 quality basics to my closet for such a great price.

Though I think this promo is only once a year, you bet I will be partaking next time and likely buying multiple boxes! I also am really eager to give their 1:1 Virtual Styling service a try since I am loving the idea of a face to face styling sesh from the comfort of my couch. It might just be the perfect way to learn how to style my new pieces and add a few additional basics to my closet!

Value Breakdown

My Universal Standard Mystery Box cost $75. Here is what I paid approximately per item:

  • Brooks Overalls $30.00
  • Foundation Long Sleeve Top $12.50
  • Black Short Tee $10.00
  • Black Jeans $22.50

I used a few guesstimates for the retail prices of some items that are no longer on the Universal Standard site, but I am confident that they are pretty accurate based on the prices I could find them listed for on other sites.

Alternatively, each item had an average cost of $18.75.

Would you like to see more Universal Standard content? Have you ever tried their 1:1 styling service

Written by Megan Kirkland

Megan Kirkland

I love natural/vegan beauty products, Korean skincare, unique jewelry, and weird candies from far away places. When I am not waiting for my next exciting box you can find me painting or taking photographs of interesting people. I never leave home without pug hair somewhere on my shirt and a bold lipstick on my smile.

Comments (53)

  1. You look great! 🙂

  2. I got the dress and bottoms box ($350 value ea) —

    Dresses box rocked it. Got Mary dress ($160) — my top choice, Rachel Ruched dress ($140), and Hallie T-shirt dress ($70). Knocked it out of the park.

    Bottoms box was okay, but I’m busy about those IRL as well. Cigarette pants ($120), plated mini skirt ($150), and Ceecee midi bias skirt ($110). The Ceecee skirt was sized the typical US way and I got a size 2 which initially fit me tight. I selected size 3XS from them… contacted to inquire about a potential exchange, and they denied me. I’m okay though because I lost 5 lbs in the last couple of weeks due to working out more (grad school weight I put on the last two years) so it fits fine now.

    Overall… happy with the boxes. I don’t think I’d buy anything at retail value, but would definitely consider doing this again.

  3. Can someone please explain this company to me? I shop at Neiman’s and some boutique shops, and I’ve never heard of it. It sounds like a restaurant equipment supply place to me LOL. ( I realize it’s not).

    What I’d like to know is- How do so many of you know about this brand? Why is their sizing so odd? Is it a sort of wholesale site that sells to department stores? If not, then how do you know about it?

    I hope these are not weird questions, but I’ve never seen any ad or mention of the company or anything else. Just a total blank to me. Also, everything looks extremely basic and drab that I’ve seen thus far. I wouldn’t wear any of it because it has an ” industrial warehouse” look to it. Like something a thrift store in a good neighborhood would sell for $5 per piece.

    • They have a few stores in big cities but it has mostly spread by these sort of blogs and word-of-mouth – they have a thing where you can give a free t-shirt to friends and that helps spread the word. I believe they are only in their own shops and online. Their stuff is primarily wardrobe basics but people love it for the quality and the size inclusivity.

      • They’re at Nordys as well.

    • These are really interesting negative questions you pose. Why don’t you go to their site and learn about their mission statement in regard to the fashion industry.

    • They started out as a plus size brand, eventually branching into being entirely size inclusive, sizes 0-40. They are known for high-quality, minimalist basics. They also have a Fit Liberty program, which means if your size changes within a year of buying an item, they will allow you to exchange it for another size, for free. If you’re genuinely curious, check out their site, it tells the story better than I can.

    • It’s a popular brand among female fashion groups. Sounds like you stick to the same-old same-old. 🤷‍♀️

      They made their name for being a body positive brand with very generous returns and exchange policies. They celebrate women of all shapes, sizes, and colors while making bomb clothing.

      • I don’t stick to the same old. Not at all. I think this brand of clothing is frumpy looking in general. Nothing I’d wear, all the photos have been so drab and boring, and wondered what the appeal is.

        I’m a former model and I’ve always stayed with trendy, chic clothing that is custom fitted by alterations for my tall height and slenderness.

        I’m not going to be unkind, but the issue of the sizing being their own ” hook” certainly does lead to some interesting conclusions on my part. 🙂

      • that is unkind, thanks. maybe stay out of comments for plus size things.

      • “I’m not going to be unkind, but the issue of the sizing being their own ” hook” certainly does lead to some interesting conclusions on my part.”

        And pray tell, what would those be? Because it certainly sounds like you want to be unkind.

      • Clearly you’re far too glamorous for US, so let the rest of us regular gals discuss and enjoy our wardrobe choices.

      • Wow.

      • Baby, everyone is a slender model on the internet. Hop along in your Juicy Couture velour suit. It’s the 21st century. People try to make conscious shopping decisions and support companies which are making positive impact in the fashion industry.

