Thursday, June 26, 2014

Second Chances - A Review of the Next Stitch Fix Box. Can They Redeem Themselves?


Stitch Fix

Note:  I am not endorsed or renumerated by Stitch Fix in any way.  This post is only for me to express my opinion and share my experience.  However, if you are interested in trying Stitch Fix yourself, I do request that you use this link, which will give me a 25% referral discount on future orders. Stitch Fix did not provide me with this link in exchange for posting about them on this blog.  All customers receive a referral link when signing on and if you decide to use the service, they will provide you with one as well.

If you have been following this blog, you know that am somewhat obsessed with Stitch Fix.  If you're just joining me now, and have no clue what I'm talking about, I'll explain.   Stitch Fix is an online personal shopping service.  To sign on with Stitch Fix, you need to go online and fill out a detailed profile about your preferred styles and colors along with your body type and links to any style Pin boards you have.  One of their stylists then picks 5 items from their inventory that she feels will best suit your needs.  There is a $20 fee for this and that is credited to anything you keep.  When you receive your 5 items, you pay for whatever you keep minus the styling fee.  Whatever you don't like, you send back in a prepaid envelope.  If you keep all 5 items, there is a 25% discount.  I had nothing to lose, so I tried it.

I detailed my experience in this post.  Although I liked the clothes they sent, I found that everything was either too big, too small, unflattering, or looked too much like something I already owned.  Still, I think the stylist did a pretty good job of understanding my style and color preferences.  With that in mind I decided to give them a second chance.  When you check out online, they ask you very specifically what you liked and didn't like about each item.  That gave me the chance to let them know they were on the right track, but some of their brands are cut large for me and some of their brands are cut small for me.

I have been continuing to monitor reviews of boxes online.  Most of the women receiving boxes like the clothes they receive.  I'm on the fence about what I see.  The target demographic for Stitch Fix becomes increasingly clear as you read the reviews.  I see a large number of overpriced, glorified t-shirts and a mountain of maxi dresses.  They skew heavily to the white suburban Mommy demographic.  Many women who use Stitch Fix habitually shop at Target and Old Navy (stores whose clothes look terrible on me) and are used to that level of quality in their clothes.  Women who prefer more upscale brands find Stitch Fix clothing overpriced for what it is.  I was becoming less optimistic about what I would be receiving in this shipment.

On the good side, most  reviews are overwhelmingly positive, even when reviewers find a box disappointing.  I do feel that some of the women who are a bit disgruntled with service glitches go a bit over the top.  Among the negative reviews there are some women who seem almost unnecessarily angry about their experiences.  I understand the plus-sized women who have serious issues.  They only stock up to size 14 (which I think leaves out way too large of a segment of the female population right there) and even in those larger sizes the inventory is limited. I do hope women who are angry with Stitch Fix's lack of plus sizes realize that there are other options for plus-sized women.

It just seems like some women take it way too personally if they don't like the clothes or if they have fit issues.  I agree that the size profile has some serious flaws (it should require measurements and not just height, weight, and bra size) and that they give you way too little room for additional notes.  I just believe that if you're going to do something like this, you have to accept that it's going to be hit or miss.  I feel my stylist understood my style very well.  Not everyone will be so lucky.  That's why you are supposed to give plenty of feedback when you receive a box so the stylist can improve your next box.  Signing up for Stitch Fix means a $20 risk.

I do realize it's a gimmick.  You have to keep paying for them to style a box for you until they finally get it right.  I know it's going to be shocking to hear my liberal old self say this, but they're in the business to make money.  If this business model didn't work for them, they wouldn't use it.  No one is obliged to subscribe to it.

I still wasn't about to keep giving them more chances if they were going to continue getting the size wrong.  This would be their last chance to make it right.

I changed my Pin board a bit.  I don't just pin clothes I want now.  I include pictures of me in  in my favorite outfits.  That way they could truly see the kinds of clothes I live in.  That would give them a true sense of my style. I threw in a few more Stitch Fix outfits I liked as well. 

