Stitch Fix Flop

Because I have nothing else to talk about today, I’ll briefly discuss my latest Stitch Fix shipment. I’ve gotten one or two more since my post about them over the summer, and in general I’ve liked what I received. But this one was a total bust, and since I didn’t like anything enough to photograph myself actually wearing the items, it was easy to take quick pictures of them on the hangers before stuffing them into the mailer to ship them back. So, due to ease of photographing and discussing, Stitch Fix is the blog post topic of the day. You’re welcome.

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I didn’t even care enough about these pictures to reduce the photo size, so click on it if you want to see a REALLY HUGE picture of a sweater.

Sadly, that sweater was the most likable piece in my box, and it isn’t very impressive (I’m purposely not including the names of any of these items, because I don’t want anyone searching for info on these pieces coming across this post and being insulted by my negativity towards some item of clothing they like). It retails for $58, and although this is probably going to  make me sound like a terrible snob, I think everything in this Fix suffers from a low price point. I have nothing against $58 sweaters in general, but I’ve learned that with Stitch Fix unless you bump up the prices you’re willing to spend on their items, the quality just isn’t there, and when the tops run towards the lower end of the scale (the cheapest items I’ve ever seen from them are around $48) they are just NOT the business. Boring, with a poor fit. No thanks.

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Ugh! These tops! What?!

Oh g-d these are awful. First of all, I don’t know who my ‘stylist’ was this time out, because I never bother to read the little Style Suggestions sheet they stick in the box, but I don’t think the person read anything from my profile in the slightest. The choices here are so odd compared to the pieces I’ve received in my past few boxes, so although I know the box is packed by a different person each time it has so far seemed like by using my information and links to my Pinterest page anyone could pick out things I’d like. But I don’t see anything about these tops that matches my profile except that I did say I like my tops loose-fitting. However, these are both not only HUGE on me size-wise; but they are ugly. The white one was so sheer it might as well have been a pajama top, and I was swimming in the black one, it was so wide. Even if they had fit and the white one hadn’t been completely see-through, I never would have worn either one of these out of the house (or even in the house for that matter). Again, I hate to harp on it, but they look…cheap. Really cheap. Moving on to the worst of the bunch:

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At least Simon enjoyed the box.

Yes, that Southwestern print thing on the right there is a handbag. I went to my profile after receiving this and realized that, in fact, I had not checked the box that says “handbags” under the section asking me to indicate what I DON’T want included in any of my Fixes. After receiving this bag, believe me, I went straight to my profile and checked that box. Then I unchecked it, just so I could check it again. And the jeans? They’re the “boyfriend” style of jean that I have never been able to wear – whatever makes the cut of a jean a “boyfriend” cut, it don’t work on this Girlfriend. At all. They were not bad, but the wash wasn’t anything special, and unlike the still-amazing jeans I received over the summer and wear almost every weekend, these were pretty cheap – the amazing ones were almost $130 while these are $78, reinforcing my belief that the more you are willing to spend through Stitch Fix, the better the clothes. I can get a perfectly great pair of jeans for under $78 at Ann Taylor Loft, for example, so it’s not about being a price-tag snob; it’s just that the clothes on the lower end of the cost scale at Stitch Fix are too drab and unpredictable for me to bother. The odd thing is that my profile still requests items between $100-$200, so I’m not sure why they’d send me a Fix that totals a little over $200 for all five pieces. I think someone screwed up here all around, and either sent me clothes without looking at my profile at all, or sent me someone else’s fix entirely.

Because this Fix was such a bummer, I went to the site to close out the shopping cart by clicking a big old NO on every item, because once you’ve checked out your cart you can immediately schedule your next fix, and I was hoping I could get another one within the next two weeks or so to make up for this loser. But alas, Stitch Fix is still so popular that there were no earlier shipment dates available than a month from now. I’ve gotten enough cool stuff from them that I’ll keep on receiving Fixes, and hopefully this bummer of a box was just an aberration. Even so, I’m not out anything but the $20 styling fee, so there’s no real loss. It is odd, though, to have to provide feedback to a company by saying SELL ME STUFF THAT’S MORE EXPENSIVE PLEASE. Not something I usually want to say!

EDITED TO ADD: Stitch Fix read this post (and probably read the feedback I gave them on the site too), and emailed me to apologize for missing the mark on this shipment. They also offered to roll over my stylist’s fee into the next month, which was nice, since I wasn’t asking for any sort of discount or refund for getting a lame shipment. It’s nice to know the company is paying attention to what gets said about them online and that they will respond without being asked to do so. As I said in the original post, I still enjoy the service and have gotten some great stuff from Stitch Fix, so I’ll definitely continue to use them. 

