My first “fix” was waiting for me on the porch one day in late-June: a darling little parcel no bigger than a globe. I tore it open like a kid on Christmas morning, eager to see the contents inside. I pulled a coral tank with a tie at the neck, aqua stitching emblazoned across the bodice. There were shoes — strappy wedge sandals — and two dresses, one dotted with tiny, colorful sailboats.
“Cute!” I said, my baby pawing her hands inside the box. She pulled out the last item: a white linen tunic with ruffled sleeves. I kept everything.
If you haven’t heard of it already, Stitch Fix is a mail-order fashion service that assigns you a personal stylist to hand-pick clothing just right for your body and style. You don’t pay anything upfront; after filling out a lengthy questionnaire about your preferences, style and body type, you schedule a shipment. Each “fix” is five pieces, and unless specified, can include shoes and accessories, like necklaces. You keep what you want, and send the rest back in a pre-posted returns bag. Your stylist also includes little cards with outfit possibilities using the pieces he or she sent along. When you keep all five items, you get 20 percent off your order, bringing the cost of the pieces down. (You also pick the price points, so there’s no $400 jeans in the mix!)
When my July fix arrived, I was thrilled with a canary yellow, sleeveless blouse with a tailored fit; I wore it all summer. I also loved a sleeveless coral-striped tank with a brocade panel in front and a similar blue tank with brocade on the back. Each piece cost about $38. A pair of mom jean shorts were on the insulting side, and the black and white striped pencil skirt didn’t suit my style. What was my stylist thinking?
With another Stitch Fix shipment arriving tomorrow, here’s what works about Stitch Fix. It breaks you out of your habits. I tend to buy clothes from the same two retailers, mostly because I’m lazy and I don’t have time to shop. Each shipment, on the other hand, pushed me to wear a color I may not have considered, like the canary yellow blouse, or a cut I may never have considered, like the sailboat dress with a drawstring neckline, which looked great on my small bustline. I also loved the element of surprise. As a mom, I spend a lot of time picking out clothes for other people; so it was nice not to have to choose anything and just react.
What I don’t like: When the stylist is off, she’s really off. My sister, who lives in Brooklyn, tried the service recently and sent back every item. “It was like they thought I was a motorcycle chick when everything in my questionnaire pointed to boho-chic!” she said. And my last shipment? I sent back every item. There were these horrible black wedge slippers in faux snakeskin, which looked cheap, and all of the shirts were big and clumsy.
So should you Stitch Fix? I say yes. Just for the fun of it. Maybe you find a piece you like, maybe you don’t. But at the very least, you’ll love finding that little package on your doorstep and seeing what’s inside.