Saturday, January 23, 2016

Stitch Fix Subscription Styling Service Review, January 2016

I have been very slow to jump on the subscription styling service bandwagon.  It just seemed that there were too many inherent problems, chief among those being price and fit. But I've been keeping an eye on these companies and have been surprised to see that several of them seem to have been thriving over the past couple of years.  So, when Stitch Fix sent a styling fee waiver, I decided to dip a very tentative toe in the water.  

With most styling services, the idea is that you fill out a detailed profile about your sizes and preferences and pay a nominal styling fee. Then they assign a stylist who sends a box filled with clothing and accessories they hope you will like.  You pay for each piece that you keep and return the ones you don't want. The styling fee is deducted from whatever you end up paying.  There is generally a substantial discount incentive if you purchase everything in the box. 

Stitch Fix starts off with a Style Profile that takes about ten minutes to complete and they charge a $20 styling fee. (Among other things, you are asked which price range you are comfortable with for different items. Their average item price is $55 but they have a wide range above and below that.) Then, the stylist hand picks five clothing items and accessories that are unique to your lifestyle, taste and budget. The fee is applied to the price of anything you keep. The profile was quite detailed and gave me confidence in their ability to send things I'd like. My first Stitch Fix box arrived about a week after ordering.

Everything was nicely packaged in tissue paper with a separate little box on the side.  (Little boxes = good!) I also saw the pre-stamped pre-addressed USPS Priority Mail return envelope right away which was comforting.

This fold out card contained a personalized welcome note from my stylist (Kelly) and photos showing all of the pieces in the box (plus others) in various outfit combinations.  First impression....they nailed my style!

The items were all neatly packed in tissue paper.  I could see right away that there were two complete outfits. First is this lightweight gray striped dolman top from Market & Spruce.  Love the shirt tail hem, fitted cuffs and versatility of this top!  Retail price $48

Next is the Shara dark gray herringbone vest from 41Hawthorn.  This is quite a heavy weight vest that is fully lined and lightly padded. It has a Mandarin style collar and substantial front pockets. It goes beautifully with both tops in the box; however, its weight makes it impractical for the hot climate where I live.  Retail price $68

The second top is a beautiful red polyester Henley blouse from Skies Are Blue.  This blouse is quite loose and has 3/4 length sleeves.  It has a very unusual styling detail....buttons down the center back that stop several inches below the shoulder level.  I don't think I've ever seen a blouse with that feature before! Retail $58

There is a beautiful pair of stretchy black pants from Margaret M; they are marked as "Slimming".  These are a big fail for me as they are at least two or three sizes smaller than the size marked. Since I sell a lot of clothes in my real life, I am very familiar with standard size measurements. The hip measurement on these pants is a good 10" less than it should be. They are so small that I wonder if they are actually a Juniors size? I love the style (particularly the wide elastic waistband) but the inaccurate sizing completely deletes these from consideration.  So does the retail price, which is $98.

The accessory in the box is the long Joanna knotted layering necklace by Bancroft. This is absolutely beautiful, shimmery, extremely versatile and definitely something I'd wear. (The photo doesn't begin to do it justice.)  Score!  Retail $34

Here's the complete outfit with the gray top:

And here's how it looked with the red top and necklace:

I thought the Stitch Fix stylist did a wonderful job of curation, sending me items that were clearly chosen with my profile in mind.  I particularly liked that all the items were "nice casual" and age appropriate, both of which I asked for in my profile.  I also really liked that the box contained two complete outfits. The styles and colors are all things I would have chosen for myself. The big fail however, was the pants. Any woman who could wear the three tops in this box couldn't possibly get into those pants! 

The combined retail price of the five items was $306.00.  If you purchased all of them, you'd get a 25% discount ($76.50).  The discount combined with the styling fee credit works out to $209.50. If all five pieces are not purchased, the styling fee credit is still applied to whatever is purchased. In my case, I didn't even have to pay the styling fee and yet they still credited the $20 against what I did purchase...nice! (Get on their mailing list so you'll hear about any discounts or fee waivers.) 

As you can see, this is not an inexpensive way to buy clothes. But there is a huge fun factor and if you can accept that part of the price you're paying is for the services of a personal stylist, this might be a worthwhile subscription to try. It would be especially useful for working women who need to maintain a certain look but who don't have time (or the desire) to spend a lot of time shopping.

Even though I didn't keep everything in this box, I loved the attention from a personal stylist and am eagerly anticipating my next "fix"!


***An important thing to remember with Stitch Fix is that you only have THREE business days to return the items you don't want or your credit card will be charged. Missing that deadline (or not being aware of it) could be an expensive lesson!***

Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own.  Product discussed in this post was purchased by Lone Star Shopper. Post may contain referral or affiliate links.

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