Saturday, August 30, 2014

My Next Styling Experiment - A Review of Keaton Row

Disclaimer: This post is my opinion only.  This is not a sponsored post.  I am not compensated at all for this review. I will not receive any discounts or coupons.  I am posting this mostly because there is very little information out there about the Keaton Row experience from its clients and I feel there might be women out there seeking this information.  I also had a very positive experience and I simply want to endorse my stylist Rebecca Green because I feel she deserves it.  She works on commission and  therefore needs a client base to make money.  If my post sends more clients her way, then I am very happy to be helping her out. I am not getting anything out of it if anyone does sign up with her.  If you are interested in having Rebecca style you, I will be happy to send you a referral link.  If you see this post and don't like Rebecca's choices, but would like to see if Keaton Row can find you a stylist you do like, go here (This is not an affiliate link).

Ever since I remodeled my closet I have been trying to streamline my wardrobe.  I want to shop more intelligently and not choose clothes too impulsively.  I have been giving myself permission to get rid of stuff that I have owned for years and am getting bored with.  I have also been giving myself permission to get rid of stuff I know isn't working for me.

Regular readers know that shopping has become more difficult for me as my time becomes more constricted. Therefore I am trying to see what happens when I let "experts" dress me instead of picking out my own clothes.  First I tried Stitch Fix, which I chronicled here on the blog.  I have had mixed results.  I like what they send me, but they work out of their own inventory, so they are somewhat limited with what they can send and they don't have specialized sizes (like petites).  The styles they sent were definitely my taste, but the fit often didn't work.

Keaton Row works a bit differently from Stitch Fix (or Golden Tote or Tog + Porter).  When you sign up for Keaton Row, you fill out a style profile just as you would with other styling services.  Then you are matched with one of their independently contracted stylists.  You can also browse the lookbooks and profiles of their stylists and choose one you like yourself.  Next you request a personalized lookbook from that stylist.  Instead of having an in-house inventory, the clothes they choose come from several different retailers, including Nordstrom.  The stylist creates a lookbook based on your preferences and then you purchase the clothes directly from the retailer.  The stylist makes money by being paid a commission from the retailer on whatever you order.  There are no styling fees and you only are sent and pay for the clothes you order. You can order nothing and it costs you nothing.  Once you sign up, you also have access to the public lookbooks from other stylists, so you can buy stuff you like from them whenever you want.

The system seems pretty cool, but the drawback is that it's only as good as the stylist you choose.  As I said above, the stylist is independently contracted and anyone can sign up to be a stylist with them.

Here is the scary part about signing on for Keaton Row.  Imagine for a moment that you want a brand new skincare routine and you want to invest in some brand new makeup looks as well.  You decide that signing on with Avon would be the most convenient way to do this.  Since you don't personally know anyone who sells Avon, you go to their website and look for someone in your area.  You contact one of them randomly based on geography.

It's possible she is awesome. She knows the entire product line inside and out.  She is able to easily analyze your skin type and finds just the right products for you easily.  She is great with makeup and comes up with some perfect new looks for you and is able to sell you the few key colors you need to make those looks happen.

It's also possible she's terrible.  She doesn't know the product line that well. She can't figure out your best skincare products.  She isn't very good creating makeup looks. You end up having to break up with her, which may feel awkward, and find a new Avon lady.  You may even decide that Avon is terrible and you will find a Mary Kay rep instead, or simply head to a counter at the department store and spend even more money.

If you are allowing Keaton Row to match you with a stylist based on quiz answers, you really don't know what you will get.  Your stylist might be someone who has worked in the fashion industry and really understands how to style people.  You might have someone with no experience at all who just likes to shop.  Keaton Row does train its stylists, but it still seems like the process could be iffy.  All of these styling services carry some kind of risk. 

