Tulsa Hip Mom: The Hip Fix for a Blah Wardrobe

When the times get dull, tough, poopy-full and boring around here, I love to conjure up my life if I were, say, Angelina Jolie. Sure, the nannies, cleaning ladies, and on-site chefs are fantastic, but what about the personal stylists? All the shopping help she gets? Wouldn’t that be fabulous, to have someone help you sift through the good, the bad and the Miley Cyrus? But even the lovely ladies who hover over you at department stores intimidate me; I’m always afraid that they are going to make all these suggestions that I can’t afford, or talk me into something that I’ll pretend to like but need to return shamefacedly a week later because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. And now? With all these kids wrapped around my ankles? The possibility of me entering a clothing store and actually TRYING STUFF ON is nil to zero.

Enter Stitch Fix! Stitch Fix is an online styling site that was introduced to me by moms far hipper than I. The website crows: “No more circling the parking lot to find a spot! No more pushy sales people! No more dirty, poorly lit fitting rooms.” Well, when you put it that way!

The admin is quite easy: Go to stitchfix.com. There, you create your “style profile.” This will take about 10 minutes, but it is worth it – and quite fun. You answer basic questions such as your height, weight and bra size, but then you delve in to more provoking questions, such as, “How do you like your clothes to fit?” and “How do you characterize your personal style?” (answers include “Edgy,” “Preppy,” “Classic,” “Glamorous,” and “Bohemian Chic”).

Then, after you’ve given a glimpse into your sartorial preferences, it asks questions about your day-to-day life: What’s your primary occupation? Are you a mom? How often do you dress for business casual, date night, special occasion, laid-back casual?

And then, most crucial to those of us on a budget: How much do you want to spend on accessories/bottoms/tops/dresses individually?                                                                                                                  Plus – only if you like – you can share your Pinterest profile so the stylists can get a better sense of what you love. It’s a very illuminating exercise to go through, even if you don’t end up signing up!

However, I heartily recommend that you do sign up, because, at most, you are out $20.

Here’s how it works: You fill out your profile, sign up for a date for your “Fix,” (you can sign up for just one date or a monthly subscription), and then on that date you receive five items hand-picked by a stylist who has reviewed your profile. And voila! A beautifully packaged present filled with goodies to try on is mailed to your doorstep. If you don’t like any of your loot, fine, send them all back. All you are out is $20. What is wonderful is that there is a pre-labeled envelope in which to quite literally throw in everything you don’t want and then toss it in your mailbox. No pesky trips to UPS.

After you’ve kept what you want and returned what you don’t, you give feedback online about what you liked or didn’t like about each item. So, with every “fix,” your profile is honed. But if you do keep even one thing, the $20 is deducted from your order. And, if you keep everything, you get 25 percent off the whole shebang!

My “fix” arrives on a cloudy day when the kids are being bickering, awful beasts, and the 2 p.m. delivery just gives me a great lift. Woo hoo! Clothes for mama to try on! Kids to ignore for a while!

Oh, the skirt is bad. I just don’t do flouncy; it makes me feel like I have massive hips. Surely some of these uber-hip Bay Area stylists are moms who have been through the ignominy of childbirth and know what that process does to one’s body?

And when I said petite, I’m not sure they actually realized that my closest forebearers are leprechauns and dwarves; the sleeves on this top are a bit too long, the petite jeans are a bit too long. The fuschia top is too Woodstock for me. But, I get this fabulous black jersey wrap top; I will – and have been – wearing it every other day. It dresses up jeans, is forgiving to my squishy abs, and clings in the right places.

And then I get a little “statement” piece — a big turquoise necklace! It is kind of a Native American-inspired bauble, and I can’t take it off. I would not have picked it out myself because I have never felt like I could afford jewelry – but I love it. And it’s just $30. Bonus: It takes the focus off my crow’s feet!

One of my dear mom friends, Heather M., gives me her input on her “fix.”

“My first batch of ‘stitches’ was interesting,” she said. “I received two dresses, a jacket, shirt and skirt. I loved one dress, but my husband Travis hated it…said I looked like a prison umpire (guess it was the bold black/white stripes). The other dress, I think, would’ve been cute on a twenty-something, but on me looked old. Plus, the cutouts on top were a little too revealing for my girls if you know what I’m saying! I loved the jacket, but it was too small. Since that’s the only item that didn’t fit at all, I can’t complain, but I would have bought it if it had fit. The shirt was ugly, shapeless, and, yes, more black and white stripes!  Apparently, I put something on Pinterest on my style profile that said ‘style me in 1960s inmate’ or something. The skirt is amazing. I have literally looked my whole life for a pencil skirt that both fit and was flattering…and this is it! It doesn’t even need a stitch of tailoring. The skirt was $78, which for a nice black ‘work’ skirt is a great price.”

So what’s Heather’s verdict? “Overall I am going to give it at least one more month. It was really exciting to see what a Pinterest creeper picked out for me to wear based solely on some text. I told her to pretend I’m Kate Middleton when shopping for me, and I think they did a fair job for the first try! It was super fun!”

Then my dear friend Ravishing Red Ann (a former Tulsan, now residing in the Woodlands, Texas), who is also a very discerning shopper, gives me her review:

“The blue shirt is bleh. The pants are really comfortable, but it’s almost summer here and I’ll rarely wear them. Dress is double bleh. I didn’t like the tulip shirt at first, but I like it with jeans and think I’ll wear it often. I like the sleeve options. I love the black and white reversible tote.”  So what are you keeping, Ann? “The shirt and tote! And I’m going to try it again to see what they come up with.”

The only thing wrong with Stitch Fix right now? The wait times! If you want something yesterday, you’re out of luck: It’s about a month wait.

Says the CEO: “We’re very fortunate to be growing rapidly and to have so many clients who are telling their friends and family about the service. Our growth has outpaced what we dreamed of.”

Hopefully, they will continue to address this problem. But the fact remains: If the thought of a trip to the mall with kids in tow leaves you queasy, give Stitch Fix a try – there’s so much to gain and just $20 to lose. Channel all that money you save paying for a sitter while you shop to your brand-new, chic wardrobe!

Categories: Hip Mom