Purse Post: The Free People Slouchy Vegan Tote

I have to rave about this Slouchy Vegan Tote I bought recently from (no surprise) Free People. I loved it so much, I bought three of them.

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Simon likes the brown bag best

I am actually not a big purse person (a “purse-on”?); I tend to find one I really like, then keep it for several years, or buy the same style for several years in a row. My last favorite was a large tote by Tory Burch that was very big (I love a huge purse) and square and open (love a big-mouthed purse too; one I can just toss things into from across the room) and most importantly, it had pockets on both sides that made it incredibly convenient to place keys and cell phones in them and know exactly where they were. But in the past year or two TB quit putting side pockets in the totes, which made them decidedly less fabulous in my book, so when I realized the huge blue one I’d carried for two years needed replacing (I am VERY hard on handbags), I needed to find something new.

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My pics are unedited and kinda sloppy, sorry – had a lot to do tonight so I had to prioritize.

I wanted something big, of course, and floppy, because I much prefer soft purses to sturdy, structured ones (again, I like to throw tons of stuff in there and sort it all out later, so floppy helps with that). I also wanted something a bit bohemian, perhaps with fringe or some interesting print – but it was not to be found. Apparently, my current style obsessions are not IN style, at least not in the purse world. I’ll skip over the part where I bought a Coach bag on sale in a snake print, just because it was the closest thing I could find to an interesting print and it was good deal, and skip right to two weeks later, when my friend Candace and I spied this bag on the way out of the Free People store in the Galleria. It was floppy (check) and big and square (check-check), but then we discovered so much more when we looked inside. It also had a very large zippered clutch-type removable insert (people in their reviews refer to this as a laptop case, then complain that laptops don’t fit in it, which leads me to believe it was not intended to be a laptop case in the first place, but I could be wrong about that) and a third, small zippered bag roughly the size of a large square wallet. It also had an extra-long strap, and – here’s the real clincher – the purse is also reversible. It’s also NOT leather, although it looks like it (in fact, most people who’ve asked about the bag since I started carrying it were under the impression it was quite expensive) and it feels buttery soft, so it is both cruelty-free and inexpensive – the bag retails for $68.

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A peek inside the smallest pouch.

I bought one, then a few days later decided I needed a few more. One reason for that is the one I’ve been carrying around since I bought it is starting to “peel” a little around the edges (see pic below), so I thought having a few others to switch around might help slow that down a little. I don’t really care about the peeling so much though, and mostly wanted a few more just because I love this bag to death and was feeling spendy. When it comes to bags, I am not opposed to handing over some decent cash (although I’d never pay the cost for a Louis Vuitton or anything like that, at least I haven’t up to this point) for whatever it is that I like, and since this one was not expensive, I figured getting two more still kept it in a good price range for me.

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A close-up of the peeling – you can also see the magnet that holds the purse closed no matter which way you’ve reversed it

The cool thing is how many ways I can mix and match all these pieces. Because the bag itself has nothing going on inside (no pockets of any kind), I have everything I regularly carry arranged to be either in my wallet, my makeup case, or one of the two pouches that come with the bag. My ID holder/debit card and cell phone fit perfectly into the smallest bag, I think it’s obvious what my wallet and my makeup bag hold, and the big zippered pouch holds everything else. This way, it’s super-easy to switch purses by grabbing those four pieces and stuffing them into another big purse; no pockets to go through and organize or anything. If I have time I can do some color-coordinating, of course, by taking all my stuff out of one colored pouch and putting them into another one, but if I don’t want to mess with that, the switch can be made in about four seconds.

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A peek inside the larger pouch – Simon was interested, too

I’ve also found that the small zippered pouch works well when I don’t want to carry the big bag somewhere, as I can just pull it out and go, and the larger zippered one is easy to pull completely out of the purse and dig through for whatever it is I’m trying to find. The only downside I’ve discovered so far is that the inside of the big zippered pouch is black, which can make it hard to find what I’m digging for. And, I found the dark brown one to be stiffer faux-leather than the black or the natural one, so the softness of the vegan material isn’t consistent I suppose. But other than these two things, I am in love with these bags. I got six purses, really, for the price of three (although the reversed color of the black is almost identical to the natural colored one, it’s just a touch lighter) plus 6 multicolored pouches to play around with, and in total I spent about $210 for all of it.

