So I’ve been feeling like I’m finally ready to start “getting my mojo back” after having Zeplin just over a year ago (I’m a late, slow bloomer, I know), and the whole subscription box trend has been tempting me for quite some time now. I have baby weight I’ve just started losing so don’t want to spend too much on clothes now, but new things do help motivate me towards looking better and I think some styles (like loose, flowy things and layers) should transition down with me just fine.

When shopping around for which style box/service I wanted to try first my priorities were 1) Cute clothes 2) Inexpensive ($50/mo or less was my ballpark budget) and 3) Fun!

I spent several days surfing and searching and reading review after review after review, and Golden Tote appeared to be the best fit. I signed up for in time for a late May box.


About Golden Tote:

If you’re not familiar, Golden Tote is a monthly fashion “grab bag” where you choose 1-2 clothing items from a list of options and then get 1-4 surprise items (from a different “secret” list), personally chosen for you by a stylist. New totes (meaning a new list of both optional and surprise items) are released on the first Monday of each month flash sale style: limited quantities, first come first serve. Some styles carry over if they don’t sell out in their initial launch month, but for the most part everything is new every month.

Totes come in two sizes: Small for $49 (2-3 items total) and Large for $149 (5-6 items total). Shipping is $9.95 per tote, free for orders over $149.

I ordered a small tote, and my total came to $58.95. I ordered it on May 26 (Tue), it shipped via USPS Priority Mail on June 4 (following Thu), and I received it June 8 (Mon).

And here’s what I got!

GoldenToteMay2015_2Exactly how it looked when I opened the box. Packed simply but nicely. The handwritten “styled for” sticker is a nice touch — thanks AY! GoldenToteMay2015_4

The clothes are all packed inside the tote and tied together with a stretchy little bow, which is another nice touch. It wrinkled everything up pretty good, but that’s to be expected I guess when you’re ordering clothes to be delivered in a tote bag (literally).GoldenToteMay2015_8Gray and white striped jersey tunic with lace and button details from Lime & Chili ($35?). I love it! It’s exactly my style — casual and comfortable but also feminine and a little bit unique. And it fits great. This was my surprise item and I couldn’t be happier! Question mark by the value because I can’t find this tunic anywhere online, so applying the most common retail value from GT’s boutique for similar.GoldenToteMay2015_11

GoldenToteMay2015_11Colorful Plaid Buttondown from La Reyna ($35) This was the item I chose in advance so it’s no surprise I’m happy with it. There was a white version that I originally preferred but it was sold out so I opted for this blue instead, and I’m glad I did! It looks great and the blue will last longer (i.e. “stay cleaner”) on me. It has a feminine fit thanks to some strategic seams, although it does fit a little on the small side for a Large.GoldenToteMay2015BlueJules Smith Stud & Bar Leather Wrap Bracelet ($65) This was another surprise item and while the style isn’t bad (the studs are a little too edgy for me maybe) I really don’t wear gold at all so for that reason it’s a bit of a bummer. I wasn’t expecting any jewelry though, so nothing lost either (and I might try swapping it on the Golden Tote Trading Group on Facebook).

GoldenToteMay2015_7In Summary:

This was my first Golden Tote experience and I loved it! Two great pieces for $30 each is not a bad deal at all. It is a bit of a gamble (especially for the small tote, where you only get 1 surprise to love or hate) but for me the “surprise” factor is a big part of the appeal/value. If you like a good portion of the styles they offer and are open to trying new things I think it’s a great way to get some new clothes you might not otherwise see/find/choose for yourself.

Total paid: $58.95

Total value: $135 ($35 shirt + $35 tunic + $65 bracelet)


Notes about Golden Tote:

– Golden Tote is not a standard subscription box service as totes must be purchased every month (it does not automatically renew every month).

– They draw from a variety of clothing brands so sizes do not always fit consistently (i.e. some run large, some run small).

– Totes are returnable on an all-or-nothing basis only — send everything back or keep it all.

– Sizes offered XS-L, they do not offer XL.

– You do actually get a new “Golden Tote” tote bag with each order. The design is different every month.

– Styles go FAST on “Tote Day” (what they call launch day, the first Monday of the month). The site gets a little slow and many styles/sizes sell out in the first hour or two. Depending on your personality either be logged in and ready ‘shop like the wind’ the minute the new tote launches, or wait until Monday night/Tuesday to see what’s left and browse with a little less urgency.

– There is a large and very active Golden Tote Trading Group on Facebook for selling and trading unwanted items — I highly recommend joining if only for styling ideas and the positive body image it promotes! Lots of regular women in all shapes and sizes posting photos in their GT clothing, and looking totally cute doing it.

– Additional ‘add on’ items can be purchased separately through the Golden Tote boutique — belts, handbags, jewelry, and some clothing.

– There is a small field at the end of the style profile where you can leave notes, special requests, and additional information for your stylist — make use of it! For example I let them know I have a long inseam (so hopefully they won’t send me too-short pants) and said I prefer stretchy/forgiving materials, tunics, and maxi dresses. Next time I’ll add that I prefer silver jewelry over gold.


Have you tried Golden Tote? What was your experience?


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