      • You’re perspective sounds so old-fashioned. As a former model, you most likely can fit into sample sized clothing, probably without custom alterations. I am a size 2, but only 5’2 so I struggle with the long inseams favored by high-end designers & have to get things altered; I can sympathize with women who feel excluded by certain brands. Also, were you a model in the 80’s? I think fashion has evolved beyond a Pretty Woman montage at a prestige department store. True fashionistas are exploring contemporary sites such as Shopbop & FWRD, which carry high & mid-priced brands with inspiring styling. Please leave your archaic opinion in the past

    • It looks like you really lucked out! Those overalls are amazing!

      I got the bottoms box and 2 of my 3 were duds. A pair of the high Seine jeans were perfect for my partner; but we also got a pair of jeans with a super short inseam (we’re both tall and I only had tall jeans in my wishlist). I also stated a preference against pattern… and received a CeeCee skirt in the snake pattern shown in the box. I want to love it bc the fit is so good, but the pattern is so so not me — size 16 if anyone wants to trade a solid color one for it 😉

    • Thanks for asking these questions, and, yes, for having your own point of view! It’s so tiring to read the same comments over and over, most of which pander to this site.

      Fashion is all about judging and choice, so I’m happy to read as many opinions as possible.

  4. Thanks for the review, I wanted to share how absolutely thrilled I was with my “Mystery Box” surprise me option, I’m beyond thrilled and still in awe, I got the Alpaca Cocoon coat ($300+) an puffer bomber jacket ($120+) and a lilac tee rex tshirt. I also got the tops mystery box as well, I got Rio blazer, canna top and oversized sweater, again exceeded my expectations
    This is my 2nd year doing thing mystery boxe. Universal Standard continues to to be my favorite brand.

    • These sound like over the top amazing boxes!! Super jelly of that cocoon coat! <3

  5. I got two petite boxes and was pleased with them. I got two dresses in each box, plus one skirt and one pants, I like to think they did look at my wish list because I didn’t want any t shirts and they seemed to know that. I do wonder why some people got extra items and some didn’t. I didn’t get any extras, nor any kind of notecard. But I really can’t complain since I got what they promised. My Moro pocket Ponte pants fit like a dream. I’m glad I didn’t get overalls but you really look cute in yours!

    • Aww, thanks Julie! I have always wanted a pair so I am also pleased. 🙂

  6. I also didn’t realize I should set up a wish list.

    I bought the athleisure and the top box.

    The athleisure arrived first and was perfection. 3 black pieces and all three fit. I was amazed.

    The top box was disappointing. They had a section on the questionnaire where they asked about fabrics. I marked mine down but 2 out of the 3 tops had those fabrics and so they weren’t wearable for me.

    I messaged them and they sent me a $25 off coupon for their website. The cheapest thing on their website was $50. I didn’t want to spend an additional $25 for a top and messaged them back saying that wasn’t good enough. They sent me a “free” t-shirt. I’m happy with 2 t-shirts for the original $50.

    If they hadn’t asked which fabrics we had allergies to, I would not have ordered the box. My stupid skin has issues. 🤣

  7. I didn’t get the box, I Was tempted to but not knowing my size and fit was too much of a gamble. Anyway. just here to say every piece looks great on you!

    • Thank you Izzie! I had some major scaries worrying about things fitting and looking nice, but totally lucked out. 🙂

  8. 27-28” inseam is petite, did you order petite box? Just wondering since the lengths are so long.

    • No, I didn’t order a petite box because petites don’t fit the rest of me usually. I just love a cropped jean! No worries though, the cuffs on these totally work for me. <3

  9. There were 3 items in each selection and they sent an extra item in the box to make up for the delay. So I received 3 extra items for 3 orders but I ordered 5 selections. I received a refund for one box because they sent the wrong size and didn’t have any left in the right size.I’m glad someone else missed the wish list. I didn’t catch that at all. About half of what I received worked. The sizing wad really off on about a third of the items runiing both large and small in the same size. Worth ut still but don’t expect more than half of it to work.

    • Sorry about all the typos!

  10. I got a petites box, and got 4 items, all black – the Mira dress, which is like a long sweatshirt with an extra pair of sleeves that make a belt – it’s odd but so comfortable and I’m wearing it now, also a knit knee length skirt that fits well but I’m going to have to work on the visible panty line, a less casual dress that will be great for work (someday), and a pair of high waisted skinny jeans that fit, so so well. All of it just a little different than my usual style but I’ll wear all of it. I’ve been eyeing that cropped top and I think you’re selling me on it.

    • I am still shocked at how much I liked the cropped tee. Who am I? Aren’t their jeans the best?!