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The black purse – the reversible side is the same cream color as the small pouch

I’m not one to go around switching bags to match my outfits, but for that price and for how easy it is to do with these, I am going to start. It’ll also help each bag last longer to switch them out, because as I said, I am hard on bags. I’ve carried all my usual stuff, plus my lunch, an iPad, and an extra pair of shoes in this thing a few times (when going to work) and it can handle all that and still look great, but I know from past experience that won’t last forever. Fortunately this appears to be an incredibly popular bag at the Free People site, with a lot of color options they keep updating, so I think it’ll stick around for a season or two if I ever need more. It certainly feels sturdy to me, even when loaded down and requiring the bigger strap to carry, so I hope they last awhile.

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The brown bag reverses to cobalt blue

Now I just have to figure out what to do with that Coach bag that I only carried for three weeks and no longer want…if anyone wants to buy it off me, make an offer!

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The bags reversed!

Men Don’t Make Passes…

I think you know the rest.

Anyway, I got new glasses last week, as I do every year – not because my prescription changes all that much, just because I get bored. I decided not to get my glasses through Zenni Optical this year, because I wanted a higher-index (and therefore thinner) lens, so I went to my old standby LensCrafters instead. My husband keeps insisting I can get better-quality frames from an optometrist, but I tried that last year and it was disastrous as the lab kept screwing up my order and I had to take the glasses back three times to get them right, then never liked the frames I got and ended up wearing the cheapies from Zenni as my regular ones. Plus, I always find plenty of nice frames at LC that last a year with no problem. I did try this year to get glasses from the optometrist (a new one, since I essentially fired my old one last summer) but once again the cost was going to be outrageous – $850 for one pair of glasses! I knew I could do better than that, so I said never mind, paid for my eye exam, and took my prescription with me to get it filled elsewhere.

I’ve personally never had a problem with LensCrafters glasses, and my eye prescription is quite strong. What I like about them is, first of all, the 30-day guarantee. I also like that the salespeople there don’t just immediately ring you up for the highest cost, but will work with you to come up with creative ways to keep the cost down. The woman who helped me this time calculated four different prices for me, each price having different features for me to choose from. I really appreciated that. In the end, I went with the thinnest lens, but to keep the cost down I didn’t get lenses that will transition to sunglasses when outside. The cost came to about $600, which is still a lot of money compared to getting a pair from Zenni for $130, but the lens is thinner and lighter. And I absolutely LOVE the frames!

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Most people can’t tell I got new frames at all, because they’re dark and cat-eye shaped like my last pair and let’s face it, people don’t pay all that much attention to such things. But I can tell, and I love these – I think they are an even better shape than my Zennis I was wearing before. I’ve had a heck of a time getting used to them though; they don’t have spring hinges which means they are a bit less comfortable and press against the back of my ears harder, but after wearing them for five days I am finally starting to get used to them. I was considering taking them back for a different frame (something I can do at LensCrafters, remember) because for a few days there they were really hurting my head – but I hate to give them up, because I think they’re great looking. So I’m glad to be finally getting used to them. They’re a Tory Burch frame, by the way, style #TY2044, if anyone is interesting in looking them up.

Anyway, since I wasn’t going to have transitions lenses put in, I figured I’d pick up a pair of prescription sunglasses from good old Zenni. And since they were only going to be for wear when out in the sun, I figured I’d get some fun ones. They came in Monday morning, and I decided to make a pic of me wearing them my Day Five shot for my 365 project:

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Yep, that’s right – I got some John Lennon sunglasses and I love them (or, depending on your age, Harry Potter sunglasses). The frame was a whopping $19, and with the mirror-tinted prescription lenses and express shipping, they came to $130. So, two pairs of glasses from LC and Zenni for less than one pair from the optometrist (oh and get this – the frames I was going to buy from the optometrist were also at LensCrafters, but for $40 less! So much for my husband’s theory that you get better frames at the doc’s office). The style number on these little round plastic frames is 430023, in case anyone wants to get a pair. For most people, they won’t cost near as much as mine did, since my prescription is stronger than most. I’m thinking about picking up another spare pair, because with these I should have just gotten a distance prescription and left off the bifocal part; I have to look through the top half pretty carefully when driving. Or maybe I just want a second pair because they’re so cute. I kind of do that sometimes.

Anyway, a lot of these test pictures for my Day Five photo turned out cooler than I expected, especially since I threw them together without much setup or planning, so I processed a few more (including the test shot of me in my regular specs which I posted above). I edited these shots using both the RadLab plugin and my new Nik collection one; I am really loving the Analog filters on the Nik software and am learning how to use it to nice effect. Here’s one more I worked on tonight:

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And isn’t that necklace fab? Got it at Nordstrom during my latest Galleria trip. On sale for about $24.

