I Tried Stitch Fix Personal Styling So You Don’t Have To
(This Stitch Fix review includes affiliate links)
In our last episode of “Amber Fails to Dress Herself, and Also to Stop Talking About It,” I’d come to the conclusion that there are literally no clothes in the world that suit me, and that I hate them all anyway.
With that in mind, then, I decided it was time to call in the professionals, in the form of a personal stylist. Well, I mean, it was starting to get just a little bit ridiculous there, wasn’t it? Yes, it was, you can say it.
StitchFix is a service that’s been around for a while now, and the basic idea is that you fill out a questionnaire on your shape, style, etc, then receive a box of clothes hand-picked by a stylist, just for you. (No, they haven’t sponsored this post, but that IS an affiliate link up there, so if you click it, I could earn a commission if you end up buying something, just FYI.)
The styling service costs £10 per box, but that fee is refunded if you choose to keep any of the five items you’re sent. There’s no obligation to keep anything at all, though, and they offer free returns via Royal Mail, so I figured it was worth a go, just to see if they’d come up with something I hadn’t thought of myself.
Can you even stand the suspense here? I mean, my stomach is churning with excitement, and I already KNOW what happened: how are you guys even standing it?!
My Stitch Fix Review | The Questionnaire
The first step in this process is, as I said, to fill in a questionnaire that asks for details on your size, shape, lifestyle, etc. I was impressed by how detailed this was, especially when it came to body shape. As you might know from some of my other posts on this subject, I (like most people, I suspect), have a hard time finding clothes that fit well, mostly because although my height and weight suggest I should have no problems at all with this, my proportions are all over the place – short legs, long torso, weirdly narrow shoulders, blah, blah, blah.
I was reassured, then, when rather than simply asking for my height and dress size, The Stitch Fix questionnaire asked for a ton of extra details, which allowed me to list all of the peculiarities of my particular shape, as well as specifying what I like and don’t like in terms of colours, styles, etc. So far, so good.
Finally, there’s a box at the end of the questionnaire where you can provide any extra information you think might be relevant to your allocated stylist. There was a character limit on this, unfortunately, so I wasn’t able to give them one of my usual rambles (Bet you’re wishing there was a character limit on this blog post, huh?), so, instead I had to content myself with noting that I work from home, and am the parent of an energetic 4 year-old, so I’m looking for comfortable, practical clothes that I can wear around the house, but which won’t look too sloppy at nursery drop-offs, or if I decide to pop out for something. (Not that I often DO, mind you. I rarely leave the house, because I have no life. Moving on, though…)
And then I sat back and waited. Like a spider in its lair. OK, not really, but I DID sit back and wait. Not for too long, though, because the next step is…
To Preview or Not to Preview?
Once your stylist has selected five items for you, you’re given the option to preview that selection, so you can veto anything before it even gets sent out.
I opted to skip this step – partly because I’m an idiot I liked the idea of an OMGSURPRISE in the mail (Look, like I said, I don’t get out much, OK?), but also because, as the whole point of this exercise was to see what the professionals would dress me in if given the chance, I didn’t want to just rule anything out without even trying it. And, I mean, I WOULD do that, wouldn’t I? Well, you read my mammoth list of things I hate (In fact, some f you are probably STILL reading it, THAT’S how long it was…): do I seriously sound like someone who’d be open to suggestions here? Don’t answer that.
On a serious note, though, I can think of plenty of times when I’ve totally overlooked something I’ve seen on a brand’s website, only to come across it in-store and love it, so I’m well aware that product shots don’t always give you the best idea of a particular item. Also, it’s not like I’ve been having a whole lot of success shopping for myself lately, so, yeah, I skipped the preview, and <SPOILER ALERT> I absolutely WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THAT. Nuh-uh. I make the mistakes so you don’t have to, remember? LEARN FROM THEM.
The Arrival of The Stitch Fix Box:
The much-anticipated Stitch Fix box arrived about a week after I’d ordered it. Here’s what was inside it:
First impressions? Pretty good, really. I’d said in my questionnaire that I prefer plain, neutral colours, and tend to avoid patterns other than stripes or dots. There’s one patterned item here, as you can probably see, but the print was small and the colours fairly neutral, so I was cautiously optimistic.
Here’s what I was sent:
Now, before I show you what everything looked like, I need to just quickly add one of my lengthy, but necessary, caveats to this post. Here it is:
One of my lengthy but necessary caveats:
Because I don’t have a lot of spare time right now, this post is essentially a “real time” try-on, in that I quickly snapped the photos when I pulled the clothes out of the box, and without making any attempt to style them with other things I already have. This is important because, although you’re sent 5 items, there’s no suggestion that they’ll necessarily all “go” together, or that you should wear them at the same time. In fact, Stitch Fix actually include a handy list of suggestions with your order, so you can work out how you might style each piece:
As I said, I didn’t attempt any of this, so I’m wearing the clothes straight out of the box in the following photos. And, speaking of which, here’s the first two items I pulled out:
(Er, I also didn’t bother to remove that random toilet roll in the background of the photo, so that’s another thing that’s in this post now.)
