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Influencers love this men's clothing subscription box—but I was very disappointed

There's nothing special about this fashion service.

a folded overshirt, a packaged white T-shirt, and folded blue jeans from Menlo Club Credit: Reviewed / Kevin Cortez

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As someone who never deviates from his personal style, I’m skeptical of clothing subscription services. Sure, the idea of a package full of random goodies arriving in my mailbox makes me happy. But a package full of clothing that I may not like? Not so much. Many style subscription services promise to specially curate looks to my own preferences, but I can't help but feel like I'm better off just buying clothes for myself.

However, I keep hearing about Menlo Club, which is one of the most popular men's clothing subscription services on on the market. It sends its members a monthly box of contemporary menswear. Could it make me a believer? I was willing to give it a shot.

How does Menlo Club work?

As a member of Menlo Club, you receive two to three pieces of curated apparel for $60 a month based on your personal style preferences. Before signing up, you take a four-question quiz to help determine your ideal style, fit, and size. Along with your monthly box, you receive a 25% off coupon redeemable at Menlo House, Menlo Club’s e-commerce site. You can pause or cancel the service at any time.

Menlo Club is owned by Five Four Group, a company whose umbrella of fashion retailers includes New Republic, Five Four, and Grand Running Club. Menlo Club only sends clothing from these internal brands. You can purchase most items found in Menlo Club’s boxes directly from each brand’s respective site, or at Menlo House.

What was inside my Menlo Club box

My order was placed in May, yet Menlo Club sent me its February box. This could have been a way to move stock that was lying around. Inside were three items: a basic white tee ($38), a button-down long sleeve shirt ($52), and a pair of indigo denim jeans ($65). This particular package was inspired by Hugh Grant’s look in the cult British movie Notting Hill, which I thought was a neat idea.

What I like about Menlo Club

Credit: Reviewed / Kevin Cortez

The clothing I received from Menlo Club: An overshirt, jeans and a basic white T-shirt.

Signing up for Menlo Club is like purchasing a value meal, in that it supplies its members with a variety of goods at a reasonable price. You receive a diverse range of items—chore jackets, canvas shoes, T-shirts, sunglasses, socks—at less than retail price. It’s convenient for men who would like to expand their wardrobe over time or try out different clothing items they may not purchase themselves. (For instance, I wouldn’t necessarily try on the overshirt if I saw it at the store, so I appreciate the opportunity to test something new.) Menlo Club is also a great service for men who dislike shopping or don’t have time to shop.

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What I don’t like about Menlo Club

Let's start with the Meyer Long Sleeve Overshirt from Five Four, which is undoubtedly the star of February’s Menlo Club package. The unique sage color was a nice surprise—it’s not one I would normally choose—but, unfortunately, that’s about the only thing I liked about the shirt. The cotton twill fabric feels thick, rough, and overly starchy. The shirt fits relaxed around the chest and yoke, but is tight in the arms—moving my elbows causes the sleeves to pull at my shoulders, so it felt awkward. Plus, after turning the shirt inside out, I saw fraying on the sleeves and shoulders, which indicates questionable construction.

T-shirt with stitched logo, overshirt with fray and loose stitching
Credit: Reviewed / Kevin Cortez

Loose stitching is abundant in Menlo Club's clothing.

The basic white T-shirt from Melrose Place fits fine, measuring 22 inches in length across the chest for a large. But its construction feels off. The stitching along the sleeves, collar, and hem is very loose, while the cotton itself isn’t soft. Adding to the roughness of the tee is the stitched-in tag, which scrapes the skin below the neck. I think this shirt would be okay to wear while lounging home, or as an undershirt, but it’s hard to believe that this Sunset Jersey Tee retails at $38. The T-shirt is advertised as a luxury product, but I’m not impressed.

the inside of denim jeans with fray and pilling
Credit: Reviewed / Kevin Cortez

The stitching of Five Four's denim jeans showed fray and pilling.

Lastly, the five-pocket dark indigo Rollins Slim Fit Jeans are on par with mall brand quality. They’re made of a stretchy 98% cotton and 2% spandex blend and they fit snug around the thighs and calves. However, the stitching, quality, and craftsmanship are noticeably poor, and they feel even lighter in weight than the overshirt. After flipping the jeans inside out, I saw fraying everywhere, and when I cuffed them, I discovered a random piece of fabric stitched around the ankle seams. Aesthetically, these look like decent jeans, but I doubt they’ll last long.

Clothing quality aside, I’m not sure why I took a survey for this service in the first place. I was sent slim-fit jeans despite preferring a straight-leg fit. I’m a large in tops, but the overshirt’s sleeve length and tight shoulders prove sizing is also inaccurate. I was under the impression that Menlo Club curates outfits for its members, but it seems like it’s just getting rid of overstock from its own brands.

Is Menlo Club worth it?

Based on my own experience, Menlo Club is fast fashion disguising itself as a useful, upscale service. The prices for individual pieces (a total retail cost of $155) do not match the expected quality or the cost of the box ($60). As much as I like the idea of receiving curated pieces of clothing on a monthly basis, I felt let down by the apparent lack of craftsmanship.

That said, if you’re someone who finds it tough to shop for clothes, Menlo Club might be an option to consider merely for convenience. Otherwise, for basics similar to what Menlo Club offers, you’re better off visiting J.Crew or Gap.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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