I am not fashionable and never have been. I have often joked with my sister (who, unlike me, dresses quite well and has a good eye for clothing) that I've dressed like someone's mom since long before I *was* someone's mom. In spite of my lack of fashion sense, I would like to dress better.
Like anyone, I know what I like, but I am not good at putting outfits together or even, really, at knowing what looks good on me. Additionally, I work in a field where dress is generally expected to be fairly conservative (law). So I don't really have the freedom to "take chances" with what I buy to wear on a daily basis.
I also hate to shop. When I do shop, I shop like a man: I know what I want/need, and I want to find it, buy it and leave the store. Browsing is tedious to me, and I don't shop for fun, like most women. (I will, on rare occasions, go shopping with friends, but I do it because they want to and am then in it purely for the social aspect and because it is the friend's chosen activity, not mine.) The phrase "retail therapy" is lost on me because shopping causes me more anxiety than it relieves.
My dislike of shopping was present before I had twin toddlers and no time to shop for myself. That desire to avoid shopping for myself has only increased since my sons were born.
As a consequence of these facts, I generally end up wearing the same few basic pieces over and over for work. And I have almost no clothes for casual wear. On the infrequent occasion when MM and I go out on a date, or that I go out with friends, I find myself wearing jeans and the same two or three shirts I've had for years over and over. Most of my wardrobe essentially consists of lounge-around-the-house clothes (T-shirts, shorts, sweats and the like) and work/court appropriate attire, with very little in-between.
I had recently read about Stitch Fix on a few blogs, and the service sounded ideal for someone like me who needs to improve her wardrobe but doesn't enjoy, or have time for, shopping. Alas, when I visited their website, I learned that they only style women up to size 14/XL. I have been wearing a size 16 for quite some time--with no realistic plans for significant weight loss in the foreseeable future--so that ruled them out for me. Too bad.
I then learned of a somewhat similar service called Gwynnie Bee for "plus size" women (I put the words "plus size" in quotes because their website indicates they serve sizes 10-32, and I personally would not consider sizes 10-14 "plus size.") They offer a free 30-day trial, so I decided to give it a try for a month.
My thoughts so far:
- No commitment. If you don't like the item when it arrives at your house, or after you've worn it, just ship it back, postage-paid. You don't have to launder it or anything.
- Convenient. You just select garments to place in your "closet" on their website, and packages with clothing arrive at your doorstep in 2-3 days.
- You get to try clothes and brands you might not otherwise pick.
- They don't tell you when you put an item in your "closet" whether or not it is available to be sent to you, and apparently there is no way of knowing when (or if) it ever will be. Personally, I found this a little misleading, as I thought it would be more similar to shopping online. Also, Gwynnie Bee decides which of the items in your closet to send to you; you aren't really "ordering" from the website.
- Although each item lists the fabric(s) from which it is made, there are no washing/care instructions included in the product description. This is something I ALWAYS consider before buying an item, and especially so now that I have small children. The fact that something is dry clean only or requires ironing would be enough to convince me not to buy it, even if I love everything else about it. I will only buy things that are machine washable, no iron these days, so I would prefer to know upfront the care that is required of the garments I might order. . . because why bother ordering them if there is zero chance I will buy them?
- The purchase price of the items is also not made available to you until the item arrives at your house. Their stated rationale for this is that they "want to make sure that you love the style and fit of that particular garment before deciding to purchase it." Um, OK. No matter how much I love the style and fit of a garment, I won't pay more than a certain amount for a dress, blouse, etc., no matter how much I love it, so I would prefer to know before I even try it out what it would cost, rather than waste my time trying out (and potentially falling in love with) something I would never realistically buy and keep.
So those are my thoughts at this point. So far I have received four items, and there has only been one that I would consider keeping (I have returned two of the garments after just trying them on). I am still on the fence about whether or not I will continue as a paid member when my 30-day trial ends.
Anyway, if you happen to wear sizes 10-32 and think you'd like to try it out, feel free to use my referral link. (Full disclosure: I will get a free garment for one month if you do.)