So I decided to give Trunk Club a try. I still feel like I need a little help breaking out of my style rut. I do, indeed, have a "uniform." 90% of my workwear (and casual wear, for that matter) is a sleeveless tank of some sort, a cardigan, and either jeans or dress pants. That's all well and good and it's suited me fine for years, but I'm ready to break out in new directions.
A dress? Well, that remains to be seen. Let's not talk crazy talk, here.
I'm still doing StitchFix, despite sending everything back the last time. I'm hoping my feedback will lead to better in the future (after all, I had two good deliveries before that). Trunk Club is very different; the only similarity is that someone "styles" you and sends you stuff to choose from. However, from there, the two vary widely.
Trunk Club, owned by Nordstrom, is not a subscription service. You only get boxes when you ask for them. Additionally, you have more interaction with the stylist. You can message her through the app any time you want. You can make specific requests or, as I did this first time out, you can give her general categories of what you're looking for to build your wardrobe. She then sends you an email (or a message in the app) with pictures of several of the items she plans to send, and you can say "yay" or "nay". if you say "nay," she'll swap out with other items. Once you approve the box, it gets shipped. You then get a box of 12-15 items. (StitchFix only ever sends five). You have 5 days to dither over what you want to keep or return. Once you are ready for returns, you can schedule a free UPS pick-up at your house. Easy.
Another difference from StitchFix: With StitchFix, there's a discount if you buy all five items in the box. With Trunk Club, you pay for each item--no discounts. They're Nordstrom prices--if they're on sale at Nordstrom when delivered, you get the sale price. There's a $25 styling fee which is then credited to anything you might choose to buy.
I really just wanted to test this out. In the future, it's possible I'll be doing a whole lot more work travel and if that's the case, it might be really convenient not to have to go to a mall to find new work clothes. However, until then, especially as I'm still changing sizes, I'd be extremely selective of what I decide to pay Nordstrom prices for. I'd have to be sure I'd get a lot of wear out of something. Still, it's always fun to see what someone else would pick out for you.
This first time out, they recommend that you not say "nay" to anything the stylist suggests, because it's a matter of trying to learn about each other through trial and error. (My words, not theirs). When I got the message with the images of what she was going to include, I was pretty dang sure I wouldn't like most of it but one thing I've learned is that you never know until you actually try something on. I've had several instances where I didn't like something out of the box/on the rack but when I saw it on, I fell in love with it. So I was game. Also, I only saw about half of what ultimately got put in the box. I did get a message after the box had already shipped that showed everything that was included, so I knew what I was getting; I just hadn't seen it to approve it all. That took away some of the fun surprise element in StitchFix, but it did give me the opportunity to think through some things ahead of time--like, "how many outfits could I make with that one, if it fits, given my current wardrobe?"
The criteria that the stylist and I discussed were: I need light colored bottoms (dress pants, casual pants, maybe even a skirt although I backed away from that) because my wardrobe is currently exclusively dark pants; I'd like some brighter tops/blouses and tops with prints; I needed "nude" (or light) dress and casual shoes.
Here's what I got:
I have a bit of "boho chic" to me, and if I hadn't just recently added a bunch of navy to my wardrobe (in an attempt to break out of the "black as my main neutral" rut), I might have been more inclined to like this one.
First, this wouldn't be a versatile piece for me--for work or casual. It's exclusively casual. The bell sleeves are "on trend" right now and I'm not agin' 'em, but the top part of the sleeve was a little snug. The shoulders didn't sit right on me and I really couldn't figure out if the tie was supposed to go in the front or the back--it was ambiguously placed. I decided with one glance at the mirror...nope. Returned.
The "Cold Shoulder" look is also very on trend right now, and I think I am agin' this one. Every time I see it in blogs, I've thought, "Nope. Not for me." Still, to be fair to my stylist, I tried it on. Nope. Not for me. Plus, blush (also on trend) is REALLY not a good color on me. Granted, I'm down with a cold this week so I'm not looking my sparkling best, but this really made me look like death warmed over. Returned.
When I first saw this, I thought, "Why are they sending me a fall/winter top now?" Well, possibly they're trying to clear inventory--but when I put this on, I realized it could be spring/summer because the fabric is actually pretty lightweight.
It's very soft and comfy, but it's not a good version of purple for me and it's a boxy construction so I'd be more inclined to wear it around the house or at quilt retreats than out in "public" (quilt retreats not being "public" in my mind). At Nordstrom prices? I don't think so. Returned.
