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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Jumping on the Bandwagon. A Year Later

So. A little over a year ago, I saw some mommy bloggers that I follow, and a food blogger I'm friends with, post about ordering a personal stylist service from Stitch Fix. I liked the idea of having a personal stylist who could pick out some pieces for me without my having to go anywhere, but honestly couldn't justify the price and there were always mental reservations that held me back. I decided to go for it this time, though, and I was happy with my experience. It wasn't perfect, but it was better than my worst fears, and there were definitely some winners. This is something that I would do again, probably in a few months, maybe for my birthday. The service can be regularly scheduled for up to every two weeks, but I just don't buy that many clothes that frequently.

There is a $20 styling fee that is applied to any and all items you purchase from your box and if you buy all five items, there is a 25% discount on all of them. Also, you can get credits from referrals, and they do sell gift cards. You lose your styling fee if you don't get anything from the box. At that point, you are paying for the experience. Anyway. Friday morning, my box arrived! Dominic was the only one who noticed the FedEx truck, as we were in the middle of Morning Prayer and he was standing to read the Psalm. Which means either that we were all really unobservant, or he just wasn't paying that much attention to our prayers (or that, since he was standing, he noticed the movement outside the window more, though why we didn't hear the truck, I'm still not sure).

Inside were five pieces of clothing, a note from my stylist (Liz) who did a great job paying attention to the comments and requests I made, along with five style cards that had a couple ways to wear each piece, a postage paid envelope for anything I don't want to keep, and a card on how best to utilize the service.

So, here we go. These are the clothes that were in my box. I specifically asked for a dress I could wear in the winter, because most of mine are pretty light, thin, and/or summery. I also asked that they not be black or charcoal, because I am trying to expand my options, stretch myself, and wear more colors. She did a great job on the dresses, and picked perfect ones for me.

Item #1 Market and Spruce Colibri Polka Dot Print Blouse - $48

This would have been fine if it fit properly. Even though they ask your size and bra size, this one pulled a bit across the bust. Anything that buttons across my front needs to be bigger. I can't help it, I'm just drawn that way. There are tabs to button the sleeves up in a fashionably casual manner, but I didn't bother, because it didn't fit. I did like it, though, from the 3/4 sleeves, to the polka dots, and the navy color, and even the way it buttoned, leaving an interesting neckline (which I mentioned I liked). I asked if they could find it in a larger size, but they couldn't.

Item #2 Ellison Tommy Colorblock Raglan Sweater - $48

This is my new boyfriend that the kids made. Rich was having me pose with "his arm around you" and making me laugh. He was too cool to come inside with us, though.

I hated this. A lot. I was pretty specific about what I like and didn't like (because of reading this post about how best to use Stitch Fix), and even mentioned what shades of yellow I liked, but I didn't say that I despise mustard yellow, which I evidently should have. And this is not just mustard on the sleeves, it is all across the back, too. It looks like baby poop to me, and even my kids' suggestion that I could wear it while holding a newborn wouldn't work, because the front is white, and that is where the baby would poop on you. Also, it is baggy and sloppy, and I like my sweaters and tops to be more fitted. And the seams are visible. Because of fashion or something, but I don't like that at all.

They have a place where you can tell them which items you don't want them to send, and I said I didn't want outerwear, because even though there are lots of coats and such that are great, I have several that I like already and do their job. I think I'm going to exclude sweaters, too, because I am a knitter and I am really picky about them. And I obviously need to knit more sweaters for myself.

Item #3 Yumi Marina Polka Dot Belted Dress - $114

This one is a little more expensive than I would normally spend on an item while also buying other items. If this were the only thing I were considering, it would not be such a stretch, but it really made me think twice. Except that it's polka dotted, which Rich loves on me and I like, too. And it's retro, and 3/4 sleeves, and so, so cute. Rich didn't even wait to see it on before he told me that he didn't think there was anything to decide. It was polka dots. What was there to wonder? When he saw me in it, he told me it was a definite win, and who am I to argue with my husband? I'm just being a good wife here.

I like that the dresses are fitted without being tight. They show my shape without making me look trampy, which is a risk you run when you are busty. This makes me feel pretty and happy and it is something I can wear to church or to dinner out, the fabric is stretchy, but not too thin, and I just like it.

Item #4 Gilli Genna 3/4 Sleeve Faux Wrap Dress - $64

This is a perfect color for me. I love this plummy purple. I love the sleeves, the wrap front, the clingy fabric that isn't too clingy, that it is low cut, but not so much that my bra shows (because busty women also have to wear steel-belted, industrial bras, and it's hard to find them in "pretty," let alone "not above your neck"). This is a popular dress with the stylists, as I've seen it in this and other colors in other people's fixes. I think it is really flattering. But I read skinny women talking about how it made them look too fat. I'm not sure how that makes me feel, but I like myself in this dress, and so does Rich, and even our boys commented on what a great dress it was. It can be worn with flats, or heels, or short boots, or high boots. This seems pretty versatile, and good for different weather, can be dressed up or down, which makes it a good piece for me. It's right in a normal price range for a dress for me, too.

