Modcloth, I Love You. So Why Do You Suck?

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I am a sucker for clothes. Show me tulle, sparkles, big flowy skirts, sweetheart necklines, sequins, ribbons, or any of a hundred other features, and chances are, I’m sold.

Now, I don’t know if this holds true for everyone. But I have a tough time finding clothes I love, for a price I can afford. As it is, I spend too much money on clothes, so whenever I can find a bargain, I’m thrilled. (You’re reading the work of a veteran thrift store shopper, by the way.) It doesn’t change the fact that I routinely end up with thirty-two cents in my bank account. But plus thirty-two cents is better than negative forty dollars. Anyway, I digress. Defending stupid spending habits never got anybody anywhere they wanted to be.

Part of my problem finding affordable clothes is that I invariably go for a look. Most of the time, I don’t give a thought to quality, as long as the dress/shirt/skirt/pants/unmentionables is adorable. This in itself is a recipe for disaster.

You’re probably arguing right now, “Hey, stupid, you can find adorable, cheap clothes lots of places.” This is true. But I can’t just go for cute. Lacy little frocks and dainty skirts don’t do it. I need brocade, embroidery, shininess, bows, sashes, pleats, asymmetry…the list goes on and on. I guess the word is “unique”, although “unique” is overused, and not exactly applicable here. Unconventional might be a better word, but it’s still not a perfect match.

Anyway.

For the amount of searching I did, I got cringingly pathetic results. When it came to dresses, I couldn’t find anything that met my criteria. If it was gorgeous, it was expensive. And if it was affordable (oddly enough) it looked like a prom dress. Or a cocktail dress. Not something you can wear to work.

Now, I like to dress up. All the time. Heels, skirts, tights, blouses, dresses–I do it all. So here’s another conundrum: how to find something I liked that fit my budget AND was work-appropriate?

My hours of searching were wasted. Truly. And they continue to be wasted. Forget my own effort. It was Facebook that pointed me to a rather interesting-looking site:

Modcloth.com.

Most girls probably have a passing familiarity with the site at this point. Basically, it’s an online department store. It buys limited quanities of clothes and other supplies from designers and posts them at inflated prices.

But shoot. Scan through one page of Modcloth’s merchandise, and all of a sudden, money doesn’t seem so important.

We’re talking unique and vintage-inspired  dresses, frocks, skirts, blouses, and shoes. Some of the stuff is horrendously ugly, I’m sorry to say, but most of it is very cute, and some of it is outright gorgeous. Add in flat-rate shipping, free–FREE!–returns, great customer service, and fast delivery, and you’ve got something great.

Annnnnnnd, a decent portion is work appropriate. (Be warned, though, Modcloth does have a reputation for carrying some short dresses. Like, SHORT.) So, I get my ruffles, my pleats, my sequins and sashes and ribbons and bows, and I get to wear them to work! Fantastic, right?

Well…

Okay, so, I sort of lied when I said a brief scan makes you forget about money. Actually, money is a big deal for me. And it took me months to finally splurge. I bought three items that are currently not available on the site: the River of Gold dress, some cardigan that had a cute name (I forgot it) and the perennial favorite, the Leipzig Hoodie.

The whole shebang cost about $130, and everything was adorable. The look was definitely me. The hoodie, in particular, was awesome. It became a staple.

But it fell apart really fast.

Now, the Leipzig Hoodie is a model from Pol Clothing. I’ve bought stuff from Pol before, and it’s routinely been good quality, so I was confused. But a couple of weeks and washes in, there were holes at the corners of the pockets; the fabric was noticeably thinner; and the zipper was broken. I was stunned and unhappy. I’m telling you, that hoodie is amazing. It looks great, makes you look great, and goes with anything.

But it died on me.

I still don’t know what happened. I actually suspect it was some dissatisfied customer’s return, and I’ll tell you why.

Like I said, Pol Clothing is decent. It was just weird to own something from them that thinned and wore through so fast.

