Stitch Fix Review – September 2016

Pumpkin spice everything, boots and booties, harvest and halloween decor are all showing up on store shelves and all over the Internet, heralding the arrival of fall. While the season we love so dearly for colorful leaves, festive holidays and college football is officially just a few weeks away, many of us would will it to begin today if we could. I know I would welcome the chance to bring out my fall clothes, although I’m afraid that may not happen for a few more months here in sunny Florida. But a girl can dream, and a girl can ask Stitch Fix for clothing and accessories to help transition her closet into the upcoming season.

My latest Fix was the first I’ve received in a few months. I took a break from the clothing subscription service over the summer, so I was excited when the Stitch Fix box arrived on my doorstep this week. Here’s a look at what I received:

Urban Expressions Zella Satchel

UE Zella

The first item out of the box was this purse. It’s a rich burgundy color, and it comes with an additional strap that can be attached if you want to carry the purse as a shoulder bag. There’s a lot of room inside, which I love. What I didn’t love about it is the vegan leather it’s made of – and the $64 price tag at that. That’s a little steep for pleather. I’m not opposed to eco-conscious materials. I just prefer real leather in a purse. If I changed purses often, I might consider this one. But I don’t, and if I’m going to invest $64, I’d rather splurge and put that toward the real deal when it comes to a handbag.

Urban_Expressions_Zella_Satchell

 

Note to self: Update style profile to indicate no pleather.

Verdict: Return

Daniel Rainn Shrewsberry Split Back Blouse

DR Shrewsberry

Next up was a Daniel Rainn top that I’d swear the Stitch Fix algorithm suggested for me due to a string of blue items I’ve purchased from past Fixes. I should write a post just dedicated to all the blue duds I’ve amassed from Stitch Fix. Has anyone else seen this sort of trend in their Fixes?

Daniel_Rainn_Shrewsberry_split_back_top

Daniel_Rainn_Shrewsberry_detail

I really like the details of this top – the lattice and lace. And I guess I am a sucker for blue after all.

Verdict: Kept

Daniel Rainn Hitchon V Neck Blouse

DR Hitchon

I do like Daniel Rainn tops. This one has a good looking print and a generous fit, but it was completely sheer. It did come with a black cami to go underneath, but I just didn’t love it for me. I’ve written in past notes to my Stitch Fix stylist that I do not want any more sheer tops. Stitch Fix seems to have that market cornered, don’t they? Or maybe it’s just me. Somehow I keep receiving them, so I guess I need to add “I don’t want sheer tops” to my permanent profile note because whenever I forget to mention it in the monthly request, I always get one. Ugh!

material_flaw

Had I wanted to keep this top, I would have had to contact Customer Service to request an exchange because of a flaw I spotted in the material (shown above). Fortunately, my experiences with Stitch Fix Customer Service have always been positive, and I expect they’d send a new top to me if I’d wanted.

Verdict: Return

Loveapella Jorsana Textured Knit Top

Jorsana

In my note to my stylist, I requested casual knit tops that I can wear when working in my home office or volunteering at my children’s school. I pictured something looser and lighter weight than this top, and I had pinned some examples to my Pinterest board. This doesn’t fit tightly, but it has a more body conscious style, which goes against the preferences I’d noted in my Stitch Fix style profile and my comments in the request to my stylist. Go figure.

Loveapella_Jorsana

 

The double layered material also seemed like it would be hot and could easily get snagged by my jewelry or whatever object my youngest daughter happens to be carrying as she runs by me in the house. The sleeves were semi-sheer, too, which is not my favorite look. It’s a shame because the turquoise color is lovely. It could be a great top for someone.

