A few years back, I realized it was time to stop making my closet about quantity and start making it about quality. Instead of 20 so-so T-shirts I had picked up on sale at Old Navy, I wanted two fantastic T-shirts that looked amazing and wore well. Instead of five shapeless cotton sweaters, I’d like one cashmere that clings in all the right places. Instead of ten pairs of just okay jeans, I’d like one pair of kick-ass jeans that make me feel like my ass indeed kicked something.
I only wear one outfit a day. Why not always look my best?
So when I heard about the online personal shopping service Stitch Fix, I thought I’d give it a whirl. If they can help me find those perfect items, I’m ahead.
Here’s the Skinny on Setting It Up
The Deal: Stitch Fix will send you five items a month based on your preferences. They may be clothes, shoes, jewelry, bags, or other accessories. After you try them on at home, you pay for the ones you like and send back the ones you do not, using the enclosed shipping pouch.
Money: Stitch Fix charges a $20 styling fee, which goes toward your first purchased item. If you send back all the items, you pay Stitch Fix $20, but if you buy even one, the $20 comes off the price of that item. They send items priced around the spending range you tell them, but their average cost per item is around $55. If you buy all five, they give a 25 percent discount on the order.
Signing Up: When you sign up, you take about half an hour creating a style profile. It’s pretty easy. They show you pictures of outfits and you rate them on a scale from love to bleck. For me that meant a big no on the bo-ho flowy hippy garb, a huge thumb’s up on the black jeans with leather accents. No to preppy pastels, yes to sleek neutrals.
The site then walks you through a series of questions. First, specific size. I’m petite, but also short, so most pants are way too long for me. Stitch Fix knows that now. It knows my weight (best to tell the truth) and my bra size.
The questions get more specific, which is good. They want to know what part of your body you like to show (decolletage), what you like to hide (belly), how tight you like your tops (definitely form-fitting), what rise you like on your jeans (mid—I’m not an animal). You also get a chance to give preferences for colors, formality levels, and price; plus a section to write specific notes and any particular requests.
After signing up, the waiting begins. A week or so before my shipment was due, the personal stylist asked me if there was any more guidance or particular events coming up for which I needed a particular type of outfit. I said there wasn’t.
Once Your Box Arrives
The Clothes: The first shipment sent five pieces, three of which I bought and two I sent back. It comes in a box with pretty printing inside and all the items wrapped in tissue like little gifts. There’s also a listing of prices and an idea card that shows each item photographed with other clothes in suggested outfits.
Daniel Train Pin-Tucked Blouse, about $60.
I loved the color of this blouse, but it was a bit baggy and flowy for me. I was borderline on it. I would have bought it if I had a good excuse, but decided if it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t for me. Sent back.
Papermoon Mesh Inset Blouse, about $50.
This top is me all over. Black with a sexy mesh insert running across the top of the chest (not boob area, but chest). In this case, the personal shopper got it right. On the other hand, I would have picked this up in a store so I don’t know that I benefited from having a personal shopper here. I could have found this on my own. Still, I bought it.
THML Open-Shoulder Blouse, around $45.
I was excited about this blouse because it was nothing I would ever pick out for myself. It pushed my envelope in every way and that was part of what I wanted from a personal shopper. I never pick patterns, but this pattern is cute. I don’t pick orange, but I liked the orange accent. It also had a little cutout in the shoulders that looked like it could be on trend.
Alas! It was not even close to fitting. It was squashed tight across my chest. Since I’ve never been accused of having a big chest (another area where quality is better than quantity), I can’t imagine who this blouse would fit, other than a slim man. Sent it back.
Gold-Tone and Black Enamel Bracelet, around $40.
I do not buy a lot of accessories (quality and quantity again) but this bracelet fit my style so perfectly and worked with other gold pieces I already own so perfectly that I felt it fit a hole in my jewelry box. I bought it.
Marei* Black Jeans, around $110.
These jeans were a home run. First of all, at 5’2” I can never find jeans that are the right length. Not only are these the right length, but they have a deconstructed vibe to the bottom that is very hip. With the length and the detail, I can finally do that jeans-and-high-heels thing all the girls do. They have a leather label on the back and a slightly worn vibe. The stretchiness is just right for me—not too firm but not leggings elasticity either.
Secondly, they fit amazingly well. Nothing short of hard work and diet is going to remove that extra ten pounds, but these at least distributed it in all the right places.
I loved these jeans the moment I put them on and have worn them almost constantly. The price point is a little high, but I’m willing to pay a bit for the perfect black jeans. I bought them.
* I think the black jeans are Marei brand. The label is a little hard to read.
Returning and Checking Out
StitchFix includes a return shipping pouch in the box they send you. It’s easy to slip the things you do not want into the pouch and leave it by the mail slot. It’s prepaid, so there’s no additional cost to you.
To check out, I went on the website and paid for the things I wanted. They also take feedback on the things you like and do not like, so they can better tailor the next shipment. You have three days to decide and check out. I assume that if you do not decide and send stuff back, they charge your card for the order. It’s not specifically stated anywhere I could find on the website, but would make sense.
The fact that they take 25 percent off the order if you buy all the items was strategic and smart. If I had liked and bought one of the shirts I sent back, I essentially would have gotten the other for free. The red shirt I was borderline on would have been a no-brainer if I had liked the other shirt.
It would be nice if the website kept track of your orders once you check out, so you can go back and look at what you’ve bought. It seems to just forget the order once the deal is done, although all your profile information remains.
The Bottom Line
I was pleasantly surprised with StitchFix. Out of five items, I absolutely adored three and they actually fit. None of the brands were anything I had ever heard of, so that was a bit disappointing. Some appear to be made specifically for StitchFix. It really only matters if brand name matters to you. But I loved the way they looked, felt okay with the price, and that is what ultimately matters.
I’ll be using them again.
In case you’re wondering, I did not receive anything from StitchFix to do this review. I wouldn’t do that.