Sunday, April 10, 2016

April 2016 Stitch Fix Review

Stitch Fix April 2016

I received my fourth Stitch Fix delivery this week and it was my favorite so far!

Let me start by saying that the previous three fixes have all been really good. Fix #2 had a couple WTF pieces that I later saw other bloggers wear and look great in. They just weren't me. But this fix—this one was just perfect for me. My stylist Carolyn had clearly paid attention to my request and reviewed my Pinterest board and she seemed to have a pretty clear idea of what my style is. I think I'm actually going to request her again next time.

For reference, here's my note to her:

And here's her note back to me:

But for now, let me show you what I've got. (BTW, I'm kind of rushing this post out because I have to return the fix tomorrow and I haven't completely decided what I'm keeping.

Alice Blue "Anemone" Split Neck Blouse—$48
Dear John "Finnegan" Roll Cuff Chino Short—$58

roll cuff chino short and split neck blouse

This is the part where you either gasp and shout, "$58 for shorts? Are you CRAZY?!" or you nod your head and say, "That sounds about right." If you are in the second category, then PLEASE comment and give me permission to keep these shorts. I love them and I desperately need shorts. (Like I said in my note, I literally don't own any.)

These shorts are great. They're just fingertip length—not too short, not too long—and they're made out of a trouser type of material. I could wear them with heels on a date or comfortably around town on my days off. It's just really hard for me to consider spending that much money on shorts for some reason. I've got the money in my budget; it's just doesn't feel right.

(I really need to read up more on ethical clothes shopping. Because now I'm in this weird in-between place where I feel guilty spending money on expensive clothes and I feel guilty buying cheap clothes.)

The shirt is great, but just not something I need. I loved the sheer fabric and even the floppy split neck. It's so fun and airy. But I already have a long-sleeved white shirt for work and don't need long-sleeves on my days off.

Fun2Fun "Dianna" Cut-Out Detail Tank—$38

Dianna Cut-Out Detail Tank

I loved this shirt, too, but am not considering keeping it either. This one was just, too big. Every opening showed my camisole. The neck was too low, the arm holes were too big, and the back went down too far. I know that if I really wanted it, I could check with customer service to see if they have a smaller size (although if they replace it, the purchase is considered finalized) but I already had other items I wanted more and I'm really trying to limit myself to one purchase this month.

Liverpool "William" Straight Leg Trouser—$98

William Straight Leg Trouser

So for some reason, I'm much more comfortable with the idea of paying nearly $100 for these pants, but not $40 less for the shorts.

These pants were all I could have asked for. In fact, I was surprised that they didn't cost more. They felt like the tuxedo pants that my husband used to rent back when all our friends were getting married. I want to own them so badly, but. . .

Do you see how high they were on me? These aren't supposed to be cropped pants. Carolyn sent me petite pants. At 5' 2", I've always bought petite pants whenever possible, but I think I'm going to have to change my size profile. These pants were a good three inches shorter than I would have wanted them.

It's probably for the best. I just bought a navy blazer (from Stitch Fix, of course) and I don't think they would have worked together.

Kut From The Kloth "Gracelyn" Pencil Skirt—$58

Gracelyn Pencil Skirt

When I peeked at my order in the Stitch Fix app, I was a little disappointed. I've been dying to have a pencil skirt since I went back to work, but this one has belt loops and a zipper. It seemed really casual—like a jean skirt. But trying it on changed my mind.

This is the fix where I really understood why it's worth it (for me) to pay for Stitch Fix's stylists. I pinned a bunch of super-sophisticated business skirts, but then I told the stylist that I wanted versatility. The dark material of this skirt makes it look very conservative when dressed up, but I can totally see myself wearing this around on my days off. 

So here's my conundrum: the pencil skirt or the shorts? I have no work skirts. I have no shorts. Do I keep both and skip my next fix? Let me know if you have an opinion. And quickly! I have to send them back on my way to work tomorrow.

As always, if you want to try Stitch Fix, would you use my referral code so I get a little credit on my account?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

February 2016 Stitch Fix Review

Navy Blazer

When I started using Stitch Fix, my Goal was to get a fix every six weeks or so. I patiently waited a month after I received my first fix before scheduling my second. 

I've found that once you get past the rush of scheduling your fix, tracking it's shipment, and trying on the clothes, the desire to do it all again dies down after a week or so. But that first week is rough. Everything in me wanted to schedule my second fix RIGHT AWAY.

Nevertheless, I waited. And I received my second fix early in February. I was expecting a sophomore slump. Most reviewers find that they're less impressed with their second fixes for some reason. I am among those, but I can't blame my stylist for that.

