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I found Amazon Prime Wardrobe, now known as “Try Before You Buy,” to be a simple and convenient way to get clothes, shoes, and accessories shipped straight to my door. (Things really do look different in your own mirror, don’t they?)
Plus, you’re only charged for what you keep, so if you keep nothing, you’ll be charged nada. Amazon pays for shipping both ways.
Here’s how Amazon Prime Try Before You Buy works, plus the pros and cons I ran into.
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Here’s a step-by-step guide to how Amazon Prime Try Before You Buy actually works.
The process and timeline for using the service is actually super easy, even for first-time users. Here’s how it works:
- Search for what you want to Try Before You Buy.
- Order up to eight items without charge, including shoes and accessories.
- A Prime Try Before You Buy box will be delivered to your door within four to six days. Shipping is free, and the box comes with a prepaid return shipping label as well.
- Try on your stuff at home, keep what you want. Amazon will send reminders to your email so that you don’t forget to mail back your unwanted items.
- Complete the “checkout” process on your order. You’ll be prompted to fill out the “keep or return items” page on your order. This is how Amazon knows what to charge you, though it’ll be checked — and any inconsistencies rectified — when your box is received too.
- Box up and send back what you don’t want within seven days. You can drop off the resealable box at any UPS location. Don’t forget the prepaid shipping label.
The Pros of Amazon Prime Try Before You Buy
Prime Try Before You Buy is great if you need a second, third, or fourth opinion.
Which is most of us. I enjoyed that I could ask my friends or family members what they thought of a piece on me, instead of rushing to make the choice in a dingy dressing room all by myself.
Here are the garments I ordered for my Prime Try Before You Buy delivery:
- Daily Ritual Women’s T-Shirt Dress: $18.50
- Kanu Surf Women’s Keri Long-Sleeve Rashguard: $24.99
- Daily Ritual Women’s Cotton T-Shirt: $18
- Dr. Scholl’s Women’s Microfiber Perforated Sneaker: $59.99
- Columbia Women’s Casual Skort: $28.90
- Amazon Essentials Racerback Sports Bra: $16
- The Drop Sydney Short-Sleeve T-Shirt: $19.90
- Roxy My Way To Coast Strappy Midi Wrap Dress $58.36
With some dressing rooms closed right now, Prime Try Before You Buy is extra appealing.
It’s one of the lowest risk ways to shop right now — and for that, I love it.
Plus, you’re less likely to make impulsive purchases.
With Prime Try Before You Buy, you’re in control of what you search for, which curbs impulsive buys. Plus, you have literal days to decide if you want to keep something or not.
Use Prime Try Before You Buy to find pieces you like — then buy them elsewhere for cheaper.
The Roxy My Way To Coast Strappy Midi Wrap Dress included in my Personal Shopper box was listed at $58.36 on Amazon. The price was the main reason I didn’t keep it. But then I decided to check Roxy.com — and voila: the exact same dress was listed for $25.89.
UPDATE: Starting Sept. 1, 2023, Personal Shopper is no longer available to customers. The rest of Prime Wardrobe operates the same, but shopper will no longer have access to Personal Shopper, aka a fashion stylist to help curate your clothing haul.
Sometimes you can even find cheaper prices for the same item on Amazon.
A few weeks after receiving my Prime Try Before You Buy box, I searched for one of the items (that I didn’t keep) again on Amazon. You know, just out of curiosity … and it was a full $32 cheaper! I felt a little miffed about the price difference, but also grateful to snag a good deal.
So, just saying, if you’re still thinking about something you loved but didn’t keep, don’t give up. Look, look again.
Prime Try Before You Buy is a great testing ground for sizes.
Sizes vary A LOT by brand (as every woman knows), and kids grow fast. If I’m new to a brand or item, I like to order multiple sizes, find the perfect fit — and then use that knowledge to buy it from other sites whose return policies aren’t so generous/wherever is cheapest.
PRO TIP: Amazon brand sizes tend to run large. I had to return a size small dress (I normally wear a medium) because I was swimming in it. I would’ve been wise to order an XS as well and compare the two.
Prime Try Before You Buy is great for finding the right special occasion look.
I’m not exactly going to a ton of social gatherings these days, but hey, they’ll be back. And so will wedding season. And I will be ready. Rather than stressing about having the perfect look for your next event, try on whole outfits through Prime Try Before You Buy.
The Cons of Amazon Prime Try Before You Buy
Amazon Prime Try Before You Buy is only for Prime members.
This can only be used by Amazon Prime subscribers (including anyone in your Amazon Household).
If that’s you, great; if not, consider signing up for a free 30-day Amazon Prime trial. In theory, you could order a Prime Try Before You Buy box, pay for what you keep, cancel your free Prime trial — and boom, you basically just had a VIP online shopping experience for zilch. (Just don’t forget to cancel if you don’t want to get charged!)
And it creates a lot of waste.
While it’s great that the Prime Try Before You Buy box can be reused for sending back items, there is a lot of waste created by the individual plastic bags that each item is packaged in. I had a huge wad of plastic and cardboard from the shoebox that I had to toss/recycle (depending) at the end of my try-on session. It made me feel a little sad.
The Prime Try Before You Buy closet has lots of brands — but still feels somewhat limited.
You’ll find big-name brands like Levi’s, Adidas, Guess, Lacoste, Alex and Ani, and Hudson; lesser-known brands that you can find by selecting “Boutique Brands” in the search bar dropdown; and, unsurprisingly, lots of items from Amazon’s private label brands — including Lark & Ro, Daily Ritual, and Goodthreads.
That being said, I am not super impressed with the selection of Prime Try Before You Buy eligible items. I had to do some digging to find certain items. And some items just weren’t available at all.
Only try Personal Shopper by Prime Try Before You Buy if you really need the help.
Personal Shopper is similar to other personalized styling/fashion subscription boxes like Trunk Club and Stitch Fix. Unlike “basic” Prime Try Before You Buy, Personal Shopper costs $4.99 per month.
I enjoyed trying Personal Shopper by Prime Try Before You Buy, but unless I really felt like I needed some guidance on what to wear — or a makeover intervention — I don’t think I’d continue to pay for it.
Amazon Prime Try Before You Buy FAQ, answered:
What if I don’t have a return label?
Lost your label? No problem. You can find the prepaid shipping labels for Personal Shopper or Prime Try Before You Buy packages by clicking on “What if I don’t have a label?” button on the return in your order history.
What if I am late to return my Prime Try Before You Buy box?
Amazon Fashion has a 30-day return policy. If life gets in the way and you forget to drop off your box at a UPS within your seven-day window, you will be charged for the entire order. However, if Amazon receives your return within 30 days of the order date, you’ll be automatically refunded.
What if I accidentally took the tag off something I want to return?
Prime Try Before You Buy items have to be returned unworn, unwashed, and with their tags and original packaging such as a shoebox or hanger, if applicable. Whether or not an item is fit to be returned is up to the discretion of the Amazon employee/machine who receives the box; however, if they find something to be “damaged,” they will send it back to you and you will be charged for the item.
Can I decide to keep something after I complete the checkout process?
If you marked an item “return” but don’t put it in the Prime Try Before You Buy box, that will be tallied when your return box is received, and you’ll be charged for the item. No biggie.
When will my card be charged for the Prime Try Before You Buy items I keep?
Your card is charged as soon as you mark your item “keep” in the checkout process. Amazon does not wait until your return box is received to charge you, though they will adjust any inconsistencies — reimbursing you for returned items you may have accidentally marked “keep” and vice versa — when the box is received.