Stitch Fix: Efficient Fashion for the Professoriate

Over the last few months, I’ve had to really up my game in a number of categories, including personal appearance. PhD students and even postdocs pretty much all wear utilitarian, cheap clothing, and when I got a faculty job, I knew my well-worn and overly casual wardrobe wasn’t going to cut it anymore.

I forced myself to do some shopping, all the while cringing at how much time it took to find just one or two items. Let’s face it, the last thing a new junior faculty member has time for is clothes shopping. As the semester progresses–and the weather gets colder in spite of my lack of appropriate layers–this becomes even more true.

So like many of you, I’d heard of this thing called Stitch Fix. When I looked more closely at the details, I figured it was worth a gamble: if even one item worked out for me in a shipment, it would be an improvement over trying to find it myself. And when my first Fix arrived this week, I actually kept three items–a total win!

Here’s why I think Stitch Fix is a great solution for academics:

  1. Academics need to look professional (at least occasionally), but rarely have the interest, patience, fashion sense, or time to go shopping. They usually have enough disposable income to selectively acquire items priced above fast fashion rates. Their time is worth enough to them that it’s easy to make a strong economic argument for outsourcing clothing selection.
  2. There’s an adequately extensive style profile to ensure that you get appropriate items, but it won’t take all day to fill out. You can also send your stylist short notes for each Fix (I told mine that I need some items in school colors, for example).
  3. Internet-and-USPS powered. No trip to stores or malls. No crowds or pressure. Shipping prepaid in both directions. Super efficient!
  4. You try on the clothes at home, under normal lighting, at your leisure (within 3 days of receipt). This is wonderful. It’s a zero-pressure environment and you can make a much more confident purchase decision once you’ve tried pairing items with what’s in your closet already.
  5. They send things you wouldn’t have picked, but which you should try anyway. Since there are only 5 things to try on, you might as well try all of them–and you might even like them! I scored two of those in my first Fix.
  6. The higher per-item cost is completely and utterly worthwhile because #3. I also immediately realized how much I was limiting myself by using price as a first-round filter for what I try on, so this provides a counterbalance.
  7. The style cards are awesome: they show each item you got in a couple of different configurations, to give you ideas on how to wear them. As a result, I pulled out my leather knee boots for the first time in years, and they looked great with my new blouse and skirt! (Note for any librarians in the house: the style cards accumulate into a catalog of your wardrobe!)
  8. There’s a feedback cycle to improve your selections over time and let your stylist know if you need something special for an upcoming event or want to try something new.
  9. Did I mention that it saves a ton of time?

I can think of no better testament than pointing out that they sent a pair of (skinny!) jeans that fit really well on my very first Fix. As any woman knows, the search for good jeans can be a lifelong quest, so having someone I’ve never met send me a pair that fits beautifully? Simply amazing!

If you’re adequately convinced to try Stitch Fix for yourself, please do me a solid in return and use my referral link: http://stitchfix.com/sign_up?referrer_id=4201271

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