I'll admit that I never got into subscription services out of fear that I'd accumulate a bunch of things I don't need or can't afford—but Stitch Fix completely changed my mindset. If you ask anyone who knows me well, they'd tell you that I'm somehow prone to both under and over-shopping: I somehow always need to buy something whenever an event or special meeting comes up—and when shopping IRL was a thing, I'd end up buying a million things I didn't need (think duplicates of things that are already in my closet). To say my shopping habits can be a real problem is a massive understatement.
When clothing subscription boxes grew in popularity a few years ago, I did a ton of research into finding one that might suit my needs—and curb my irresponsible online shopping habits in the process. At the time, Stitch Fix looked like the best option for my style and needs, but alas, I was a freelance writer just starting my career in New York City, and I didn't have a ton of disposable income to commit to shopping every month. So I put the subscription on the back burner.
Fast forward a few years, I'm older, wiser, more financially stable, and finally in a place where my shopping habits are far more under control. But when the coronavirus hit, I realized my spending could be reigned in even more—especially when it came to clothing. It seemed as good a time as ever to see if a Stitch Fix subscription could help curb my habits, while still leaving me satisfied as a perma-shopper. Here's how it went.
What is Stitch Fix?
The first thing to know is that Stitch Fix isn't a clothing rental company—it's an online personal shopping service that uses a combination of expert stylists and an algorithm to send you a box full of curated clothing tailored to your specific tastes. You try everything on at home, buy the pieces you like, and send back the ones you don't. Easy peasy. The company was founded by (now-CEO) Katrina Lake in 2011 and has since completely changed the way people shop. In fact, it's arguably more relevant now that physically going into stores isn't always possible.
How much is Stitch Fix per month?
You pay a $20 styling fee every time you order a box, or a “Fix”. After setting up your profile and taking a detailed quiz (more on that below), your stylist pulls five or six pieces based on what you like or need and the box makes its way to your home. You have three days to decide what you're keeping: If you keep all of the pieces, you get a 25% discount on everything, and regardless of how many items you keep, the $20 styling fee goes toward your purchase. Stitch Fix includes a prepaid shipping envelope so you can easily send back anything you don't plan on keeping. The process is way simpler than I thought it would be.
Stitch Fix Review: Creating My Profile & Taking the Style Quiz
When you create a Stitch Fix profile, you go through a pretty extensive style quiz. It asks for obvious things like your sizes, your height and weight, and proportions, but the quiz gets so much more detailed than that. Do you prefer gold or silver jewelry? What silhouettes do you prefer on either the top or bottom? Which parts of your body do you like showing off? (Side note, I love that the quiz doesn't ask which parts of your body you don't like—A+ for body positivity!) Where do you normally buy your clothes? Are you adventurous with your wardrobe? What kinds of pieces are you willing to splurge on? What's your typical shopping budget, and how much are you willing to spend on the subscription?
The quiz was so detailed, it had me thinking critically about every single decision I make when I'm shopping. Until I took it, I didn't realize that I'm more willing to splurge on shoes than I am on tops; that my typical outfits usually incorporate a fitted bodice with a straight or wide bottom; or that I often wear clothes that show off my back, cleavage, or midriff. It helped me analyze the core of my sense of style because I had to explain it to a stranger—my Stitch Fix stylist—who had no frame of reference about my body type or personality, which together, inform my overall aesthetic.
My favorite part of the quiz was when I was given a few hundred characters to write about myself so that my Stitch Fix stylist could get to know me on a more personal, outside of the quantitative data gathered from my quiz. (Surprise, surprise—a writer who actually enjoys writing about herself!) Here's what I said:
“I'm self-employed & work from home so I'm usually pretty casual. My typical style is neutral/warm neutral tones in basics that I can always mix & match. I love to look sophisticated but still comfy, & I wear things that look/feel like great quality, even if they aren't expensive or from prestige brands. I want clothes that can go from a coffee shop work sesh to a meeting at a trendy bar. I also really love my hourglass figure so that's important for me to highlight! IG @kristincorpuz_ for inspo!”
I hoped that by including a detailed bio, my stylist would understand what I was looking for from my Stitch Fix subscription. And based on the pieces she ended up sending me, I think it really helped.
What's in Stitch Fix Boxes?
Before writing this, I received two different boxes. The site says that your stylist learns more about your tastes over time, so I wanted to make sure that I gave her a chance in case she didn't get it right the first time. (She totally did, so maybe it was just an excuse for me to order more clothes? I think we all know the answer.)