I'd requested business casual and anything in blush pink. Almost everything I received were perfect choices for me: a charcoal pencil skirt with a subtle pattern, a blush pink pair of slacks, and a blush pink moto jacket. BUT, since I'd had a problem with two of my items in my first fix being too big, I'd changed my size from an XL down to a Large. Big mistake. My favorite pieces were just too small. I didn't even bother taking pictures for the blog. They were so ridiculously unflattering. 

I almost considered keeping them because they were so perfect for me and just going on a crash diet, but then I realized. . . 

So, I kept the ubiquitous Pixley Ellie shirt because I kind of feel like it's a rite of passage to receive this in one of your fixes. Also, I figured if I ever wanted to get rid of it, I knew at least two friends who would love it.


That brings me to my third fix. 

The second time around, my patience was shot. I loved my Ellie shirt, but I really hadn't needed another work blouse. I needed bottoms and another top layer for the freezing temperatures inside my new company. I waited ten days instead of thirty and scheduled my third fix. It came just inside of the end of the month. And in the meantime, I'd gotten a Stitch Fix gift certificate for my birthday from my MIL, Linda!

Fix #3 came from my third stylist so far. I have had three stylists and so far I haven't had a fix that felt totally off the mark for me. This fix was really hard to decide on, but I still tried to restrain myself to one item (that way I have an excuse to order again). I'll start with what I didn't keep.

Mak Coffman Button-Up Cardigan ($48)

white cardigan

white cardigan

I'm going to take credit for coining the phrase "Power Cardigan." I just like the look of a fitted cardigan that can replace a blazer. This one was just everything I was looking for. It was absolutely beautiful. But, as my husband pointed out, it was very delicate and I'm pretty hard on my clothes. For $48, I couldn't trust myself to make it last its full lifespan.


Market & Spruce Walfrid Henley Blouse ($48)
Margaret M Emer Printed Straight Leg Pant ($98)

Black and white print blouse

This shirt was very me on paper (and by paper, I mean the awesome styling cards that Stitch Fix sends with the clothes), but in real life, I didn't like it. It just sort of hung there. The neck was too low, but not really sexy low. It just sort of looked too big. Like I was wearing my mom's clothes. And it was really sheer. But again, not sexy sheer. Because it was so long, the division between my pants and cami really stood out.

And now, the Emers. This is the second pair I've received and I'm not that impressed. It's not the price that bothers me, it's the fit. These are stretch waist and have no zipper. Both pair have been too large for me. 

Now, Stitch Fix seems to think this pair are "Jewel Tone Purple," but Margaret M seems to think they're fuschia because that's what the tag says. I agree with Margaret M. My daughter said that they looked "circusy." I agree with her also.


Pixley Millie Textured Dress ($68)
Kensie Rebekah Stretch Crepe Blazer ($88)

navy blazer

These were my keepers. Yep, both of them. It was quite a splurge month for me. All-in-all I bought three items from two fixes. CRAZY! But I did have that gift certificate. Thanks, Linda!

There's been a ton written about the Millie dress, so I don't feel like I need to go into all the details. Suffice it to say, it's a great dress. Google it. Everyone who tries it on looks good in it.

The jacket was amazing because it looks structured but is actually pretty stretchy. Also, the arms are short enough for me so I didn't even have to have it altered. I adore it. I wear it to work at least once a week. 

If you are interested in trying Stitch Fix, please do me a favor and use this link to get me a referral credit: Stitch Fix

Also, fix #3 was styled by Brittany.

Why Haven't You Convinced Me Yet?

Photo credit: David Hartman

[I wrote this post and sat on it for months. I know it is sensitive, and of the few people who ultimately read it, I know I will offend at least some for completely opposite reasons. But I must start by clarifying that this is written to my friends who are gun control advocates not to criticize your arguments, but to honestly suggest how you might improve them.] 

As someone who is on the fence about gun control, when a tragedy like a school shooting happens, I'm very open to hearing the arguments of Gun Control Advocates. Like the rest of the nation, I'm looking for a solution, a way to make it better, to make our country safer, but every time I am frustrated by the reactions my anti-gun friends provide. I don't like guns. I don't have any in my home and I don't feel comfortable around them in others’ homes. I should be very easy to convince but, my friends, you are not making your case very well! 

You're actually sending me inching toward the opposing side, holding my nose at their aggressive, vigilante philosophies, but not seeing any other real solutions.