Secondly, I managed to wrangle a second hoodie through an eBay seller. This was quite recent, last month, actually. And the difference between the one Modcloth sent me and the one Le Bomb Shop (look them up!) sent me was astounding.

The fabric was far thicker.

It was way warmer.

It was way, way, way darker. Even when Modcloth’s offering was brand-new, it wasn’t all that dark.

And a month in, it still looks brand new. And the zipper, by the way, is still working just fine.

How did the other items turn out?

The dress was frayed around the bottom. (From Tulle Clothing, if it matters.) It was very flattering, but my chest pretty much busted out of it. If I wasn’t crazy-modest, it wouldn’t matter, but I am. Luckily, I got it on super-hyper-sale, so I deconstructed it and am currently using it to make really weird-looking stuffed animals. So far, that experiment is a success.

The cardigan is holding up well, but it stretches waaaaaaay too easily. By the end of the day, I might as well be wearing a bag.

So I found that, too, on Amazon this time. Paid $5 less, and had free shipping to boot. For whatever reason, this one doesn’t stretch.

Now, this obviously isn’t all Modcloth’s fault. Still, after searching elsewhere–eBay, anyone?–I found many of the same designs featured on the site for considerably less than at Modcloth. We’re talking differences of $40 in some cases. The Leipzig Hoodie, for instance, was $13 cheaper at the end of the auction. I know that you go to eBay for good deals, but it’s more than pricing. It’s a difference in quality. I still have no idea how that works out. I mean, eBay and Modcloth are selling the same things, from the same designers. Maybe it is the return policy, but I can’t guarantee that. Maybe I got duds this time around (this happens to me with dismaying frequency. Or maybe I have the wrong mindset. That’s possible, too.)

Yet, in what is perhaps the ultimate testament to my idiocy, I recently had a $50 windfall, and even as I am writing this, I’m over at Modcloth, peeking around every ten minutes or so. No lie.

Oh well. Wish me luck. Or point me toward a better website.

28 responses »

  1. Not sure if this will help you because it requires quite a lot of work online, but there are quite a few stores that carry the exact same clothes as ModCloth at a cheaper price.

    Forever21, Urban Oufitters, Go Jane, Lulu’s, Ruche, two UK sites with free international shipping, and I’m sure other online clothing stores I failed to mention.

    Check these two dresses out for example:
    Gojane: http://www.gojane.com/53211-dresses-printed-bow-waist-keyhole-dress.html
    ModCloth: http://www.modcloth.com/Womens/Dresses/-Fit-to-Print-Dress

    Granted Gojane does have a flat rate of $6 for shipping, between the original mark down and the current store wide sale, Gojane is selling the same dress for a good $30 less than ModCloth. The difference is bigger than the price at Gojane for the exact same dress. Also, there are more full lunar eclipses than store wide sales on ModCloth, whose prices are still quite expensive because they were so overpriced to begin with.

    Regarding the quality… The only difference between Forever21 and ModCloth is that Forever21 sell clothes that do not last for dirt cheap, while ModCloth will plunder whatever they can from your hands.

  2. You have got to try http://www.lilyboutique.com. Me and all my friends shop there but it is new and upcoming so not everybody else knows about it yet.

    Anyways, they have some of the exact same clothes as Modcloth for about $30 cheaper. Look at these two dresses. They are identical:

    https://www.lilyboutique.com/shop/whats-new/summer-blooms-layered-sundress/

    http://www.modcloth.com/Womens/Dresses/-Sweet-Pea-Blossom-Dress

    Now look at these two:

    https://www.lilyboutique.com/shop/whats-new/avant-garden-rosette-cocktail-dress/

    http://www.modcloth.com/Womens/Dresses/-Silver-Swoon-Dress

    I used to buy things from modcloth quite often, but now I just realize I got ripped off.

    • I have been shopping at Lilyboutique.com too! I think they have better dresses than Modcloth even. I’ve been pleased with my purchases so far.

