Don’t have the time (or inclination) to shop until you drop? Bombfell is a subscription-based fashion service that aims to help men look their best without breaking the bank.
Short for “bomb fellow” (think “bombshell” meets “fellow”), Bombfell is the brainchild of co-founders Jason Kim and Bernie Yoo. The two long-term friends met as college roommates while attending Harvard where, according to one article, they built their respective wardrobes on “a shaky foundation of free t-shirts handed out by dot-com companies.”
After graduating, Jason and Bernie found that they lacked the time and know-how to dress well—often asking girlfriends to pick out clothes for them, instead. The inspiration for Bombfell came after realizing that you could only ask someone to shop for you so many times.
Drawing from Jason’s professional experience as a lead engineer and Bernie’s in business development, the two entrepreneurs used technology to enhance what a professional stylist could offer, and claim that the combination offers an ease-of-use and personalization that few others can match. How does it work?
How to Use Bombfell to Build Your Wardrobe
When you sign up for Bombfell, the website guides you through a short questionnaire in which you provide the following:
- Indicate what best describes your situation, from looking for advice, stepping up your look, too busy to shop, or helping out your partner.
- Your height, weight, and body shape.
- What size clothing you currently wear.
- How you like your clothes to fit. Choose between trim and relaxed.
- Choose from six swatches to select the closest match to your skin tone.
- Select one or more styles that represent your preferred look. Choose from casual, classic, preppy, or modern.
- Select items or colors you’d never wear, including plaid, pink, red, stripes, skinny jeans, and graphic t-shirts.
- Choose one or more brands that you currently wear.
After providing Bombfell with selections that best represent your size and personal style preferences, the next survey section allows you to choose your budget for each item with sliding scales.
Note that the price ranges shown represent the least amount that Bombfell members can allot to each category of clothing. If the proposed price range is too high for any given category, you can also slide the scale to “No Thanks.”
Last up, you’re allowed to pick up to three items from the following categories to be included in your first Bombfell shipment:
What happens next? Bombfell’s software analyzes the information you just provided to make recommendations from a carefully curated selection of well-known and up-and-coming designers based on your fit and style preferences. Next, one of Bombfell’s personal stylists decides which items make the final cut.
Bombfell sends members a preview email, showing what’s been selected before shipment. A box of clothes is then delivered to your door. After trying the items on in the comfort of your own home, you’re allowed ten days to give your Bombfell picks a thumbs up or thumbs down. Any items that aren’t keepers can be returned in a prepaid envelope at no charge.
The company claims that their combination of technology and personalized service offers the best of both worlds: a personal shopper’s expertise and a customizable budget. Additionally, Bombfell claims that selections get better over time, as members are encouraged to send feedback through their account about what worked and what didn’t.
How Much Does a Bombfell Membership Cost?
Bombfell doesn’t charge a subscription fee, stylist fees, or shipping – members only pay for the items of clothing that they keep. According to their FAQ section, there is a fair amount of variation in how much each item costs. The average price point for one item of clothing is $89.
Note that the price you pay is per item, not for a complete ensemble. Though, members are allowed to place a cap on how much they’re willing to spend on particular items of clothing, as shown in the previous section.
Want a clearer understanding of how much entire Bombfell ensembles cost? You can see more examples of selected outfits in their Pricing section.
Unless otherwise specified, Bombfell members will receive shipments once a month. If that’s too often, members can change the frequency to once every two or three months in their Account Preferences or re-schedule the next shipment in the “Up Next” tab of your account dashboard. Members can also pause or cancel their account at any time.
What Range of Sizes Does Bombfell Offer?
According to the FAQ section, Bombfell has ample selections in average sizes, but only a limited selection of Big & Tall: “For bottoms, we carry a few styles in waist size from 38" to 46", and up to a 36" inseam in select waist sizes. For tops, we carry XLB to 4XB in Big sizing and for tall sizing XLT to 3XT.”
Bombfell encourages prospective members to contact their customer service at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re still left with questions about whether they can accommodate your size, fit, or style.
What If I Don’t Like My Bombfell Selections?
Returning unwanted items is also free—just be sure to do so within your 10-day “try on” period. The clock doesn’t start ticking until your shipment is delivered. Note that Bombfell only accepts unused, unwashed, and undamaged returns with the tags still intact.
What if you’re late? Bombfell members who exceed the 10-day period will be charged the full amount of the order. Between 11-29 days after receipt, refunds and credits are handled individually. Post 30-days, only store credit is available – minus a $10 restocking fee.
Also, due to hygiene reasons, underwear and grooming products cannot be returned. Socks can be returned, but must be in their original unopened packaging.
Remember that preview email we mentioned? To help negate the chances of getting a shipment you don’t enjoy, members can request new selections or choose to skip the month within 48 hours of the email being sent.
