I tried Savage X Fenty–and it isn't exactly worth the hype
The collection may excite Rihanna fans, but the membership price model is tough to take.
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I ended up reviewing Rihanna-backed lingerie brand Savage X Fenty because, well, I was game to do it. As the managing editor of the lifestyle verticals at Reviewed, I oversee our fashion coverage. When style editor Kevin Cortez pitched that he wanted to review the Savage X Fenty menswear line, I offered to be the womenswear tester. (I prefer not to ask freelancers to review underwear unless they pitch us with their desire to do it.) I like Rihanna as a singer and respect her as an entrepreneur, I enjoy lingerie at least as much as most women, and I live in loungewear, so why not?
What is Savage X Fenty?
Savage X Fenty launched in 2018 in collaboration with megastar Rihanna, née Robyn Fenty. Its emphasis is on inclusivity of all body types, with items modeled by people of all ethnicities and sizes. Its pricing structure is based on a membership model, somewhat like workout brand Fabletics, a venture with actress Kate Hudson. Savage X Fenty sells lingerie, underwear, loungewear, and pajamas in women’s and men’s sizes XS to 3XL.
How does Savage X Fenty work?
The membership model is perhaps its biggest differentiator and could be a benefit or a detriment, depending on your perspective. For just under $50 a month, shoppers can buy in to the brand’s Xtra VIP program. This reduces the list prices of every item on the site by up to 25% or even more if you’re making your first VIP purchase, as well as grants early access to new releases and exclusive access to purchase special-edition clothing boxes curated by Rihanna herself (supposedly). Members may return unwanted items for free and may pay for purchases using the installment plan Afterpay.
The monthly membership cost functions as a store credit while you shop. It automatically charges your card on file on the 6th of the month, unless you opt to skip a payment no later than the 5th. The credits don’t expire, meaning they roll over from month to month if you don’t spend them. However, you cannot get a refund on unused credits once they are charged, nor can you apply unused credits toward the next month’s membership—once the money is in the pot, you’re buying some Savage X Fenty gear.
All shoppers, members or not, get free shipping if their cart is over $49 and discounts on bundling items. All prices listed for Savage X Fenty’s pieces prioritize showing Xtra VIP discounted rates. TheMicrofiber Balconette Bra I tested, for example, could cost $44.95 for non-members or $34.95 for Xtra VIP members, and new members making their first VIP purchase can currently get two bras for $29. More important to know: If you’re a first-time shopper, the site automatically adds a membership to your tally, which means you’ll see the extra-reduced prices in your cart, but you will also be enrolled in the program and charged $49.95 the next month, unless you remember to cancel. If you just want to buy a couple things to try the brand out, you must X out the “Add Xtra VIP Membership” in the cart—this will prevent enrollment and adjust the prices up to their nonmember level. Once you’re a member, you may cancel via the site or by making a phone call.
You could say that Savage X Fenty’s membership rewards the megafan for their commitment to buying up Rihanna’s duds—but it could be a cash sink for the unsuspecting casual shopper.
What are Savage X Fenty bras like?
Like many brands these days, Savage X Fenty aims for inclusivity in its sizing. My smaller-than-average band size (30) isn’t always available, so I was pleased to see it among the options on the site. Still, I requested the brand send me a review bra in either 30D (my actual size) or 32C, and I received the latter size of the Microfiber Balconette Bra in solid black. These are considered “sister sizes,” as the bra cup letters go up when the band size goes down, meaning the cup size should be identical with the difference being in the band length. (For the record, this bra comes in 30D but there was “low inventory” when I checked the site, so that explains that.)
Regardless, the 32C fit fine—adequately snug around the band on the tightest notch that I felt supported, with underwires that extended widely enough to the sides that they didn’t cut in, as I have often experienced with underwire bras in the past. The cups are maybe a titch too small, creating a mark in my skin, but not so much that they created a noticeable “double bubble”—and I’m sure I’d have been swimming if I’d gone up a cup size.
I wore the bra for a morning, right out of the package. I’m not sure if it was because I’m not used to wearing underwires—I prefer wirefree styles from Aerie—but I was aware of my bra, futzing with the placement of the straps and cups periodically. (It’s a good thing I work from home.) It’s not that the bra was uncomfortable, it just wasn’t comfortable—the best way I can describe it is that it felt stiff against my body. By about midday, I’d had enough, changing into something else. I wondered if some of the rigidity could have been from manufacturing fabric treatments, so I hand-washed it as indicated on the tag and wore it again. No change.
About a week after my two obligatory wearings, I was getting ready to go out and needed a black bra that worked with a wide scoop neck top. Being a low-cut balconette, the Savage X Fenty bra filled the bill, so I tried it on. About 15 seconds later, just long enough to see that the cut would’ve worked with my outfit, I shrugged and thought, nah, I’m not wearing this thing. I swapped for an Aerie Real Sunny wireless push-up bra and headed out.
