I would say I’m a pretty typical mom. When my favorite pants or shirts are all ripped, not because they’re ridiculously hip but because I’ve worn the bejesus out of them, I can quickly load up on basic essentials at my usual stores during a lunch break or online. However, when I’m feeling rather drab and the words “basic essentials” no longer provides a certain je-ne-sais-quoi to my self-esteem, I start to feel so out of tune with fashion that I can no longer help myself.
Drab, meet your nemesis, Stitch Fix! Stitch Fix is an online personal styling service that lets you keep the items you like and return the ones you don’t.
First, you’ll need to setup a style profile. The profile is amazingly thorough to make sure you get items that fit your body type and preferences. There are about ten questions about your body alone, though you won’t need to know your exact measurements (saves me having to figure them out). Then there are eight questions about your personal style. Finally, there are a whole slew of questions about your lifestyle: Are you a mom? What do you do all day? Do you need to dress up for work? Are there parts of your body you like to keep covered? How much do you want to spend? What colors do you hate?
You can subscribe for a “Fix” monthly or on demand. Each fix will contain five items, hand picked for you according to your profile. You will be charged a $20 styling fee, which will be carried forward to your balance if you choose to purchase one or more items. After receiving the box, you only get three days to decide what you want and ship your returns back, or else you get charged for everything (but of course, you also get to keep them). It seems like a harsh time limit, but shipping is free both ways and the pre-paid return envelope is already included in your box. You just need to throw your returns in the large envelop and find the closest USPS mailbox. If there’s one thing I can get my preschooler excited about, it’s dropping something in the mailbox, so meeting the deadline hasn’t been a problem around here! If you purchase everything in your box, you get 25% off the total.
Stitch Fix claims to have a $75 average price point per item, which sounds about right with my experience. I’ve picked “the cheaper, the better” on all cost preferences on my style profile, and so far my items have varied from $40 to $90 dollars. My items have all been brands that I was not aware even existed, so don’t expect to find common brand names like Old Navy or Abercrombie & Fitch caught on sale and marked up for profit. It definitively satisfied my cravings for both something I wouldn’t have picked up for myself or even been able to found on my own in my usual shopping circuit.
So far I’ve tried the service twice. The first time I received two tops, two bottoms, and one accessory. The second time I received three tops, one bottom, and one accessory. Both times I ended up keeping two items that I really liked, and returned the rest. When you’ve made your decision about which items to keep and return, you can check out on the website. There, you’ll be able to let your stylist know why you didn’t love the items you are returning. Stitch Fix claims that over time your stylist(s) will be able to learn your tastes and preferences with your feedback. When you schedule your next fix, you can also leave a note to your stylist about what you might need or would like to see next.
My only disappointment is that both times I tried the service, the items in the fix didn’t match together (on the scale of “not really” to “not at all”). I sometimes struggle to find something in my wardrobe to match with my new items. Each clothing item comes with a tag which contains two photos of the item used in completely different looks, and that definitively helps get some inspiration and perspective. Nevertheless, I would be more inclined to purchase all five items if I thought I could get one or two new, complete outfits out of them.
Overall, Stitch Fix has been a positive experience. As a proud geek, my closet is 50% witty t-shirts. Because I’m a programmer, the other 50% consists of boring casual business wear. Proud as I am of my geeky shirt collection, sometimes I feel my particular wardrobe composition could use a little variety. A more feminine touch. Stitch Fix has helped me with exactly that. I’ve been able to pair up my witty t-shirts with my new cute Stitch Fix-acquired skirts rather than ragged old jeans. I almost never wear skirts, so that’s very new and adventurous for me. Watch out, world!
Note: I was not provided a review sample box. I signed up for the service on my own and purchased the items myself. I wanted to write a review anyway, because it’s been a really fun service to try!