I love being able to add and adjust light flares and textures, and had a good time working on these. Of course, I worked on them to the detriment of other things, like working out – but that isn’t my fault I swear. My computer did that thing where it freezes up entirely and you have to shut it down, then you boot it back up and it says it needs to run a disk check, and you let it even though you really don’t want to and it takes thirty minutes, so rather than go do useful things for that thirty minutes you sit and stare at your computer while pouting because it’s really screwing up your plans not to be able to use it. OK, so maybe I’m the only one who does that last part. To sum up: I did get Day Five of my 365 project done, and I did get new glasses and sunglasses, but I didn’t work out. Moving on.

In other news, work is going to be hectic as hell the next week or two, so I may slow down on blog posts. But I’ll still be around, doing my 365 shots if nothing else. Or I may not have to slow down at all. We’ll see. And yes, my perm is still going strong! I’m  figuring out how best to style it, so I was in the midst of a good hair day when I shot these. Always helps. Oh, and I haven’t mentioned this all that much, but I am still growing out my hair dye and letting my grey come in – not sure it’s really noticeable at all, but there is some gray in my hair as I haven’t colored it since March. Not sure why that matters, just filling you all in. Unlike my gray, which I am not filling in at all.

And by the way, I didn’t share Day Four’s 365 shot, so I’ll close this out by sharing it now. It’s Simon, doing Simon-things in my bathroom:

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And yes, I still hate that wallpaper.

Stitch Fix Pics!

I got my latest Stitch Fix today and decided to take more detailed pics of the shipment so you could get an idea of what to expect if you ever sign up.

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It’s a box – YEP.

There’s something about getting these shipments that’s just fun, like getting a birthday present every month – even if you’re someone who already has enough clothes as it is. They do have a nice presentation:

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Your  box has five items, as I mentioned last time, and the items are geared to preferences you specify when you fill out a profile on the Stitch Fix website. Your selections are also made based on feedback you give the company after you receive a “fix” and tell them what you liked and didn’t like about what you received. Since this is my third shipment, the choices have gotten pretty decent.

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Since I also have a close friend with a Stitch Fix profile, we’ve noticed we get the same items in our packages from time to time, but paired with different wardrobe suggestions to better match our profiles (our styles are completely different). This is one way they get more mileage out of the idea of a “fix” consisting of only five items; they make suggestions about how to wear each piece. I pretty much ignore this part of the shipment, but again, it’s a great way to present the clothing:

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You try on the items, pick what you want to keep, then stick everything else into a prepaid shipping bag and drop it off at the nearest USPS mailbox; easy-peasy. If you keep everything, you get 25% off the entire order. There’s a $20 stylist fee for each fix, but you only get charged for that if you send the whole shipment back. If you keep even just one thing, you get to deduct the $20 from the total.

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I even took a pic of the shipping bag; I am nothing if not thorough

As I mentioned last time, you can choose a budget for your shipments so the prices are within a comfortable range for your pocketbook. I started out with a low range and didn’t care for the pieces I received, so I upped it and was much happier with the second batch of clothes. My second fix was around $375 if I kept the whole thing (which I didn’t), this one was considerably lower at $219 (that’s with the 25% discount for keeping it all). Not sure why there was such a difference,  but I get the feeling Stitch Fix’s stock isn’t all that varied (as I said my friend and I are getting a lot of the same stuff in our boxes, just presented with different outfit ideas and often in different colors) so I guess they just do the best they can when it’s time to send your box out (you can be on a set schedule or request fixes at random times – I choose to get them monthly).

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I’d actually requested no more jewelry after what I got in the first shipment (it was a really cheap-looking necklace), but as you can see, one showed up again. I chalk this up, again, to being a bit limited on what they can ship. I have no proof of that, it’s just my suspicion. Coming up with five things once a month can get difficult if you can’t throw a necklace in there every once in awhile. I ended up liking this one anyway, so I kept it.

I also kept the black pants they shipped me; they’re called the Emer High Waisted Cropped Trouser, and they have a strange feel to them, almost like ski pants. But even though they’re basically a stretch pant or legging in a thicker material, they’re actually kind of flattering, and I like them. The silk shell here (called the Lydie Crochet Detail Split Neck Silk Blouse) is the one thing I didn’t care for, but if I sent it back I’d lose my 25% off and the total for the items I kept would come to $214; by keeping it and getting the 25% the total came to $219. For only $5 difference in price, I figured I’d go ahead and keep it, see if I ever end up wearing it, or if not just give it someone else. I’m actually not a fan of wearing silk, though, so probably it  will end up in someone else’s closet eventually (and yes, I know I’m making some silly poses here, but accentuating the positives and de-emphasizing the negatives of one’s body for full-length portraits is a bit of a silly art, one I’ve perfected to the best of my ability even if it is a bit ridiculous):

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The shoes are new too but are not from Stitch Fix. They don’t sell shoes.

