2019 is done and January 2020 has already come to a close, time is zooming and things have been hectic, so I’ve earned a treat for myself. 2019 was yet another steep learning curve as I continue down the path of motherhood and also navigate the building of my own business. Things have been really growing this year; my daughter, Fox on an Island, and also myself. But once again little ol’ me fell to the bottom of the pile. I’m working on spreading the word about self care in the aftermath of my mental health crisis/career change but still struggle big time when it comes to actually caring for myself properly. Last year was busy, driven by toddler demands and working to stay financially afloat, so every spare second of time I had between cleaning up kid mess, playing with toys, eating, sleeping and sometimes bathing was spent at my computer trying to scrounge the money to help pay our household bills. When money is such a huge factor in your life (more specifically a razor-thin budget) it seems outrageous to spend cash on “things”, especially clothes/hair/makeup.
BUT. Things have really taken off and it is starting to get easier to pay those bills which means I can also create some space to reward myself. A funny thing happens when you lose your job, a bit of your mind, and have a baby all in one go; you also lose your identity. I need to get back in touch with who I am and rebuild some of the confidence that went out the window, and I’m starting with my clothes.
Truth be told, I don’t know how to dress myself. I look through the racks and have no idea what I’m even looking for, in the end usually picking out more of something I already have (black jeans, t-shirts and cardigans mostly. Occasionally I’ll branch out and get grey or dark green haha) I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’m in my mid-30’s with a kid living in a semi-isolated location with not a lot of spending money so it’s easy to lose touch I guess. I need help!
SOOOOooo I’ve completely fallen victim to the targeted advertising on social media because I clicked the sponsored ad and became a member of Frank and Oak’s monthly Style Plan (take a look here) Here’s what I thought of it.
Firstly, the major deciding factor (other than all the great basics they carry) was that this is a Canadian company. There are no duties to pay (like with Everlane, another company that is great but charges additional duties on each item for Canadians) and everything is designed and shipping from within Canada (Montreal). Yay Canada 🇨🇦 Secondly, as you see in the image below, Frank and Oak care about the clothes they make and also about the environment, using recycled and featherless materials. I like that this info is loud and proud on the inside of the item, and of course that they include it is cruelty free.
Now the actual style box; the set up is that you enter all your size information and answer some questions about your personal style, and their team of stylists picks up to 5 items for you each month. They ship to you for free, you try them on, and return anything you don’t like for a free return (they pay return postage and create the label for you, you just print it). You are sent a preview of the box 48 hours before it is finalized and shipped where you can customize the items by selecting what you like and removing what you don’t.
The first month I skipped the box (also an option as they understand you don’t always have money for new clothes) because I didn’t like anything they had chosen and I also was worried about the price point. But skipping the boxes isn’t in the spirit of the game I’ve created for myself… I’m supposed to be letting someone tell me how I should dress haha. So I tried to be more open minded for the next one.
The second month I really got a taste of what the box is like, even if it was a little by accident. I opened the 48 hour preview and took a look, again unsure about anything they had chosen, but then I was distracted, of course, and totally forgot about it. 48 hours later I got an email confirming they had sent my box and I was a little dismayed to see I had been charged $300 for the 4 items they picked but I already knew I didn’t like most of them. Good thing they offer free returns! C’est la vie!
Lesson learned there was not to authorize automatic payments through paypal if there’s a chance you can’t afford the box 😓 I revoked permissions so from now on the payments will require action from me to go through. A last ditch effort to keep me on budget.
They sent a pair of light, high waisted, non-stretch jeans which I tried on out of curiosity but they really weren’t for me. Also a nice black blazer style button up that was way too fancy for me, and a white dress shirt that I didn’t even take out of the box because hello I have a toddler, everything is covered in food and boogers. So those items went back and I kept the mustard puff vest, which was something I had requested for the box and was on sale, getting me a cool refund of $244 a few weeks later.
Over the holidays I took advantage of their Boxing Day sale to order myself a really nice rain jacket and two pairs of black skinny jeans. The quality is really nice on the items, the jacket especially. The pants aren’t quite as skinny as I would have liked, but after a few washes they tightened up a bit and I can always alter them later if they still feel too baggy.
I’m super happy with the Rain parka and Vest combo. The quality is really great and the attention to detail is excellent. The vest and jacket work together and have little snaps and loops to hold them in place which is a nice feature!
So far so good with Frank and Oak though I’m more interested in the items I have sourced myself from their website than the suggestions of the stylists. I would recommend not setting up automatic payments and to pay close attention to the preview emails if you want to maintain control over how much the box costs and what kind of items you get. The price points are higher than I usually spend on clothes but the quality is excellent, and spending a bit more makes me more invested in keeping the clothes in good shape. Fast fashion is harming the planet so it would be cool if more people would make the switch to higher quality, longer lasting items. Take a look at the Frank and Oak website to learn more about the environmental initiatives they are taking!