Gun Control Advocates, I don't know if you can hear the way you sound, but you've become the liberal version of Westboro Baptist Church. You stand around and proclaim the killings to be God’s curse on our nation for our sins  instead of making converts by describing the way things could be changed. Instead of coming on Facebook or television and saying, “Here is a list of specific legislation and changes we can make that would have prevented this slaughter,” you stand on your soapbox before the dead are even buried and cry, “This is what we get for having gun nuts run the country!”

So instead of just saying, “gun control now,” please tell me: 
Should all firearms be illegal?
What weapons should remain legal?
Whom do you think should be allowed to own a weapon?
Whom should be allowed to sell a weapon

We’ve been told that the Oregon shooter owned his guns legally, so what laws would you have changed to prevent his killing spree?

Maybe you're not being specific because you are afraid of scaring moderates like me away. Maybe you wrongly assume we've already heard it all before. Whatever the reason is, you're not succeeding. While you're busy insulting my apparently crazy, evil, gun-loving parents, they can calmly claim that the shooting would have been prevented by teachers and students carrying handguns.

Maybe that's not a good argument (it seems unrealistically optimistic), but it's easily actionable—take down a few signs and let everyone bring their concealed weapons in their backpacks. You don't think that's the answer? Then tell me what is. 

Everyone knows that guns are dangerous—that's why so many feel safer if they're evening the playing field with a weapon of their own. So it's time to tell me how you want to make me safer. Anger and insults haven't worked yet.

Friday, January 1, 2016

My December 2015 Stitch Fix Review

I finally tried Stitch Fix. It was an act of desperation and it may be my undoing.

If you've never heard about Stitch Fix, you can read more about them here, but basically, it's a fashion service that sends you a box of clothes customized to fit your size and tastes. You pay a $20 styling fee (that's essentially a deposit since it's applied to the cost of whatever you buy), keep what you want to purchase, and send back the rest in a pre-paid envelope. 

At first I was put off by the cost, but in the last year time has become the most valuable commodity for me. I've been getting rid of my maternity wardrobe piece-by-piece but haven't been able to replace it with anything. My clothing budget has been just sitting in my bank account while I wear the same few shirts over and over again. I'm all about a minimalist wardrobe, but it was getting a little ridiculous. The convenience of having someone deliver clothes that had been picked just for me was ultimately irresistible.

Here are my thoughts on this experience.

My concerns about Stitch Fix
1.     They would be too expensive.
The clothes are more expensive than what I usually buy, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. As a woman in my thirties, it's time that I started buying higher quality pieces of clothing. I've also been reading more and more about the dangers of fast fashion and have begun to realize that $10 t-shirts usually don't come without the employment of under-compensated manufacturers. 

Since I have no free time to go shopping, my clothing budget had just been piling up like Monopoly money, so I'd prepared my heart to spend a little more on a little less than I usually buy. The real question is whether the clothes are worth the extra cost. I am assuming there's a certain amount of markup to pay the stylists and the shipping expenses, but I still expect a $50 blouse to earn its keep. I’ll have to wait and see how long these shirts actually last.

2.     There wouldn't be anything that's my style
Stitch Fix doesn't have an online store that you can browse through, but it’s pretty easy to find out what other women have gotten in their boxes. Lots of women post pictures of their fixes on Instagram or in blog posts like this one.

One of the things that worried me about using Stitch Fix is that I am in the middle of trying to create a capsule wardrobe. I'm trying to curate a minimalist wardrobe containing fewer pieces of higher quality and complementary colors and patterns that mix and match with each other. But what I was seeing in other people’s fixes were a lot of colors and prints that wouldn't work with what I already have. There were  a lot of crochet and a lot of dolman tees and a lot of drapey sweaters, none of which I'm into.

The thing about Stitch Fix is that it’s supposed to personalize the fixes to your style. So you can get an idea of what they sell, but you can't really judge your shipment based on anyone else’s. My stylist, Eleanor, did an amazing job. I can't recommend her highly enough. All the colors and neutrals worked with my color palette and there was nothing in my box that I didn’t like.

3.     It would be addictive
Uh, yeah. The addiction is not a joke. I just sent back my first fix and I'm already planning on ordering my next one. It's not just easy, but it's a dangerous little thrill to anticipate what goodies will be in your next shipment. Also, Stitch Fix employs a lot of sneaky tricks to get you to buy more—discounts for keeping your whole box, referral credits, and the option to have automatic deliveries. Add to that the blogs and Facebook discussion groups that create a whole culture centered around a shared shopping experience and you have a recipe for over-spending. I'm going to have to be careful with this.