Up next is a fabulous vest with an aztec print that I love. It’s called the Ashlie Graphic Knit Sleeveless Cardigan, and I admit I was excited about this item before I even opened the box. I’ve learned that as soon as your “fix” ships, you can go the website, check your profile, and see the receipt for all the items in the shipment. Then you can go to Google and type in the item names and find some of them. I found a lot of other bloggers who reported getting this piece in their shipments, so I knew what it was going to look like. But it’s even better in person. I’m also wearing the Adrianna Circle Bib Necklace here, and one of my own t-shirts. The shoes are the Hopewell moccasins I got from Free People a while back and mentioned in a previous post.

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Had to make this outfit twirl a little

OK I had to throw this next outfit in here even though only the pants & necklace are from Stitch Fix. I wanted to show my fabulous new moto jacket, which is from Ann Taylor Loft of all places. Also, if you like that t-shirt, it’s called the Lani California Tunic; it’s nice and long and A-line and has a hi-lo effect that keeps it from being boring. I got it at a little local boutique, then decided I wanted more of them and found a few places online to buy them – you can find it here or here.

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Pardon the goofy pose; who knows how I end up standing the way I do

As you can see, I’m going to get a lot of wear out of these pants even though I never would have tried them out on my own. I’ve mentioned it before, but that’s one of the things I like about Stitch Fix – that the process motivates me to try things I end up liking but never would have given a second glance in a store.

The shirt in this next one is from Stitch Fix; it’s called the Danes Ribbon Trim Tie Neck Top. The jeans were also from Ann Taylor Loft ( I can’t find them on their website anymore or I’d link them), and interestingly are some I normally would have ignored but tried on for the hell of it and ended up liking:

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I’d like the jeans better if they were a darker wash, but they only came in this color and white (I bought the white too). The top is fabulous, and pretty much made for me. I’m not thrilled with the fabric, which isn’t as soft as I’d like, but overall it’s cute as hell and I love it.

Since I was taking photos, I decided to throw a leap into the mix. And while I was at it, I added my new purse into the shot (it’s a Coach I got on sale at Dillard’s last week – yeah, I’ve been shopping a lot lately. I think it’s all the home-repair stress):

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I was too lazy to move furniture out of the way and roll out the backdrop, by the way, but hey, you can see the new carpet. It’s great to jump on. And yes, that’s a random dog toy or two at my feet. At least you know we keep them entertained.

Anyway, that’s the entire fix, and as I already said, I’m keeping the whole thing. I’ve got three days from receipt of the shipment to pay for it, and the opportunity to give more feedback when I do so the stylists can tailor my next shipment accordingly. Not sure why I felt the need to write about this process again, and am less sure why any of you should be interested in reading it, but here it is anyway!

Lace Has Been Around for Thousands of Years…

There are so many great quotes in this video, I didn’t even know where to start for a post title (some others that come to mind, as I’ve seen this video a million times by now – “Notice the slit?” and “Ostrich feathers, anyone?”).

I’m not sure if I’ve posted this video here before, but even if I have, I know it’s been awhile, and if you went back to try and find it I’m sure the YouTube link has been taken down by now. Brenda Dickson, the creator of this bit of eighties loveliness, who was a soap opera villain on The Young and the Restless for many years, got wind of how popular this video became on YouTube and got it shut down so she could market and sell it herself through her own website. Every once in awhile someone gets brave and uploads it again, and it generally only lasts a few months before they get shut down too.

Anyway I thought of this video again for some reason, and went searching for it to show a friend. Lo and behold it’s been up and running since January 6th, so I’m going to go ahead and post a link to here so you can enjoy the cheese yourself. The video cuts off abruptly, as all copies of it do – whoever uploaded that first version to the internet did so back in the day when you could only upload 10-minute increments at a time, so you only get about that much of it here. But the ‘fashion show’ is truly not to be missed.

Also amusing are the various parodies that have been made about the video over the years, so feel free to check those out too. And don’t think I’m not aware how close some of my own blog posts and photos come to reaching this level of cheese (I can totally hear me saying “Let’s teleport into my closet!”) but I think that’s part of what I love about it. And now, onto the show!

