This is Not About Knitting

(This is just gonna be me talking about Stitch Fix and the short version is OH MY GOD LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE IT and here is my referral link — I get a $25 credit if you sign up through that, but I am not sure if you get anything fancy, so do as you feel is best — so feel free to come back later for the knitting content. There will be LOTS OF SOCKS and a blanket update to talk about in the next post, I promise. But I’ve been so excited to get this box for a few weeks now and I’ve been reading a million Stitch Fix reviews and found them so helpful and I want to contribute to that conversation and tell EVERYBODY how great this is, so here we go!)

I hate clothes shopping. It’s the worst. And it’s been something close to 15 years since I had the money AND the time AND the energy to do it with enough regularity to keep up anything like a nice wardrobe. But back when I could do it, I did enjoy the end result of actually liking how I looked when I got dressed in the morning.  And that’s a feeling I haven’t had in a looooong time. Also I started a new office job a few months ago and have to look fairly decent and aside from a panicky aaahhhh I start a new job Monday 6-hour Kohl’s excursion back in January and the occasional Target clearance shirt, I haven’t bought “nice” clothes in something like 4 years and thus have no wardrobe to speak of. And now it’s summer and everything I bought in January is sweaters, so. Yeah. I’ve been really needing to buy new clothes since like late April but I just have not been able to make myself do it, and it’s been so long since I could really think about these things that now clothes shopping makes me feel like I just got dropped off on this planet and am wandering around a mall wishing someone would tell me how to human.

Enter Stitch Fix.

Oh, people. I gotta tell you. Any problem that requires me to shop for anything but yarn or books is a problem I can’t solve by shopping. But I do, however, seem to be into any solution that moves me closer to an entirely subscription-based lifestyle. You know how I feel about CSAs (although we don’t have one this year, though I did end up with a bunch of mystery seedlings in the garden, so it’ll be kind of  like a CSA once there’s stuff to harvest). Mighty Nest sends really cool stuff every month. We’ve been doing Blue Apron on and off for a few months and it’s made grocery shopping and meal planning and trying to find a cooking routine that works with a 9-to-5 again feel way less stressful, plus everything is delicious. As part of my “what if I liked how I looked again?” experiment, I signed up for Ipsy and Birch Box too. (Those are also my personal referral links for Ipsy & Birch Box, and I think I get points if you sign up through them? Idunno, this is all very new. Also I can’t say I recommend Ipsy’s sign-up process. They seem to try to trick you into spamming on every possible social media front or waiting 6 months to get in but if you push back a little they’re like LOL J/K YOU CAN JOIN RIGHT NOW PLEASE TELL 90 FRIENDS WE LET YOU IN AND THEN FOLLOW THESE 700 TWITTER ACCOUNTS. I really liked the stuff I got from them, but their marketing model is annoying as hell.) Also, we’ve been without a steady paycheck for so long that figuring out how to spend consistently every week and get out of the feast-or-famine money mindset is tricky. On the one hand, my instincts to never spend anything so that there’s something left to pay the bill for whatever is due to get shut off next month are still there, but on the other hand we finally can trust that there will be money coming in every few weeks for the foreseeable future, which means we can finally start catching up on the last 3 years of borrowing and credit card spending and just plain not paying for things. Basically, I still feel like we have no money for me to spend on clothes, but if I think of it in terms of taking a bit out of every paycheck and trying to get a few things every few weeks, we actually totally have the money for me to buy clothes AND still eat and keep gas in the car and the power turned on and all that other fun stuff. So Stitch Fix kind of had me hooked as soon as I heard about it is what I’m saying.

