A stitch of a different sort {Stitch Fix Review}

unboxed

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of these monthly subscription boxes that seem to becoming more and more popular. For a time I was even receiving one; flicker box, which is basically a monthly box of candles, but after a year I was horrified to see that I paid $350 for an insane number of candles which I more or less gave away (they were mostly too sweet or fruity and I don’t want a home space that smells like a candy factory or a punch bowl or a produce stand).  It was a nice thought, because sure, I like candles, but I really like the ones that smell more like incense and with that being the case I mostly just burn incense and light unscented candles. So I canceled that subscription.  You can bet I always had a hostess gift or a surprise birthday present that year though.

There’s Birchbox and others like it, which I believe are focused on beauty products, but I’ve pretty much embraced my inner hag and don’t need too much of that sort of thing.  There’s also one for perfume, Olfactif, and you are probably wondering why I have not signed up for that one yet and the answer to that is because I don’t want to die homeless and penniless which is exactly what will happen if I’m offered perfume selections like clockwork every month.

I recently came across Stitchfix while doing a search for a service that provides monthly clothes subscription boxes, which – I know, it sounds like a gamble, doesn’t it?  Personal style is really tough to pin down, especially through a medium like the internet, when you don’t even know the person for whom you are choosing the apparel.  And why would I even need something like that?  I work from home, I prefer to entertain at home or…someone else’s home, but basically I am a homebody.  I don’t go out to see and be seen.  I’d prefer to be invisible and ignored for the most part. And despite all my waxing poetic about runway couture and all the time I spend over on polyvore curating delightful ensembles, it might surprise you to learn that I actually sort of dress like a hobo in real life. And in looking down at my pizza stained yoga pants and oversized band tee shirts with holes around the shoulder seams where I’ve stretched out the neck to accommodate my enormous head, I realize that is an insult to the actual hobos.

I am, however, expected to show up in video conferences, or attend out of state functions for work every once in a while, and I do get invited to the occasional party or dinner date – and in surveying my wardrobe it is plain to see that it does need a bit of an update regarding such outings.  90% of what I wear is some variation of the disgusting combination described above and the other 10% are peculiar vintage items that appealed to me for some reason or another at the time of purchase and 0% of that is appropriate to wear in front of coworkers or friends who want to be seen with me in public.

In reading the following, I will admit, I was awfully intrigued.  Fill out a profile?  I love filling out profiles!  That’s part of the reason I was always so tempted to join online dating sites – just so I can fill out a profile and tick off boxes about my personality and interests, etc.  Is that odd? I can’t be the only one.  I’m not doing that now, of course – that is, filling out online dating profiles. Not recently.

Stitch Fix is the first fashion retailer to blend expert styling, proprietary technology and unique product to deliver a shopping experience that is truly personalized for you. Simply fill out the Stitch Fix Style Profile and our personal stylists will handpick a selection of five clothing items and accessories unique to your taste, budget and lifestyle. You can buy what you like and return the rest!”

And you know, much like filling out profiles for online dating sites, there’s always that thrilling thought that maybe! finally! someone will finally “get” you. I always used to put the weirdest things about me in those things (my title on AOL Personals a million years ago was “Wark! Wark!), just to see what sort of people would respond.  You don’t always get a winner, of course, but I thought it was fun to try.

So, I went through Stitchfix‘s questionnaire and gave them my sizes and the colors I preferred and selected a few outfits that I liked the looks of {“preppy“, “romantic“, “casual“, “edgy“, “bohemian“, “glamorous” and…one that looked really colorful but I don’t know what you would call it} I think I am a combination of casual with a soupçon of edgy, for what it’s worth.   In the “notes to the stylist” section I offered the following:

“I wear a lot of black and a lot of jeans& tee shirts (I work from home). I’d like to slowly start incorporating more (darker, muted, earthy) colors into my wardrobe and graduate beyond band tee shirts.  Nothing cutesy or twee. Think reformed goth for someone who never actually was a goth.  Someone who enjoys horror movies and ghost stories and Dead Can Dance and still has a tiny crush on Glen Danzig.” 

Ha!  Try to figure that out, stylists!

So how it works is once a month, or however frequently you prefer, your Stylist at Stitchfix puts together a box of five items according to the sorts of things you indicate on your profile and then they send it out to you! You pay a $20 Stylist fee per box, which is deducted from the cost of whatever you end up keeping.  Whatever doesn’t work for you, you just send it back in the postage paid envelope that they provide for you.  I think I am describing this all accurately, but there’s tons of blogs out there where ladies are reviewing their boxes and talking about how it all works.

