Although I'm hardly a fashion maven (okay, friends, stop laughing hysterically), I'm going to tell you about a fashion shopping service that I love and that I'm sure you've heard of: Stitch Fix.
I'm going to tell you a little bit about myself and a little bit about Stitch Fix, then I'll take you through my latest shipment (arrived yesterday), and give you some tips on how you can have success getting great clothes that fit your personal tastes.
About me. Back in 2012, my younger friends (women around age 30) were talking about Stitch Fix and the great clothes and accessories they got from the service's stylists. I was hesitant; after all I'm closer to (or even older?) than their parents, so what would Stitch Fix have for me? Right before BEA that year, I decided to give it a shot, if I hated everything in the box, the most it would cost me would be $20 (more on that in a minute). I filled out the Style Profile, scheduled a fix, and crossed my fingers. To my delight, the box contained several items I liked. I kept one blouse. Since then, I've scheduled a box each season, and the selections have been getting better and better -- fitting my tastes and budget. This month was the second time I kept every single item they sent me! How about that for good service?
About Stitch Fix. For the complete rundown, check out Stitch Fix's FAQs, which give you a clear idea of everything you can expect (including the size range). In a nutshell, you fill out a Style Profile, in which you tell the stylists everything about you: age, weight, height, tastes in clothing, budget, lifestyle, and more. Then you Schedule a Fix and add a note to your personal stylist, telling her if you have any special requests (for example, you might need new dresses for work).
For each fix, you pay a nonrefundable $20 fee; you pay no additional fees (including shipping) and are charged for only what you keep. Each box contains five items (clothes and accessories). When your box arrives, you have three days to try on the items, make a decision, and return unwanted items in the prepaid, preaddressed return envelope. Once you've decided what you want, you check out and leave feedback. If you buy all five items, you get a 25% discount on the entire purchase.
My latest box. For this fix, I had specifically told my stylist that I wanted a tote or a bag, if there was one she thought I'd like, plus tops to get me through the rest of winter. I said that I didn't want pants, skirts, dresses, or jewelry. My stylist listened to me, and I love everything I got. Click the image to see the photos full size
The first thing I opened was the Eperia Clarita black messenger bag. It's a cross-body bag with an extra handle that's big enough for all kinds of gear when I'm out and about. I love the zippered main compartment, the cute lining, the matching zip pouch (not shown), and the details.
The next item was the Splendid Delanie knit olive vest. I was not in love with this at first sight because I wasn't sure about the collar. But once I put it on, I knew I'd get a ton of wear out of it; it's soft, warm, and a great neutral color. Next out of the box was the silk Amour Vert Halton Blouse in navy and pink. I love silk because it's comfortable most of the year, and this cheerful blouse fits me perfectly and can be dressed up or down.
I'll get a lot of wear out of the two Olive & Oak sweaters--the Bernette Mixed Knit in teal green and the Glenn Cable Knit in fuchsia. They are soft, warm, and comfy on their own but would work well under a jacket or over dress pants as easily as over jeans.
Each item fits my style and my body. Note too that the styles are fairly classic and ageless but still up to date, which is exactly what I wanted. If you like frilly and girly or trendy and urban, you'd get those styles in your box instead.
Two notes. One thing to understand about Stitch Fix is that they do not send you outfits, not that you couldn't wear some of the items together. Instead they are sending you pieces to augment your wardrobe. Second, for each clothing item, you get a style card (at right), which shows you two suggested outfits, so you have some help in how to put together your own look.
Tips. I know that, as with any service, some people who've tried Stitch Fix have not been happy. I don't know if I've just been lucky or if it's because I've tried my best to represent myself and my wants clearly. Here are some things I think have helped me have such good luck:
- Style Profile: I filled this out as accurately as I could. I didn't lie about my weight, age, height, or clothing size. I was very clear in the comment section about what I like to wear and what I don't like. I have revisited this section often and made changes when needed.
- Pricing: In the profile, you'll have a place to set your budget. Although I don't want to make mine public, I will say that I didn't pick the lowest price range for any of the categories. Only once in 11 boxes did I send something back because I thought the quality was bad.
- Pinterest: Create a style board at Pinterest (here's mine) and link it to your Style Profile. Although I haven't made notes on every photo I've pinned, I do try to say something helpful so my stylist can look over the pictures and get to know my tastes. For example, in the note she included in yesterday's fix, my stylist said she noticed I had pinned several vests, so thought I might like one.
- Feedback: Here is the key. When you check out after you've decided what to keep, you have a chance to leave feedback on each item and then on the box as a whole. Do this! Keeping in mind that you don't want to be mean, you still must be very honest for both the things you keep and the things you return. I say up front that something doesn't fit, isn't my taste, or is a bad color. Sometimes I love something but I already own a similar item. I try to be very, very clear about what I love and what I don't love about each item, whether I keep it or not. I think this is key. Your stylists can't read your mind.
- Requests: Finally, when I schedule my fixes, I add a note to my stylist saying exactly what I want. For example, each box before BEA, I mention my trip to New York and ask for something that will take me from convention floor to a dinner out. They always come through.
I actually hate this kind of thing, but I'd be dumb not to mention it: if you'd like to try Stitch Fix, and you use my referral link, then I get a small credit to my next fix. Note that this post is entirely mine: not sponsored in any way.