When Darlene tried Stitch Fix, the online personal styling and retail service, I was impressed by how well they seemed to “get” her style while also selecting things Darlene said she probably wouldn’t have considered if she was simply shopping for herself.
I was curious to try it for myself too considering that I have a pretty specific style. I also reached out to some acquaintances who’ve worked for Stitch Fix as stylists to get their take on the service, which you can read at the end of this post.
When you sign up, Stitch Fix has you answer a pretty thorough questionnaire about your style. First, you run through a series of outfits and are asked if they’re your style. I think I said “no” to all but one or two of the options, and even those I only said “somewhat.” Between my vintage inspiration and attraction to novelty and kitsch (with a little punk and street style thrown in here and there), I wasn’t really expecting the questionnaire to hit the mark.
Next, it asked me about what types of events I wanted to shop for. I said “sometimes” to office wear, casual, night out, and special occasion.
Then it asked several questions about clothing fit, such as how fitted/oversized you like your clothes, sleeve and hem lengths, and so forth.
Finally, it got to which sizes you usually wear. I wasn’t expecting it to include a full range of bra sizes, and unfortunately my low expectations were not exceeded. The band starts at 30, not 28, and the cups stop at a US H, which is a UK G. That means I just fit into the range (30G), but come on, that’s pretty limited. Even if they’re not offering actual lingerie and swimwear above G-cups, they can still take it into account for other clothing. This means that Stitch Fix may be unreliable for women above a G-cup.
Lastly, it asked questions about proportions. I’m narrow shoulders, long torso, broad hips, and short legs (among other features).
Mixed in there were also questions about what body parts I like to show off or downplay, my actual height and weight, colors/fabrics/prints to avoid, denim preferences, jewelry style, level of adventurousness, price preferences, and a few other details. At the end, you also had the opportunity to submit a little “About Me” paragraph. Here’s what I wrote:
My style is a combination of vintage, pinup, punk rock, and modern. I love pairing biker jackets with wiggle dresses and swing skirts, for example. I love bright color and novelty prints, but sometimes like to go super slick. I wouldn’t be caught dead in athleisure. I own my own business, so I mostly wear whatever I want, but for meetings and networking events, I need to stand out while appealing to clients that include members of the fine art, real estate, and architecture industries.
I had fun answering the quiz. I think it’s a little strange they don’t ask for actual body measurements, but maybe most people don’t actually shop that way while I’m pretty fixated on it.
If you keep coming back to the Stitch Fix site, every day they have more outfit photos for you to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. This helps your stylist nail down your taste. When you’re ready for a “Fix,” you pay a $20 styling fee and a real, live person selects some clothing for you. If you buy any of what you’re sent, the $20 goes toward the clothing price. And if you buy everything you’re sent, you get a 25% discount on the total purchase. When you return items, it’s important that you provide feedback so your stylist can learn from the rejects.
I didn’t keep anything that I was sent, but I could tell the stylist had tried. I could see hints of my style in the items, though none of them totally hit the mark. My biggest issue was that I didn’t like the fit of anything. I would definitely try again, though. I received an offer for the $20 styling fee to be waived on my next order, so I’ve really got nothing to lose.
Here are the items I was sent, and my thoughts:
Item: Lemon-print “Contrast Back Detail Top”
I liked the lemon print of this top, but hated everything else. It’s just a big, baggy square with no tailoring—not flattering on a full bust and small waist. It also has crocheted shoulders that are super not my style. It’s too sweet with no edge.
Item: “Grace High Rise Super Skinny Jean”
Brand: Just Black
The jeans fit properly and were the right size, but I didn’t like the style. They’re listed as “high-rise,” but with mainstream brands, that really means mid-rise on my body. They are also reeeeeeeally tight. I felt like I was wearing leggings, which is not a look I like. I do own several pairs of skinny jeans, but they’re more like a narrow straight-leg shape, I guess.
Item: Black & white striped “Arnold Raglan Knit Top”
Brand: Mix by 41 Hawthorn
Another shapeless top. This sweater had no curve at the waist and was just a big square. I think it’s really unflattering and makes me look more pear-shaped and less hourglass, especially paired with the skin-tight jeans. I also found the sleeves to be weirdly tight.
Item: Black “Jamarion Cowl Neck Elbow Patch Tunic Pullover”
Brand: Evolution by Cyrus
SIGH…yet a third shapeless sack. I was actually tempted to keep this one because I like the loose funnel neck, the longer length, and the leather (faux leather? It didn’t say on the tag) elbow patches. But Darlene and Jen convinced me it was too basic for the price. They reminded me that I can buy any plain black sweater like this and add my own elbow patches. The fabric was suuuuuuper soft, but it was all made-made material, so it would probably pill too. I actually quite like oversized sweaters, but this one doesn’t hit the mark. It’s not oversized enough, so it just looks sloppy instead of intentional.
Item: “Anika Knit Faux Wrap Dress”
Lastly, we have a dress, which I basically hated. The print is cool, but there’s a ruffle only on one side of the neckline, which I didn’t think worked. I also don’t like the sleeveless look or the A-line skirt (wiggle or full, there is no in-between in my life) and the armholes are too big even though it fits well everywhere else. Darlene and Jen really liked it, but for me it’s too corporate. In the photos, I’m now noticing as well that the tie belt hits me at the high hip rather than at my natural waist, so it’s not really doing my figure any favors either.
As for my acquaintances who’ve worked for Stitch Fix, they were slightly limited in what they could share due to the confidentiality policy, but it was still pretty enlightening. I’m not sure what I was expecting (mathematical algorithms?), but for some reason I was surprised when I first learned that actual people are the ones selecting your Stitch Fix clothing based on your profile. It makes it feel more personal and makes me feel like the $20 per-shipment styling fee is really worth it—someone is spending time and care to try and pick the right clothes for you.
Stitch Fix hires stylists in a range of US locations (see https://www.stitchfix.com/careers/styling) through an online application process. My source tells me stylists get to set their own schedule, but are expected to work a minimum of 15 hours per week, which I think is fairly standard for a low-commitment part-time job.
Here’s a final word from one of my sources responding to my question about what she thinks of the service in general:
“I enjoy the service. I think some clients have an unrealistic expectation that they can ask for a piece they saw on Instagram and get it. That’s not what this service is: It’s helping show you new items and styles. I like using Stitch Fix to push me to try things I wouldn’t have picked out for myself. I don’t always love them, but I love the care and attention that goes into the box by the stylists.”
I’d say that’s a pretty winning endorsement! And even though my stylist sent me mostly basic pieces not really pushing me to try anything new, it was a fun experience and I would do it again.
If you’re interested in trying Stitch Fix for yourself, you can sign up through my referral link and we’ll both receive store credit: https://www.stitchfix.com/invite/z9qdnq5jrf/give_50_get_50/?g=m Normally, the referrer and the referral each get $25, but Stitch Fix is currently offering a promotion that will earn you and me both $50 in store credit with the above link!