Speaking of all these other women who use Stitchfix, I will honestly admit that in doing some research and poking around I grew a little concerned when I saw that most of them are Mommy Bloggers. Which hey, there’s room in this world for every interest out there and that’s great, but 100% across the board, Mommy Blogger style is without a doubt, absolutely, not my style.

I’m fairly certain it was only two weeks ago that I started looking into this and yet my first box arrived today.  Inside was the inventory list with prices on each item (you can choose your budget – the most expensive thing in my box was $88), a card for each item with some styling options, the return envelope, and a personalized note from my stylist, “Emily”.

card

And here are the pieces…

Balboa Embroidery Detail Top

Balboa Embroidery Detail Top

Even though I liked the look of this, with the gold embroidery against the black crepe, the fit  was off.  I could barely get it over my head and though the width was okay, it was a little short. Also, I am not overly fond of sleeveless clothing. Still, I thought it was a nice pick for me.

2

Ava Floral Silk Print Henley Blouse

Another sleeveless number.  But…I loved the print and the the aquamarine against the navy is so pretty and the fit was perfect.  I don’t have anything like this, and I can always wear a little cardigan over it.  A keeper!

3

Humphrey Streak Print Dress

Though I actually love the colors (such as they are) and the print reminds me of creepy late night teevee static, it just hung like a potato sack on me and wasn’t exactly flattering.  I also don’t like the arms, something about the cut of the top half reminds me of a baseball jersey.

4

Bianca Fringe Cardigan and Milena Moto Legging

This cardigan was so soft and cozy, and had the long, drapey shape that I like, but wearing it I felt like the Muppet version of Dolly Parton.  Wearing a Fraggle sweater.  Nope.
The leggings were really cool looking, and I loved the ribbing at the knee, but again, there was a weird fit issue. And leggings should be comfortable if not anything else, so these were also put on the return list.

SO! Despite the fact I am returning four out of five items, I am actually fairly happy with the pieces my stylist chose for me.  There was not a single thing in there that I pulled out of the box and thought “ABSOLUTELY NOT!” and the one thing I loved and decided to keep was probably the one I never would have chosen for myself.  Which is one of the reasons why people have stylists, right?  I think this was an interesting experiment and I am pleased enough with the results that I am going to keep my subscription for a few more months to see what they come up with for me.

A few tips:

1.Stitchfix is not really plus sized gal friendly.  I am between 12-14; all of the pieces sent to me were marked “large” and mostly fit quite comfortably, except for a few weird issues.  For the time being though, anyone larger than a 14 is out of luck.

2. They encourage you to keep and update a pinterest board which you can link to in your Stitchfix profile (here’s mine, please note I put my banana suit on one leg at a time, just like everyone else), and it looks like they even pay attention to the stuff you collect there.My stylist mentioned in my note that she included that dress because my pinterest board is liberally peppered with those types of dresses. Just goes to show you that I have no idea what looks good on me.

3. Checking out is super easy.  Log in, go to the check out page, select the item you want to keep, and that’s pretty much it since they already have your card on file.  The other thing about the checking out process is that they encourage feedback on the things that didn’t work, so they can do better next time.  I informed them of all the same observations I recorded here, so now they have it on record that my flabby upper arms prefer sleeves and I don’t like floppy, froofy fringe because it makes me feel like a fraggle. Also, you can include notes as to the type of thing you might like to see next time!  I had no advice in this regard, I really want to make them work at it. Heh.

Of course I managed to choose the most expensive item in the box, but with my $20 credit, it came to $68, which I guess isn’t too bad?  I don’t know.  It’s cute.  We’ll see if I get any compliments on it. Also, speaking of money, they have some sort of referral program, where you get $25 credit for each friend who signs up and orders.  Now, I am not telling you what to do or anything – because I am certainly not the boss of you – but if you are someone who has to have their clothes picked out for them, or if you are too busy to shop for yourself, or, if like me, you have an imp of the perverse sitting on your shoulder constantly encouraging you to fill out online profiles and make people work at figuring out who you truly are, then use this link to sign up.

I’d like to think that this is not typically the thing I talk about over here, but I did want to share my experiences with other ladies who are looking into this sort of subscription box.  It’s one thing to read customer testimonials, and it’s another to read un-boxing and haul posts from mommy bloggers, but it’s something else entirely and infinitely more valuable to read about it from the perspective of your yoga pants wearing, meat-lovers pizza-munching, Glen Danzig-crushing trusted friend, right?  I hope that’s how you’ll think of this.  Just some advice from one gross, barely clothed friend to another.

