Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Stitchfix: The First of the Fixes

I think about half of my facebook feed is on Stitch Fix* and I've long thought it was an awesome concept and have loved seeing people post their fixes and invite opinions on articles of clothing- pretty much my favorite thing to have an opinion on- but I felt like it wasn't for me. Unlike many of my friends, I love shopping, and because I do a lot of my shopping at discount stores, most of what I buy costs about half of the average Fix item.

But then I spent two hours on a random Saturday flipping through every rack in my local Marshall's and arrived home feeling annoyed and regretful at missing that time with the kids. I realized, even with a bag full of cute clothes at the end, that shopping just isn't the fun escape it used to be for me. I exercise now, which wasn't true for my first 6 years of parenting, so I get my little bit of weekend kid-free-time at the barre or on my yoga mat, and I just don't want any more. And in fact, I'm downright resentful of anything else that pulls me away from them and JP and just being home home. The kids are easy and fun and they mostly let me do my own thing while I overhear their hilarious conversations and increasingly creative pretend scenarios, and stepping out to run errands for a couple of hours is no longer my indulgence, it's a time suck, and I want to do less of it.

I've also reached a point in my wardrobe where I've finally settled in a certain size, cleared out everything that doesn't fit, added in a few new basics like the perfect pair of jeans and some work staples, and now just want the occasional fun new item to appear in my closet. I don't need quantity, I'm no longer replacing entire categories of clothes like I was doing for a while, it's just quality- that perfectly fitted fun new top to spice up my casual Friday work wear, or whatever.

My style is very simple and classic (or boring, depending on your view)- what I wore today is a perfect example: solid navy blue jersey dress with a fitted waist, fun necklace, nude peep toe pumps. I like what I like and have strong opinions about what I don't like, but now that my body is different, I'm wondering if there's categories of clothes I'm missing out on.

Which is all to say, I signed up for Stitch Fix.

For those who don't know, Stitch Fix is "the first fashion retailer to blend expert styling, proprietary technology and unique product to deliver a shopping experience that is truly personalized for you. Simply fill out the Stitch Fix Style Profile and our personal stylists will handpick a selection of five clothing items and accessories unique to your taste, budget and lifestyle. You can buy what you like and return the rest!" And that's exactly what I found- you fill out a pretty detailed fashion survey, plus info on your sizing (which made me very nervous because my sizing is weird and how can a stranger possibly know what would fit me when I have to take two sizes back to most dressing rooms myself?), needs and wants, etc. And then you pay a $20 styling fee that will be credited toward any item(s) you keep and you get free shipping with a free return bag to go back. Pretty nifty.

So I did my style profile (Maxi dresses and skirts look bad on me! I want more patterns! I love color and hate neutrals! Etc.) and waited. Today my box arrived and I rushed home at lunch to try everything on. And honestly, I was kind of underwhelmed. I was expecting bright spring colors and got a lot of jewel tones instead. And I like jewel tones, but I was picturing yellow and orange and aqua on fun boutiquey items I couldn't pick up at Banana or my usual discount stores, and I'm not sure that's what I got. That said, the whole idea was to make me look at clothes I would otherwise pass by on the rack, so please, I would love to hear your opinion before I have to decide what to send back on Friday.

Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan (S; $48)

I didn't even take pictures of this because it's a plain lightweight long sleeve navy blue cardigan. It's fine, and it fit, but I already have one from Target that was $15 and there's no way I need another at $48.

Verdict: Going back, with a note for no more cardigans unless there's something really special about the one being sent.

Livie Abstract Chevron Maxi Dress (S; $78)

So, I said no maxi dresses because maxi dresses flatter everyone in the world except me. My waist to hip ratio is weird and the long flowiness of the dresses always make me look like I've gained 20 lbs. As I wrote to my stylist in my profile, "maxi skirts that hit the hip, yes; maxi dresses that flow past the hips, no; they just don't work with my proportions." Annnnd I got sent a maxi dress. I withheld judgment thinking maybe this is the magical maxi dress that will flatter my teenage boy hips, but no.

It's fine. Cute pattern, but it does nothing for my shape and I haven't spent more than $50 on a dress in years, so this is certainly not the one to make me do it.

Verdict: Going back.

Taluca Printed Pencil Skirt (XS; $58)

I also said I didn't like skirts because they rarely fit me right (the hip/waist thing again- I have to go up a size to fit my waist and then they just bag at the hips) or if they do magically fit me (like the one they picked out; major bonus points for that), I never know what to wear with them. I dislike tucking in shirts but when I wear shirts over the skirt, I feel like I lose the proportions that made the skirt look cute in the first place.