For winters here, I will need to wear tights with it, but I have some that I like and would go well. Also, I accidentally saw some turquoise/teal on this purple from the ribbon from the tag on the polka dot dress and that made me think that I'd like a thin, laceweight to fingering, buttonless cardigan (or a cropped cardigan in a sport/DK) to go over it in that color. So, again, I should get knitting.

Item #5 Octavia Harlow Heart Print Infinity Scarf - $28

This is the item that surprised me the most, actually. When I saw it, I really didn't think I would like it enough to keep. It was cute, but I have scarves, and I had almost excluded them as items for my boxes, and I have this thing about hearts. I like hearts, but not all the time, cutesy, everywhere. Rich found that out when we were dating on our first Valentine's Day together. He brought me a HUGE heart balloon with hearts on that and hearts on my card and hearts on something else and hearts in the candy and heart shaped boxes and maybe a human heart and I had to tell him to back off on the hearts. He backed off so much I never saw them again. Until one day (nearly ten years after we were married), I was knitting a sweater with heart cables and he said "I thought you hated hearts?!" and I said I didn't hate them, I just don't like them over done, so now I sometimes get hearts, but not everywhere, all the time.

Back to this scarf. I tried it on (the box said to try everything on, even if you're not sure about it, and I can follow instructions) and I liked how it looked and how it felt. I tried it with the purple dress, and I liked it with that, too. So, I decided I would keep it. Although Rich says I should probably tell them no more scarves from here on out, since I make them and have several others. A funny thing that lets you know that our children are used to a different culture than most Americans. They saw the scarf, how it was put on, and Dominic, Amira, Jerome, and Yasmina all commented that I could use it as a head covering for church or at monasteries. Which I could.

I did kind of wish there had been a little more color in this, beyond the navy. The plum was beautiful, and there was nary a black or charcoal item, as I asked, but except for that horrid mustard, it stayed more conservative than I thought it would. On the other hand, there wasn't anything wildly out there, either. My stylist did well and respected my choices and requests, while still picking things I might not get myself. Rich thinks that they should ask for a picture of you, too, which is not a bad idea, if anyone from Stitch Fix or the other stylist services is out there reading.

It's interesting, as I know it makes Rich happy to provide these things for me, too. When we were first married, and oh, so poor, I didn't have children and was thin and still enjoyed shopping. So, I took Rich with me, because we had moved to a city where I knew nobody but him, and I didn't drive. He was miserable. Not because he hated shopping, but because it made him feel bad that he couldn't afford to get the things I liked for me. We were just starting out and had a net value that was negative. I was just having a good time looking at things I liked, but he wanted to be able to bring them home. Now, when we do shop together, I notice that he finds things that he thinks I would like, or that he would like on me, and is always encouraging me to get them. We can't always get everything we like, but it pleases him to know that when we do decide to go for it, we can. When we travel back "home," he has me scan the boutique shops there to pick something up for myself, as a souvenir, and because he thinks I don't do/get enough for myself. So, anyway, this is definitely an every now and then and special occasion type thing for me. Normally, I shop clearance and Ross and consignment.

I'm also not really a fashionable person. I like to think I have a good sense of style, but it really is my own style. I no longer resent it when something I like is in fashion (I used to hate it, because I thought people would think I was just following the fads, now I see that it just means that I have more opportunities to find what I like), but I don't follow fashion that much, except for noticing what seems to be a trend in pictures I see and on people I know. This was a fun treat and experience for me. If you use my referral link, though, it could be a more frequent treat. Also, you can sign up and fill out your profile without scheduling a shipment, just to get a feel for the service. I did that well over a year ago. I modified my profile after reading how others had used it to its best, and I left a note to my stylist asking for some particular things in this box.

One thing I did, too, was to purge my closet of some dresses, skirts, and tops, and my dresser of some sweaters that I just don't fit in anymore. Unless it has sentimental value, or is something that I might fit in again relatively soon, I just want them gone. It was hard to do that, because I like these clothes, but my body isn't that size anymore, and I am tired of having a closet full of things that are nice looking, but that can't fit me. I was tired of trying to find out what I could wear, instead of what I wanted to wear. Now, I may very well fit in them again in the future, but I didn't want to hold on to them for years, just in case. So, I'm going to give them to my thinner friends. Why do I always have thinner friends? When I was in high school my friends were rail thin, and wore size 0 - 2, while I felt fat in my size 6 and curves. I wish I realized how good I looked then. So, I've decided that I will have a closet full of clothes that I like and that fit, or might in a reasonable time, or that remind me of a place or time that brings me joy.

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