Stitch Fix Stitch Pics

Several months ago, one of my friends showed up to work in this fabulous maxi dress, which was particularly notable because she’s someone who up until that point had never worn a long skirt in her life. I asked her what prompted her to buy such a thing and she told me her “Stitch Fix Stylist” sent it to her, and she loved it. Stitch Fix (if you sign up by clicking that link it gets me a referral credit, just FYI) is a company that’s all the rage right now; on their website, they take a profile of your personal style then send you “fixes” when you request them – you can request a scheduled monthly fix, or choose to get them more or less frequently. A fix is just a shipment of five wardrobe pieces, supposedly chosen based on how you answer initial questions about your style and then, as time goes on, also based on how you respond to the items in each shipment. You try everything on, decide what you want to keep, go pay for that stuff on the website and plop the rest of the clothes into a postage-paid mailer that you drop into any USPS mailbox, and that’s that.

It sounded pointless to me when I first heard about it, not being one who needs any help buying clothes; but after seeing my friend show up in three or four more fabulous outfits she got through the service I decided to give it a whirl. And one of the things I’ve appreciated about Stitch Fix so far is not how they zero in exactly on what I would love to buy for myself, but rather, the things they toss into the box that I never would have tried on had I come across them in a store. I think to get anything out of a service like this, you have to be willing to broaden your horizons – and be patient. My first shipment wasn’t all that great, and I only kept one of the five items, but I went to the site and gave very specific reasons why I didn’t like what I got, and my next fix was much better. Another thing I changed from my first fix to my second one – I upped my bottom line. You select a price range you’d like the clothes to stay within; I went for the cheapest level the first time out, and well, I got cheap stuff. So in my profile I bumped up what I was willing to spend, and between that and the feedback I gave the stylist, they really improved the second shipment. It was almost twice as expensive as the first one, but I kept three items instead of one.

So, I thought I’d let you know about the service now, because I’ve used them twice and found it enjoyable both times, as well as very little hassle. I also decided to snap some quick pics in the antique room I’ve mentioned before, just to see if it really would be a good place for photos now that’s it’s free of excess junkery. So, here you go – everything I’m wearing here is from my second “fix” and I kept all of it:

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New clothes – with that just-out-of-the-bag wrinkled look

I’ve been looking for a kimono-style jacket that doesn’t cost a fortune for awhile, and although I really wanted a black one, I kept this one anyway. The tank underneath it is a nice staple I’ve also been trying to find – a sleeveless tank to wear under jackets that isn’t completely plain or too clingy.The jeans I did not need at all, and I never would have tried these on had I seen them in a store due to how “destroyed” the finish is, not to mention they are low-rise to the point of being obscene, but when I put them on I absolutely loved them – in spite of the fact that I have to wear very long tops with them due to the low-rise factor (plus, as you can see in the photo below, they photograph really well).

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Still had the tags on everything when I took these as I was deciding what to keep

I think that shot shows the jeans and the tank much better, as well as the cool movement I can get out of the kimono. It’s hard to be overly impressed with five little pieces of clothing, I think, so the Stitch Fix stylist includes a printout with suggestions of how to wear each piece with other basics you might already have in your closet. Again, not really something I need or even pay attention to, but it helps generate more excitement about what might otherwise seem to be five random pieces of clothing – especially if they’re all rather basic, like mine were.

Here’s a shot of something I sent back, as well as another shot of the antique room (which is the real reason I’m sharing the photo):

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Nothing like a top that makes stumpy legs look even stumpier

Um, yeah – this is why taking pictures of yourself in new clothes is a good idea. I thought I was going to keep this top until I saw the photos; it’s supposed to tie but I cannot stand things tied around my waist (I despise belts, too), so I thought I’d snip out the tie and wear it open as it is above. But it really doesn’t look good that way, and made me look frumpy. However, it’s the right idea for me, and I did like it a lot as far as the attitude of it goes. And by the way, that piano behind me belonged to my great-great grandparents.

As far as using this room for photos, I think the walls are really pretty but I’d use it more for portraits than full-body stuff for the most part. There’s a lot going on, and while my 17-40 is great at getting a whole lotta room into the shot, it keeps everything in such focus that it’s hard to know where to look, kind of. I do think with the 50mm lens and the framing on just the upper body, that wallpaper would make a beautiful background. And I also have that nice settee you can see in the other photos, as well as the piano, to use as props. The mirror behind the piano causes problems, as well as some huge pictures hung on other walls – but hopefully those could be taken down and put back up without much trouble. So, there you go. A little note about Stitch Fix, which just might be worth the hype, and a glimpse of the antique room I’m always talking about. You’re welcome.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about cost – you do pay a $20 stylist fee for each shipment, but it is deducted from the total of whatever you buy out of that fix. If you buy all five pieces in the shipment, you also get 25% off the entire order. So, worst case scenario would be that you keep nothing they send you, and you’re out twenty bucks. My first shipment was the one where I’d chosen the “low cost” option, and if I’d kept the entire shipment it would have been $187 (that’s with the 25% off). The cardigan I kept from that shipment was $48. For this shipment, if I’d kept everything, the total would have been $320 with the 25% off. The jeans were the most expensive item in this shipment at $128, then the kimono at $78, and the tank was $48. I know the jeans were pricey, but they look damn good on me, y’all.  Granted,I can’t gain an ounce or they won’t fit, but hey, exercise motivation (edited to add that the jeans actually stretched out perfectly and fit like a dream now!).

