Oh my mercy!
Talk about a WEALTH of material for today’s Fashion Friday: Out of the Box, Part 2.
Last week, I asked you all to style me for a big weekend I have next week. Thank you so much.
Today, we’re talking about who can style you! I love social media because you get a treasure trove of feedback when you need it.
When I asked what fashion styling service you were using, boy did you respond. I had over 50 facebook comments, lots of messages and texts, and I learned a ton.
One thing I learned, there’s no way I could cover all the styling services out there. I thought I would write up the pros and cons for the highest used “out of the box” services based solely on my friends.
The top vote getters, in order, were: Stitch Fix, MM LaFleur, Nordstrom’s Trunk Club, Rent the Runway, and Allume. Others that folks talked about but not nearly as often were: Daily Look, Le Tote, Ann Taylor, Dia, and Wantable.
Before we dive in, let me say my information is based solely on my friends. I didn’t have the time to do a lot of independent research so cost and framework may have changed.
Let’s tackle Stitch Fix first. It’s the most recognizable. It’s been around the longest (I think). And lots of folks have opinions on it. The results were fairly split. Women that used it LOVED it! Women that used it HATED it. Every month, you pay a fee and get a box. If you keep stuff, the fee is applied to your box.
I will admit that I tried it years ago and was very disappointed. I ended up keeping a piece I didn’t love just to recoup the monthly fee. Because I didn’t keep it for very long, and it appears it takes a number of “Fixes” for them to get it right, I probably just short changed them.
Pros: These range from “great work clothes” to “great casual clothes.” It appears a lot of this is dependent on what you pin on your Pinterest board, which many say is key. Great jeans. Trying things I would never try. Being trendy and still work appropriate.
Cons: Hit or miss. Learning curve. A lot of folks said that they got repetitive things. You like one item and then send the same thing but in a different pattern or color. Others said they just never got their style and they didn’t care for the price point.
Hint: Find a stylist who gets you and request that stylist again. Keep a list.
Cost: You can either pay the monthly fee or enroll in Style pass for $49 to waive the fee and get unlimited access (applied to purchase). One friend set her “budget” settings on the cheapest possible and the box ran between $150-$250.
Next up, MM LaFleur. This is the one that has tempted me the most. Maybe because it constantly appears in my FB feed. After hearing feedback, I still want in. There’s no subscription so you can request a box whenever you want. Four to six pieces and four days to return.
Pros: Everyone that has used the service only had positive things to say. Great customer service. Gorgeous pieces. Staples. Don’t wrinkle. (Washable – GASP!) On and on with the love for the items received. Wonderful selection for work. Pieces last forever.
Cons: Universally the con is COST. This is expensive. Now some friends say it’s worth it to get such beautiful pieces. Also, if you’re looking for trendy, this isn’t the place. These are classic investment pieces.
Hint: You don’t have to get a Bento Box. You can get an individual item, and they’re worth it.
Cost: No subscription fee. Blouses range from $110 to dresses at $325.
Our next contender is Rent the Runway. I’ve always thought of this service as one to use for a fancy night out. (I considered it for next week.) But I’ve never plunged in. It’s users had great things to say. You can either pay a fee to get a single item or you can enroll in a monthly subscription. These are loaner clothes so you return them. Great for the girl that just wants to keep some high end, modern pieces fresh in her wardrobe.
Pros: They have styles for every wardrobe: casual, date night, work wear, gala, or vacation. Huge selection and constantly rotated. Great customer service. Option to order a back up size to make sure it fits. Perfect if you want an investment piece for an event like a gorgeous leather jacket or expensive jewelry but don’t want to make the investment.
Cons: Clothes itch because of the dry cleaning chemicals. It’s not cheap and you don’t own the item (this latter was a pro and a con).
Cost: Lower fee for the ability to rent one item or a monthly subscription fee to rotate many items monthly – between $120 and $150. Then there is the added cost of the item you are renting on top of it. I would love access to these designers but it is just out of my budget.
Trunk Club round out our list of services that actually send you a box. This is a Nordstrom’s service and it’s a little more like our last offering (up next) in that you can see the items before they ship. Stylists appear key for this service too.
Pros: Love and have used for years. Ask for reasonably priced clothes. Can change what you need on any given month – from work clothes to a formal event. Easy exchanges if the item doesn’t fit right. You have the option to reject an item before they send it because you get a preview of items in your trunk before they ship. You can set how often the trunk comes.
Cons: Too casual. Hard to find nicer work clothes. Weren’t good about sending what I requested. Not affordable enough.
Cost: Styling fee is waived with a Nordstrom card and applied to purchases if not. One friend who has her setting to “affordable” for the shipments ends up with about $200 to $300 for the trunk.
Finally, Allume which is a newer entry so it didn’t have quite as many reviews but I love it conceptually. Here, you are sent an online box of looks. If you order them, you get a discount. You pay a styling fee but don’t have to fuss with returning clothes if the monthly “look” doesn’t apply to you. Consults are by text – one friend said “our session was basically me throwing buckets of information at her streams-of-consciousness style while she chimed in with a few prompts here and there.” You can pick the look you need – date night, work, vacation – and they send the “look.”
Pros: The stylists “get” me. Variety. Items I wouldn’t find elsewhere. Having the whole outfit put together. Deciding what to get in advance. Finding a difficult look with specific instructions.
Cons: Sizing. The sizes from the different labels are all over the map. It’s hard to go to each seller’s website and understand what will fit.
Costs: A $20 monthly styling fee and prices are dependent on your budget and which items you select from your monthly “look.”
I’ll note, I didn’t even discuss plans which weren’t women’s clothing subscriptions. My good friend loves RocksBox which is a jewelry only subscription. She’s found it gave her flexibility to try accessories she wouldn’t typically use. And because of friend feedback, I just subscribed to KidBox. I’m having the darndest time finding cute clothes for little bit at this “tween” age and if you keep the whole box of six items the price is $98. That’s a deal for six items of clothes. If you (or she) doesn’t like them, you return them for free.
Let me know if you decide to try one or if I’ve wrongly captured the pros and cons of your favorite service.