I don’t usually sign up for things or buy things impulsively – I’m more the type to hem and haw over something, to do a lot of research, to make sure I really need or what something.
But, a few weeks ago, I saw an ad on my Facebook feed (of all places) for a company called MM LaFleur. The ad featured a woman in a dark green skirt and top and I think mentioned something called a “Bento Box.” I clicked (I never click on Facebook ads).
And I really liked what I saw – stylish work clothing, some of which is made in the US. Although you can shop from the company’s website, the main attraction is the Bento Box. Like other online styling services, you tell MM LaFleur a few things about yourself (like height, bust size, what you do, what famous woman you most admire, and what outfit photos you like), and they send you a box full of clothes that they’ve picked out for you.
Unlike other styling services, MM LaFleur’s clothes are designed for work. As in, they look sharp and professional, not casual. I’d say the style leans more towards creative professional than corporate – there’s no basic suiting here. I loved some of the pieces, so without a second thought, I ordered a box.
It showed up about a week later, full of three dresses, a belt, and “kimono,” which is just a long cardigan you can tie multiple ways. Here’s what I thought of each piece:
First up in the MM LaFleur Bento Box: The Rachel Dress
The Rachel dress is probably not a style I would have chosen for myself. It looks OK on, but because of my body type is just a bit too tight for me to feel comfortable, both in terms of how the dress feels and the way it looks.
It’s a stretchy viscose jersey and was well constructed though, so if you’re in the market for a sheath dress, I’d recommend it (it also comes in black).
My Bento included a thin, leather belt, which I didn’t keep, either, but did wear with some of the dresses to jazz them up a bit. The weird white square in the picture above is the tag on the belt, and not part of the actual styling. I’m not a belt person, but I think it did add a nice touch to the overall look.
Next: The Iris
The second dress was the Iris. It’s a charcoal grey, thick jersey (is it a ponte? I don’t know) that has angular sleeves and a figure flattering fit. The online description notes that it runs a bit small. I found mine to be a bit tight in the hips but loose up top. I ended up not keeping it.
Here’s a close up of the bodice of the dress. It has an interesting stitching detail, which combined with the shape of the sleeves, makes it more than just a basic dress.
Third Dress: The Annie
The Annie was the dress I went back and forth about the most. It’s made out of a woven, heavy polyester and has a slight A-line. I found it more flattering on me and more comfortable than the other two dresses. But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself over the years, it’s that I just don’t really wear black dresses. It’s like I just don’t seem to see them in the closet or something and I skip right over them. Maybe I’ll try the Annie in a different hue at some other time, but for now, I returned her.
Last Piece: The Graham Kimono
Last, but very much not least is the Graham Kimono. This is the piece I kept, because I loved it so much. It’s a long, flowing cardigan made out of a lightweight viscose jersey. This one is dark, my favorite color, but it comes in grey, too. It was the versatility of the piece that really won me over.
There I am with it knotted in front.
Bento Box Details
One of the things about the Bento Box that I particularly like is that, although you do give your credit card details upfront, you don’t get charged until after you’ve returned (or kept) your items. Once the box gets to your door, you have four days to try everything on and make your decision. Shipping by UPS is free, both ways. I think the first box is free, but there’s a $25 styling fee charged for subsequent boxes. If you end up keeping anything from your boxes, the fee is deducted from the costs of the clothing.
The stylists at MM LaFleur are pretty communicative and friendly. Once they got my returned items back, the stylist wrote to me to ask if I’d like the next size up for the two dresses that were just a bit too tight. I declined, but I appreciate her reaching out.
I’m definitely a fan of MM LaFleur now. Even if I don’t do a Bento in the future, I do plan on shopping there and keeping up with what they produce. The clothes are well-made, some of them are made in NYC, and I like that they’re more unique than your basic workwear.