During the academic year I get so busy that a lot of things start falling by the wayside: shopping, doctors’ appointments, house chores… the list goes on. Last month I just discovered a great solution to the first thing that goes out of the window: updating my wardrobe. The answer: Stitch Fix, a personal stylist in a box.
Stitch Fix is a very interesting example of the ways algorithms are combined with human oversight to create a personalized consumer experience. When you sign up for Stitch Fix, you fill out a very extensive style profile along with notes about your own personal preferences. All this algorithmically generates some suggestions tailored for you. The results then go to your personal stylist, who takes these suggestions and any of your own detailed notes (e.g. you hate frills; you want something in stripes), skims through your online profiles for a sense of your style (such as your Pinterest boards), and finally makes a selection to send to you. Stitch Fix then sends you five items (clothes and accessories), in a “fix” (or shipment). The stylist will send you clothes and accessories based upon your styling preferences, but will occasionally send you something that takes you out of your comfort zone.
You pay a $20 “styling fee” towards your “fix.” If you end up buying at least one item, the fee goes towards the cost of item, which brings the fee down to zero. If you buy all five of the items, you get 25% off everything. You get three days to decide whether you like your items, giving you the chance to match them with what you already have in your existing wardrobe. A pre-paid mailer is provided to send items back to the company for a refund. A fix can be scheduled just one time, monthly or as often as you would like.
I ordered my first box in August with some skepticism. I have had some bad experiences buying clothes online, especially in terms of how they fit. However, I was very impressed by what I received: skinny dark jeans, a red striped jersey top, a teal open-front cardigan, a dark blue wrap dress and an orange statement necklace. The first two items I would have picked out on my own, but I would not have given a second look to the other three if I had seen them in a store. But I fell in love with each item once I put it on. The fit was exceptional. It is hard for me to find items that fit as well in the store on my own. Additionally, the selection was a great balance between my typical style and something outside my comfort zone.
What I Really Liked About the Service:
- The choices.
- The selection of clothing was terrific and they all fit very well. This saved me many trips to the mall to find similar items that worked on my body.
- The styling cards.
- Each item came with some styling cards that showed the item matched in with a more casual and a more formal outfit. This is really helpful for someone like me, who needs the help.
- Being able to match it with existing wardrobe items.
- There are so many times when I’m about to buy something and am not sure if it will match what already is in my wardrobe—making me lean towards very conservative (read: boring) choices. The Stitch Fix method allowed me to actually pair outfits together within my own closet.
- It gets better over time.
- Once you have gotten your items, you are encouraged to leave detailed feedback on each article for your stylist, so that she can learn to improve her selections from you. I’ve read a number of reviews where people have indicated that their selections improved greatly with each shipment.
What I Wish I Had Seen
- More inexpensive items.
- I selected “the cheaper the better” in each category, and was a little surprised to see each item costing an average of fifty dollars. (Given that I generally buy items which are heavily discounted, this is more than what I normally spend on clothing). Having the option for more inexpensive items would greatly increase their clientele, particularly for many in higher education.
- A wider range of sizes.
- This is something that Stitchfix is working on. But I was disappointed that some of my friends were unable to try out the service because they did not fall into their sizing range. I hope this making this option available is a priority for the company.
In summary, though, my first Stitchfix experience was a terrific one. It works especially well for busy people. I was happy with the cut and quality of the clothing, and amazed that they had matched my preferences so well. I’m looking forward to my next shipment. (Full disclosure: I get a small credit if you sign up for Stitch Fix using the links above. I’d be grateful if you would, but no obligation! Otherwise, I received no incentive from Stitch Fix to write this review. I just really liked the service they offered, and paid for it out of my own money.)
Have you tried Stitchfix, or a similar mailing service?