Verdict: Returned

Collective Concepts Ryleigh Pintuck Detail Silk Blouse

cc ryleigh

My stylist did include one item in my Fix that I had pinned on Pinterest. It was this classic, black blouse, which would go with so many things. I’d mentioned to the stylist that I had ordered some red jeans and needed coordinating tops, and she suggested this one in her note. I did appreciate that, but what I did not know when I pinned the blouse is that it is 100 percent silk. I was hoping for a more casual fabric for everyday wear – and one that would not require dry cleaning.

collective_concepts_pintuck_silk_blouse

The pintuck details make this an attractive top though, and it would be a nice addition to a traditional office wardrobe.

Verdict: Returned

If you are keeping a tally, I kept one out of the five items in this month’s Fix. The Daniel Rain Shrewsberry top was the winner. Because I’d already paid the $20 styling fee, it was applied to my purchase, bringing this transaction to $44. One day I hope to get a 5/5 fix so I can qualify for the 25 percent discount you get when you keep everything in the box. When I shop for myself, I rarely pay full price. That’s unfortunately the trade-off you make if you only keep a portion of your Fix, but I value this service for its convenience. I definitely think it has upped my style game – if there is such a thing when you are a busy mom!

Styling

This section contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. I can earn a small commission when visitors shop these links.

I took a nod from the styling card my Stitch Fix stylist provided and paired the Daniel Rainn Shrewsberry Split Back Blouse with jeans and an olive colored jacket (similar). I pined away for a jacket like this from Stitch Fix last fall, so I was delighted to find the one pictured below on clearance at TJ Maxx this spring. This was a great find! The jeans are NYDJ Barbara Bootcut Jeans from Nordstrom.

Daniel_Rainn_Shrewsberry_styled

I paired this outfit with my Sole Society ‘Jillian’ d’Orsay Wedges, but you could also opt for a more casual bootie like the TOMS ‘Desert’ Wedge Bootie. I own a similar pair. Did I mention I am ready for fall?

Here’s hoping you get what you want in your fall Fixes!

Want to try Stitch Fix?

I have not been compensated by Stitch Fix for this review. I purchase my own Fixes and all opinions are my own. If you sign up to try the subscription styling service using my referral link, I will receive a small credit toward a future purchase. (Thank you!) If you’ve thought about trying Stitch Fix, don’t let the term ‘subscription’ scare you away, you can order one Fix with no commitment to order more, or receive Fixes as often as you’d like. If this is all brand new to you, I provide more info. about what Stitch Fix is in a previous review post.

And don’t just take my word for it, see what other bloggers have to say about their most recent Fixes from Stitch Fix. We’ve all shared our reviews over on the blog Crazy Together.

share-pics-of-your-fix-button-550x381

 

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Stitch Fix Review – January 2016

Stitch Fix - December 2015

Earlier this week I confessed to friends on Facebook that I wanted to purchase at least three articles of clothing I’d seen in the Cracker Barrel Country Store. Cracker Barrel, for those who may be unfamiliar, is a chain of country-style restaurants that cater mostly to Interstate travelers. The restaurant also features a country store filled with candies, toys, audio books, gifts and yes, even clothing. The clothes typically are not what I’d describe as fashion forward. They are more rustic and matronly.

Well, it had been a while since I’d been to a Cracker Barrel. I am older than the last time I visited, but I’m still 30-something for a few more months. I’d venture to guess I’m younger than the average Cracker Barrel clothes buyer, but surprisingly I really liked the cardigans and blanket scarfs I saw there! Seriously, they were cute, and not the tacky lace or appliquéd Christmas sweaters I’d expected to see. Cracker Barrel must have a new “fashion” buyer, or maybe I am just getting older.

At any rate, my friends and I had a good laugh about my budding old lady fashion tendencies, so I am more thankful than ever I have a Stitch Fix subscription to keep me in touch with contemporary styles and trends (as opposed to the meat-and-tres-chic finds, cute as they may be, at Cracker Barrel). Which brings me to my latest Fix…

If you’ve never heard of Stitch Fix, scroll to the end of this post for more info. For the initiated and the die-hards, keep reading.

market & spruce space dye dolman

The Market & Spruce Sawyer Space Dye Dolman Sleeve Knit Top (above) was an item I had pinned on Pinterest. (Stitch Fix stylists will reference a Pinterest board to see items you like if you provide a link in your Stitch Fix style profile.) I really liked this top. It fit generously and was a great length for pairing with jeans and boots. The only reason I did not keep this top is I’d recently bought another shirt and a dress in this color. I probably should have removed it from my Pinterest board, in hindsight.

