There are monthly subscription services for basically everything these days, so it was only a matter of time before athletic gear got tossed into the mix. You may have heard about Fabletics, a monthly subscription service for fashionable workout apparel, but you may have some questions or hesitations about committing to signing up. I’m going to give you the rundown of everything Fabletics to help you determine if the service is right for you.
What it is: Fabletics features an online shop with a variety of workout gear including tops, leggings, sports bras, shorts, jackets, and even accessories. You can purchase individual products on their own, or you can choose to purchase a full “outfit,” which is a pre-selected combination of 2-4 Fabletics items carefully chosen to work together perfectly.
When you sign up, you take a short quiz that helps Fabletics determine which outfits are best suited to your needs, but you’re welcome to purchase any outfits, not just your top picks.
How it works: You can purchase items or outfits as a guest at their full price, or you can register as a VIP member, which gives you a discount on all Fabletics merchandise.
The catch? Once you register as a VIP, Fabletics will send you a message at the beginning of each month linking you to their new monthly outfits. You can choose to purchase an outfit, or, if nothing strikes your fancy, you can skip the month – but you only have until the 5th of the month to select the “skip” option, or your credit card will get charged $49.95 and you will be given an equivalent credit on your account to use at any time.
You can cancel your VIP membership at any time, but unlike other subscription services (like Birchbox), you need to call and speak to customer service; you can’t just cancel over the web.
As a VIP, you earn rewards points for each dollar you spend and for each product review you post. Your reward points can be redeemed for specific items in the Fabletics shop – there are a variety of reward item options at varying point levels.
Quality and Price: Fabletics gear is high quality and sturdy. It’s not quite Lululemon, but it’s definitely a step up from what you’ll find at Target. The prices are in line with that – you won’t be spending $100 on a pair of yoga pants, but you are looking at around $40-$60 for a pair of pants at the non-membership price. VIPs are looking at about $30 for the same pair.
Outfits run around $50-90 for VIPs depending on the amount and type of pieces included, but outfit prices increase significantly if you’re not a VIP – for example, an outfit that costs a VIP $79.95 is $139.90 for a non-member.
What are the outfits like?: Pretty much all outfits include a top and a bottom of some kind, whether it’s shorts and a tank or compression crops and a sweatshirt. Some outfits offer a third piece, like a sports bra or a jacket, and occasionally you’ll find 4 piece outfits with headbands or other accessories included.
Outfits are added monthly with new pieces and updated patterns. There are some standby items (like the salar capri) that is consistently available, but the colors and prints offered change based on the month. Other pieces are specific to a particular month or season and are unavailable after they sell out.
The patterns and designs are usually really cute and fashionable, but you do have to be mindful of fashion vs. function. Most fabletics pieces are intended for both, but they do offer “athleisure” pieces that might not hold up to intense activity. You’ll find that some months the new outfits are full of adorable and fun new ideas, while others are a little less exciting – but it balances out when you skip a few months but then have a month where you want all the outfits.
What I Like: The quality for the VIP price is quite high for Fabletics, and I’ve yet to receive a piece that’s a total dud. The website features a really useful (and active!) section of user reviews and fit surveys to help you determine what items will work for you and what size to select. The only bummer about it is that you won’t find any reviews on brand new pieces, so you have to take a chance. That said, Fabletics does have a very simple return process if you do happen to get something that totally doesn’t work for you.
The concept of pre-determined outfits is great if you want a little help putting together a look, but you also have the freedom to mix and match colors and patterns within the outfit you pick, so you don’t have to order an outfit exactly as is if you are more interested in the individual pieces than the overall look.
I really like how often Fabletics mixes up their colors, patterns and styles, and their pieces often have unique details that make them feel special. I like the freedom of being able to get the VIP deals a few times a year but not having a commitment to buy every month. I don’t have any problem remembering to skip months (Fabletics sends an email on the 1st of the month, which serves as a great reminder), so I’ve never run into trouble with having my card charged when I wasn’t expecting it.
What I Don’t: The reward system is just okay. It used to be that once you reached a certain amount of points, you could trade them in for a full Fabletics outfit of your choice. Now that points are traded for single items, it does feel like you get less for your points, and you don’t have as many options to pick from. I also find that the items available for rewards are often sold out in most colors/sizes, further limiting your options.
I hate hate HATE that you have to call to cancel, and I’ve heard that customer service can be a huge pain about canceling. I’ve also heard from people who had no trouble canceling, though, so it might just depend on who you talk to.
Bottom Line: Fabletics is a great service if you like variety in your workout gear and value the combination of style and functionality. However, if you’re not planning on taking the VIP route, the price might outweigh the novelty. And if you do take the VIP route, make sure you’re comfortable with the responsibility of checking in at the beginning of each month in case you want to skip.