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Frank and Oak Review: Sustainable Subscription Boxes

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Frank and Oak is unique among subscription boxes for prioritizing sustainably made clothes for men and women. They produce their own clothes according to their design vision and sustainable production goals. Many of them are made with new technology that uses less water and creates less waste. Their monthly subscription box collects clothing from their line that meshes with your preferred style.

In my Frank and Oak box, I received black skinny jeans, a black viscose blouse, an “oil green” plaid blazer, black crew socks and green crew socks. I was most excited by the black viscose blouse for its simple, blocky silhouette and textured fabric. This box is ideal for anyone looking to fill their closet with sustainable, versatile clothing. The silhouettes are classic and can be worn as trends come and go.

What We Like About Frank And Oak

  • Minimal packaging
  • Sustainable clothing options
  • Classic styles

My Frank and Oak package came in a polymailer with no frills. There was no tissue paper, no packing slip, and no sheet of paper welcoming me to their service. Some might find this bare-bones approach unappealing, but I appreciated the reduced packaging. It goes perfectly with their mission statement, and I wish other boxes would pare down the excess paper in their boxes. It’s a simple way to reduce waste that doesn’t even cost a company any extra money.

The clothing is well-made and many pieces are made sustainably. Frank and Oak’s sustainable practices include resource-saving Hydro-less production, which uses less water, power and chemicals to create textiles. They also create circular denim, which uses fibers from old jeans to make new, wearable ones. Sustainability is about long-lasting clothes as much as it is about innovative production techniques, as they demonstrate by using ripstop technology and stretch wools.

They specialize in a minimalist aesthetic, which goes hand-in-hand with their sustainability goals. They bring their environmentally sustainable approach into every aspect of their business. The company website has a lot of information about the materials and sustainable practices they use, and it’s all fascinating to a textiles nerd like me!

The clothing all felt well-made and the designs were fairly classic, with simple lines. Since they’re not overly trendy, they could easily stay in rotation in your wardrobe for years. The designs are made with comfort and utility in mind, but they don’t sacrifice style to meet those goals. There’s an elegance to the designs, as simple as they are.

What We Don’t Like About Frank And Oak

  • Limited selection
  • Customers are charged for all items in the box
  • Not all clothes are sustainable

Since Frank and Oak sells only their own clothes, the selection is going to be more limited than other boxes. If you like their style and what they have to offer, this box will be great for you. But if you’re not interested in their minimalist designs, you probably won’t like anything their stylists choose for you. Take a look at the clothes available in their shop to get an idea of whether or not this box is right for you.

The items in my box didn’t seem especially curated to my tastes. Items also seemed to sell out quickly. Before they ship your box, they ask you to confirm the selections and offer a few dozen alternative options. The items in my styled box kept disappearing and being replaced by other items in the week it took me to make my decisions. This only made it harder to make a decision and find items I wanted in each new crop of options.

The fact that you have to pay for your entire box up front and then have to return whatever you don’t want to keep is at odds with the subscription box model. With most similar companies, the point is that you aren’t charged for any clothes until you decide to keep them. Not everybody wants to put $300 on their card when they may plan to spend a fraction of that cost. That’s the main benefit to most subscription boxes, and Frank and Oak is a lot less convenient because of that. It may also take some shoppers by surprise as they get ready to check out.

Finally, not all of the clothes they sell are made using sustainable technology. This is a bit disappointing when their brand and appeal is so focused on the company’s sustainability. The blazer and black jeans were made with sustainable processes, but the other options were not. The others did include the same recycled or biodegradable tags and materials, though.

Who Is Frank And Oak Best For?

More so than other boxes, Frank and Oak will appeal to a very specific customer base. The brand will appeal to dedicated minimalists who appreciate careful design details. The jacket in my box, for example, included microfiber pocket linings for cleaning phone screens.

People who are hoping to find sustainable ways to fill their closets will also appreciate the company’s philosophy and clothing. From the recycled paper tags to the biodegradable textiles in their clothes, this company offers plenty of improvements over other brands in terms of environmental impact.

Textured Viscose Button-Up Tee in Black

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This black viscose shirt is thin but still opaque enough to wear without an undershirt. I like the mandarin collar and textured fabric. Despite the boxy cut, the shirt hangs flatteringly. The buttons go halfway down the shirt, letting you open your shirt if you want a lower cut. The buttons also add more visual interest to the shirt.

Tencel Lyocell Plaid Blazer in Oil Green

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This oversized blazer has a classic plaid pattern and can be used to add a vintage feel to casual outfits. On the company’s website, a model cinched it in at the waist with a belt to add more shape. This blazer has a lot of great design details, like six internal pockets, including one with a zipper, and a pen loop. The front pockets are lined with microfiber to clean screens and glasses. According to the tags, it was made with sustainable processes.

The Debbie Skinny Jean in Black

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The Debbie black jeans are a classic skinny cut, evoking Debby Harry’s rock ‘n’ roll coolness. I liked the fit of this stretch denim, made with 99% cotton and 1% Spandex. These jeans are made with a Hydro-Less Process, which uses less energy, water and chemicals than it takes to make other jeans.

Quarter Length Ribbed Socks in Olive Green

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These socks are made with 76% organic cotton and also include Cool-Plus polyester to wick moisture and keep things cool. I love this color and the reinforced heel, which will hopefully translate to longer-lasting socks. As the tag says, they’re Oeko-Tex certified. That means they’re clear of notable levels of several chemicals that are potentially harmful to humans, like formaldehyde.

Quarter Length Ribbed Socks in Black

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These are the same as the olive green socks above. They seem comfortable and the ribbing detail is nice. The tags for these socks are printed with soy ink on biodegradable, unbleached sugarcane paper. The sustainable tags are just another detail that shows the company’s commitment to reducing strain on the environment.

Final Thoughts

Frank and Oak is doing important work by focusing on sustainability in their packaging, production methods, and clothing. However, this box isn’t for everyone. They have a clear design vision, and it may not fit in with your own fashion goals.

Another drawback is the fact that the company charges you for all the items in the box and then refunds you based on what you return. This is the opposite of how most subscription boxes work, so some customers might be surprised when they get to checkout. A lot of people won’t want to deal with a $300-$400 charge on their accounts that they haven’t planned for.

Frank and Oak is ideal for anyone who lives for minimalist designs with clean lines. They’re also worth looking into for their sustainability in clothing. They use a lot of exciting technologies to reuse old clothes and avoid wasting resources as they create new ones.

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