Pixley Cardigan

I’d requested cardigans in this Fix, and my stylist delivered. The first was the Pixley Potina Plaid Draped Cardigan (above). Some of the draped front cardigans I’ve seen have so much fabric in front that they seem too bulky for my taste, but this one thankfully did not. It is dark grey and the inside is a lighter grey plaid, which provides a nice contrast. I really like that you can see this detail on the sleeves. This is so comfortable and a very practical item I can wear with jeans when working out of my home office or volunteering at my children’s school.

rolled sleeve

cardigan

The Market & Spruce Lauderdale Knit Cardigan (above) also came in this Fix. It is another item I had pinned on my Pinterest board. The teal color was nice, but because I knew I wanted to keep the plaid cardigan and the teal color wasn’t one I particularly needed, I let this go back. I wanted it in a cobalt blue and even emailed Stitch Fix customer service to ask about an exchange, but they only exchange for size/fit issues and suggested I could request a blue one for a future Fix.

Donna Morgan dress

I’m convinced that the algorithm that helps Stitch Fix stylists select items for each customer tells my stylist, “Send this woman something blue!” I get something blue in every Fix and many of the items I’ve kept have been blue. The Donna Morgan Masona Shift Dress was the latest blue item I received. I’d kept another Donna Morgan dress from my last Fix, but this time the style didn’t work as well for me. It hangs oddly on the hanger because of the ruching just above the waste.  It’s a nice looking dress, but I didn’t like the drape of the fabric so I sent it back.

fringe necklace

The last item, the Bancroft Elisia Chainmail Fringe Necklace, shown above, is probably not something I would have picked out on my own. In my note to my stylist, I requested a long necklace to wear with tunics, but I was picturing something a little different. After trying it with a couple tops, this one grew on me and I decided to keep it.

So from this Fix, I kept two items and returned three. You can see the Fix in its entirety, along with styling suggestions for each piece, on the Style Card below.

style card Dec 2015

I was pleased with this Fix. The stylist addressed all of my requests and included items I’d pinned on Pinterest, so I consider that a success. Although I didn’t keep every item, I think the stylists have gotten better with each Fix at sending items I like and that fit well.

I’m not compensated for my review of the Stitch Fix service. I’ll get a small credit toward a future Fix if you join and schedule a Fix using one of the links in this post. If you’ve thought about trying it, I hope you will. It’s fun and a convenient way to spruce up your wardrobe. Here’s to a stylish New Year!

What is Stitch Fix? Stitch Fix is a subscription service that assigns you a personal stylist who selects clothing and accessories for you each month (or at whatever interval you prefer) based on a personal profile of your likes, needs and sizes. Each shipment, or Fix, contains five items, and the company says no two Fixes have ever been the same. Much of the fun of Stitch Fix is the element of surprise and discovering styles and items you otherwise may not have tried. The styling fee is $20, which is applied to the purchase of any items you keep. If you keep all five items, you receive a 25 percent discount. A postage-paid, pre-addressed envelope is provided in the box to send back any items you do not want to keep. It is so easy and convenient for busy women! And the variety of styles and inventory can appeal to all ages and tastes, as well. Give it a try!

stitch-fix-link-up

Also, I’m participating in a blog link-up with other bloggers so you don’t have to just take my word for it – you can see some of the styles other bloggers have received from Stitch Fix here.

9 Ways to Give Experiences (Not Things) This Christmas

For a young child, there’s nothing like waking up on Christmas morning to discover your most coveted toy under the Christmas tree. I have fond memories of the Christmases when I received a bike, a Cabbage Patch Kid and so many other treasured items from Santa through the years.