    • OMG thnx so much Jen and Jas. i went on this site and I was so happy!!! I love Modcloth designs cause they are less gowny and more girly, but a little too pricey. This site is like a Goodwill for unused Modcloth items! Amazing! Thnx

  3. hi there love xx i run a fashion blog as well, and basically the entire purpose of the blog is to find affordable fashion.
    so. in case you’re wondering, here’s a nice list of stores to go by:
    asos, princess polly, evo, mandee, etsy, us trendy (marketplace), bird motel (.au), apart style, romwe, nasty gal, body central, brooklyn industries, lace affair, urban planet, lulu’s, river island (.uk/.au, i forget), need supply co, fred flare, papaya, shop katwalk, sosie, poetrie, extreme pie, moxsie, gojane, messes of dresses (if you like modcloth, you will like this), shop ruche, newport news, love culture, felicee, dorothy perkins… there are a lot more, and you can find the links at http://www.thedevilwearsbargains.tumblr.com/tagged/review (:

  4. Wow. That’s crazy …those Modcloth experiences. You’re intricate explanations are awesomely interesting. Either way, as s quite frequent Modcloth buyer, I am interested to go about these other routes! Thanks!

  5. lebombshop on ebay is excellent (free shipping on practically everything!!) also check out urbanpeopleclothing on ebay they have some fun forever 21/modcloth type clothing.

    I will only buy a dress from modcloth that is on sale. (which is quite difficult to do at times) But I’m a poor person and I can’t bring myself to spend 65 on a dress that has thin/cheap material to it.

  6. Thank you THank you for directing me to Le Bomb! I have sat for HOURS looking at Modcloth dresses for my niece’s wedding! I LOVE their dresses online – but don’t love the prices, or many of the reviews. I found your blog and took a look at LeBomb – I got the cutest 50s pinup girl dress – it is long enough for an “aunt of the bride” but absolutely adorable! Black with white polka dots sundress – thick enough material for Feb in PA, great quality, and it arrived within 5 days of ordering!!! Thanks so much – I will be checking that store out again and again!!!

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  8. I had the same experience with Modcloth’s quality. I bought 2 dresses on their uber clearance sale so luckily only spent $14 a piece. Once I recieved them and saw the quality….I vowed never to pay full price for their merch. Honestly I probably won’t ever buy from them again anyways just on principle.

    Thanks to all for the links to alternative shops. I will definately be checking some of these out.

  9. This post is quite old, but I’d just like to point out that I’ve noticed a couple of weird things. I work in a dress boutique. The company I work for buys from manufacturers in the US that are relatively popular. What I’ve noticed while browsing Modcloth, though, is that some of dresses look ridiculously like the ones we carry in my store. At closer inspection they look “off”, though. One of the dresses I own (from my store) is EXACTLY the same except instead of being made from thick cotton fabric, on Modcloth it’s made of some kind of junky-looking stretchy fabric. I found a few others that looked very alike but looked…cheap. Not sure if what they’re selling is weird cheap knockoffs of other styles.

  10. Tobi.com is the best! You’ll find a lot of similar styles but they ALWAYS have sales. And you get 50% off your first order, too!

  11. I don’t know if you’re a fan of used clothing but there are three sites I love that have amazing finds (many of which are designer) for a fraction of the cost

    liketwice.com
    thredup.com
    shopmieux.com

    All three are amazing (thredup is the cheapest, has the biggest variety, but every now and again one of their items will be wrong or in terrible condition-they do free returns though, and customer service is meh)
    (twice has amazing clothes, better conditions, they list measurements, have incredible customer service but are more “pricey”)
    (Shopmieux has awesome designer things, great prices, awesome customer service, but a small selection)

  12. Since reading this I’ve started looking for these dresses from other suppliers, however I’m having a heck of a time locating them. How did you all find where other stores were selling them? They don’t ever seem to have the same names.

  13. Pingback: No More ModCloth | The Conscious Closet

  14. Asos.com is where I splurge now. The prices are comparable to modcloth, but the quality is waaaaay better! Also, a huge selection to choose from. :-)

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