The basic deal, if you’re not familiar: when you sign up you fill out a pretty detailed profile with your sizes, preferences, style opinions, etc. You can specify certain things you do/don’t want — they offer clothes, shoes, outerwear & accessories; for now I’m asking for just clothes and shoes, because we are still so far from a place where a new bracelet’s going to solve my problems — and link to a Pinterest board where you have clothing ideas too. I had a ton of fun setting all of this up! Even the Pinterest board, even though I find Pinterest almost impossible to process visually! You pay $20 and pick a delivery date and then an actual human looks over all your information and picks out 5 items for you. Once you receive your package, you have 3 days to try everything on — at home! with your own mirrors & lighting! and with your other actual clothes & shoes so you really know if what you’re getting is going to work! — and send back what you don’t want in the pre-paid envelope they include. You’re charged for what you want to keep minus the $20 you paid up front (you lose the $20 if you don’t want to keep anything, so $20 is really all you’re ever risking). If you keep everything, you get a 25% discount, which feels super generous to me. (I kept 2 out of 5 items from my first box and spent $169 and change including tax. The other items came to around $175 but if I had bought all 5 I only would have spent $243 plus tax. The full value of the box before any discounts or tax was $351. There’s a question in the style profile quiz about how much you’re willing to spend on various items, and I chose the least expensive option for most items.) Also when you’re checking out you can leave detailed feedback on each item. Your stylist even writes you a little note about why they chose what they did for you. The level of personalization in the whole process really impressed me.

Anyway, my point is: clothes shopping bad, ordering things online good, also lately I feel like I need my choice taken away in a lot of arenas because life is overwhelming and I want to use my brain for the things I like, so any opportunity to subscribe to something necessary and have it brought to my front door is at least something I’m going to take a second look at.

Alright, let’s get to the actual clothes. This is a little photo series I like to call “having someone else pick out your clothes is a way better life choice than dark blue high-gloss walls, but only one of those choices is mine to make, so.”

Let’s start with what I kept:

Nine West Xeena Pointed Toe Pump in dark pink, size 7 ($79)

Margaret M Sylvie Straight Leg Pant in black , size M ($98)

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LOOK HOW FUCKING LAURA PETRIE THESE ARE YOU GUYS !!!!!!

 

So, I took these out of the box and I figured they would be the things I wouldn’t keep. Cropped, straight-leg pants are not my usual could-stand-a-good-hemming bootcuts, and a 2″ heel is basically a flat if you ask me. But oh my god. OH MY GOOOOOOOOOD. These are the most comfortable pants I’ve ever owned. The fabric is stretchy but still sturdy enough to make me feel contained (I like to feel like my pants hold me in a little, like how thundershirts work for dogs, I guess?), and between the stretchiness and the length they actually just kind of…stay out of my way is the only way I can think to describe it. It’s not like not wearing pants, because that’s not a feeling I prize very highly, but it is like not wearing pants that I have to think about. If they weren’t $98 I would buy another pair to sleep in. And the shoes were just actually too cute and they looked great with the pants and I don’t know who I became when I put these things on, but that person who doesn’t wear cropped straight-leg pants and 2″ heels is gone now and I don’t know if she’s coming back.

 

Next up: what I almost kept.

Margaret M Christiana Textured Skirt in Olive, size M ($78)

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Just like the pants, this was a great mix of stretchy and sturdy. You know how sometimes you wear a stretchy skirt but it’s more like spandex and see-through and you really feel like you need a slip, but then what kind of slip that won’t make the stretchiness go all weird? Well, it’s not like that. The fabric is thick enough that I wasn’t even thinking about a slip. This skirt was so comfy and again a pretty perfect fit, but I decided against it in the end because the color wasn’t totally me and also because it kind of rode up the more I walked around in it and I thought that could be annoying to deal with all day at the office. I’m not sure why it was riding up, since I can’t remember the last time I wore this style skirt and if it behaved the same. Maybe because it came pretty much just below my knee, so it was more affected by my moving around than it might have been at another length? Idunno. It was close to staying with me, though, and if I’d ended up keeping the other 2 items in my box, it would have been a definite considering the buy-all-five discount.

 

Finally, the stuff that just didn’t work at all.

Loveappella Button Detail Striped Knit Top in Grey, size L ($48)

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Right out of the box, I thought this was a definite keeper. It looked exactly like something I would wear. The colors, the stripes, the shape. I’m fairly belly-heavy right now tho and the last few years of upper-body-centric jobs — grocery store, bartending, housecleaning, farm work — had me upping my shirt size quite a bit when I filled out my Stitch Fix profile. I think of myself as a small-medium, but I weigh the most I ever have right now (165-ish last I was at the doctor’s) and clearly none of it went to my legs since my pants size hasn’t changed and also I finally did that thing the internet keeps telling me to and measured myself to figure out my bra size and I guess I’m a 38 D? Who knew. Anyways, my point is, I went with L as my shirt size and they sent me L shirts, but. This looked long and flowy and then I put it and it was short and sausage-casing-y.

