my friend raechel knows things. she knows how to dress, how to cook, how to design, how to write, how to sew, how to blog and how to love. she is awesome and having her in my life has inspired SO many great new things. that is the mushy truth.
so when she tweeted about trying something called "stitch fix." i was intrigued.
i looked into it and got the skinny: it's a personal styling/shopping website. you tell them your size/style/budget and their stylists send you a "fix" of 5 items (clothes & accessories) they think will work well for you. you get to try everything on in the comfort of your own home, with the benefit of the rest of your wardrobe; anything you dont like, you send back in the free prepaid envelope, anything you like, you keep and are pay for.
you pay $20 every time you have them send you a new fix. they call this a styling credit, but it goes towards anything you choose to keep.
how do they know what to send?
well, like i said, when you sign up you answer a ton of questions, rate example outfits, indicate where you want your wardrobe to grow (are you looking for dresses or tops?) and what risks youre willing to take (edgy, boho, preppy). you also get a blank field at the end to tell them anything else they want to know.
for my first fix i asked for sleeveless tops for hot GA summer and a nice pair of neutral bottoms (since i have a lot of bright shorts already).
it was really thrilling and terrifying for this control freak to let go and let a total stranger pick out clothes for me. but there was no risk (beyond the $20 which i figured was worth it for the experience) and if pinterest has taught me anything, it is that some folks were born to style outfits for others.
a few days later this showed up on my doorstep:
their packaging, communication and design is AWESOME. it felt like such a high-end experience to be a part of. like designers sending famous actresses their wares in hopes of being worn in the red carpet.
do you see the insert in there? another fun incentive is that if you keep all 5 items in your fix, you get 25% off all of them plus the $20 that already went towards your purchase.
i lingered for so long with everything mysteriously wrapped up like this. what wonders lay inside?? such anticipation!
and then i pulled out the gang:
one pair of shorts
a happy envelope
my very first thoughts were, "oooooooooh, i dont know about these." but then i realized...thats the point! letting someone with no emotional attachments try to figure out flattering new options for me. i am willing to broaden my horizons, so i was excited to try these things that might not have spoken to me from the rack if i was shopping for myself.
here's what was in my happy envelope: super clear instructions for what was next, a friendly free gift of a little pouch of post its and my invoice with the pricing and origin of each item listed.
now here's the thing. i LOVE authenticity. i love being raw and transparent and letting you guys see the good, the bad and the ugly from me. i fully intended to post pictures of me in the clothes (like raechel did) no matter how hilarious or hideous they were.
i had to renege on this promise when i tried some of this stuff on. you guys, i am just not going down a road that leads to self-hate and lots of this stuff was so unflattering on me (not through my body's fault or the clothes' fault...just not a good match) that to put the pictures up on the internet would not have been good for my heart. thats my insecurity issue and until jesus works it out in me, i am not going to do things that lead to me believing lies about myself. amen? amen.
i LOOOOOOVE that each item comes with the clear price and info on a little tag AND a color photo of outfit ideas for how to integrate the piece into your existing wardrobe.
ok i selected the CHEAPEST option for all of my fixes. $55 isnt out of the realm of sanity for me, but it would be one of the most expensive items in my closet...true story.
so with that in mind, i would have to love it, and i just didnt. the print was a little too drab and muted for me and the double straps would almost necessitate a strapless bra (aka hell). and the final kicker was that i seemed to be too tall for this shirt, since the pictures sowed it hitting much lower on the hip than it did for me. it was more of a crop.
i thought this one was a piece of mail-ordered comedy. $70 for a grey cottom raceback tank with some neon accents. i happened to be wearing a $4 grey racerback tank from american eagle when i got this, and it was 50X more flattering on me. this one was reeeeally short on me.
love the color combo, hated the price and fit.
this one was my favorite. i was all about the bold colors and stripes and the fun pocket detail on the breast. but yall...it is transparent!!! big mommy dont play dat.
i am a mom of 2, almost 30 and married to a minister. also i live in the deep south. i cannot be walking around in this. i think the world would pay me $80 to send this back. if only it was been opaque and $40 cheaper!!!
last up: the shorts. i was so excited to get these on. but alas, size fail. i couldnt even get them over my hips to even look at them. i wear a size 10 in pants (sit see, i'm transparent with yall a little bit still) from almost all stores and these were a large so it should have worked, but maybe boutique L is smaller than chain store large. bummer and a kick in the confidence gonads.
my last hope, and the cheapest item in the fix was this necklace. at first i was scared because i dont own anything like this. but you know what, thats the point!
and while $30 is a lot for a necklace where i come from (i come from my own wallet, btw) i already had $20 invested in this experience that i was NOT getting back.
unfortunately the necklace was the only item that didnt come with styling suggestions and i was kind of at a loss of how to pair this looooong necklace with a big statement pendant with anything i owned.
it took a few tries but this is what i ended up wearing to work:
did i get it totally wrong? is this like a "only wear when youre all fancied up in all black and hitting the bars" kind of necklace?
i dont know, but i dont really care. this this made me feel stylish and fancy all day and it worked for me.