Whee People

Warning: This is a frivolous post about shopping, so if that isn’t your bag you might want to bypass this post. Also, at the end of the post I put a link to every item I discuss here; since I stole Free People’s pictures I figure it’s only fair.  

As I mentioned in a previous post, my friend and I went to the Galleria Friday as a kick-off to summer vacation. She and I have been good friends for about ten years, even though there’s a 14-year difference between us and our lives are pretty different – she has two small children and I, of course, have none, and she keeps very busy and involved in her church and community while I, of course, like to hole up in the house by myself when not at work. But we have a love of shopping in common (among many other things) and we have a definite routine we follow: we like to get to the stores right at 10 AM, and usually break for lunch around 11:30. Then it’s a few more hours of bustling about before we head for home, timing our departure just as the Galleria starts to get crowded. We’ve followed the same pattern for years.

Photo Jun 06, 11 47 14 AM
Chicken pot pie at The Daily Grill, and yes, it is amazing

I’ve been on the prowl for wide-legged pants lately, as I am starting to see them re-appear in fashionable stores and I am quite over the skinny-leg trend at this point (with my pear shape, they’ve never been great on me, but as with all trends I have found ways to make it work). I am what you could call a clothing optimist: there are a lot of cuts and styles that I love even though they are terrible for my body type, and I will continue try those styles on anyway under the assumption that eventually I will find the one or two magical pieces that will look good on me. Pencil skirts are one such style; the cut in no way works on my body type, but after about two years of trying them on repeatedly I found one that actually worked, so I bought it in two colors and was happy. The same goes for maxi dresses and long flowy skirts – not what typically works on my frame, but if I try enough on I’ll eventually find some that work.

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Me in a rare pencil skirt that fits

But back to the wide-legged pant thing, and one of my favorite stores that rarely has anything that looks good on me, but I always try: Free People. I adore their clothes, but if you check out their website, you’ll get a good idea of the body type that works best in their designs – super-tall, cylinder-shaped twentysomethings. I pretty much love every single thing Free People sells, but 94% of it looks horrible on me. Everything is ruffled and pretty shapeless and overly embroidered, but fabulous in its own way. I hit up the Free People store every time we go to the Galleria and drool over everything, but usually only end up buying jackets and tops from them because the dresses and bottoms accentuate my lower half in a non-flattering manner. But again, I am an optimist, so I always try a ton of things on when I go in there. I’ve gotten over feeling ridiculous being a good 15 years older than everyone else in the dressing room, because I trust myself not to buy things that will make me look like a middle-aged woman shopping in a store geared towards teenagers even if that is what I’m doing (and interestingly, checking out the reviews on their website reveals that a lot of middle-aged women do love their clothes. So I’m not alone).

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I own this cardigan in four colors, and it’s amazing

So, in to Free People we go, and my friend sits in a chair while I browse because our tastes are completely different, and she probably wouldn’t be caught dead in anything from that store (I’m a boho kind of dresser, while she is very classic in style). I find several long flowy jacket/tops not too different from the cardigan I posted above, and on my way to the fitting room I spy some wide-legged rayon pants in a rust color with a pretty floral pattern. Both of us commented on how horrible they were going to look on me, but being me, I decided to try them on anyway.

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Lo and behold, they looked fab! When I walked out of the fitting room in them, we were both a little speechless; Candace even appeared afraid to actually say that the pants looked good on me, because it was so unbelievable, but the mirror didn’t lie – the pants looked great. They were baggy, yes, but in all the places I really needed them to be, concealing my flaws without accentuating them. They weren’t overly long, and even though they had slight pleating around the rather wide elastic waist, the pleats weren’t bulging out the hips and making me look larger than I am. And, even though they were in a drape-y fabric (I usually require a sturdier fabric on my lower half) they still looked marvelous. I was in love. Being Free People pants, though, they were not cheap, and neither was the amazing jacket the salesgirl found for me to wear with them, nor the other long flowy top I tried on that was also awesome, but I went ahead and said to hell with it and got everything.

