I Tried A Personalised Styling Service To Build A Capsule Wardrobe – Here’s How I Got On

The past couple of years have really done a number on my wardrobe. Drawers stuffed with loungewear now sit alongside sequin minis, the comfy clothes that saw me through lockdown and WFH competing for space with the items I panic-bought for a much-needed boost of serotonin. As a result I’m not really sure what I’m trying to say with my style or how to make my clothes function for my current lifestyle. One thing is for sure: I need some help. Stitch Fix is a personalised, at-home styling service comes much recommended by the Refinery29 team (last year they helped my colleague Alicia with petite fashion). 
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Positioning itself as a stylish solution for busy people, and a source of inspiration for those in a fashion rut, I’ve been keen to try out Stitch Fix ever since style subscription boxes became popular a few years ago. For those like me who are still working from home, it’s a good fit. You just fill out an in-depth questionnaire about your style and fashion needs, input your exact measurements and a box of five clothing items will be delivered straight to your door. I need help building a capsule wardrobe – a select number of interchangeable pieces to fit my busy schedule. Think: comfy outfits for remote work days and long hours in front of my laptop, weekends running errands and catching up with friends over brunch, and getting dolled up for evenings out.
Here's the rub: I’m sceptical at the best of times about being helped with my style (I have very specific fashion tastes – my pink cowboy boots are a wardrobe staple!) and my size (I’m 5'2 and a UK size 14, so petite and mid-size, curvier on top than I am below). Midi dresses tend to drown me and trousers are a nightmare: I’m constantly having to hem mine. What's more, capsule wardrobes are typically minimalist and packed with neutrals – my idea of fashion hell. Stitch Fix helped to put my worries at bay. Their questionnaire is in-depth. I was even asked which patterns I would like to avoid – and I was able to message a stylist directly with my exact tastes. So I took the plunge and asked for the beginnings of my capsule wardrobe: five outfits that work for various occasions. Here's what I thought.
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Working from home

Photo Courtesy of Esther Newman.
I was very keen to get some work-appropriate choices from Stitch Fix. I work from home so I need to be as comfy as possible; usually I'm in sweats or a pair of yoga leggings. Now things have opened up, I'm keen to dress with more purpose – I think it will keep me motivated and means I can pop out for a coffee meeting or work easily.
Honestly, I was a little dubious of these tapered Boden trousers. I'm not a slim-fit pants kind of girl and the navy blue reminds me of school uniforms. Ye of little faith: once I put them on and took away the awkward tie-waist belt, tucked in one of my favourite graphic T-shirts and added chunky trainers and gold hoops, it felt very much a 'me outfit'. Even better, the trousers fit my petite frame perfectly. I was also very glad that the stylist included a light jumper; I live in a basement flat of an old house so it often gets chilly.
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Heading to the pub

Photo Courtesy of Esther Newman.
This is definitely my favourite outfit of the five. I asked my stylist for a 'cute but comfy' outfit – something for midweek catch-ups with friends over a glass of wine or a last-minute date night. In my style profile I mentioned that one of my favourite brands is Rouje and I feel very sophisticated and chic in this get-up (I can imagine Jeanne Damas picking out this Louche cherry print blouse). The real star of the show though are these jeans from DL1961. I don't think I've ever had a better fitting pair! Because Stitch Fix asks for your favourite fits (styles, rises, hems, washes), I'm not surprised these were such a success. I can definitely see myself working both pieces into my existing wardrobe regularly – in fact I've already worn this exact outfit three times this week.
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Running errands

Photo Courtesy of Esther Newman.
The jeans of my dreams are back! This time I paired them with the other knit my stylist sent me, a super soft and cosy cardigan from Whistles. This is exactly the kind of item my capsule wardrobe needs: something that works with many different outfits and which I can easily pull on as I rush out the door. Plus, it's the most gorgeous pop of colour.
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Birthday drinks

Photo Courtesy of Esther Newman.
In my opinion, every capsule wardrobe needs The Dress. You know, the one that fits you like a glove and which can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. I think this is mine. I wanted wardrobe staples that fit my bold and playful style and this AllSaints slip fits the bill. Last week I dolled it up with chunky platform boots, gold jewellery and my trusty black shoulder bag. This week, for a last-minute gig invite, I wore it as a skirt, tying a graphic T-shirt over the top and keeping it comfy with Doc Martens. Sure, the print is loud but the muted palette makes it super wearable. The exotic blooms suggest summer margaritas and rooftop bars but throw a chunky, oversized knit on top and you have the perfect spring transitional look.
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Weekend brunch

Photo Courtesy of Esther Newman.
I had high hopes Stitch Fix would solve the weekend brunch outfit dilemma: an outfit that works for 10am avocado toast, 2pm mimosas and 5pm pints. When I saw this Louche midi skirt in the box I wasn't sold on the ditsy pattern. It felt a little too mature for me. Once I had styled it up with a pair of knee-high, square-toe boots and a cropped cardigan though, I started to come around.
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My final thoughts

I've really enjoyed my Stitch Fix experience. Having a stylist know my exact measurements, proportions, how I like my clothes to fit and what I want to cover or show off meant that I didn't have to stress about clothes fitting. It also eliminated any overthinking of last-minute outfits. I know that I'm privileged here – right now, Stitch Fix only stocks UK sizes 6 to 18 – but with its recent inclusion of petite sizes, I can only hope it continues to expand into more plus sizes.
Did I feel like my colour, fabric and print preferences were taken into consideration? Yes. Did my first Stitch Fix experience always hit the right mark? No, but as I've found, your Fixes get better over time; you're able to give notes to your stylist at the checkout stage which they take into consideration for your next order. With my feedback to my stylist, I found being super clear on what you want is best. For example, I initially said I liked colour and pattern, thinking that this was enough for Stitch Fix to work with. However, after being sent kitschy, ditsy florals and a certain shade of bright lilac that didn't sit well with my existing wardrobe, I was able to reflect more on what I want and what I would actually wear.
As someone with very specific tastes, I don't think I will become a regular customer, but I'll definitely consider rebooking for particular occasions or when I have a specific fashion requirement (weddings, work events, the perfect petite jeans). With only a £10 styling fee and the ability to try before you buy, it's worth looking into if you too have sizing issues like myself. Having clothes (especially jeans and trousers) that I know will fit my waist and hips, and that I don't need to hem, has been a fashion revelation!
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