What are Savage X Fenty underwear like?
I was also sent the Floral Lace Thong in black, which coordinated with the bra even if its textured lace didn’t match the bra’s smooth microfiber appearance. This item is not exactly designed for comfort, with its scalloped edges and woven floral details, but it wasn’t scratchy or stiff, as lace undies can be.
It fit true to size, and the brand claims that 40% of the fabric’s nylon fibers are from “pre-consumer” recycled materials, so that’s cool if you seek out clothing made with eco-friendlier practices. The brand also highlights the “rose gold-tone” X charm sewn to the front center, but I could’ve done without the branding. All told, the thing is pretty, though I noticed some small fraying after two washes and wears, so I’d expect its lifespan to be fleeting.
What is Savage X Fenty loungewear like?
Loungewear should be first and foremost comfortable to wear while lying around. From the get-go, I was dubious that the Forever Savage bralette and Forever Savage legging combo would pass muster. First, the all-black set I received is made of nylon and spandex—in other words, swimsuit material. My first thought upon opening the package was, “Who wants to lounge, let alone sleep, wearing plastic?” (That said, fleece is also technically plastic, so perhaps I was being harsh.) Still, as I live in the Caribbean where daytime temperatures are in the mid to high 80s, I put off trying this potentially sweaty ensemble until the first coolish morning (high 70s). Upon later perusal of the site, I noticed some of the other colors are listed as being made of a blend of cotton, modal, spandex with a “power mesh” lining for support—I can’t speak to the comfort or fit of these items.
The bralette felt a little small on me, but that’s par for the course—in S-M-L sizing, it’s not uncommon for the cups to runneth over if I get my usual clothing size XS. In this case, there was less overflow and more compression, which I didn’t mind, apart from the cups’ edges leaving marks in my skin after a couple hours’ wear. Curiously, if you buy this bralette in “plus” sizes, the design is completely different, with much wider straps and a slight front overlap of the cups—I might’ve preferred this style myself. The other odd thing to note is that the overlong care tag on the bralette had to be removed so it wouldn’t dangle out (though it’s designed for removal—it even says so on the tag—with a single sewn loop to snip). For what it’s worth, the care instructions here are easy, as this set is machine-washable.
Even before I pulled the leggings on, I worried that the over-wide, 1½-inch Savage X Fenty-embroidered elastic band on the very high waist might dig in, but luckily I didn’t find that to be the case. The band itself lands entirely above my belly button, around the base of my rib cage—probably a little higher on me than most people, because I’m short-torsoed for my 5-foot-5-inch height. I’m not used to wearing anything this high-waisted, and I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't find it more binding, once I got used to the slightly compressive feel in general.
I would say the fit was true to size, aside from the fact that the legs are insanely long. I have a long inseam for my average height, and these leggings bagged and bunched around my lower calves and ankles (both from length and from being cut too large, width-wise). This would be less of an issue if the left leg—and only the left—didn’t have horizontal, appliqued black stripes along it, which caused the lower half to pucker because the loose fabric sagged over the stiffer stripe material. All that extra fabric also gathered in my knee pits when I sat in a chair, digging in and eventually causing me to sweat. I yanked the legs down toward my ankle and ended up cuffing the leggings—not a cute look, but it got rid of that extra material (and covered most of those appliques on the left leg). I was shocked by how much fabric I folded up to make these ankle-length on me—a full 4 inches! On the other hand, friends 5-foot-9 and above: Rihanna wants to sell you some leggings.
If loungewear is not super comfortable, it should be cute. But between the super-high waist and the shiny fabric, I felt extremely self conscious about my midsection. (I also find this true of high-waisted activewear, which on me seems to always contour around my “problem areas” rather than compress them in, leaving me feeling lumpy.) Then there’s the issue of VPL, a.k.a, visible panty line. I wore these with a smooth-fitting thong, and the thin fabric picked up the slight texture of the flat-lace sides of my undies—and as the leggings lack a gusset, I would not feel comfortable (or hygienic) going commando. On the style plus side, I got a kick out of the design choice to use brand-emblazoned embroidered elastic bands on both the pieces—threw me back to middle school in the ‘90s when you couldn’t escape Marky Mark and his Calvin Klein boxer briefs.
Is Savage X Fenty worth it?
If you’ve made it this far, you know my answer… not really. The whole deal is a hard pass for me, between the membership scheme that basically locks you into spending a minimum of $50 on clothing every month, and the quality and fit of the clothing being way below the listed prices if you buy it without the membership. Could you find something cute and fun that fits you fine at Savage X Fenty? Sure. Is it worth the pricing gymnastics and ongoing financial commitment? Not in my book.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.