Earlier this week, I talked about a major closet purge and why I'm trying Stitch Fix. Believe me, I see the irony: Look at all the clothes I gave away so I have space to buy more! My only defense is that I ordered my Fix about 3 weeks ago, and it actually inspired me to clean out my closets of items I don't love or find useful in my everyday life.
If you haven't heard of Stitch Fix before, here's the quick and dirty details:
- It's an online personalized styling service that started in 2011 from the apartment of a Harvard MBA graduate.
- You sign up, fill out an extensive styling profile, and schedule a "fix" to be mailed to your home. If you can, use a friend's referral link so they get a $25 credit - and your friends can do the same for you, too. Thanks for using my link!
- When the fix is started, you're charged $20.
- Each fix has 5 hand-picked items selected by a stylist who gets to know you through your profile, Pinterest board, and individual fix note.
- Once you receive the fix, you have 3 days to decide what you love and what you want to return.
- To pay for your items, you check out on the Stitch Fix website and leave detailed comments and ratings on each item you were sent. This helps them know why you loved or hated each item so you can get better items next time.
- The $20 styling fee is credited towards anything you keep - i.e. the $54 shirt you kept is only $34, since you already paid the $20 styling fee.
- If you keep all 5 items, you get 25% off the entire order.
- You keep what you like and put the rest in a prepaid mailing bag and drop it off at USPS or Fed Ex.
I had been skeptical of Stitch Fix for a long time, despite having a lot of friends who love the service and have used it for multiple fixes. But after a realization of how bad I am at picking out clothes, I decided to try it out.
A quick note - my photos are pretty atrocious. I am not a photographer, and all I have is my little iPhone 4S that has been through the waters of tribulation (literally). Thanks for being so understanding.
First - the prep work
I signed up for Stitch Fix on the website on March 7. The first available fix was March 24 - over two weeks away, but I figured that gave me plenty of time to change my mind. I filled out the style profile with as much detail as I could (arm length, color preferences, inseams - it's all pretty much covered). And I started a Pinterest board with styles and items I liked.
Then the waiting
While I was waiting, I joined a couple of Stitch Fix buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook. Yes, it's a thing. Remember the 25% off you get if you buy all 5 items? People quickly figured out they could keep the whole fix and sell items they didn't want to keep, and get a huge discount on the items they did love.
Near my fix date, people started posting about their fixes arriving late. And sure enough, mine was 5 days late. The Stitch Fix website does state that the arrival date is not guaranteed. I kept checking the tracking data obsessively and ended up "peeking" at what was in my Stitch Fix because I am that impatient...
Click on photos above to enlarge.
It finally came on a Monday afternoon (about 15 minutes after I'd left for work - of course). That evening, I tore into it and was impressed by the detailed information included on each item and instructions for what to do next. The box includes an invoice, styling cards for each item, and a personal note from the stylist on why she chose each item.
Spoiler alert: I only kept one item. But I was very satisfied with that, because I probably wouldn't have been able to buy the whole box even if I'd loved it. And I don't need 5 new pieces of clothing all at once.
The actual value in the experiment came when I was checking out and had to explain why I disliked the items I returned. Read on for photos and comments (click photos to enlarge)...
Octavia Brooks Cross-Body Bag ($58)
I had requested a new cross-body travel bag for our upcoming trip. I really, really want this bag, but at $350+, it seems a little unattainable.
This bag's material felt like decent fake leather, and I wasn't sure how it would hold up to wear and tear. The zipper was bright gold and didn't glide smoothly. The final verdict came when I tried to fit my A5 planner inside. It wouldn't fit.
Market & Spruce Jacy hooded Knit Wrap Jacket ($68)
I had requested versatile clothing that would be good for any weather, rainy or warm. This hooded knit wrap jacket was a nice thought but too bulky and loose for me. Anything with a wrap tie ends up stretched out because of my shape. The elongated cuffs were a bit strange. And when I put my hand into the pockets, one came out - it looked as though whenever the maker was serging the pockets shut, they were too hasty and didn't bother to make sure they were actually sewing over the seams, leaving a gaping hole. That's just shoddy workmanship, especially for $68.
Renee C Rafiki Split Back Top ($48)
I liked the print detail on this top, but that was about it. It's a very soft, almost sheer material, which means it majorly wrinkles - no good for traveling. It was boxy and had an odd split in the back. The shirt was already too short on me, so that guaranteed some immodest exposure. And it was basically three rectangles sewn together with sleeves. For $48, I expect a little more tailoring than that.
Just Black Connely Skinny JEan ($78)
These pants are the perfect example of why I wanted to force myself to pay more for clothes. They sorta fit - although the bum was a bit tight and the legs about 4 inches too long. If I'd seen them at the thrift store for $5, I would have bought them. But I didn't love how I felt in them. They were baggy around the knees, and although they were stretchy, they didn't move with me as much as I'd liked. I probably would have wasted $5 on them and ended up never wearing them. But for $78, I could easily say "No" and explain why.
Market & Spruce Nolen Printed Detail Henley Tank ($54)
Finally, a winner - I had pinned this top on my board because of the printed neckline. And it fit perfectly - no crazy tummy show when I lifted my arms, no stretching across the back, and nice detailing around the neckline. The fabric is incredibly soft and was wrinkle-free when I pulled it out of the box. The price is definitely a lot higher than what I've paid for anything in a long time. But I think I'm getting my money's worth with a top that I can wear a lot of different ways for (hopefully) a long time.
I'll try Stitch Fix at least one more time. I set moderate expectations for my first Fix - a box of clothes is not going to fix all the problems in my life or bring me permanent clothing happiness. I get that.
What I appreciated most (besides marveling at the business-savvy-brains behind the entire set-up) is the process of figuring out why clothes fit me (or don't), why I love them (or don't), and what my closet actually needs (or...you get it, I'm sure).
The prices are a little steeper than what I'm accustomed to paying, although since I normally shop at thrift stores, that's not difficult. And there were a few quality issues with some of the items I received that didn't exactly impress me with their workmanship. It also may take a couple times before my stylist really "gets" my style (or I get a new stylist).
But I definitely have a better idea of what I should spend my money on and what to ask for. I have another Fix scheduled for May, which will help me control any impulse purchasing I may be tempted to make until then. One of the big benefits of having the Fix sent to me is that I don't have to waste time hunting through shopping racks or returning items I regret buying. It all comes to me (which is why I pay for the convenience), and I can spend my time on other things that I enjoy more.
If you want to try Stitch Fix...
If you have the money, it's worth at least one try, as long as you have realistic expectations. If you use this link, I get a $25 credit, which I appreciate. Just so you know, I paid for my Fix entirely on my own and am not reimbursed by Stitch Fix for this blog post. All opinions are mine and completely honest.
Have you ever tried Stitch Fix? What was your experience like?