Features + Saw It On Social

Saw It On Social: Fabletics

With the world going casual in a big way, it isn’t surprising that Fabletics, the activewear subscription brand that launched to great fanfare in 2013, upped its advertising spend.  Every other Hulu ad is Fabletics.  My Instagram feed is awash in Fabletics.  And several of you have DM’ed to ask if I’ve tried Fabletics.

So let’s reach back into the past and talk about leggings, subscription services and TikTok stars.

Fabletics is an athleisure brand founded by JustFab and marketed as a partnership with actress Kate Hudson.  It’s one of those websites where the workout top you like is either $44.95 for the general public or $17 if you join for the subscription VIP service.  That service charges you $50 per month, which entitles you to a small amount of included merchandise and allows you to buy the rest of the items you want at the lower price.

When Fabletics first launched, it seemed like a great idea.  Women subscribed in droves.  But the hype soon turned ugly.

Like many other subscribers, I eventually tired of the “membership experience.”  Within a couple of months, I had enough workout gear to last me for years.  And while the quality was good, it was not so superb that I felt the need to keep paying.

Sure, I could have paused my subscription in perpetuity until I was ready to shop again, but who wants to remember to do that on the 5th of every month?  So I cancelled it.

At least I thought I did.

Like tens-of-thousands of other women, I called customer service to cancel only to be charged again the next month.  I’d send e-mails and receive replies assuring me that my membership was cancelled.  But then, the next month I’d be charged.  This went on for four months, netting Fabletics an extra $200 of my money.

Finally, I called my bank and let them handle the matter.  And even then, it took seven attempts to be removed from ALL of the many e-mail lists that send reminders about new styles, discounted memberships, and hot new partnerships with influencers that  you’ve probably never heard of.

Now, in the time of global pandemic, when we’re all struggling with life, love, and what to wear, Fabletics is back, like an unrepentant ex, trying to lure unsuspecting women into joining its subscription service.  Well, maybe ‘women’ is the wrong word.

See, judging by the age of the new “celebrity” endorsers, JustFab is clearly trying to coax teenagers and college students into the fray.  TikTok creators, YouTube personalities and reality TV show sidekicks abound in their ads, making their target demographic obvious.  Because when you run out of grown women to scam, teenage girls are an easy fallback position.  Just make the leggings hot pink, talk about how they’ll give you a “teeny tiny waist,” and watch the subscriptions roll in.

Bottom Line: Yes, you can buy the Fabletics leggings and other attires as stand-alone products.  But the company runs an unscrupulous subscription service as its primary business model.  Much like Proactiv before it, the goal is to get you in the habit of paying for something you don’t want but can’t cancel.  So skip the scheme, and just buy your leggings elsewhere.

I recommend ColorfulKoala from Amazon for affordable leggings (with pockets!), Vuori leggings and Lululemon Wunder Under.

{this post contains affiliate links that may generate commission for the author}

LEAVE A COMMENT

    15 comments

  1. Monica T says:

    Wow, I had no idea. Thank you so much for this series, I’ve never been spared so much shopping regret. Something about their advertising or partnership with Kate Hudson always seemed weird to me, so I never clicked on an ad, but what a MESS!

    August 31, 2020/Reply
  2. Anna says:

    I did Fabletics for two or three months a while back, and didn’t have a horrible experience cancelling, though it is annoying that you have to contact them directly as opposed to just clicking through the website. I don’t love either pair of leggings or the sports bra I have from them. They aren’t super flattering (loose on the waist, tight in the thighs, bra stretches out a lot), and the fabric doesn’t feel great. Someone mentioned Senita Athletics on a Thirtyish post, and I’m totally hooked. They’re a female owned brand based in Arizona. Their stuff is pretty affordable and the two shorts and headband I’ve gotten have been really great quality. Definitely worth checking out.

    August 31, 2020/Reply
    • Natalie says:

      I second Senita for workout clothes! Love their sports bras, and their rewards program is pretty generous, too.

      September 2, 2020/Reply
      • Lyssa says:

        Thirding Senita! Took me a few tries to get the sizing down (generally I think they run a bit small on bottoms) but the reviews are helpful and the quality for the price is amazing. Really cute styles!

        September 2, 2020/Reply
  3. EMily says:

    Totally agree. I was able to cancel over the phone, but it wasn’t an easy process, and I’m still surprised it happened on the first try. I loved their clothes but totally not worth the hassle! Many other places to buy from with no hassle.

    August 31, 2020/Reply
  4. evelyn says:

    I ordered from Fabletics in 2013 because I saw a really cute romper on Kate Hudson in the commercial she did and thought it would be great to have on a beach vacation. I was surprised to learn to buy it at the price I did I had to join the subscription AND pay for shipping (I live in Canada, I guess). I was lucky I had joined in its infancy so when I cancelled, it was done quickly. I had seen the ads for ShoeFAB and was tempted, but realized I don’t need two new pairs of shoes a month and was skeptical of the quality.

    August 31, 2020/Reply
  5. Rebecca says:

    I will say I canceled recently and was able to do it over chat and had no issues. So I’m hopeful they have addressed this problem after years of complaints.

    September 1, 2020/Reply
  6. Kathleen Lisson says:

    THANKS.

    September 1, 2020/Reply
  7. Kate says:

    Fair complaints but I love their high rise 7/8 compression (power hold) leggings so much it’s worth the two minutes each month to “skip”, just so when I want another pair I can get them at a lower price. I have at least 4 pairs in black.

    I put them through a lot of wears, so after a year or so they need a replacement, but the price is half of lululemon. I haven’t found any lulu leggings that tuck me in and flatten my stomach the way these do.

    That being said, I buy little else. I find the bras and tops all lower quality and the patterns/colors a little much.

    September 1, 2020/Reply
  8. Eleni says:

    I live in Athleta leggings but tried the ColorfulKoala brand suggested and reviewed by Belle and WOW!! I have since bought 3 pairs. They wash and wear great and since they are all I am really wearing these days, they have been washed and worn repeatedly the past month or so and still look brand new. Thanks Belle for the find!!

    September 1, 2020/Reply
  9. Opal says:

    I cancelled my Fabletics subscription in March because I didn’t need another pair of black leggings. I never had a problem with cancelling. Done in less than 5 minutes and I’ve never had a problem with additional charges.

    September 1, 2020/Reply
  10. Diane says:

    There are quite a few new and nearly new Fabletics listings on Poshmark too. I impulse bought a pair there and while they’re okay, I’m glad I didn’t have to go through a subscription process to determine they’re not for me.

    I’ve been bombarded lately with ads for Colorado Threads leggings and would be interested in anyone’s thoughts on those as well.

    September 1, 2020/Reply
  11. MEredith says:

    I tried Fabletics but did not enjoy the quality or fit enough to continue my membership. For me, the best leggings are the Lululemon Align II. I definitely plan to give ColorfulKoala a try the next time I need a new pair.

    September 1, 2020/Reply
  12. Lily says:

    Hoping that the third time is the charm on the colorful koala leggings, the first two orders went absolutely sideways: never received, wrong tracking numbers. Who knows if they’ll get it together this time!

    September 1, 2020/Reply
  13. E says:

    your SOS posts are some of my favorites! as always – thank you for your honesty!

    September 1, 2020/Reply

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