For busy people, the appeal of your own online personal stylist and hassle-free shopping is obvious. While enlisting the help of a digital professional makes sense for people who hate shopping and styling…what about the rest of us? I love shopping and putting together outfits, but wanted to see what all the hype over online personal styling was about – and maybe find some great pieces I wouldn’t have selected on my own.
After a quick survey of women who have tried the new wave of styling, I identified three popular online personal styling services. To keep everything fair, I filled out the exact same information for the three services I tried. The surveys included pretty much the same options – sizes, pattern and fit preferences, lifestyle needs, and how much I was comfortable paying for items. I set the price limit to the highest option for each service – a.k.a., send me the good stuff. I also linked stylists to my online profiles, like Pinterest, when given the option. Let the experiment begin!
Trunk Club for Women
Trunk Club started as a men’s styling service, but recently expanded their offerings to include trunks for women. The styling service is owned by Nordstrom, and the brands they carry are on par with what you would find there.
How it Works
After filling out a brief survey, a stylist contacts you for more information on your lifestyle, preferences, etc. You receive your trunk of premium brand clothing, and have ten days to decide what to keep. You only pay for the items you choose to keep. There are no membership fees, minimum purchases, or shipping charges. Trunk Club also offers one-on-one appointments in some cities, if you prefer shopping in person. I received a call from my stylist the day after setting up a profile. She followed up with an email asking for some specific sizes and brands, and more open-ended questions about my style and fashion needs. Later I got a link to my trunk preview and the opportunity to veto anything I hated.
The first thing I noticed when opening the trunk was the sheer quantity of items. 15 pieces felt like a lot – in a good way! The price per piece ranged from $32 (basic top) to $898 (gorgeous gown). I could’ve kept pretty much every piece, in a world of unlimited clothing budgets.
I felt like this service was truly personalized. My stylist, Katelyn, really listened to my lifestyle needs and brands I like. She struck the perfect balance of items I instantly loved and some that pushed me out of my style comfort zone. The trunk was a mix of high and low prices, but the items never felt cheap. The best part is that the items I kept are pieces I would never have selected for myself. Not even touched in a store. Laurie’s styling suggestions made me see how they could work in my wardrobe. That, to me, is the most awesome part of having a stylist’s help!
I kept multiple items and will continue using Trunk Club. It felt like the perfect balance of fun and convenience. I have SO many ideas for how to wear the pieces I kept, and I never felt pressured to keep more than I wanted. Katelyn was great to work with, and you can request her here! Drop me a note if you sign up – how fun would it be to share the same stylist and compare looks?
Stitch Fix is marketed as a god-send for “busy women on the go,” and the most widely popular of the three online personal styling services I tried. This could be due to the convenience of the system, the referral program, and the accessible price point of many items.
How it Works
Fill out a personal style quiz online and you’ll get five pieces in a box. You can specify how often you would like to receive a box. You pay a $20 styling fee per “fix”, but can apply that $20 to the price of an item if you decide to keep anything. Stitch Fix includes a mailing envelope so you can send back anything you don’t like. You can also leave feedback for your stylist to let them know why you did or didn’t like each piece, helping to tailor your future boxes.
For my first Stitch Fix, I received two casual tops, one work-ish dress, one pair of jeans, and one necklace. The items also came with styling cards that show two outfit ideas per piece of clothing. Despite stating I would be comfortable paying the maximum, the items I received ranged in price from $34-168.
My initial impression of the clothing: cheap. Every piece had stretchy synthetic fabrics, outdated style, and/or low-end details. I tried on all the clothing anyway and can say the fit was great. Though Stitch Fix got my sizes correct, they definitely missed the mark on style. I stated I needed clothing for events and date night, and received casual pieces. Even my boyfriend noticed the disconnect – I tried on the dress and he immediately called out the low quality and mom-style. I had never heard of any of the brands (41Hawthorn? Loveappella?), but that wouldn’t have bothered me if I liked the pieces. I did notice that they sent me two black and grey items – colors I wear frequently – but the quality and style was too bad for me to consider keeping anything. I forfeited my $20 styling fee and sent everything back.
Stitch Fix emailed me after returned every item with a very nice offer of waiving the $20 styling fee if I would give the service a second try. My second Fix contained pieces that were much more my style, but I still didn’t keep anything. It still felt a bit like what you would find in the Juniors’ department.
While the clothes weren’t necessarily terrible, they certainly didn’t fit my style preferences or the lifestyle needs I communicated in the survey. The clothing felt overwhelmingly suburban – it might be great for busy moms or recent graduates moving up from the Forever 21 days, but not so much for an urban young professional.
$20 spent, but no new clothing. If you’re shopping on a budget, tend to dress casual, and are just starting to figure out your style, this could be a good service for you.
Like Stitch Fix, Bungalow Clothing offers the convenience of bypassing the normal online shopping experience in favor of a curated selection. With John Legend as a co-founder, it’s no surprise the branding is much more luxurious and fashion-focused.
How it Works
Bungalow Clothing works pretty similarly to Stitch Fix: create a style profile, receive a curated selection of clothing, keep what you love and send back the rest. After filling out my style profile, I received an email from my stylist saying they needed to authorize my credit card, which struck me as a little strange. The next contact was an email confirming my curated “Dressing Room” was on its way. You receive 5-10 items and have five days to try them on – but you can reach out to the Bungalow Clothing team if you need more time. They also include a pre-paid shipping label, so you simply schedule a pickup via text when you are ready to send back any unwanted items. Unlike Stitch Fix, there is no personal styling fee. They do, however, include a discount if you buy any of the pieces!
This box was fun. While it didn’t really feel personalized – to my style or even to my region – I really enjoyed trying on the items. Out of all of the online personal styling services, Bungalow Clothing pushed me out of my style comfort zone the most. The clothing was extremely trendy, high quality, and seemed to have more of a west coast vibe.
Prices ranged from $75 to around $400. They provide a survey with your shipment so you can give your stylist feedback on the style, fit, and price for each item.
If you want to change up your style or discover fun new pieces, this service is amazing. The process felt less polished than the other online personal styling services, so maybe they are still working out some kinks.
I sent my stylist some feedback and signed up for a new “Dressing Room” every 30 days! Looking forward to seeing what comes from Bungalow Clothing next. Try it out with this invite!
Rocksbox is a bit of an outlier because they only offer styling for jewelry. The jewelry style ranges from minimal to statement, with plenty of trendy items available. Rocksbox deals with jewelry designers like Kendra Scott and SLATE.
How it Works
Like the other services, you complete a quick style survey (no sizes needed, so it’s even shorter!) and can add items to your wish list. $19 a month gets you unlimited jewelry rental. Each box you receive contains three pieces to wear on loan. When you’re finished with the jewelry, you can return the pieces and receive your next box with free shipping both ways. You can receive an unlimited number of boxes per month – perfect for special occasions and girls who get tired of jewelry quickly! I’m looking at you, bloggers. If you just can’t let a piece go, you can buy any item from your Rocksbox set. Each month you have $10 to apply towards a purchase.
In my first Rocksbox, I received a dainty Kendra Scott necklace, a statement necklace, and some simple, sparkly studs. Love! All the pieces were great quality and fit my style profile.
I tend to get tired of jewelry quickly (except for the pieces I wear every single day) so I love Rocksbox as a way to wear trendier pieces and try new styles without being stuck with a lot of jewelry box clutter.
I didn’t purchase any pieces in this box, but I wore them all several times! Can’t wait to receive my next box.