Skirt alone: cute, it fits, etc.

I paired this one with the Dolman Jersey Top they sent me, though I'm not sure they actually go together (there's no dark purple in the skirt; it's navy), but the combo looked better than I expected. Way better than most skirt/top combos look on me, so that was impressive. I also paired it with a navy tee I already owned and this is where I feel like I lose the flattering proportions.

I just finished giving away all my skirts because I'd accepted that I was never going to wear them, but will this one make me turn the corner? As always when I try on the rare skirt that fits, I get it on and think, yes! this looks great! and then I add tops and think, eh, I wish it was a dress. So I'm not sure I need to own a skirt that I only like by itself because I don't really go anyway that I can wear it topless.

Verdict: Unknown.

Queensland Dolman Jersey Top (S: $48)

I like this top more than expected, but am going to email to ask about a smaller size. There's just a bit too much fabric and the band that should be fitted at the hips is pretty loose. So I like the concept, and like the style, but I think it's volume would annoy me and keep me from pulling it out of the closet as much as it deserved. A size down should fix that and then I think we may have a winner.

Volume! I appear to be skeptical of it

Verdict: Like it; requesting smaller size.

Montgomery Chevron Cross-Front Top (S; $48)

I love a good chevron and I really like the blue and green together, so this is probably my favorite item. But it's a simple knit fabric I find in many tops at uber-discount-chain Ross, so I feel like I should love it more than I do for it to be my favorite item. With the $20 styling fee deducted, this is $28, so I'll probably keep it, but I wish it was just a little more- more unexpected or unique, I guess? It seems wrong to fault a Fix for being too like me, but that's kind of what this top is.

I also kind of wonder if it should go down a size too? But it is cute and I have a pair of navy blue shortie shorts for summer that will look adorable with it, so I think it will get a lot of wear... but I wonder if I'm making myself like it more because I want to like something and not just waste my fee.

Verdict: Like it; questioning value; also questioning smaller size.

(Also, I really, REALLY need to get better lighting in my closet.)

~ ~ ~

So, thoughts? Am I being too harsh? Blind to the glories of skirts and maxi dresses? I'm biased, but I can be reformed (like with the maxi skirts I'm now obsessed with)- is there anything I'm not viewing properly? I do think it's fun having someone else pick out your clothes, and I'm hoping that as I give feedback I'll get fixes that I'm more excited about when I open up the box (and my stylist doesn't see "no maxi dresses" as a challenge instead of the "seriously, no maxi dresses" it's meant to be). Fellow fixers, how was your first fix? Did it take a little while for your stylist to get to know you? I have 2 more days to figure out what items to send back and what kind of commentary to send back with them!

(*Referral link. If you try Stitchfix and use this link, I get a referral credit and it won't cost you a thing! I never advertise on here, but I figure why not get something for a referral if I happen to make one? Though hopefully I'll have far more enthusiastic posts that might actually lead to referrals in the future :).)


  1. I love stitchfix, but I do get dud "fixes" every now and then, and it also does take some time to get the "style" and sizing right. I had to recently call and ask for smaller sizes on some of my fix items -- I think many of their tops run big. So, don't give up yet. This is probably harder for you b/c you do like to shop and you find amazing things at amazing prices. I liked to shop pre-kids, but post kids, I tend to run into one store (usually Nordstrom Rack), grab what works, and go. I wind up with a lot of not-very-unique pieces. I don't think you are going to get "boutiquey" pieces with Stitchfix (I suspect they get a lot of department store close-outs, but I don't know - I've googled the brands of things I've gotten, and found them at major department stores). It is more expensive than discount stores on your own, and some pieces are too pricey, but you are paying for a service. Give them really good and honest feedback and I think they'll do better next time. I love the Chevron top and its worth keeping; agree with your assessment of everything else, though the skirt looks cute in the second picture (but you are obviously underwhelmed by it so send it back. I've kept a few "well this is kind of cute and different" pieces from my fixes and regret it. have worn them once). I actually really like that blousy top on you, and it would look great with leggings or skinny jeans and boots or flats for an easy casual look, but definitely send it back if you think you might only wear it a few times. I've been doing stitchfix for many months and that's a lesson I've learned!

    Also, are you a jewelry person? I love fun accessories, but its not something I ever shop for. I've asked them to send me one fun accessory in each fix, and have a few necklaces that I've gotten and loved and ones I would not have otherwise picked.

    (And also, like you, I was hoping for more patterned shirts to spice up my mostly-solid wardrobe. They've done a great job with that!)

