Madonna drove me to Stitch Fix.
Madge herself probably isn’t subscribing to the personal shopper service, what with couture designers styling her dozen or so costumes for her newest tour and Stitch Fix’s decided lack of bustiers as tops. But when a friend passed along a ticket to Madonna’s DC show a few weeks ago, I did a quick inventory of my closet and realized that my choices were limited to the pieces I wear to the office and those I wear to the playground. I owned nothing worthy of a fun night out. (Set aside the outfits that some of the other people in the audience were wearing; I was never going to compete with the lace hair bows, the lace gloves, the miniskirts, the neon.)
The outfit I settled on was serviceable, but it was a) mostly black, and boring, and b) featured at least one item from Old Navy, much like every weekend outfit I wear. It was time to try something new.
That something new? The something old that lots of people found a couple of years ago: Stitch Fix. I don’t have time or inclination to spend weekends or nights shopping in stores, and online shopping is too hit or miss for this pear-shaped petite. (My closet still bears the scars of too many online misses, which I *should* have returned, but I’ve never made it to the brick-and-mortar stores.) Add to all of that that while I know what I like — classic lines, nothing too busy — I’m terrible at putting together cute outfits, which is why my work uniform is basically a black skirt or pants + cardigan, and my weekend uniform is basically jeans + long-sleeved Old Navy or Target t-shirts or sweaters.
So I was excited for the chance to try Stitch Fix. You fill out a survey about your style likes and dislikes, along with detailed sizing information and requests for particular items, and then a stylist sends you a box with five pieces that can be mixed and matched and added to your current pieces. The pieces are priced a little higher than I generally spend, but let’s be honest: it’s time to move beyond the $8 shirts and $29 pants that don’t fit and I never feel good wearing. Plus if you keep anything, you can apply the $20 styling fee toward the cost.
My requests: I needed petites. I needed color. I needed a few updated pieces for work, last having invested in some decent pieces pre-Teddy and back when I worked in an office where I had to wear suits every day. And I needed some fun casual pieces worthy of a night out. (I left out that they be worthy of Madonna.)
My first fix arrived over the weekend, complete with a note from my stylist Shannon, explaining why she’d picked certain pieces and with suggestions about how to wear them.
I was excited as I opened the box, seeing rich jewel tones of royal blue and deep green, and seeing that each of the four clothing items were petites. Yay, they’d listened! (The box also included a necklace; the stylists can include accessories, shoes, and more.)
My enthusiasm waned a bit as I actually put the pieces on.
Outfit #1: Papermoon Frontera Button Back Blouse, Margaret M Emer Houndstooth Straight Leg Pant, Zad Nigel Cut-Out Curve Bar Necklace
I liked the color of this blouse, and the cuts of both the blouse and pants are definitely more modern than what’s in my closet now. I could wear this to work. Except…the cropped pants bunched a little strangely around the knee, and they were a little too cropped, and we’re moving out of cropped pant season now, anyway. And the top was just too blousy for me, even in a petite. I liked the necklace, which was something I wouldn’t buy for myself.
Verdict: blouse – no, pants – no, necklace – maybe.
Outfit #2: Collective Concepts Erick Dress
Gorgeous, gorgeous color. Everything else…not so much. Not a fan of the elastic waist, which I thought made me look more short-waisted than I am, or the mullet hem that was higher in the front than in the back. And same as the pants, it wouldn’t work heading into the fall and winter; the fabric wouldn’t work with tights and boots, two mainstays of my cold-weather wardrobe that I’m not giving up.
Outfit #3: RD Style Vivianna Open-Draped Knit Cardigan (the Target tee’s all mine)
Well, the stylist nailed me on this one. Black and white, open cardigan. Except that I already own a bunch of cardigans, and about 75 percent of the sweaters in my closet are black, white, or gray. I would have picked this for myself, which tempted me to keep it…but a big point of doing Stitch Fix is to break me of the wardrobe habits (and mistakes) that I keep falling into.
Verdict: sadly, the cardi goes back.
Final tally: I was ready to send all five pieces back, but then I realized that I’d have to pay the $20 styling fee anyway, and the necklace was $28, so basically I could get it for $8, which is less than I’d pay for anything similar at Target…so it stays. I wore it today with my black pants, white top, and beige jacket. Baby steps.
I left detailed feedback for my stylist, and I started a Pinterest board with looks that I love, so I’m hopeful that I’ll have better success to report with my November fix!
(If you’re interested in trying Stitch Fix and you click this link, I’ll get a discount if you place an order. Which I’ll no doubt funnel back into buying something out of my next box.)