Shopping: MM LaFleur Bento Box Review 2.0

Nearly a year ago, I ordered my first Bento Box from MM LaFleur, a company that specializes in clothing and personal styling for “professional women.” The Bento box concept is similar to how other personal styling services work. You fill out a survey, they send you clothes that might fit you based on your answers. In my review of my first Bento Box, I noted that I kept one item, the Graham kimono. I had a similar experience this time around, and ended up keeping one of the items in my box.

The Bento Box Request

When you Re-bento, you can make specific requests to your stylist. I’ve been wanting to try the Foster pants, but given my track record with pants, was nervous about purchasing them and having to return them. I figured getting a pair in my Bento would be the ideal option. If they worked, great, if not, no worries, back they’d go. I left a note with my order requesting the pants.

MM LaFleur’s newest collection has a number of dresses in an amazing deep, forest green color. Since green is my favorite color, I asked my stylist to include a few of their new dresses in that color.

The Bento Box Arrives

My box arrived a day before my requested date (10/5, it got here on the 4th). When I opened it up it contained:

mm lafleur bento box review - foster pant in black

Bento Box: Foster Pant

So let’s start my Bento Box review with the Foster pant. The description on the website said that the pants ran small, so I asked for a size 8. My first reaction when pulling them out of the box was, well, I’m not going to fit into those.

I did, but just barely. I had to suck in to pull the waist closed and I’m standing with my legs slightly apart in the photo, because I couldn’t really bring them together due to the tightness of the pants. Not a good look and definitely not how I would want to go about my day.

The fabric of the Foster pant was also a bit of a surprise. I was expecting a soft and stretchy ponte, since they are described as feeling like yoga pants, but these were a woven cotton-blend fabric. They were stiffer than expected, which didn’t go well with the overall tightness.

Suffice it to say, I didn’t keep them.

bento box review mm lafleur davis top

Bento Box: Davis Top

I was pleasantly surprised to get the Davis top in my Bento. I’d seen in on the website and thought it looked interesting, but wouldn’t have ordered it for myself, especially in the yellow-orange watercolor print.

The top fits close up in the bust, but then loosens up over your waist and hips. It’s lined, so it’s a really sturdy feeling shirt.  I like the overlap on the front, but ended up returning it for two reasons. One I’m not super into the yellow-orange pattern. Two, it was $210, which I think it just a bit too much for a top, although it is made in NYC.

Bento box review Aditi 2.0 dress

Bento Box: Aditi 2.0 Dress

Let’s move on to the dresses. I love the shape and color of the Aditi 2.0 dress. But this style doesn’t work on me. This is a size 6, and there are a lot of bumps and rolls in the dress because of its close fit. Some of those bumps are me, some are the dress.

Maybe it’d be worth trying in an 8, but this was just way too tight for me to wear.

Bento box mm lafleur lydia dress

Bento Box: Lydia Dress

I debated for a couple of days over whether to keep the Lydia or not. Arguments in favor of the dress: great color, interesting twisty part at the shoulder, soft, comfortable fabric. Arguments against the dress: weird fit, dry clean only.

I ended up sending it back, because it was loose at the waist and very tight at the hips (this was a size 8). Also, I dunno, I just don’t want another dry clean only dress.

bento box mm lafleur woolf jardigan

Bento Box: Woolf Jardigan

Last, but not least, the one piece I did keep. The Woolf Jardigan (that’s jacket + cardigan) is a slightly longer version of the St. Ambroeus jardigan (which I also own). It was love at first wear. From the minute I pulled on the Woolf, I knew I was going to keep it, even though I really, really don’t need another jacket.

The Woolf works well as both a blazer and a comfy cardigan. I always feel a bit dowdy in cardigans, but not in the Woolf. It also has split seams on the side, which give it a more flattering shape and look. It looks OK worn with pants, but I find it’s most flattering worn over a dress.

So there you have it. My second Bento Box. All in all, I find getting a Bento a fun experience and will probably do it again. I think specifically asking for items or giving your stylist a clue about what you like and don’t like, helps make the Bento experience more useful, rather than hoping and praying your stylist gets it right.

Shopping: MM LaFleur Bento Box

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:

MM LaFleur Rachel Dress, blue
MM LaFleur Rachel Dress, blue

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).

mmlafleur_rachel_dress_blue_belt

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.

MM LaFleur Bento Box - Iris Dress
MM LaFleur Iris Dress

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.

mmlafleur_iris_dress_cinder_closeup

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.

MM LaFleur Annie Dress
MM LaFleur Annie 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.

mmlafleur_graham_kimono_green_open

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.

mmlafleur_graham_kimono_green

There I am with it knotted in front.

mmlafleur_graham_kimono_green_backtieThere I am with it twisted around itself.

mmlafleur_graham_kimono_green_backtie2And, there I am with it tied in the back and twisted up, so that it looks like a shrug.

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.