Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Stitch Fix Subscription Styling Service Review, February 2016

Personal styling services are an intriguing concept in the subscription market and one that has achieved a tremendous amount of interest lately. One such company is Stitch Fix, an on-line fashion retailer. They have you start by taking a ten minute style profile designed to gather basic information (size and shape, style preferences, budget and lifestyle), then pick a date when you want to receive your shipment. Their personal stylists will choose five items and send them for your consideration. Items can be clothing, jewelry, shoes or other accessories. There is an upfront $20 styling fee which can be applied to the price of anything you keep.

February was my second month for Stitch Fix.  They encourage communication with your stylist so I had provided some feedback on last month's hits and misses and tried to refine my style choices a bit. Among other things, I asked for casual or business casual clothing in the mid price range, no pants, nothing orange and nothing geared towards young women. Of course, each person will receive items tailored to their own Style Profile so what I received is most likely not what you would receive.

With each shipment is a custom information card showing some or all of the pieces in your box paired with other items to make complete outfits.  There is also a friendly note from my stylist Rebecca with enough personal details to satisfy me that she's actually taken a good close look at my Style Profile and feedback comments.

Another sheet lists each item in the box, its retail price and the merchandise total.  It also shows the 25% discount that you get if you keep all five pieces and the styling fee credit. There are easy instructions for checking out on-line once you've tried on the items; you have three business days to do that.

The first item is the Adel Center Dotted Cuff from Zad which retails for $28.  Upon first sight, I thought this would be too small but it actually fits perfectly.  It's a very versatile and understated piece with a slightly Indian look.  (KEEP)

Next is a pair of Ocean Park Perforated Sneakers by SeaVees which retail for $88.  I loved these right out of the box. They are made of leather and have that perfect casual go-with-anything look.  Although they were labeled in my size, the fit was almost two sizes smaller...to the point I couldn't even get one on my foot. Since I wear a pretty standard shoe size, I was surprised that the sizing was so far off.  These are great looking, well made and versatile; I may hunt them down elsewhere. (RETURN)

Next is the Skylar knit jacket from Mystree which sells for $78. This light gray jacket has a lot of tailoring which gives it a very feminine fit; there are vertical contour seams in the front and back and it is fully lined. The wide shawl type collar and offset zipper are unusual design details. This would be quite a versatile piece but unfortunately, it too, fits as a size or two smaller than marked.  So, regretfully, it goes back. (RETURN)

This is the Carlito dolman knit top from Papermoon which retails for $38. Although it has an interesting slub texture and color, the fabric was paper thin.  It was so transparent as to be completely unwearable as far as I'm concerned. Also, the color was not at all flattering on me, although I liked the shade in general. This top just was not the quality of the other pieces.  (RETURN)

Just as I was losing hope, out came a second top from Papermoon. It's called the Perugio embroidery detail knit top and retails for $58. The dark navy fabric is light in weight but not paper thin or transparent. It has braided red, white and blue trim around the V-neck and sleeves. The same trim outlines the yoke in back, giving it a slightly Tyrolean look. What really makes this top stand out is the cut; the back falls several inches lower than the front giving full rear coverage. This fits me beautifully, is extremely comfortable and easy to wear...plus, I own nothing else like it. Love! (KEEP)

Since this was my second Stitch Fix, some general observations are starting to emerge. Clearly, these clothes and accessories are not cheap. What you are paying for is the personal styling assistance and shipping costs both ways (whether you return anything or not). From what I've seen so far (and in consideration of the price range indicated in my profile), the items are low to mid range in quality. The items I've received have been interesting styles that closely fit my criteria. Having another set of practiced eyes helping me shop is the real value in this service.

I want to make a comment about sizing. We all know that women's sizes can vary dramatically from label to label and even within labels. Having said that, there are certain measurement ranges (generously stated) that are fairly standard. About half the items I've received from Stitch Fix have measured MUCH smaller than the size indicated on the label, sometimes to the point that I've actually thought the item was mis-labeled. This is frustrating and wastes a lot of postage going back and forth. Since a lot of these items are exclusive to Stitch Fix, it would be nice if the sizing were more consistent.

O.K., off my soapbox!  As before, this was a fun Stitch Fix to explore and I am very happy with my new bracelet and the navy top.  It is obvious that the stylist listened to my comments and every effort was made to send things that met my requirements. I've updated my profile, sent them some more feedback and can't wait to see what comes in my next Fix!


P.S.  By the way, you can schedule your Fixes whenever you want. If monthly is too much, you can slow them down to fit your interest level and budget.

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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