Stitch Fix Brings Personal Shopping to Your Front Door

Stitch Fix is an online personal styling service, adapted to your own fashion sense and needs.

Photo courtesy of Stitch Fix

Ever dream of trying on clothes picked just for you without having to step into a dressing room? Or having a personal stylist find you styles you love in all the right sizes without having to pay an hourly fee?

I have dreamt of both—on more than one occasion. Then I found Stitch Fix, the online personal styling service, and never looked back.

In 2011, Katrina Lake launched Stitch Fix from her apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was inspired to help busy women explore their personal style, while also making it easier to find flattering clothing. The result is a shopping experience that is personalized, yet effortless—a box of five items is shipped directly to your doorstep.

Basically, Stitch Fix is an online personal styling service, adapted to your own fashion sense and needs. The idea is simple: Keep what you like and send back what you don’t. There is no annual or monthly subscription fee to join, and you set your own schedule. There is a $20 styling fee, which will be charged to your credit card when your stylist assembles your box, but that $20 is applied as a credit toward anything you keep from your shipment. And if you keep everything in your box, you get a 25% discount on the entire order.

When you sign up, you fill out a style profile, answering questions about your height, weight, various proportions (arms, shoulders, torso, hips and legs) and which sizes you typically wear in different items of clothing. You select how you want your clothes to fit (tight, fitted, straight or loose), as well as the cuts and lengths of pants you prefer. If you don’t like to flaunt specific areas of your body—arms, shoulders, back, cleavage, legs, etc.—you can specify that. Don’t like to wear certain prints, patterns or colors? Don’t want to spend more than a set amount? You can be clear about that, too.

Next, you rate seven examples of different styles to give your stylist a better sense of your look. Options include: Hate it; just ok; like it; love it. You can also determine what kind of clothes you want to receive most (business casual, cocktail, laid-back casual, date night), or opt out of receiving certain items. For example, I’m sensitive to some metals, so I opted out of earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings. And, although I am a grown woman, I still stumble every time I wear heels so I opted out of those as well.

Since first signing up more than a year ago, I’ve found some of my favorite wardrobe pieces through Stitch Fix. They usually deviate from what I would choose for myself. But, now I actually enjoy wearing floral blouses with hints of red, orange or pink hues and certain cuts and clothing styles I never imagined would look flattering on my body type. Last June, I received bright green flats that I would have been too afraid to pull off without outside encouragement. I kept them and ended up wearing them all summer.

As a rule, try on every item your stylist sends. Many times I’ve been happily surprised, and ended up keeping an article of clothing I never would have pulled off the rack.

Don’t expect to love everything in your box right away; it can take a few rounds before the stylists get to know you. It took me half a dozen fixes to want to keep everything I was sent. To help, give honest feedback on what you send back, and if you love a certain stylist, then request that person again in your note. Also, be sure to include any upcoming events or clothing needs in your notes. When I started a new job, I requested new office wear. The month before a friend’s wedding, I asked for a few dresses. In my experience, Stitch Fix stylists are always more than accommodating.

For me, the best part of Stitch Fix is being able to dress well without having to spend much time—or giving it too much thought. Instead of wasting hours at the mall getting discouraged, I can enjoy the treat of a personalized box that arrives as frequently as I want. And it often pushes me out of my comfort zone, allowing me to try certain fashion trends I wouldn’t otherwise sample.

Last fall, Stitch Fix expanded their offerings to include services for men. Now I’m trying to get my partner to give Stitch Fix for Men a chance. Because I shouldn’t be the only one in this relationship to enjoy having a stylist, right?

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  1. Ana Reader

    Shelby, you should try Nordstrom’s FREE personal stylist service.