I spent some time browsing profiles of stylists before I signed up. I checked out as many public lookbooks as possible.  Very few of them really stood out for me.  I decided to just fill out the profile and see whom I would end up with.  At some point, you just have to take a chance and trust the process.  For some reason the most recent stylist profile I viewed ended up saved in their system when I filled out my questionnaire, so that was the first stylist they tried to match me with.  I didn't like her lookbook much at all, so I asked to see another one.  I didn't like her choices much either.  I wondered exactly what algorithm they were using to match clients with potential stylists.  I asked for them to show me yet another one.

The third one was Rebecca.  I liked her lookbook a bit  more than the first two, but her biggest advantage was that she is a shorty like me and claims to be a "petite specialist".  Although I still wasn't sure if her style matched mine well, I decided to go with her.

Once I accepted her as my stylist she was very prompt and contacted me right away.  We discussed briefly my figure issues (it's hard to do short and voluptuous at the same time), my favorite brands and stores, and my needs.  She liked that I was thorough with my likes and dislikes and also my willingness to branch out of my current style rut.  We discussed budget as well and she was very understanding that I'm willing to pay for useful, well-made and well-fitting clothes, but I don't want to pay designer markup prices.

I signed up on Friday and had my first lookbook by Monday afternoon.  I appreciated Rebecca's promptness, although I wonder if it was due to her not having many clients - and why she didn't have many clients.  I was certainly very excited to see what she picked out for me.  I reminded myself that I was not required to buy any of it, so it really didn't matter if I hated everything she picked out.  Unlike with Stitch Fix, there was no styling fee. 

Once I saw my lookbook, I was in Heaven.  Rebecca gets me.  She completely and utterly gets me.  I swear she must shop for me telepathically.  There were a few duds among the 10 (!) pages of clothes she sent, but for the most part, I loved everything so much it was hard to pick just a few.

Here are a few examples of her suggestions that I purchased.

This necklace color and texture looks even better in person than it does in the photo.
 Classic blue color for me.
 I needed a plain blue skirt.  This one needs shortening, but will look good on me because of the swing.
 This blazer has a nice relaxed feel.
 I love black and white dresses.
 Another sweater in a classic Rachel color.
 This jacket is pure me. 

More fun accessories with cute shoes and a gorgeous bracelet.

Skirt is a classic design in a fun, signature color.

I loved these two items she suggested and bought them, but they ended up not working out.  I realize that I just don't feel comfortable in wrap dresses and the neckline fell way too low and looked too sexy for work.  The pants fit just a wee bit too tight.  There was a very obvious panty line.  However, I felt going up a size would be too big. 


I think I have a pretty good wardrobe filling this fall.  If I need another outfit, I will definitely contact Rebecca again.  I was going to do a little fashion show with photos of some of the outfits I put together, but who has time for that?  I'll take photos as I start wearing them out and put them on my Pin board for those who are interested.

One drawback of Keaton Row is that stylists create a collection using affiliated retailers.  There is no guarantee that the retailers will have what you want in stock at the time your order them. The stylist even warns you that if you don't start ordering right away, you may lose your chance to order the items.  My lookbook had a really nice black blazer that I ordered only to find out it was no longer in stock   There was also a beautiful blue skirt in the lookbook that was never available in my size. In both cases though, Rebecca was able to find replacements for them.

Also, shipping is really slow.  I waited two weeks for 8 of the 12 items I ordered. On the good side, most of the stuff came from Nordstrom, so I didn't have to send the stuff back. I just went to the White Plains store and returned it.

I haven't given up on Stitch Fix though. I scheduled a mid-winter shipment.  I figure by the middle of January I will be bored and sick of winter and will be looking for a little life/wardrobe pick-me-up, so I'm just ordering a random box of clothes and see what I get.  I will post about it when the time comes.

2 comments:

  1. Hi, Can you give me the link for your stylist Rachel?

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    1. Hi Nancy,

      They used to give me an actual referral link, but they changed the layout of the site. Here is Rebecca's KR page with the links to request a Lookbook from her. https://keatonrow.com/rebeccagreen

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