I had to question why I was doing this.  Do I need new clothes?  Since the failure of the last box, I resigned myself to doing my own shopping and ended up buying these two tops from ModCloth, this skirt from JCrew, and these pants from Tablots*.  What else could I need for summer?

 Then again, "need" is such a relative term isn't it?

So what was in Box #2

(Obligatory shot of the outside of the box)

I open the box to find this pile.  My first thought was, "The stylist definitely looked at my Pin board."  My second thought was, "Maybe I shouldn't pin so much flowered stuff."

The note was sweet.  I had a different stylist this time.  The last stylist was Kat.  This time I had Megan.  Megan said she actually read my last review blog and was moved by how upset I was over the fuchsia blouse not fitting and didn't want me to cry again.

So what was in the box...

Item 1:  Andrew Marc Lyle Faux Wrap Lace Detailed Dress
Price: $148

My first thought when I saw this was, "Oh please oh please!"  I really didn't expect such a cool looking dress.  I tried it on hoping it would fit. 

For the photos I tried to style the clothes the way the cards suggest.  I used a choker and black shoes.  Red shoes would be nice with this too. (Yes, I know my hair looks terrible.  Do you know how humid it was outside today?)
My husband's eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw me in this.  I hope it's not too sexy for work.  It was a bit snug, but that was the fit, rather than it being too small.  I worried that it might make me too lumpy, but there is always Spanx.  The white lining is a bit weird, but I think that makes it look more distinctive. 

Status: KEPT!  (It figures I would keep the most expensive item)

Item #2: Under Skies Tristan Floral Print Button Front Blouse
Price: $44

I have been seeing Under Skies stuff in some boutiques in the city and I really like their stuff.  This blouse was no exception. 

I paired it with a plain skirt and some colored jewelry and neutral shoes.  (Yes, I know the skirt is wrinkled.  I wore it to work today in that same humidity.)

 I said in my previous SF post that my style is 40% simple and classic, 40% sweet and girly-girly, and 20% anything goes.  This blouse fits the bill in all ways.  The cut is basic.  The floral is girly.  The colors are just "out there" enough.

Status: Kept

Item #3: Collective Concepts Esten Button-Up Sleeveless Blouse
Price: $54


This is the same blouse they sent me in that beautiful fuchsia the last time.  They didn't have fuchsia this time, so they sent me a soft red.  It was a nice enough color.  It was also a size smaller.

I paired it with the neutral skirt and shoes again and added a gold coin necklace.


It fit - sort of.  The shoulders fit just fine and so did the bust.  Unfortunately, the armholes were still too big.

I almost decided to keep it.  The armhole gap wasn't that bad and my bra only showed when I moved a certain way.  Then I realized that armhole gaps of any kind were not worth $54.

I'm sorry it didn't work out, but I'm all cried out at this point.

Status: Sent Back. 

Item #4: Pink Martini Joshua Colored Ankle Skinny Jean
Price: $64
Many bloggers rave about how well their SF jeans fit.  Since I seem to be in between jean sizes lately, I asked them to send me a pair and see how well their denim brands would fit me.  I really loved the color.  I also happen to like skinny jeans.  Maybe it's just because I'm a child of the 80s.  Maybe it's because I think my legs look fabulous in them.

The joke is on me.  I could barely get these up over my hips and had to suck it in to button them.  I didn't even bother to style them.   I took this photo for comic relief.  Go laugh at my ginormous muffin top.

Status: Sent Back

Item #5: Collective Concepts Chanelle Cross Front Floral Dress
Price: $64

As soon as I pulled this out of the box, I said, "No way is this going to be right on me."  It's a pretty dress, but for me it's about 42 kinds of wrong.

Once more, I didn't even bother styling it.

I knew that cross front neckline would gap in front and fall too low on a shorty like me.  It was huge and poofy in the back as well.  I wasn't too crazy about the color.  There was plenty of pink in the pattern, but also a fair amount of orange and brown - two colors I never wear!

