Stitch Fix Overview
If you hate shopping, or just don't have time for it, Stitch Fix can help refresh your wardrobe at a reasonable price. Five of our staffers tested three online personal styling services, and Stitch Fix was the best at sending clothes they'd actually wear.
If you aren't familiar, Stitch Fix is a clothing and styling personal styling service. When you initially sign up, you take an in-depth survey that asks you about your clothing size, personal style, and price preferences. Your stylist handpicks five items based on your preferences within the survey. The fee for this service is $20, and that includes free shipping as well as free returns. If you keep any of the items they send you, you get to deduct the $20 fee from the total. If you keep all five items, you also get a 25% discount. Stitch Fix offers clothing for Men, Kids, Maternity, Petite, and Plus Size.
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What's included in a Stitch Fix box?
- 5 pieces of clothing (wrapped up nicely)
- A postage-paid envelope, to send back items.
- A style sheet with outfit suggestions
- A pricing sheet with the cost of each item. This also includes the 25% discount amount, if you choose to keep everything.
- A note from your stylist with comments and outfit suggestions. The stylists at Stitch Fix do work hard making this a personal experience.
Who should try this
If you don't have the time or inclination to shop for new clothes, Stitch Fix can be a relatively affordable way to expand your wardrobe. After you fill out an online survey about your personal style, the service uses a mix of algorithms and personal stylists to pick out clothing that suits your lifestyle, preference, or body shape.
You can also send along a Pinterest board of the types of clothes you like to help your stylist pinpoint items that match your style. Stitch Fix then sends a box of clothes that you can try on for three days. Send back what you don't like, and you'll be charged for only what you keep. If you don't buy anything, Stitch Fix charges a $20 styling fee.
After using several services, we think Stitch Fix is best for people looking for moderately priced clothes - think the quality you'd find in the not-fancy parts of a Macy's or Lord & Taylor (although you can choose higher price ranges for designer brands).
Stitch Fix isn't for everyone. If you're a bargain hunter and enjoy shopping for sales, you will probably find better-priced clothing shopping for yourself. If you want one-on-one help, you might be better off working with an independent personal stylist.
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After you decided whether or not to keep the clothing you'll need to check out on the Stitch Fix website. During this process you check whether or not you're keeping the clothing and then provide more feedback. This is your opportunity to give thoughts on the style, fit, quality, and price. There's also a notes section to provide even more feedback. Again, the more feedback given the better your future Stitch Fixes will be.
What we like about Stitch Fix
A common complaint with all clothing subscription services is that the stylists did not get the person's style right. But Stitch Fix seemed to get it right faster with both first-time and repeat box subscribers. Of the people we interviewed, including staff members, 21 had tried Stitch Fix and 10 reported that the style was up to par. While that's less than half, it's still the highest approval rating of any other service we considered.
Wirecutter editor, who tried boxes from Stitch Fix, Trunk Club, and Bombfell said, "Style-wise Stitch Fix probably did the best job of the three services finding interesting clothes and matching my style notes. The others were less adventurous." Another staffer, assistant updates editor, who shared a Pinterest board of clothes she likes with her stylist, was also happiest with the pieces in her Stitch Fix box. "It was obvious that the Stitch Fix stylist looked through my Pinterest board," she said. "In the note I received with my box, she pointed out that the joggers were taken directly from a pin and could be worn with Vans and a flannel or dressed up a little more, which is exactly what I said my style was. … I like that she was able to find stuff that I could use in both ways instead of one thing for this style, one thing for that style."
What we don't like about Stitch Fix
Many people who disliked Stitch Fix didn't think it was far worse than any other service, they just seemed to dislike the idea of clothing boxes in general. There were a few specific complaints about Stitch Fix, though.
The company offers fewer "extras" that get people excited. Where Trunk Club offers more personalized styling, brick-and-mortar locations, free alterations, and the ability to link your Nordstrom card to your account, Stitch Fix's only added amenity is a slightly cheaper styling fee. Because there's less interaction with a stylist with Stitch Fix, you don't really feel like you're getting a personalized experience when you fill out your online profile, the way you do with Trunk Club. That said, Stitch Fix stylists got it right (at least for fit) about 62 percent of the time. In general, Stitch Fix seemed to offer "safer" pieces that people were more pleased with. Overall, most people we talked to (95 percent) rated Stitch Fix as at least "okay" in terms of fit.
Some of our testers found Stitch Fix's prices high for what they got, especially when the clothes were made of synthetic, "cheap" fabrics. Senior staff writer Laura Fraham said she liked the fit of a pair of jeans she received, but she was skeptical about quality. At about $90, the jeans were primarily made of rayon, polyester, and spandex, with only about 30 percent cotton; she was concerned the fabric wouldn't hold up well over time. "The fit was spot on, and the color was nice, and they did look cute," Laura said. She didn't think the quality compared to what she could find shopping on her own.
The cheaper fabrics didn't bother all of our testers, though. "A couple of the dress shirts were only okay in quality, but the price on them was low enough ($50 to $60) that the quality was in line," said Wirecutter writer Sam Airion. I had a similar experience when I tried the service myself. I had to increase my price preferences on the website to get clothing that was only slightly better quality. Since the time of testing, however, Stitch Fix has added over a hundred new premium brands, like Kate Spade and Theory, which might mean better-quality boxes, but the brands are available only if you select a high price on your profile.
Since Stitch Fix sells the clothes at the manufacturer's suggested retail price, there's always a chance you might find that same item deeply discounted elsewhere. If you do find an item cheaper within seven days of delivery, Stitch Fix has a price-matching policy (only hitch: the item can't be on sale).
Finally, Stitch Fix has a short try-on window of just three days, which may not feel like enough time. "I was so nervous that something would happen and I'd end up getting charged for the full box," said Paul.