 

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Also the sleeves were weird. I guess they would be short sleeves on an average-height human adult? (I am 5′ 1″ with short-ish arms.) But on me they were just to my elbows and they had buttons. Buttons right at the biggest part of my arm. Buttons keeping me from bending my elbow all the way when the sleeve twirled around, which sleeves always do for me. (Socks , too. I don’t know what’s with my skeletons, you guys.)  I wanted to love this shirt. This shirt did not want to love me back.

Skies are Blue Shani Crochet Trim Top in Off-White, size L ($48)

This looked just huge but like a nice layering piece before I tried it on. I said in my profile that I mostly wear tanks, 3/4 or extra long sleeves and that I needed summery work stuff, so a sleeveless top that I could layer a cardigan over was a really great choice on my stylist’s part.

But.

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Super tight around the chest, like, I wouldn’t have been able to move my arms if this had sleeves. And then under that…a really short tent?

So, basically:

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So, here’s a thing about me: I do not like my mid-parts all exposed-like. No matter how big or small they are at any given moment. They must be covered. I prefer form-fitting shirts, but I need them to hit my hips at least. The main problem with both these shirts is that they were just too short. They left the one part of me that I really insist on keeping covered just kind of hanging out there. But they really did look like things I would wear and with a few tiny tweaks they could have been things I kept and loved forever. I went back to my Stitch Fix profile and upped my shirt size from L/10 to L/12 (XL/14 is the largest they offer right now, so hopefully I’m not just landing somewhere out of their shirt range) and we’ll see how that goes for my next order. I also put in a note requesting tops that are a little looser and more like tunic-length.

(I still needed some new shirts, though, so the next night I went to Target and came out with one L that’s pretty fitted and one S that’s long and flowy, so maybe this just all boils down to problems in the clothing industry, and I am actually fine?)

 

But overall, folks, WHOA DAMN this is one of the best choices I’ve made in a while. I said in my first note to my stylist that what I really needed was to build up a good basic work wardrobe, and I figured over several boxes I might see a good variety of pieces building up. But then I got 2 shirts, pants, a skirt and shoes, which, if I had loved all of them, would have pretty much given me a basic work wardrobe right there. My stylist noted that she sent the shoes because I had pinned a lot of outfits with pink pumps, and I hadn’t even realized I did that! She was paying more attention to me than I was. The sign-up and checkout processes were smooth and painless. It was so relaxing to just play around and try on new clothes in the spare room while my husband made dinner. When do you ever finish trying on clothes and then immediately get into your jammies and sit down to a big plate of chicken and mashed potatoes and 3 or 4 episodes of Leverage? Exactly never, in my experience, until last Monday. I scheduled another box for next week after I get paid again, and I just checked my account and IT’S ALREADY SHIPPED!!! and I kind of can’t wait.

Also I hope I get shoes every time, because I want a million of those shoe bags.

Also I hope I get shoes every time, because I want a million of those shoe bags.

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5 thoughts on “This is Not About Knitting

  1. Wow! Love those pink pumps. And those pants look terrific on you!

    I’m going to bookmark this post of yours because an upcoming lifestyle change is going to leave me needing an entire new wardrobe in the near future. Considering that I buy clothes and bring them home to try them on now, this idea sounds right up my alley. (I’d have kept that green skirt, btw; I bet if you put a slinky slip under it, it wouldn’t have ridden up.)

    1. Thanks! These are the greatest pants I have ever owned, maybe, and I want a million pairs.

      I was really really tempted by the green skirt. If it had been a better color for me I probably would have kept it. I think it was mostly the combo of the riding up and the color that made me decide against it. If the color had been a better pick, I think the fit would have been something I was willing to deal with.

      Also, good luck with whatever’s coming up for you! Having the right clothes can make that sort of thing so much easier!

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