I was excited to receive my first box, albeit a little apprehensive. I didn’t want to get my hopes up in case the items in it totally weren’t my style. It had 5 items, and I decided to keep three: a pair of gold Shashi earrings, a solid black jumpsuit from Calvin Klein, and a pair of straight-legged light wash jeans from Madewell. The pieces I rejected either didn't fit me or just didn't particularly match my style. After trying everything on, I logged into my Stitch Fix account and left feedback on each item. The company says that the more feedback you leave, the better tailored your Fixes will be in the future, so I wanted to make sure I was as thorough as possible.
After my first Fix, I had pretty high expectations for the second one—especially since I decided to keep my stylist the same and offered lots of feedback after the first round. I was confident that she would send some pieces I loved—and I was right. I received 5 items in the second box and, again, ended up keeping three of them: a pair semi-matte dark camel trousers from Level 99, a black, ribbed, cross-back LNA tank top, and some white block heeled strappy sandals from Dolce Vita. I kept things that I felt could easily be incorporated into my existing wardrobe and didn't feel too trendy or kitschy. Everything could be mixed and matched, which was something I really wanted, and the best part—it all fit impeccably, something I definitely wasn't expecting.
This LNA tank top and Madewell jeans combo is something I would wear every day.
I had to take a shot from the back because I love the cross-back detail on the tank, and the jeans are just so flattering on my body. Plus, from this angle, you can see the dainty Shashi earrings, too.
This Calvin Klein jumpsuit fit me in all the right places and the fabrication is formal and casual at the same time. I decided to style it with sneakers, but I tried it on with heels and that looked great, too.
Obviously, I could never actually go bike riding in these Dolce Vita sandals, but a girl can dream, right? Paired with these boho pieces from my wardrobe, I look like I’m vacationing in Europe (even though this was taken at the apartment complex next door to my place).
How do Stitch Fix items fit?
I'm pretty picky when it comes to fitting clothes on my body—I'm somewhere in between straight and plus size, and my hourglass figure often works to my disadvantage (especially in denim)—so I was genuinely surprised that my Stitch Fix stylist understood me so well. One of my favorite touches from each Fix was the little styling card that was left in the box, which offered different ways to style each item, as well as a personal note from my stylist explaining why she thought each piece would fit my wants and needs. I thought it was a really sweet way to make the experience feel more intimate and truly personalized.
Is Stitch Fix good quality? What brands does it carry?
As someone who shops a lot, I definitely feel like Stitch Fix sends through quality pieces. The base brands are more expensive than fast fashion ones you'd typically find at the mall (Forever 21, Zara, and the like), and start at a mid-level price range. Stich Fix isn't exactly where you'd find tons of high-end designers like Rent The Runway's roster, but it does have a great selection of accessible labels, like Calvin Klein, Kate Spade, Sam Edelman, and Alice & Olivia. It also carries a ton of millennial-loved brands like Free People, Paige, Joie, and Theory. You can check out the full list here.
I did note in my quiz that I was willing to splurge on quality pieces, especially jumpsuits and dresses that could be worn more formally, so I think my stylist kept that in mind. Depending on what your budget is per Fix, you can decide what's worth spending more money on.
Stitch Fix Review: Is It Worth It?
Truth be told, I wasn't expecting to enjoy Stitch Fix as much as I did. Having tried it, I think it's a great platform for me to shop because it limits how many pieces I receive and also requires me to get a little creative with my wardrobe. Plus, who doesn't love a mystery box? A huge part of the fun is opening up the Fix to see what the stylist thought up for you this time around.
I also really like the flexibility—and that you can cater the service to your wardrobe needs: You can schedule a fix on a recurring basis or just on-demand when you need it, and you can adjust your budget at any time. You can even add on more items to a Fix if you have a little disposable income, or decide that you want more if or when you start heading back into work.
As someone who admittedly has a bit of a shopping problem, Stitch Fix curbed my urge to “add to cart” as often as I normally do. When I shop impulsively, I purchase cheaper things that won't last me a long time, but Stitch Fix encouraged me to shop less frequently and for higher quality pieces which is especially important right now. Though I definitely wanted to schedule more Fixes immediately after I received my second one, I decided to wait until I actually have something to shop for—and I have successfully refrained from online shopping since!
For the three pieces I kept from each box, I spent between $150 and $200—which I thought was reasonable for hauls that included pieces from brands like Calvin Klein, Dolce Vita, and Shashi. In the future, I might adjust my budget to reflect the fact that I'm shopping less—meaning I can spend more per box—but for now, I'm happy with my self-set boundaries. And if my first two Fixes are any indication of what's to come, especially as my style changes and trends evolve (or don't, thanks to the virus), I'm sure that Stitch Fix will help me find wardrobe essentials that are relevant for years to come.
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