I love buying new clothes but loathe the process of shopping. My frustration stems from the way most men’s clothes fit. Long story short, clothes never fit, not correctly anyway. Sizes aren’t universal. A medium runs tight for one brand but for another clothing company it hangs like grandma’s jowls.
I’m a “difficult fit.” Those were the delicately chosen words of a tailor during a recent tuxedo fitting. I stand 5’6″ thanks to bloodlines linking back to generations of undersized Italians, so buying pants is a constant challenge.
After years of weight lifting that have blessed me with softballs for biceps, buying shirts is forever a challenge. A broad chest and meaty arms call for a bigger shirt size, but my average stature means there’s enough cotton tucked into my pants to sail a dinghy.
Enter— a clothing service hell-bent on finding the right fit for any body type and budget. Katrina Lake founded Stitch Fix while attending Harvard back in 2011 with the idea to blend the human element of personal styling with high-quality clothing and proprietary algorithms.
Stitch Fix for Men launched in 2016, offering a wide spectrum of styles for a personalized shopping experience for every guy. Stitch Fix for Men carries ten exclusive brands plus an assortment of items from popular retailers such as Bonobos, Calvin Klein, The North Face, Tommy Hilfiger, Original Penguin, and Vineyard Vines.
Every Stitch Fix customer is paired with a stylist to help find the perfect fit that works for an individual’s preferred style.
My stylist’s name is Julia. I immediately envision my new stylist friend harmonizing my inaugural box while sipping a morning cup of java pressed from 100% Arabica beans, a New Age mix on Spotify bouncing off her apartment walls.
One of the key selling points to Stitch Fix involves the automatic delivery options for men and women. Users can designate a box arriving on their doorstep every 2-3 weeks, every month, every other month, or even every three months. Or, if you’re not looking for a monthly subscription, users can sign up for a one-time service. Stitch Fix also works with your price range. There is a one-time $20 fee when your stylist begins, but the money gets credited toward any pieces the customer keeps and not, as I imagined, put toward Julia’s expensive coffee habits.
Julia can probably grab another cup of java and not think too hard about my first look because the Stitch Fix onboarding process is extensive. After a while, I started to have SAT flashbacks. The first question in the Stitch Fix style quiz for new customers is “How do you feel about shopping?” followed by “How much time and effort do you put into getting the right look?”, “What are the reasons you’re trying Stitch Fix?” “What are the reasons you’re trying Stitch Fix?” and finally, “If two trains leave New York at 5:44 p.m. and one is heading south…”
Next, the questions jump from reflective to specific, with the service asking for exact sizes in pants, shirts, shoes, and shorts. Queries like “How do you like your casual shirts to fit?” and “What length do you like your shorts?” is accompanied by photo examples for people who can’t describe a perfect fit without visuals.
My initial Stitch Fix box includes not only the requested items but a substantial amount of paperwork and handouts. Unlike meeting with an accountant or buying a car, this extra paperwork is acceptable and supportive. Packed alongside the clothing and shoes is an itemized list of my shipment, plus a cost breakdown for each piece. The total dollar amount for purchasing all five items is listed along with a discount offer of 25% off the entire order if the customer wants to buy every piece.
My Stitch Fix box included the following items: The Randy Performance Jersey Pocket Crew from Hawker Rye, the Weekend Short from Public Rec, Floatride Energy 3.0 running shoes from Reebok, the J Tree Short from Mountain Hardwear, and the Tirto Printed Short Sleeve from California Shirt Company.
The parcel also contained a helpful printout of each item paired with other clothing items available on the Stitch Fix website. This printout is incredibly helpful for future purchases to buy clothes that coordinate with those chosen from other boxes.
The first Stitch Fix box accomplished a feat that I’ve been unable to manage on nearly every shopping trip. Every item passed my first look test as if I picked each off the rack at the mall. All five pieces fit perfectly. The printed short sleeve California Shirt Co. might be the best-fitting short sleeve shirt I’ve ever owned.
The J Tree
I’m a stickler for specific running shoes and pledge allegiance to one particular brand. These Floatride Energy kicks won’t appear in my running sneaker rotation, but the sneakers are nice enough to wear to an outside bar or on weekend errands.
The lady I’m lucky to have in my life was over when the box arrived, so an impromptu fashion show broke out in my living room. She loved every Stitch Fix piece as well, and she encouraged me to forgo the outfit I initially laid out for drinks and dinner at the beach for the Tirto Printed Shirt and J Tree
This entire box is, without a doubt, a home run on the first swing. Every piece reflects my tastes, falls within my price range, and fits better than clothes I’ve purchased over the last ten years. Every Stitch Fix package comes with a USPS Priority Mail envelope to send unwanted items back to the company. The shipment includes a printed label with my information in the return address to prevent any items from getting lost.
I typically like to find one or two points that need improvement when doing product or service reviews, but honestly, I can’t find a single negative to this Stitch Fix experience. I’m sure over time that pieces won’t fit perfectly or will look different in person than they do online, but overall this experience has converted me from reviewer to customer.
I’m keeping every item. I already wore two on the night the package arrived, I wore the Reebok twice in the first week, and I just haven’t had any place to wear the Pocket Crew or Weekend Short. I might save them for an early morning flight to Austin, Texas later this month.
The constant struggle to find clothes that flatter every cut and curve or hide every imperfection is exhausting. I can’t recommend Stitch Fix enough for men unable to find clothes that fit correctly.
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