Status: Sent Back

Two out of five isn't bad, although it was less than what I had hoped for.  I still would like another solid colored top to wear with summer patterned skirt and I would like a summer dress in a summery color.  There are a few discount clothing stores in the vicinity of my office (Strawberry, DeJaneiro, Boltons).  I'm sure I can find something on the cheap there  on my lunch hour if I am vigilant about looking regularly.

The question is, will I do this again?  With so many close-but-not-close enough clothes in my boxes, I'm not sure I can ever really build a wardrobe out of what Stitch Fix sends me.  I know in the fall I am going to really need to do some wardrobe building because I culled much of my closet in the past year.

What are my other options?

Tog+Porter - Very similar to Stitch Fix, but with a much lengthier styling process.  From what I have seen in some of the boxes, I'm not sure the clothes are all that much more impressive considering the styling process.  Unlike Stitch Fix, they don't charge a styling fee, but you are charged for the full box when you receive it and then are refunded what you send back.  That seems like a clumsy way of doing business.  They also seem to skew to a younger demographic.

Keaton Row - This is sort of like a personal shopping Avon Lady.  You submit a style profile as with the other services and you are matched with three potential stylists who are independently contracted.  Once you choose your stylist, she sends you three Look Books based on your preferences.  You order what you like from her choices and she is paid a commission by the retailers.  There are two disadvantages to this.  The first is that I'm not sure I want something outfit-oriented.  I like that SF tries to send you individual pieces to integrate into the wardrobe you already have and aren't all meant to be worn together (although some of the pieces in a box can be).  I'm trying to build a wardrobe and not just have three outfits to alternate. Plus the retailers they use are quite high end and pricey.

Nordstrom - Why do it anonymously online.  Nordstrom has a free personal shopping service with no obligation to buy.  Why not sit down with a real person and discuss needs and see if she can build me a wardrobe?  I may not have that much free time to shop, but I can put aside two hours for one evening, can't I?  It might be pricey, but I can have the stylist focus on investment pieces that would be worth the money.

A DIY Box - I saw this on a blog post by a woman who had been disappointed by Stitch Fix too many times.  She said she went to Lands End and just ordered 5 items of her choosing.  She had no weird surprises and she let herself send back anything that didn't fit or look good without guilt.  She was planning to do the same with ModCloth.  Maybe I'll do something more like that.  I could buy some wardrobe basics form a site like Lands End and then get some fun items from ModCloth and maybe try some items from another site I have never tried before like Kayce Hughes or Ruche.

Maybe when it's the middle of winter and I'm bored and want to do something with my wardrobe, I'll buy another Stitch Fix box.

It's not fall yet and I don't want it to be!  For now I'll see if I can cheaply find one or two other summer pieces and worry about the cold weather when the time comes (and I don't want it to come any time soon).

*Yes, I said Talbots.  I had been trying to so long to find a pair of flattering white work pants in my size.  I tried the hipper stores like J. Crew and Banana Republic, but their white pants were see-through.  I resorted to shopping the frumpy websites.  I tried Lands End.  They had pants that looked like they would work, but were only available in very large sizes.  Lands End is usually the frumpiest place I shop, but when even they couldn't get me what I wanted, I had no choice but to try Talbots for the basics. They had white pants in my size that fit and didn't show my underwear.  I had to go with it.

2 comments:

  1. This was 100% spot on, "I see a large number of overpriced, glorified t-shirts and a mountain of maxi dresses." For me, I'm willing to spend more for high quality good brand name clothes which is why I don't have my barometer set that low on price, however the items I've been sent haven't thus far been worth the price. I'm also surprised that I have almost never heard of the brands being sent to me.

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  2. Besides Gwynnie Bee, there is another alternative for plus sizes, Dia & Co https://www.dia.co/r/37oz , which is much closer to how Stitch Fix works, except for sizes 14 and up. I just received my first box and was pleased. :)

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