PLUS, due to its appearance, it was like a magical little chunk of meteor nestled in my bosom. it felt nice to pretend like my rack was powerful enough to pull celestial bodies from their orbits and into the gravitational well of m'girls.
so i kept one thing. that's the bad(ish) news.
but the good news is that i really did enjoy the process and i learned a ton from this first fix and think this is a great service and business that is really going to do well.
so when i went to my account to let them know what i was keeping and what i was sending back, i was able to rate each item based on price/fit/style/cut and leave comments about each. the interface for doing this is VERY well laid out and easy to use.
and then i also went back into my profile and updated it to mention a few more overall notes that my stylist (fancy!) should know about me: that i carry my weight in my hips and would like to minimize those, that i am super pale and that sheer/transparent is not really an option.
the overwhelming thing i have heard about stitchfix is that they really do LISTEN to what you say. i asked for neutral bottoms and cool, breezy tops; i got exacgtly those things (some a little bit breezier than others thanksyouverymuchtransparency).
a few ideas i had about their model (and they are only in beta and already doing a GREAT job. seriously, too many great things about their system to even name):
-it would be cool if the 25% off discount for keeping all 5 pieces was a graduated one that you worked up to to incentivize keeping even fewer things : like keeping 2 items got you 10% off, 3 items gets 15% and so on. but i have no idea what their profit structure is or anything like that so it may not be feasible.
-what if you could decide how many items in your fix and change the styling fee based on that. like 3 items per fix for a $13 fee, 5 for $20, 8 for $30 or something?
-it seemed like they could have been helped by or might need a picture of me. i was expecting that part to happen on the original questionnaire. like maybe a picture of me in an outfit that makes me feel AMAZING and maybe even a picture of my in a form fitting unitard or something that shows my true shape (with an IRONCLAD privacy agreement!). that way they could see coloring, shape, proportion rather than depending on my words alone to describe me adequately.
-their lowest price point (which i had signed up for) is still pretty pricey. i dont know where all these chicks are who spend $80 on a shirt and call it their "cheapest," but i dont know many of them. i feel like this system could work great even using just old navy or target clothes. i know one of the points is probably getting more boutique or small-label designers some exposure, but i felt like if i could afford some of that stuff, i could just get a traditional personal shopper at bloomingdale's to do it for me too. i hate feeling like a cheapskate, but we are on a tight budget and i still would like for this service to work for me so i can be a cool snazzy lady too.
did i have a little nagging panicky doubt that maybe this was a frivolous waste and that i'd be better off just going shopping and being my own stylist? yes. a few times when things were looking rough on me and i was starting to take it personally. but i have decided to give it at least 2 more fixes and give it a real chance. (if it doesnt work out after that, rae-rae can always just be my stylist. i shall pay her in snuggle).
it's not a subscription, rather it's on demand, so i can "order a fix" any time i want and they will pack one up for me and send it along (though you have the option of setting your account to auto-send one every month). so the next time i get an etsy order, that is where the money is going, because i want to branch out and be surprised by life and try new things.
my friend (hi katie!) even had a great point, that the $20 could be justified as a date night activity. what husband wouldnt be into the idea of seeing his wife in something way edgier or fancier than she normally wears? i think there is definitely enough potential to be had in this to make the investment on the front end worth the risk.
a year ago the thought of wearing skinny jeans or t-strap sandals would have had me in a cold sweat (and not just because my thighs were hot from the clingy denim and my feet cold in the sandals), but now i have 9 of those very items in my closet and they are some of my favorite pieces that make me feel awesome about myself.
have you tried stitch fix? have you had success? smashing failure leading to downward shame-spirals? is this the first you've heard of it and want to know more (check it out here)?
major brava to the minds that thought of this business, i hope they keep on keeping on, because even though i was 1 for 5 on my first fix, i really did enjoy it all.