    1. Where have you been? I was a loyal reader. Hope all is well.

  2. I had a long response typed out and then my phone are it.

    The short version: momttourney is wise. The key to stitch fix is to love what you keep. I like the wrap top and the dolman shirt.

  3. I love the dolman jersey top: it creates a really nice V shape on you. Great colour too! I also really like the skirt with the jersey top - the proportions are off on the t shirt/skirt combo though

  4. Actually I take that back - I like the t shirt skirt combo - viewing on a phone !

  5. I actually think the striped skirt is adorable! It's very fun and different, and it appears to fit you perfectly. The other items don't really WOW me, but everything looks good on you, obviously, so you can't go too wrong (except the maxi dress--that's wrong). Furthermore, this was very fun--I love having an opinion on clothes for other people! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I totally agree that the skirt is adorable and fits perfectly, but do you think it looks as good once I add the tee and other top? This is where I struggle. If I could just wear skirts topless, I'd own a bunch of them, but when I add tops I often change my mind on the proportions and overall look, and end up putting it back on the rack and buying another dress instead.

      And yay, I'm glad you had fun! I'm going to need a lot of opinions. Growing out of a self-made fashion pigeon hole is hard and takes lots of comments from other people :).

    2. Agree that skirt looks good on its own, but I would send it back because the pattern really limits the type of tops you can wear it with, so overall, I don't see you pulling this one out very often. I think my style and shopping sensibilities are similar to yours (I like solids, and patterns on TOPS, but not bottoms,and prefer dresses to skirts, hate spending more money than necessary on clothes unless it's a true gem, etc...). My new philosophy is that if I don't LOVE it, it goes back, so if you're waffling, I'd send it back.

  6. Thanks for sharing. I too love having an opinion on clothes for other people.

    Of the lot you were sent, the only thing I would keep is the Dolman shirt, but that's because I love the Dolman style. I'm also not a size 0 and am considerably lumpier than you in the mid-section, so the band helps flatten the tummy and the blousi-ness is great for concealing a bit of a muffin overhang. That said, I think it also looks great on you.

    Send the maxi back! Back!

    The skirt is cute and looks good on you, but you shouldn't keep it if you don't like wearing skirts. I have so many pretty, nice things that I have bought that I just don't wear because they don't fit my lifestyle. They look so nice in my closet, but I pass them over each time.

    The chevron shirt looks amazing on you, but query what your satisfaction level will be with it if you are always secretly thinking you could have got it for $16.99 at TJ Maxx. If the quality (fabric, stitching) is clearly a step above what you would find at something from TJ Maxx, then it might be worth hanging on to. If not, maybe send it back just to not spend the $$ on principle.

    I also love to shop and bargain-hunt (much to my husband's dismay) and as I have grown older, my tastes have matured and become simpler. I've cured my need to shop by switching to online shopping for brands that have styles that I like and that I know fit me. I order a lot of things without ever trying them, simply on the guess that they will probably fit me. I always order JCrew on sale (their 40% off sales are hard to resist) and Uniqlo; I never order Boden, Banana Republic or Ann Taylor because their standard sizes look odd on me. The thrill of the hunt is mostly gone.. but who's got the time to hunt any more?

  7. their prices are nuts! don't fall for it: http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/why-did-these-68-shorts-stitch-fix-show-2495-price-tag-nordstrom-rack-159245

    1. You have to remember you are paying for a service, not just the product!

    2. the prices ARE nuts. also, they don't really tailor things to you individually or your choices/likes/body type, but just pretend they do. (see maxi dress).

  8. I really like the chevron top and the dolman top on you. They look fantastic. I also really like the skirt, even with the tee. I think you are so tall with those ridiculously long legs (just a little jealous, can you tell?) that the proportions are good and the combo flatters your figure nicely. I wouldn't go any longer than the tee you had on though. I don't like the fit of the maxi dress. All that being said- don't keep anything you don't love. Otherwise you just end up with a closet full of clutter that you don't wear. That's the situation I'm in right now and it's a mess!

  9. agree re the maxi dress not being a good fit. one thing with value clothes - that stuff, as you note, takes TIME and ENERGY to find. so i think lately as i make more money and have less time, i've been caring less about getting a good discount value.

  10. I like the color and pattern of the chevron top, but I'm not crazy about all that swooshy fabric in the front. A smaller size might be fine though. I LOVE the dolman shirt!!! It looks fabulous with those jeans, and I like it with the skirt, too. I can't tell from the photos, but if you think you need a smaller size, go for it. I also really like the skirt, but agree that if you don't realistically think you'll wear it, why bother?
    The maxi dress is awful. OMG.