      • They really are – I haven’t picked up the jeans before because the length options don’t match my usual preferences but I’m definitely sold on them now.

  11. Everything looks great on you. Thank you for your review. I ordered 3 boxes and loved everything I received. I also got a pair of overalls in denim which was outside my comfort zone but love them. My favorite item was a pair of cigarette pants in black. The fit and fabric is amazing. I probably would have not ordered on my own but now I need another pair. Mystery boxes help me to try things I normally would not.

    • That is exactly why I love mystery boxes too, Connie! I wouldn’t have reached for most of these items in a store, but I ended up loving them. Glad you are also in the overall club!

  12. I ordered the classic style and premier boxes. I feel silly. I didn’t know you can set up a wishlist. I didn’t receive any card or packing slip. So idea what came from what box. I received two blazers in black, jeans, two dresses and several tops. Only one thing is a miss and that’s this blue dress with an uneven hem. I was disappointed in receiving two similar items so I emailed them and they sent me a $75 code.

    I wonder why I didn’t get a packing slip or card — I guess it’s because they were rushed?

    • I don’t know that anyone received an itemized slip. The only info in mine was the little postcard. Glad they helped you out with the similar items. I have only heard great stuff re: their customer service.

  13. I got the petite box and got 3 black items and a pair of jeans in a navy that is so dark it almost looks black! Great quality clothes, but I’m disappointed at the lack of variety.

  14. I wish I got the box but I’m on a low-spend 🙁

    Universal Standard clothes fit me so well. I live their surprise boxes. Still wear the dresses and shirts I got last year.

  15. I loved my box, too! I got the “Athleisure” box with a bonus fourth item.

    I got:
    • Knockout bike shorts in black (48.)
    • Cooper jogger pant in black (98.)
    • Core legging in merlot (80.)
    • Cropped twist top in off-white (couldn’t find on their site – I’d estimate 50. based on their other styles)

    The quality is really great and the fit it right on. Such a great deal for $60!

  16. I got the tops box and nothing fit – all too big (and I did use the size chart) and mainly fabrics that require an iron or steamer. For me it was a huge miss and I wish I hadn’t spent the money. I got caught up in all the hype on MSA. It was my 1st experience with the company and I should have known better than to order from a place without prior knowledge of how their clothes fit me. Learning lesson, I suppose.

    • I was afraid that would happen to me.

    • Did you email them? They have some of the best customer service I’ve ever experienced…I’ve been shopping with them for years.

      • Not OP, but I did email them about potential exchange based on the “positive experience” people had in the past, and this is their direct messaging to me:

        “We’re sorry to hear that you aren’t in love with all of the items in your recent Mystery Box order. We genuinely hoped the gamble would be worth it, and in these surprise pieces you would find something new and unexpected to love!

        Because our Mystery Boxes were final sale we are not able to process any refund or exchanges on these items.”

        Expect that to be the standard response from now on.

  17. I got a turtleneck and a cardigan in blue. A white button shirt and a long sleeve shirt in a cranberry sort of color. I loved it all! I had never ordered from them before and loved the quality!

  18. I got the dresses box, and two out of three were black when I said I prefer colors and patterns, and one was the awful Ren Faire reject pirate looking Rodarte collab dress from a year or two ago. I’m going to try to salvage something wearable from the mass of ruffles and ruching and sweetheart neck but oy… the Rodarte collab is the only thing Universal Standard has ever made that I truly dislike. Just my luck I got that dress! I was really hoping they would save that stuff for the Bold box option.

  19. I swear all of us who did the “Surprise Me” box got those Seine 27″ jeans 😀

    My “big ticket” item was a red “Simone” dress along with 2 tees. The dress was a miss but I’ll use the other pieces.

    • I had no idea they would send any survey and was terrified by the thought of all pieces in colors I’d hate. Oh well. Looking forward to next year!

      • Ps – Megan you look great in those overalls! (And everything else!)

      • Thank you! <3 <3

  20. Can someone list or send link to how many items are supposed to be in each box?

    Specifically I’m looking for details on
    Surprise Me
    Tops
    Bottoms
    Petites
    Premier Outfitting

    Thank you!!

    • Hey Linh! Each box should have three items. It looks like 4th items were included in random boxes.

  21. Love the overalls! You look perfect in everything.

    • Aww thanks Megan! I am really pleased.

  22. What a cute box! I got the tops only box and it was a real snooze fest. A long sleeved black tshirt, a long sleeve black sweater and a yellow tshirt. Like I know they are all about basics, but I said I preferred lots of colors and patterns and got such basic stuff. At least the quality is really nice, but I definitely wouldn’t have paid $50 if I had seen the contents ahead of time.

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