Buy a man a shirt, as they say, and he’ll have something to wear for a day. Buy him a subscription box service, and he’ll have an entire wardrobe.
If you think that's plain genius, well, there are plenty of options now for gift givers. Since the launch of Trunk Club in 2009, box services, in which a box full of clothing or product arrives on a regular basis, the range of services and models has expanded rapidly. Today, it's possible to dress like all you do is shop, when in fact all you really do is sign for UPS shipments. We subscribed to a whole pallet of boxes, testing which ones were the best. Just in time for Father’s Day, here are our picks:
What is it? The andro-centric offshoot of the women’s beauty service, Birchbox Man sends sample sizes of new and noteworthy grooming products for men.
Who's it for? The guy who is stuck in the same old AXE body spray, Old Spice and Barbasol rut.
What’s Inside? A recent box included a 1.2-oz stick of citrus-and-herbal musk deodorant from Baxter of California, face wash from the all-natural brand Ursa Major, a handkerchief, and whiskey stones.
Do you have to keep everything? Yep, you keep it all.
Five Four Club
What is it? A Los Angeles-based company, Five Four Club both designs and manufactures its SoCal cool garments.
Who's it for? The laziest of men who are not label-conscious, since all clothing is the house brand, as well as men who are comfortable dabbling in the contemporary end of menswear.
What’s inside? A sample box might contain a weekend bag, a button-down, and a pretty cool modern trench coat.
Do you have to keep everything? Yes, but you can only make size exchanges.
What is it? The grand-daddy and one of the best box services, Trunk Club is pretty heavy on the stylist angle, but since it partnered with Nordstrom, the service offers a wide-range of products and brands. Unlike many of the other services, these boxes are curated on request, not at regular intervals.
Who's it for? The adventurous man who needs a complete wardrobe change but one who is on top of his postage game.
What’s inside? Trunk Club boxes are quite large—heftier than most. After an interview with my stylist I received about half a dozen shirts, a few pairs of jeans, shoes and a sweater. I was most excited about those shoes, called Rivieras, which are the perfect summer footwear. I had never heard of the brand before. And though I had heard of the other labels, like Grayers and Todd Snyder, it was satisfying that their choices were so right on.
Do you have to keep everything? Keep what you wish, return what you don’t like.
Cost? There is no membership fee or shipping fee. But jeans are $170–$250 per pair, casual shirts are $100–$200 each, and sweaters are $100–$300 each. Which means if you keep all the clothing (which is tempting) you’re going to be looking at some serious damage.
What is it? Like Trunk Club, the five-year-old Bombfell places a heavy emphasis on personal styling. The U/X is extremely simple, if a little bro-tastic. Unlike Trunk Club, boxes arrive monthly.
Who's it for? The guy who wants more of the same, but just a little better.
What’s inside? A rather standard range of brands but well-curated and natural-fitting. Ben Sherman shorts, just in time for spring, a ribbed French Connection sweatshirt, plus a Penguin blazer and Life/After/Denim chinos.
Do you have to keep everything? Users have a 10-day try-on period then must return what they no longer wish to keep.
Cost? There is no membership fee but items, on average, run around $70. Mine ranged from $75 up to $199 for the blazer.
What is it? Bespoke Post is a monthly box not just confined to clothing. The three-year-old company sends themed boxes each month.
Who's it for? Lovers of whisky and binoculars, weekend trips and duffel bags; a guy who likes things.
What’s inside? Recent themes have included "Endless Summer," "Cap and Gown," and a pet-themed "Man’s Best Friend," which included a dog collar in bridle leather from the small company American Bench Craft and a copy of the Menswear Dog book.
Do you have to keep everything? Yes, but since you are able to preview the boxes being sent to you, you can skip any month.