Is Amazon's new service 'Prime Wardrobe' really worthy your money?
The fun of shopping without the stress of going to the store.
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Last month, Amazon introduced a new service for Prime members: Prime Wardrobe. The newer Prime membership perk is a service that’s been available for a while through other channels. You may have heard of popular services like Stitch Fix and Trunk Club, which let you try everything on before you decided to buy or return them. But Prime Wardrobe solves one of my biggest gripes with try-before-you-buy services.
With boutique services, you’re generally getting an assortment of clothing chosen for you by a “stylist” and from a limited selection based on a few haphazardly answered questions. Prime Wardrobe, on the other hand, lets you browse through hundreds of different brands and styles and choose exactly what you want to try. It’s also free (though you do need to be a Prime member to use it), so I figured I’d give it a shot.
Step 1: Finding things to try on
Amazon has countless clothing options from thousands of brands, even wedding dresses. But it’s important to know that not all of them are available for Prime Wardrobe. The selection is limited to an extent To find eligible items, you can browse the entire site and look for the Prime Wardrobe logo as you shop (see above). Or you can visit the service’s landing page and browse through only eligible items to narrow your search.
I opted for the latter so I wouldn’t have to sort the wheat from the chaff, but I still had some hunting to do. Prime Wardrobe’s main page is organized by things like “Occasion” and “Style” and has options for men, women, boys, girls, and babies. You can also search by brand or by category, including clothing, shoes, jewelry, bags and wallets, accessories, and watches.
While I did hit a few dead ends where colors or sizes I wanted weren’t Wardrobe-eligible, I managed to find six things for my boyfriend and me to test out. You can get up to eight items in an order, but my total was already over budget and, on the off chance I wanted everything or failed to get my box back on time, I really didn’t want to put any more money on the line.
Step 2: Checking out and waiting patiently
The checkout process was painless and free as advertised. I did have to choose a payment method before I could place the order, but it looked like I could change the payment if I decided to keep anything and my order total was $0.00.
One thing that disappointed me momentarily was that, because you’re getting everything for free, including the returns, you don’t get to enjoy Prime’s free two-day shipping (arguably the best Prime perk). But it only took six days from when I placed my order for my box to arrive, so it’s not bad of a wait at all.
But Prime members, myself included, get accustomed to quick shipping turnaround, so keep this in mind if you’re ordering something for a specific event, like a dress for a wedding.
Step 3: Our box had a strange surprise
When my box arrived, I raced down to get it off my porch. I was excited to see what this so-called resealable box was all about. From far away, it looked like a normal Amazon box, sans the iconic Prime tape they use. I thought this was odd until I got to the box and realized the resealable part was built right into the box itself.
So, I dashed up to my apartment, cleared a space, and ripped the box open. We ordered a lot of shoes and only two articles of clothing, so we went through one at a time. All of the things I ordered for myself looked never-before-worn, and I really liked being able to try the shoes in my own apartment to get a sense of how they’d feel in real life.
The shirt I picked for my partner looked brand new in its bag, folded perfectly, tags all in place. But when he opened his shoebox it was immediately apparent that these shoes had been tried on once before. Considering we try stuff on all the time in stores that other people have worn, this isn’t a big deal in general.
But when we took the shoes out, we found a set of flamingo-covered water shoes tucked inside a pouch at the bottom of the shoebox. The working theory is that whoever had the shoes before we did stuffed them in the shoebox so it’d all fit into whatever they sent it back in and then no one noticed they were in there. It was definitely weird, but we got a kick out of it!
Step 4: The easiest return of my life
After all was said and done, we decided to return everything. I liked some of the shoes I tried on, and the Calvin Klein shorts I tried on fit perfectly, but I talked myself out of what would have been frivolous purchases. Instead, now that I know I like the fit, I’m keeping an eye on those shorts and waiting for them to go on sale to snag them at a discount.
The return process was super simple. You have seven days from the time your box is delivered to buy or return your items. I wound up getting somewhat of an extension, as the USPS (proficient as ever) claimed they didn’t deliver my package on time.
The order was marked as delayed on Amazon, so I couldn’t begin the return process. I'm sure I could have contacted them to clear it up, but I wanted to see if it'd affect the try-on period or not. My package got "delivered" a few days later and I got an email from Amazon stating that, now that my delayed package made it, my seven-day try-on period had officially begun.
I hopped into the app, checked the order, and was able to start my return. It was as easy as choosing between “Return” and “Keep” for each item. Then, all I had to do was slap the included return label over the original shipping label, seal up the box with the adhesive strip on the flap, and drop it off at a UPS store. No waiting for a refund, no scrambling to find packing tape or a working printer. It was surprisingly less stressful.
Should you try it?
If the idea of trying clothes before shelling out your hard-earned money appeals to you, and actually navigating a clothing store feels like a chore, then yes! You're already paying for Prime, and it literally costs nothing extra to give it a shot (unless you buy something). Plus, because the return process is so easy, there's really no reason you shouldn't do it at least once. Here are just a few ways you could take advantage of Prime Wardrobe:
- Find out which size/brand fits you best and then wait for a sale, like I did.
- Order the same thing in multiple colors if you can’t decide from photos alone.
- Push your style boundaries by testing out new looks in the privacy of your home.
- Try on clothes that look good online but are from unfamiliar brands or have varying reviews.
- Sample multiple outfits for a special event instead of taking a chance on one.