Do you have any experience with subscription boxes?  Are there any I should check out?  Let me know!

 

 

10 Comments on A stitch of a different sort {Stitch Fix Review}

  1. Tanya
    February 20, 2015 at 12:58 am (2 years ago)

    I loved the way you described yourself in reality vs a person someone might imagine is behind the computer, pinning Gareth Pugh and Alexander McQueen looks to their Pinterest. I go gaga over runway stuff but day in, day out, but a lot of times I end up in skinny black jeans and a giant cardigan I can wrap around myself like batwings.

    I was bummed about Stitchfix because, like you said, us bigger girls are left out in the cold. There is a similar subscription service for clothes for women size 10-32 called Gwynnie Bee, but having dug through their available clothes, I didn’t find a thing I liked. Lots of florals and weird ruching and asymmetrical dresses. Blargh.

    When I’m getting more splurgy, I basically just trawl through the DKNYC clearance racks at Macy’s, because they actually often have sizes that go up to mine (14/16) and lots of kinda modern-slick, but kind of feminine elements. I would actually recommend you check into that.

    I would wear the hell out of that Kensie dress, if it was a proper fit, by the way.

    Reply
    • S. Elizabeth
      February 20, 2015 at 2:04 am (2 years ago)

      Yeah – you know the more I look at that dress hanging there, the more I like it! But…I did try it on, and I did not dream that it looked pretty “meh” on me, so I have to remember that! Even though it’s looking pretty good right now! Also, I already packed the bag up and sealed it, so there’s that, too.

      I wish they did clothing subscription boxes for ladies with a darker aesthetic, wouldn’t that be something? I’d love to get some knock-off Gareth Pugh and AMQ pieces every month, heh.

      Next time I’m at Macy’s (hm…have I ever been to Macy’s? I don’t know!) I will have to take a peek and see what I can find.

      Reply
  2. OTB
    February 20, 2015 at 1:40 am (2 years ago)

    I love the idea of this! I pretty much have no idea what my style is any more. 6-10 years ago I would have said it was like a reformed goth who was never a goth. Now I think it is more like a 1950s librarian, I love my two-toned oxfords and full-skirted dresses…but sometimes I have serious doubts on how “professional” it is.

    Reply
    • S. Elizabeth
      February 20, 2015 at 2:13 am (2 years ago)

      Gosh…yeah, 6 years ago I was spending all my paychecks on Anthropologie and now you couldn’t pay me to wear a lot of that stuff! As a fellow lover of full-skirted dresses, I am afraid we will probably have to find them elsewhere, but I have seen some cute tops and blouses through Stitch Fix and almost everyone says that the jeans they send are the most comfortable, flattering ones they’ve ever had. Let me know if you end up signing up!

      Reply
  3. lau
    February 24, 2015 at 5:17 pm (2 years ago)

    that top you chose is really pretty! i’m intrigued by this, for sure. thanks for such a thorough write up!

    Reply
    • S. Elizabeth
      February 24, 2015 at 5:48 pm (2 years ago)

      It was fun! Though my sister confessed that she couldn’t finish reading it because it was too damn wordy. Heh.

      Reply
  4. Jenn B.
    March 6, 2015 at 4:07 pm (2 years ago)

    This sounds pretty neat! I think I am with you on the subscriptions for ladies with a dark aesthetic. =)

    Reply
    • S. Elizabeth
      March 6, 2015 at 4:56 pm (2 years ago)

      And something else that is kind of cool about it is that you can leave notes for your stylist like “hey, you know I have to travel for work next month, can you throw a blazer and some professional looking stuff in there?” or, “I’m attending a wedding next month, can you include some pretty dresses?” Normally I hate to shop for that sort of thing, so I am curious to see how that works! IF you end up signing up and ordering anything, could you do so through this link? https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/4700108 (I’ll get credit for it)

      Reply
  5. Name*
    April 13, 2017 at 11:28 am (3 months ago)

    My 1st order was perfect. I kept the entire box. Now I’m waitng on the second box to see what’s inside.

    Reply
    • S. Elizabeth
      April 13, 2017 at 11:36 am (3 months ago)

      I haven’t ordered a box in over a year, so your comment comes at an interesting time, because I just reactivated my account and I am supposed to get a Fix on Monday! I’m glad first order turned out so well for you; fingers crossed for the second!

      Reply

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