  11. Thanks to you, I just signed up for my first Stitch Fix. I'm curious to see what I'll get! I have two four month old boys, so my shopping time has been extremely curtailed - I'm hoping this is just the thing to help me get my wardrobe back in shape for work (I'm an attorney, too).

    Also, because of your link to that carrot cake recipe, I made a carrot cake for Easter. It was amazing. I had extra batter after I filled my bunny-shaped cake pan, so made some cupcakes, too. Just finished off the last one this morning, and I'm already trying to figure out some reason to make another one... so good!


  12. I don't think you're overreacting or being too harsh. None of the items are wow or out of the world. Everything is just kind of like "meh". Perhaps your next few items will make up for it....


  13. hi! i'm a medical student (and longtime reader!) who loves fashion and wears clothes similar to your work wardrobe under my white coat in the hospital. personally, my favorite item is the pencil skirt. i totally understand your hesitation about tucking in tops, but you should consider investing in a couple cute, slim-fit silk blouses (maybe one white or cream sleeveless v-neck and one darker [navy or black] button front or cap-sleeve) and take the tuck-in plunge! you might be surprised at how sexy/fun/confident a great pencil skirt/top/heels combo will make you feel!

  14. Would you be willing to consider a front-tucked top with the pencil skirt? I know tucking tops in can be sort of a pain, but I love the skirt and I love the look of a pencil skirt + tucked-in top. You can also wear a top with the skirt that is a bit more fitted and a bit shorter, so the proportions aren't weird--something like a simple short-sleeved navy sweater (saw one on J. Crew Factory's site yesterday: https://factory.jcrew.com/womens-clothing/sweaters/crewnecks_boatnecks/PRDOVR~01004/01004.jsp?color_name=navy). I think the problem with your top with it was that it was too long. You could also do a peplum top with the skirt, like this: https://factory.jcrew.com/womens-clothing/knits_tees/short_sleeve_tees/PRD~A9383/A9383.jsp?Nbrd=F&Nloc=en_US&Nrpp=48&Npge=1&Ntrm=peplum&isSaleItem=true&color_name=NATURAL&isFromSearch=true&isNewSearch=true&hash=row0.

  15. I've heard the same types of comments from a couple of other bloggers, too (e.g. "I told them absolutely no [insert clothing item], and the first box had TWO of them!"), which makes me question the who StitchFix concept.

    I do not like the dress. It makes you look blocky, and I'm not a fan of the print. I disagree with your assessment of the skirt. I don't think it looks bad on you with the tops. But if you're not going to wear it, there's not point in purchasing it. I like both tops (though they're a bit pricey for me). I think the purple one should be a size smaller, but the chevron one looks fine as-is.

  16. First few fixes were off for me - there is definitely an adjustment period. It got much better though, and now I often keep most of the things in my fixes. Let me know if they'll exchange the top in a different size - I've returned a couple of really cute tops because they were too big, and didn't really think to try to exchange it!

  17. The chevron top looks nice, and I feel like you wear a lot of navy (true?) so you'd have lots to wear it with. It's not as cheap as Ross...but you also didn't have to scour the racks, etc so if the price is reasonable why not keep it?

    Personally I think dolman is a trend that is (or is almost) done...and you're in Texas. Why did they send you such a wintry shirt?? It does look nice but I wonder if it would just get forgotten about over the next few months.

    I quite like the skirt. But if you're not interested in making an effort to wear more skirts, why bother? Make a note of the brand and maybe see what other kinds of skirts they have...there could be a chance that brand is cut just right for you in your size.

  18. I thought meh to all of it. Even the price on the green and blue shirt. I say try again.

  19. I'm not drinking the Stitch Fix Kool-Aid. If I'm going to pay someone a styling fee, they need to get it right. Like you, I'm picky about what I like and I have weird sizing (long-waisted & between 2 sizes depending on whether it's pants or a dress). I work FT and have 2 kids and I don't have a lot of time to shop in stores. Buying online works for me. My sister uses Stitch Fix and the clothes she keeps, while trendy, are not always right for her body type. I'm not impressed with it.

  20. They use an algorithm to--supposedly--help a stylist pick what to put in your box. Based on my own experience and that of others _and the comments of their investors_, I get the feeling it's really just the algorithm that picks the items that end up in your box.

  21. I'm unimpressed with the selections given to you. You do much better on your own. Coincidentally, I read a blog entry today by Cindy Spivey (Walking in Grace and Beauty) about Stitch Fix. The blog is for 40somethings like me but Cindy's so cute and wears trends and is just a lovely person. Check it out though you've already touched on most of the issues.