So, I don’t really wear blouses –– mostly because they have a tendency to feel a bit “fussy” to me, but also because fabric like this one, which is a very thin viscose, just isn’t warm enough for me most of the time, and I don’t see the point in buying something just to cover it up with something else.
I wasn’t hopeful when I pulled this out of the box, then, and, sure enough, if the fabric and print hadn’t put me off, the fussy, frilly collar and big, floofy sleeves most certainly would have. It looks OK in the photos, but I felt like Charles the 1st in it, and that’s not a look I’m going for, so…
Editor’s Cut ‘James’ Culotte Trousers
This brand is apparently exclusive to Stitch Fix, so I can’t link to these, but it’s OK, because – SPOILER ALERT – I didn’t keep them either. Don’t get me wrong –– I don’t HATE them; I just don’t like a single thing about them, and I don’t think they liked much about me, either, to be honest.
To be fair, they were also a little too big, so maybe another size would’ve been better? They were too underwhelming for me to want to find out, though, so…
OK, guys, hold all my calls and cancel my 2 o’clock –– I have an important meeting to get to…
So, this was the point in my little try-on session when I realised that, instead of just saying I “work from home” on the questionnaire, I should probably also have specified that I’m self-employed –– and maybe even given some details on what I actually DO from home.
Instead, I simply said that I was looking for clothes that would be comfortable enough to sit around the house in, but which wouldn’t look too scruffy on the school run. I suspect the Stitch Fix stylist has taken that to mean I’m the kind of busy, important person who spends her days on Zoom calls, and being called into the office to meet the board of directors or something, because, well, none of the first three items exactly screams “standing at the school gate in February”, or “sitting on my bed with the laptop on my knee?”, do they?
(OK, I could have tried harder to resist pairing these with heels, but even with trainers, this would still make me look like I’d gotten lost on my way to a business conference, wouldn’t it?)
(Also, I know I keep saying you don’t have to wear all of these the clothes together, but the combination of the filly sleeves and blazer made me feel a lot like Adam Ant, so there’s that. “Ridicule is nothing to be scared of, Amber,” I hear you say, but…yeah. No. )
In Stitch Fix’s defense, I do like blazers, and have a few of them in my wardrobe. Back in my childfree days, I used to wear them with jeans, to smarten them up a bit, and, if I was in the market for a blazer, I’d definitely have considered this one. It was great quality, comfortable to wear, and made from a thick jersey fabric, which I loved. So it was a great blazer, in other words; but given that I can’t really imagine myself wearing it around the house or at the soft play, back it went.
Items 4 & 5:
Editor’s Cut Samantha High Waist Relaxed Jeans
Object Eve Nonsia Knit Pullover
OK, I’m going to start with the positives here, the main one being that jeans and jumpers are very much my style (In fact, some weeks they’re pretty much all I wear), so Stitch Fix were definitely thinking along the right lines when they selected these. Despite being the item of clothing I wear most often, jeans are also the hardest for me to shop for, so I was excited to see a pair in my Stitch Fix box. Just… not this pair.
To be fair, these are a size larger than I’d generally order for myself, and that’s totally on me. Although I gave my regular size for all of the other clothing options, I checked the “not sure” box for jeans, because I must have ordered hundreds of pairs of them over the last year or so, and the sizing has been so totally random that I’m convinced each brand just makes it up as they go along. In retrospect, then, I should have specified the size I THINK I am, rather than just leaving it to the stylist to guess from the measurements I gave, so, as I say, that one’s on me.
To be totally honest, though, these jeans have so little going for them that I’m not sure the right size would’ve made that much of a difference. I just straight-up hate everything about them, from the droopy butt to the saggy legs, and all the way down to the way they seem to flare out at the bottom, even though they’re not described as flares.
I have to confess, I can’t actually remember everything I wrote when I filled in my form, but I was pretty sure I’d said I don’t like wide-leg styles, so I was a bit surprised to see both these and culottes. On the plus side, though, I guess this has at least confirmed that I’m right to hate that style on me, so at least that’ll stop me ordering something like these, in the hope that they’ll magically work for me.
As for the jumper, meanwhile, it’s a perfectly fine jumper, which I’m sure would look much better with something other than the saggy jeans. I love the colour, and, if I’d kept this, I’m sure I’d have worn it. I’m not so sure I’d have actually enjoyed wearing it, though, because, well, it’s just a jumper. A perfectly fine jumper, sure, but I’d ideally like to fill my wardrobe with things that are better than just fine these days, so back it went, too.
Although I didn’t end up keeping any of the items I was sent, I did enjoy trying them on, and I’m not ready to write off this service just yet – mostly because I suspect I’m partly at fault here for not being clearer about what I was looking for, and the kind of lifestyle I have. Although the jeans and sweater are a good call for me (If not these exact items, obviously), the other three items were what I would tend to class as “office attire”, which just isn’t remotely suitable for my current lifestyle.
If I was using Stitch Fix again, then, I’d try to be much more specific about what I wanted, and about the sizes I’d want to receive. I’d also preview what was being sent out, because, much as enjoyed the surprise, there are some items here I’d have ruled out right away – which might have made way for something I loved instead.