When it comes to spandex pants, I know what I’m talking about. I work primarily from home, which means I live in leggings and yoga pants. I sleep in them. I wake up and throw on a different T-shirt and go out to run errands in them, and then I come home and repeat the process all over again.
I live in these pants, which is why the monthly subscription service promising to deliver a whole workout outfit every month with an introductory offer of 2 pairs of the “World’s. Best. Leggings.” for just $24 seemed like a great idea. The Fabletics website boasts over a million “satisfied VIP members,” and more than 20 million products sold on its homepage.
With numbers like these, what could go wrong? As it turns out, a lot.
I picked out two pairs of pants in size small, because that’s the size I usually am in leggings in most brands where I get my stretchy pants from (Uniqlo, Victoria’s Secret, Nike, Under Armor, etc.) and waited for their arrival. When they turned up on my doorstep I immediately ripped open the package and started to put them on — except that I could barely get them up over my thighs and hips. They were WAY TOO SMALL. The material in both pairs (two different styles — a jogger and a yoga legging pant) was very stiff and they were not cut to flatter anyone who does not have a flat hiney.
So I sent them back and requested a refund. I was only out the cost of shipping, or so I thought. A few weeks later I get hit with a $49 fee for the monthly service because I failed to cancel the subscription I had signed up for to get the special introductory deal after I sent it back. Ugh. This was admittedly a rookie subscriber mistake.
Here’s a quick explainer on the way Fabletics bills its customers: They automatically charge you $49 once a month and in exchange give you a “credit” which is supposed to be good for any outfit you want on the site at any time. You can pause your membership by logging in each month by the 5th of the month and poking around the website for the “pause” button.
Except that it doesn’t exactly work like that. Your credit is only worth $49 dollars worth of merchandise on the website and there are only a select few outfits for sale at that $49 price. You can’t just buy any outfit you so desire. And good luck funding the outfit you want in your size! Nearly all of the styles I wanted were out of stock in a size medium — which I learned was my size from the aforementioned sizing debacle. I ended up spending almost $60 on this outfit that I don’t really like.
If you notice the “retail” price is $109. Yes, one-hundred and nine dollars for a low-quality tank top thing made from tissue thin material with a weird cutout in the back and a pair of lime green pants that are not very comfortable. The “member” price is the $59, which I forked out because I did not want to lose my $49 credit before closing my account.
The pricing in general is confusing and weird. If you take a look at this screengrab of an ongoing promotion, there are several different prices listed — the “retail price” (which has been disappeared from this page, but is in the $100+ plus range if you are persistent in your search), the “member price” ($79-$49) and the “intro price” ($24.97-$39.97). If you’re confused by this, you’re not alone. From what I can tell this means your first time buying an outfit is on the lesser end, in the second month that price will go up, and if you (God forbid) cancel your membership, the price escalates to triple digits.
I can’t stress enough how low quality these items are. I’ve purchased $20 yoga pants from H&M and $19 leggings from Uniqulo that I’ve loved. The spandexy-material on these bright green hot pants is very stiff and weirdly very thick — not “great-this-hides-my-underwear-lines” thick, but a “dang-I-cannot-move-my-legs-or-sit-comfortably” thick.
After purchasing this stupid-looking outfit which I’ve never worn in public, I went to cancel my membership. While on the phone with a customer service rep, he warns me that if I do this I WILL NEVER GET TO SIGN UP AGAIN — a pretty dramatic warning, considering that every other subscription based service I’ve ever signed up for lets you cancel and re-sign up at a later time.
In sum: The pricing is weird and makes no sense, the quality of their clothes is trash, and the dire warning I got from the customer service rep when cancelling my membership was pretty over-the-top.