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The jacket I got to match the pants is on the left (but I got it in a cream color), and on the right is the other top I splurged on. I blame Candace; she completely talked me out of putting anything back.

Then we went to lunch, and I did what I always do when I discover a long sought-after item of clothing that works on me – I realized that the pants were so fab I should look them up on the internet to see if they came in any other colors. They did, but they weren’t in stock at the Galleria store, so I ordered them to ship to me. They fit so perfectly that I figure when these wear out (and FP’s clothes do not generally wear out quickly) I can take them to a tailor and have more made, because they are just that awesome.

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The black pair that will be in my possession soon…

I really have no point here except to say that no matter your age, stores to which you are drawn can still have some amazing, unique pieces you can own. It’s well worth a look as long as you are willing to try everything on and be OK with the fact that a lot of it will make you look shapeless and terrible – it’s totally worth it to discover the awesome things that you’ll adore forever. I love the items I’ve bought from FP over the year or two that I’ve been shopping there, and the pieces have all become signature staples in my wardrobe.

Here are a few more pieces I’ve picked up there recently that have become favorites; the poncho was pretty cheap (for Free People anyway) at $48, and even though it was a risky purchase as it felt flimsy as hell and I was half convinced it wouldn’t last three wears, it is still going strong (and I wore it out one day when it was really windy and even Candace mentioned how great it would look in pictures); I’m not going to mention how much the tie-dyed tee-shirt was, because it was pretty ridiculous, but the colors were so unique I had to get it, plus it’s super-soft and I’m a sucker for soft comfy fabric.

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To finish this off, I’ll share one more collage of items I am currently lusting over from the website. If anyone wants to get on my good side, feel free to buy me any one of these things.

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OMG that printed duster! It has to be mine at some point.

And now, here’s a link to everything I posted a picture of in this post:

Polywhore

Sorry about the title, couldn’t help myself.

Have played around a bit more with Polyvore – I’m using it to put together looks out of what I already have and save them somewhere I can peruse them later, instead of constantly buying new stuff and never knowing what to do with it all. The program forces me to think of all the items I already own and how I can utilize them all instead of just thinking I need to buy the next new thing I come across on the internet when browsing around.

Anyway, another winter weather off-day today, so I’m up early (for me – about 8 AM) and am going to experiment with some arty photos. I’m going to try some new things so who knows if any of it will turn out. This is why I don’t always like trying new things – the results are never guaranteed and are sometimes disappointing, but I have to push through that or else I just stagnate, doing the same predictable stuff I’ve already learned how to do. So, we’ll see how it goes.

In the meantime, here’s a Polyvore of some ideas I pulled together Sunday night for a pair of rust-colored jeans I never quite knew how to wear before. When I made it, I found articles of clothing that closely resembled pieces I already owned, so that I could actually take each of these looks and re-create it out of my own closet. Guess which one of the three I wore Monday in the comments! Get it right, and win absolutely nothing!

Rusty Jeans - Three Ways

Mint and Tulle

I had this long post written about free time, photography, cheap shots (as in pictures/shots), and whatnot, but then this morning something happened – I discovered Polyvore.

I’ve heard of Polyvore, of course, through Pinterest most of all. People are constantly posting cute outfits from that site on their boards and I end up pinning a lot of them. But I never investigated who is making all those outfit images until today. Sure enough, you just open up an account and start creating outfits to save and share. Oh dear.

I actually made one using a dress I already own; I was thinking about how to wear it in colder weather and searching for ideas on how to wear tulle in winter – that’s what got me started in the first place. I found a few cute ideas I wanted to pin, then thought wait a minute, people are making these outfits on the internet somehow – let me take a few minutes to try and find out how to do them myself. And about fifteen minutes later, I’d made my first “set.”

Mint and Tulle

One of the main reasons I use Pinterest is to give myself outfit ideas to glance over when it’s time to hurry  up and get dressed already, and now I can do this without even having to try everything on first (although trying it all on is always better). Everything except the earrings (obviously, since I don’t wear them), bracelet, and purse I already own, at least some variation of it, so this is just one more way to plan and put things together without the drudgery that sometimes occurs when trying lots of items on. The dress I was able to search for by name, since I just bought it, and sure enough the site pulled the actual dress right up. Then I searched for a mint cardigan, because I already own one, brown tall boots (none of them that came up exactly match the ones I have, but these are close) and so on for the accessories.

So I’ll post today’s update tomorrow, and leave you with this for now. I am off to force myself to go to the grocery store instead of staying on Polyvore all day long…but it’s going to be difficult. With any luck, my fab outfits will take Pinterest by storm. We’ll see.