In July 2014, I became a Fabletics Brand Ambassador. I officially left the Fabletics Fit Squad in October 2015. During that time, I experienced both the good and the bad of the company. In this post, I’m going to tell you about my experience and apologize profusely if you’ve signed up for Fabletics under my links.
First, the Good About Fabletics
I’m going to lead off with the positive parts about Fabletics. There were a lot of good things about the company, especially in the summer of 2014. Among them:
A Stellar Fabletics Fit Squad Program
When I joined the Fabletics Fit Squad, it was incredibly well-run. We were sent welcome packages and Brand Ambassador business cards. The program was explained very well, and we received our rewards for completing challenges and our member credits for completing end of quarter surveys and hosting events very quickly. We received event-appropriate outfits and swag when we hosted them. It made me proud to represent the brand and try to get my friends excited about it, too.
Additionally, the Fit Squad members seemed hand-picked. Most of them were active on social media and very passionate about the brand. They seemed to embody what Fabletics was about at the time: healthy living, being fit, working to get fit, and looking great while doing it.
I was in love with the Suva Run Shorts (until a plastic thread thingie came loose on the waistband and starting to scratch me), as well as the Suva II Run Shorts (no plastic irritants), Lima Capris, Ayni Bra, Sintra Bra…all of those were amazing pieces. The Salar Capris grew on me. I totally loved the August 2015 collection because of the prints. There were some stellar cold-weather running tops. The fit was true to size, and the pieces performed well at the gym or on a run. The focus was on quality athletic wear.
Prices at Ellie were creeping up, and Lululemon and Athleta were out of my reach. At the time I joined Fabletics as a VIP Member and then as a Fit Squad member, it was actually possible to get a workout outfit for $49.95.
But all good things must come to an end, and here’s the honest truth about everything that went wrong, starting at the beginning of 2015.
The Bad About Fabletics
As I mentioned, Fabletics started going downhill. All of those things I mentioned that were good became a thing of the past. I’m not going to rehash every single problem I’ve had. That’s counterproductive. Instead, I’m just going to note a few things to keep in mind if you’re considering joining Fabletics as a VIP Member.
Quality Has Declined
I’ve noticed a marked difference in quality from the first pieces I’ve ordered to pieces from more recent collections. For example, the tropical print Salar Capris from an early summer 2015 collection are stitched wrong, so there’s a bunch of white fabric showing along the seams. I’ve also had the following unresolved issues with quality:
- The Weston Pullover started unraveling at the thumbholes after maybe two trips to the washer.
- The stitching on my Joni Jacket started unraveling after normal (e.g., wearing it as a winter jacket) wear.
There are more, but to its credit, Fabletics did replace a couple of the items that ripped (Sintra Bra and Caicos Capris, pictured above), bled (Juneau Bra), or otherwise couldn’t handle everyday wear and tear (Loveland Hoodie). However, there is a part of me that wonders if those items would have been replaced had I not been in the Fit Squad.
When I used to order an XS tank, whether it was an Oula or an Aventura, it fit properly. It wasn’t too baggy or too long (I mean, it was longish, but I’m 5’1″). It was the Baby Bear of tanks. Then Fabletics hopped on the vanity sizing bandwagon. All of a sudden, the Aventura tanks fit like mediums and the Oulas were dresses. The Aruba wrap was gigantic. Now I have no idea what size I wear in tops.
And it appears to have spread to the pants now. I made the mistake of picking up a pair of the Polaris pants on sale, and the XS gaps at the waist. Can I return them? Of course not; Fabletics knew the pants were poorly sized, which is why they were on sale.
Customer Service Is Abysmal
It’s hard to know where to start with this, because customer service has been mostly terrible in the past year. Part of the problem is that Fabletics has its call center in the Philippines. Right away, that creates a language and culture barrier. I’ll just provide three examples:
- Customer service is pretty poorly trained. For example, in one instance, the representatives completely wiped out my store credit. I had $56.62 worth of credit in my account before I returned the South Point outfit (which was $59.95 – hello, price creep!). I contacted Live Chat after my return had been received by the warehouse. The rep, Leane, assured me that I would receive my credit in 24 hours. I refreshed my order history, and instead of the return being reflected as received, Leane had wiped out my RMA. I jumped back on Live Chat and got Marco. He wiped out the $56.62 and replaced it with a $59.95 credit. He insisted that I should only have $59.95 on my account. Marco insisted that I did not have a store credit before the RMA was cancelled. Eventually, I got this resolved, after spending two hours of my life on Live Chat, on the phone, and contacting the Influencer Relations Coordinator for help.
