Fabletics is the online subscription athleisure line launched by Kate Hudson in 2013 that mimics the styles of Lululemon products but for a much more affordable price. At first glance, the products claim that their retail value is about the same as any Lululemon product- but there's always a catch, am I right? The deal with Fabletics is that if you subscribe to be a VIP member, you get ridiculous discounts and supposed savings. I'll go over how Fabletics works, my experience with various aspects of the company and the products, and why I ultimately canceled my membership with the brand.
How it works
If you go to the Fabletics website, you'll begin membership by taking a style quiz. One of the services that Fabletics offers is that outfits will be curated for you by a stylist based on your responses to the initial quiz. Products and outfits suggested ought to represent your size, style, and functional requirements. A collection of new "outfits" is updated every month, but you are not forced to choose any of these particular styles as you can roam freely through the website to find a product that you feel suits you well.
Once you either chose to buy an outfit (usually composed of two to three items) or a single item, proceed to checkout, pay, and your new products are shipped.
Most of the benefits and discounted prices only come with the VIP Membership which I will explain below.
With the VIP Membership, you get up to 50% off retail prices, gain points that you can later redeem for small items (they only started this recently), accrue a store credit, and cancel at any time. But, as with everything, there's a catch. Since this is a subscription service, you are expected to buy something every month- kinda.
When your new outfits are collected and open to view on the first day of each month, you can browse/select one that you want to purchase or look at individual items under other categories. If you don’t shop or “Skip the Month” by the 5th, your credit card will be charged $49.95 on the 6th until you cancel.
That charge can be used as a credit to spend or save. What they don’t tell you is that if you build up a few monthly credits, you can only use each "$49.95 credit" one purchase at a time. So even if they have taken $90.90 out of your bank account, you cannot spend it all at once.
You may say, "Oh well just make two separate purchases then." Buuuuut then you run into issues with hitting the minimum price to qualify for free shipping- and the shipping price was ridiculous. Plus, when you get your package, it’s in a non-descript black plastic bag that is usually crammed into your mailbox.
I always used to get compliments on my Fabletics leggings and tops. With mesh details and cool cut-outs, there was nothing not to love. High-waisted styles gave just the right tightness to feel controlled but comfortable, and every pair of leggings gave me that "hugged" sensation. Styles and color schemes rivaled those of Lululemon for a fraction of the cost. Sounds great- and it was.
As time went on, the styles were almost all patterned with odd splotchy and bright colors or large, overbearing prints that didn't match anything. Even when new styles were just released, they never had my size in the few colors that I liked or any that were the right length for my short little legs. It came to the point where I was desperately searching for a few styles that I half-way liked and then I would click on them and hope that they had my size (which they usually didn't). I had rarely had these problems when I had first signed up. Needless to say- I was no longer impressed.
Why I canceled
The new styles may work for some other ladies, and if you can rock it- props to you! But Fabletics' new patterns and styles just weren't for me and didn't fit my style anymore.
The style changes along with the sizing headaches, and the fact that $50 was being taken out of my account whether I received a product or not, were all factors in my decision to cancel my VIP Membership.
In addition, the owners of Fabletics started all these other lines for men, kids, shoes, bags and ahhhh! There was pressure to buy from these other lines and to save here and there and everywhere or combine this and that and wooooo...just too much going on. I don't have kids, or a guy I buy clothes for, and I do not need any other incentive to buy shoes, clothes, or purses- I'm already fighting those urges. :)
I also started seeing ads for Fabletics everywhere offering new members these ridiculously good deals. That's great and all, but Fabletics didn't really offer any deals like that at all to maintain current members. Even with the emails I received, there were these ridiculously good deals on all these things that no one wanted, had awful reviews or were only in odd sizes. It became so gimmicky to me and I personally didn't feel like a valued customer.
The cancellation Process
Once I decided to cancel, I tried calling and had a hard time working through the menus to actually talk to a person. So I turned to the live-chat feature that pops up on the website.
My biggest concern was that I had two member credits and I wanted to know if they would be voided with no refund if I canceled, if I needed to try to spend the store credit before I canceled, or if I could get that money back without having to buy something I didn't like.
Once I explained my questions to the agent on the live chat, she of course suggested that I use my member credits on products before canceling and that she would give me some percent off or something and I remember responding, "can't you just put the money back on my card? The current styles just aren't for me and there is nothing that I'm interested in that you have in my size." Luckily, the agent responded that she would transfer those credits back to my account and warned that it would take a few days for the money to show up.
I will have to say, whoever was helping me with the live-chat seemed very concerned with making sure I had a positive interaction and apologized profusely for the reasons that led me to cancel. She handled this very well. I walked away a happy customer because I honestly thought that the money that was automatically charged those few months that I forgot to skip was long gone and she did the right thing of returning it to my account. I was impressed with this aspect of my experience.
Bottom line...All in all, I would recommend signing up for the VIP Membership IF you browse the available styles and like them, and if you are willing to really keep up with your "skips" and membership credits. For me, the new direction that the company is going with their styles isn't a good fit and I personally struggle to find styles that I like in my sizes.
I did make many satisfying purchases with Fabletics over my time as a VIP Member and for a good stretch of time, I was a very happy customer and fan of Fabletics products. Unfortunately, the styles are changing and I have gotten so busy and tired that I constantly forget to "skip the month" when I don't see anything I like and it just isn't something I personally think is worth the money for me right now. But for many of you, it may be the perfect time to sign up! It just depends on your style preferences and your ability to regulate your spending on the site.
They have lowered the shipping cost if your purchase is under the minimum, they have started the membership points program, and they have increased their customer service team and reduced phone wait times. Plus, while I was verifying information for this article, I browsed through the new July styles and I'll have to say, I really like a lot of the new items. So perhaps Fabletics is trying to improve and maintain their older clientele while also appealing to other, new clients with other styles. All I can say is that I wish the company all the best and I hope that they can regain lost customers and expand into new areas of fashion.
I hope that this helps you make an informed decision about becoming a Fabletics VIP Member and that you find an athletic wear line that is best for you!