If you keep receiving items that don’t suit your style, Bombfell does allow members to switch up their personal stylist—just email the service department at email@example.com.
Bombfell Reviews: What Customers Are Saying About Their Selections
Like many startups, Bombfell saves on their marketing budget by offering bloggers commission from affiliate links placed in their review. Meaning that, if a reader were to click through to Bombfell after reading a post, the blogger gets paid either a flat rate or percentage of your purchase. (Note that the presence of affiliate links should always be mentioned in a disclaimer.)
While affiliate links don’t always (and shouldn’t ever) affect the review, there’s still a chance that the blogger could be less than objective. To ensure objectivity, we headed to Reddit’s Male Fashion Advice (MFA) forum to find what members had to say about their Bombfell subscriptions.
Related: Trunk Club Review
Commenters comparing the service to similar fashion subscription companies targeting male shoppers, such as Trunk Club and 54 Club, described Bombfell as offering better prices.
“I've been with them for 4 months now and I love 'em!” –immasheep
“I’ve been using bombfell for a few months and I really like it. It costs me literally nothing unless there's something I like. I've kept a lot of stuff though. It's all pretty good quality stuff that I’m willing you pay for. It also has a third party picking it out that gets me to branch out. And for what it's worth, I get tons of compliments on the stuff they send.” –geoffersonspin
It’s worth noting that Reddit’s MFA community focuses on learning how to look fashionable yourself. However, the most common complaints were that Bombfell’s selections weren’t to users tastes.
“I tried Bombfell for almost a full year. I returned just about everything, kept a pair of shorts I believe. Overall wasn’t too impressed and I’d rather just do my own shopping.” –habisch
One Redditor also commented that his shipments became repetitive. Although, no statement was made as to whether or not he contacted Bombfell’s customer service about the problem before canceling.
Bombfell vs Trunk Club vs Five Four: How Do These Subscription Services Compare?
As few customers mentioned in their reviews above, Bombfell isn’t the only clothing subscription service that caters to men. How does it stack up against two similar services, Trunk Club and Five Four?
A Quick Look at Trunk Club
Trunk Club delivers a similar model of subscription service, but with a twist. Trunk Club members can take advantage of in-person styling services at its clubhouses in several cities, including Chicago, D.C., Dallas, New York, and Los Angeles. This gives members the chance to chat with a stylist and try on clothes—as well as access to a full bar to fuel your shopping experience.
While some might find Trunk Club’s in-person perks appealing, stopping in to see a personal stylist starts to blur the line between a subscription service and regular ol’ shopping—potentially making Trunk Club a less appealing option for men who’d rather have dapper selections delivered directly to their door.
There’s also Trunk Club’s high prices. Granted, what you’re willing to pay for personalized shopping is likely different from the next guy, so “expensive” is subjective. However, Trunk Club’s clothing picks don’t shy away from items that cost a pretty penny. For example, their averages are:
- $170–$250 for denim
- $100–$200 for casual shirts
- $100–$300 for sweaters
Those prices are a far cry from Bombfell’s average of $89 per item. Additionally, a number of Trunk Club customers has stated that the clothing they received wasn’t representative of those high prices and that they quickly showed wear and tear.
Learn more: Trunk Club Reviews
A Quick Look at Five Four
Another men’s fashion subscription service, Five Four costs a flat $60 each month. Each month you will receive a package of apparel valued up to double its monthly fee, which is selected for you based on your style profile.
Because of its low price and ample items delivered, one blogger hailed it as the best value for men interested in curated clothing picks delivered to their door. In addition to monthly shipments, Five Four members can purchase additional outfits from the website at a 25% discount.
The potential drawback? Unlike Bombfell or Trunk Club, Five Four only sells its own brand of clothing. This allows them to offer clothing at a reduced cost but also limits subscribers style options to a single brand.
Is Bombfell a Good Fit to Amp Up Your Fashion?
While Bombfell members won’t benefit from the kind of clothing sales you can find at a standard retailer, the company does appear to offer items without a significant markup. (A co-founder commented on Reddit that clothes are purchased at wholesale cost, and that they consciously try to keep items competitively priced when deciding retail value.)
While items aren’t conspicuously over-priced, Bombfell is likely only appealing to male shoppers who don’t make a priority of hunting for bargains. Instead, the service will likely work best for men who are interested in dressing well, and are willing to pay for the convenience.
After completing Bombfell’s survey, we were left with one concern: While the questionnaire takes build and skin tone into consideration, there’s no opportunity to upload a picture or share other information that could influence which patterns and colors are selected, including eye or hair color. This makes the service feel slightly less custom than working with a personal shopper. If bringing out your baby blues is a top priority, you may be interested in contracting the services of a professional stylist instead.