- Customer service representatives use condescending scripts – I actually have a chat transcript I copied and pasted where the representative admitted to copying and pasting the wrong response. I could write another opus on this one, but phrases like “rest assured” and “not to worry” smack of script-reading and pasting. There were plenty of copy-and-paste responses in Live Chat that made no sense. Remember the language barrier? It came out in full force here in every single interaction.
- Returns and exchanges are a nightmare, not “hassle-free.” For a while, Fabletics used FedEx SmartPost for returns, but that took 10 business days just to reach the warehouse. The company switched to Newgistics, which was almost as bad. It was 7-10 business days just for the return items to reach the warehouse, and then another 2-3 business days for the warehouse to process the return. The best-case scenario for an exchange is that you’d get your item two weeks later. For me, it usually took three weeks.
The Fabletics Deal-Breaker
Customer service was the deal-breaker for me, seriously. The Caicos capris had been won as a prize in an Instagram contest, and Fabletics first sent me the wrong size capris. At first, customer service wouldn’t replace the capris:
It was only at the behest of the Influencer Relations Coordinator that the pants got replaced. Of course, they ripped. And when I complained, this is the response I got:
It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I cancelled my membership. I was willing to sympathize with other customers, but apparently “Darling R.” didn’t like that so much:
So it’s okay for me to do Darling’s job for her and answer customer questions, but the minute I sympathize with other customers? This is how a formerly loyal customer and former brand ambassador is treated: she’s accused of “spamming.” Fine, Fabletics. I did get a call from headquarters, and the company is offering me a replacement pair of capris – but they didn’t seem all that concerned with Darling’s misunderstanding of the word “spam.” That’s what was the catalyst for this post: Fabletics just does not care about customer service.
I Was Just Plain Embarrassed
My friends who knew I had an “in” at Fabletics were telling me all the problems they had: delayed shipping, orders cancelled without being notified, the vanity sizing, the customer service – all things that I had experienced. I didn’t have a good answer for them as to why this kept happening. I provided feedback on my quarterly surveys, but nothing was addressed. The Fit Squad program was going downhill, too, and I wasn’t being provided with what I needed to properly promote the company. The new Influencer Relations Coordinator seemed to not care at all.
Fabletics also made its foray into “athleisure” at the expense of activewear. Instead of being able to find awesome Lima Capris and Ayni Bras, I was looking at jogging pants meant for lounging at Starbucks, sports bras with too many straps and not enough support, and fussy shirts that would get caught on barbells. I will say that the cotton long-sleeved tees were awesome, and there was a dress I loved in the August collection. But joggers and things like the Darco tank (faded easily, bled on itself, completely an athleisure piece) are pretty worthless to me. It’s all very overpriced, especially for what you’re getting. I’d rather wait to see what shows up in Lululemon’s We Made Too Much section or for an Athleta sale for athletic wear if this is what’s happening to Fabletics. If I have an urgent need, Old Navy’s performance pieces are great, and I live 20 minutes away from a Reebok outlet and an Under Armour outlet.
And then there was that commercial poking fun at Lululemon’s see-through pant problem, which was over two years ago. So not only was Fabletics trying to capitalize on something that is mostly forgotten, but it was using an offensive word. Yes, the word was bleeped out. But we all know what word it was. So disgusting, and so unnecessary.
I honestly can’t endorse the brand any longer. To anyone. I’m so, so sorry if I’ve persuaded you to become a VIP member and you’ve had issues like this. As my capris inevitably wear out, I’m going to try a few different brands. I’ve had luck with Old Navy for budget capris, and I’m curious about Academy’s BCG line. Forever 21’s capris just don’t feel right.
I’ve already fallen in love with Lululemon’s What the Sport shorts – GU pockets! Seriously, What the Sport shorts are the absolute best for CrossFit and running, my two favorite activities. Reebok’s CrossFit booty shorts are great, too. For leggings, I bought a pair of Reebok CrossFit leggings, and the jury is still out. I’m going to try Athleta leggings as well. (Athleta recently had a pretty serious sale, and I already am a big fan of the company’s dresses.)
Ultimately, I couldn’t keep quiet any longer. I don’t want anyone else to sign up for Fabletics and be disappointed. Know what it’s really like when you go into it. That’s all I ask.