A new way to get your fashion Fix without the hassle of shop visits
An online styling service that's just launched in the UK has already taken America by storm - but is it really the future of shopping? Katie Wright gives her verdict
Promising to take the hassle out of clothes shopping, apps like Stitch Fix send you tailored selections of clothing, and you only pay for what you keep. Founded in the US in 2011, Stitch Fix launched in the UK in 2019, following huge success stateside, where the company employs 5,800 people - including 3,000 stylists - and has now introduced own-brand clothing alongside the 60 brands it currently stocks.
Brands include Warehouse, Whistles, Kitri, Hobbs and Monsoon, with clothes available in sizes six to 18.
Rival sites include Lookiero and Style Lyrical (both focusing on womenswear) while subscription boxes like Empress Mimi offers underwear, My FitFix is for workout gear, and Socks in a Box provides - you guessed it - regular deliveries of socks.
But can these personal shopping apps really rival the ease of online shopping - or the joy of mooching on the high street?
Here's what we thought when we signed up to Stitch Fix...
How does it work?
First of all, I go to the Stitch Fix website and complete my Style Profile, answering questions about my size, proportions and preferences, such as, 'Are you curvy on your bottom half?' and 'What types of jeans do you prefer?'
I look at a range of outfit photos and click yes, no or somewhat to indicate whether they fit my personal style, then book my first 'Fix' of five items.
It's important to note that Stitch Fix isn't a subscription service. You decide when you want to get each Fix and pay a £10 styling fee, then the fee is deducted from any purchases you make.
The box comes with a prepaid postage bag for returns - you've got three days to decide what you'll keep, and you checkout on the website.
What are the clothes like?
My first Fix is a gorgeously autumnal mix, comprising a leopard print blouse, burgundy trousers, a dark green ribbed rollneck top, a brown suede skirt and a beige leopard print maxi dress.
It's almost like a capsule wardrobe, because the tops are interchangeable with the bottoms and I would happily wear them all - if they fit.
The problem is I overestimated my size for bottoms, so the skirt and trousers are slightly too big.
I log on to the website and see if I can exchange either, but size six isn't available, so I return the trousers and skirt. I also decide to return the dress, because it's not quite my style.
The Gestuz rollneck (£50) and the Oasis leopard top (£35), however, I love, and they look great with a couple of mini skirts I've already got in my wardrobe.
I'm equally impressed with the styles in my second Fix, which features a really cool green snakeprint blouse, a black tweed mini skirt, a maroon jumper, faux leather leggings and a black long-sleeved dress.
Again, the tops are my favourite pieces - the green blouse from Scotch & Soda (£119.95) is the kind of thing I wouldn't usually buy, but I actually love it on, and the Selected Femme jumper (£55) is so cosy.
But when trying on the skirt and trousers, I realise I should have changed the sizes on my Style Profile, because they're still a bit too big, and again, I can't exchange for the right size.
They go back, as does the dress - the loose shape with a bow belt just doesn't suit my figure.
After changing my sizes on my Style Profile, I'm thrilled when my third Fix contains a skirt that fits perfectly - hurrah! The Mauvette navy cord skirt (£55) comes with a Moss CPH navy spot print blouse (£49.95), an Editor's Cut black ribbed roll neck top (£39), a fitted maroon T-shirt and a Mint Velvet cream shawl scarf (£49).
Not quite as exciting as the other selections, this Fix focuses more on basics, and while I love the navy outfit, and the roll neck will come in handy, I've already got several maroon T-shirts and a cream scarf, so I decide to return those.
I can't fault Stitch Fix in terms of the simplicity of sign-up, checkout and returns. The website is easy to use and the prepaid postage means returns are hassle-free.
If you're someone who loves fashion but doesn't like (or have time) to hit the shops, it's a great time-saver and stress-reducer, because once you've filled out your Style Profile, there's no more scrolling or browsing, plus you can avoid hot, hectic changing rooms and long checkout queues.
As for the clothes, on the whole, they really did suit my personal taste, but the Fixes also introduced me to styles and brands that I wouldn't usually gravitate towards, like the snakeprint shirt.
I would have definitely kept more of the skirts if only I'd been more accurate with my sizes from the start - make sure you fill out the Style Profile correctly and make any changes after each Fix.
With the average item costing around £55, Stitch Fix is focused on the premium end of the market, so fast fashion fans will likely find the prices a bit steep, but if you're looking for stylish, quality clothing without the faff, Stitch Fix is a real winner.