Oh, I so wanted to love this! When the stylist and I were messaging and she asked me about blazers, I said "unconstructed." I mostly wear cardigans, but the few blazer-type things I've really loved over the years weren't standard suit-style jackets. They have a softer vibe, unexpected shapes, etc. This one had possibilities! It looks like a suit jacket from the front but has this wonderful waterfall pleat back. Very funky. Unfortunately, it didn't quite sit right on me from the front. This may be TMI but I think I'm not big enough "up there" to hold it up the way it was designed to be held up. I put it on twice because I really wanted it to work. But no, it's just not to be. Returned.
I'd said "no skinny jeans." I got skinny jeans. On the flip side, I had asked for light colored jeans and/or dress pants, so she was partially listening. And it's possible these aren't technically in the category of "skinny jeans" because they're ankle length and meant to have the ankle rolled up a little--which, to be clear, is also not a style I wear, but I was game to try.
Despite these being most of what I'd not wanted, I tried them on. They fit really well, but, well, that skinny thing. And these were *really* expensive jeans. So, no. Returned.
I have no problem with print pants on other women. I sometimes admire them, in fact, when they're in the right outfit. But it would have to be just the exactly right print for me to wear them myself, and I can't even tell you what that print would be. I'd just have to be able to "feel it" when I saw it.
So, in the spirit of "I'm trying to be game," I tried these on, even though I wasn't "feeling" them. They were a bit snug, although they'd be fine by summer, but I just can't do it. Not this print, not these colors. Returned.
So, by now you're probably wondering...was there ANYTHING she liked in that delivery? Yes, actually--two things I saved for last.
You may need to put sunglasses on for this first one. When I saw their picture in the message after the box shipped, I thought, "You've got to be kidding me."
When I saw them in the box, I thought, "No freaking way."
And then I put them on. And fell completely in love.
They fit beautifully. They're crop pants that hit in just the right part of my leg; they're also a beautiful fabric with a fantastic drape to them so they balance out my shape really well. They'd be great for summer work events. And (wait for it) I have a couple of sleeveless tops and cardigans that would style with them very easily. So it would be a way to make my standard "uniform" more fun and unique. Yes, they're bright--although not quite as "glow in the dark bright" as the photo makes them seem. But they work on me!
Unfortunately, by the time I have my summer events that I'd be wearing these for I expect to be down another size. I waffled for a day, thinking, "I could have them tailored then," but I know myself. By the time I'm down another size and looking for clothes to wear on that particular work trip, I'll want to be able to find something new to celebrate my continued weight loss. So after 24 hours of debating, I'm returning these. I did tell my stylist to remember the designer and style, though, because they work really, really well!
Finally, the one keeper. Remember how I'd told her I needed nude/light colored dress shoes?
She'd included this pair. When I first looked at them in the message, I thought, "Huh. Well, maybe." I'm not usually a fan of pointy toes and really not sure about the ankle laces. I had a pair of ankle lace shoes the last time they were in style (a long time ago) and always hated the way they felt. I'd never have picked these out in a shoe store but since they were delivered into my hands, I was willing to give them a shot.
And they're fantastic. Extremely comfortable to wear. I'm thrilled that block heels are currently "on trend" right now because they're the best way to do heels! And I emphasized with the stylist that I don't do high heels and she listened! These are a great height for me--just high enough to look a little fancy but very easily walkable and comfortable.
Here's the best thing about a home-delivery style service. I wore these shoes around the house for a whole day, just making sure no weird little rub spots developed. You can't do that in a shoe store. I already have plans to wear them on Saturday for a special event I'm participating in...but more on that in a later blog post.
Wearing them around the house reminded me, though, that I do need to get more used to walking in heels. Even as comfortable as these are, I still have to change my stride just a little bit to keep from pitching myself forward. (Hazards of working from a home office is my main office wear is slippers.)
So, I'm considering my first experience with Trunk Club a decent success for these reasons:
- I tried on styles just to see if I'd like them on or not, and learned something about what I like and don't like in the process. That saves me time and money in the long run, so it's all good.
- I found a couple of things I'd not normally have tried on in a store but discovered I loved! Even though I only kept one of them, that's also good learning.
- I got a great pair of shoes out of them. And with the $25 styling fee taken off the price of the shoes, they're the price I would normally have paid for a good pair of shoes. Although, in this process, I'm also learning that perhaps I should be willing to pay more for a really good pair of shoes, because I have a history of inexpensive shoes that end up not being worth it in the long run.
I'm going to wait until after I get my next StitchFix in a couple of weeks to decide if I want to order another Trunk Club right now. I have my 30th anniversary vacation coming up in May and want to be well dressed!
(If you're interested in Trunk Club, here's my referral link if you'd like to use it! They also have Trunk Club for Men--in fact, that was their original Trunk Club.)