My First Fix

As I said, Eleanora did a great job with my fix. There wasn't a single piece that I didn't like—she even reviewed my Pinterest fashion board (which Stitch Fix had requested a link to) and sent two pieces that I’d pinned. She also only sent colors that I had pinned—no bright reds, greens, or oranges. The only problems I had were of the “It's Not You, It’s Me” variety. The XL dress was too big in my shoulders but the L shirt was too small. That's pretty much my life.

I had decided ahead of time that I would only let myself keep one item so at I wouldn't get carried away. I'll show you the things I didn't keep first.

Crescent “Purdue” Crochet Detail Blouse - $48

Crescent Purdue Crochet Detail Blouse

  I was a little disappointed that a nearly $50 shirt was 100% polyester, but it was really soft. Of course, I tried it on in December so I don't know how breathable or scratchy it might be in the summer. It was a size Large, but was too tight in the shoulders. Returned.

Mak “ Jaclynn” ¾ Sleeve Button-Up Cardigan - $38
Margaret M “Emer” Houndstooth Straight Leg Pant - $98

Mak “ Jaclynn” ¾ Sleeve Button-Up Cardigan

Margaret M Emer Houndstooth Straight Leg Pant

The sweater was incredibly soft. This was first runner-up to be kept. Returned.

The pants are beautiful but are about three times the price of any pair I've previously purchased. Add to that the fact that they've got a stretchy waist and it was just too big a jump to make so soon. I just got out of maternity pants last summer. If they'd had a zipper, I might have considered them. Also, they were a little big in the waist. I think I need to change my pants size from XL to Large. Returned.

Pixley “Kathy” Striped Fit & Flare Dress - $68

Pixley Kathy Striped Fit & Flare Dress

This is the piece I most wanted to keep. I had pinned this dress and mentioned in the comment that I wanted to try a fit and flare dress. (After wearing maternity clothes for five years, I actually want to celebrate my waistline.) Eleanora really paid attention to my pins and came through with a dress that was perfect for me…except for the size I had provided her with.

The XL dress was just too big. I went into my style profile and changed my dress size down to a Large. Returned.

Market & Spruce “Xander” Short Sleeve Woven Back Sweatshirt - $54

Market & Spruce “Xander” Short Sleeve Woven Back Sweatshirt
Market & Spruce “Xander” Short Sleeve Woven Back Sweatshirt

There's no getting around it—this shirt is a little weird. I'd loved the way it looked online and had pinned it, but I didn't realize it was half sweatshirt. Nevertheless, I loved it. My biggest worry is that I’m always cold so I’m ALWAYS wearing a sweater or jacket. Every time I go to work, church, or a restaurant, I’m covered up. I was worried that the pretty back of this shirt would be forever hidden. That's why I tried adding layers under this shirt. I don't know if Eleanora would approve of this look, but Peter liked it and so did I. Kept.

I really liked doing this. I plan on ordering from them until I have my wardrobe built up, but I’m not going to set up automatic deliveries. I need to be careful to save up for these orders and spend only what I've got budgeted. These clothes are about twice what you'd spend at Target. I’m told they're worth it, but if it turns out they don't last longer, I'm going to stop using Stitch Fix.

Honestly, the styling was great, but the convenience won the day for me. If I could have Maurice's or Old Navy send me a box of random clothes and a return envelope, even without the styling, I'd sign up. Of course, without someone like Eleanora sorting through my likes and dislikes, I'd have to weed through all the blech clothes myself to find a winner. And that's just as time consuming.

My Recommendation of Stitch Fix
Stitch Fix is not the ultimate shopping experience, but it is good for some situations.

Try Stitch Fix if:
  • You don't enjoy shopping (or don't even have time for browsing online).
  • You don't trust your own judgment in fashion or are still trying to define what your personal style is.
  • You have an idea of what you're looking for (like skinny burgundy jeans or a dress to wear to a winter wedding) and don't want to have to go from store to store looking through all the racks for that one item.
  • You're ready to spend more on grown-up clothes. 

Skip Stitch Fix if:
  • You consider shopping a fun activity and don't get upset if you come home without that one thing you were looking for.
  • You think you understand your tastes better than anyone else could and don't care what anyone else's opinion is. 
  • You prefer to buy quantity over quality. You will either spend too much on Stitch Fix or be frustrated that you blew your whole budget on one shirt. (BTW, Goodwill, Savers, and The Salvation Army Store are great for this. You will feel so posh when you walk out with your arms filled with bags and only spent a few bucks.) 

Be careful if you like to go shopping without a plan, just to see what's out there. Stitch Fix will be fun for you but could easily get out of hand. 
If you decide to try Stitch Fix, it would be super if you'd use this link—I’ll get a credit for referring you.