So with that as a seemingly contradictory preface, I have to say I’m coming around to the idea of gifting experiences rather than things. Make no mistake, I’ll still put gifts under the tree for my children. Always. But as a mom who has observed enough Christmases and the fate of so many “I’ve-gotta-have-it-Mom” toys, I have to question the lasting value of some of these gifts.

my-little-pony-toy

An abandoned My Little Pony toy. You do not want to step on this!

Media and our consumeristic society often make it seem that our kids need every branded product that is offered in their particular area/character/movie/cartoon/whatever of interest. These toys du jour hold their attention for a short time, sure, but within a few weeks the kids move on and may never pick up these items again. It seems like a shame and a waste, not to mention the additional clutter it adds to our home. If it were just my husband and I buying for our children at the holidays, this may not be an issue, but there are grandparents and aunts and uncles and extended family members, too. All are appreciated and well-meaning in their gifting, of course, and there are many quality toys out there, but the sum total can be overwhelming.

Last Christmas, my husband and I decided our big gift to our daughters would be a trip to Disney World. We weren’t putting them in the car that day to go see the mouse (like I’ve known some families to do), so I knew this gift wouldn’t provide immediate gratification like a big toy might, but I still wanted to create some excitement as this represented such a big part of their Christmas. I wrapped up a handmade Countdown to Disney chalkboard sign that I purchased on Etsy and a character autograph book that the girls could take with them to the parks. Written in chalk on the sign was the number of days until our trip – about 21 or so as we visited on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. The girls had fun updating the sign each day and looked forward to the trip. It was a great vacation! For my youngest daughter, it was her first time at Disney World. We have many good memories and photos from the trip that we’ll cherish for years to come.

(If you’re planning a visit to Disney World during the holidays, check out these festive WDW events and attractions to celebrate the season, as shared by the blog Kids on a Plane.)

electric light parade

The nightly Electric Light Parade is one of our family’s favorite things to see at Walt Disney World.

1. Family travel – whether it’s for a vacation, theme park visit, or even a mission trip – is a wonderful way to share an experience with your children, but there are other less expensive options, too. You can make an educational day trip out of visiting a museum or aquarium. Many, like the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla., offer free admission.

2. During a visit to Orlando this summer, my mom and I treated my daughters to lunch at the American Girl store at The Florida Mall. Like American Girl stores in other cities, the Orlando store includes a restaurant.

AG cafe

My oldest two girls have American Girl dolls that they brought along with us, and my youngest daughter was offered one to play with when we arrived for our lunch reservation. Each doll had her own seat at the table, along with a doll sized cup and saucer.

Dining with AG doll

I expected to be underwhelmed by the menu and food because it is American Girl and a t-shirt for a doll costs $10, for heaven’s sake. The selection and food were not bad though, and we received excellent service. The American Girl dining experience was fun. You could certainly host your own tea party at home for less, but we all enjoyed this special treat. American Girl has stores in Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville and other major U.S. cities, too.

AG ice cream

3. The Orlando mall we visited is also home to the newest Crayola Experience. Opened in July, this family attraction boasts over 70,000 square feet of colorful and creative activity space. There are 25 attractions inside including making your own coloring page, personalizing your own crayon wrapper and much more. The Crayola Experience was still a few weeks away from opening when we visited The Florida Mall, so we were not able to check it out. I hope we can do this on a future visit. According to the website, admission is $17.99 per person if purchased online, or an Annual Pass for unlimited visits within a year is $34.99. Purchased at the door, admission rates are slightly higher.

crayola experience

We were able to pay a visit to the adjacent Crayola Store, which was open. You can find every possible Crayola crayon and Crayola products you never knew existed here. Many of the prices were pretty steep, we thought. Some of the same items are sold at WalMart or Target for less, but it’s certainly the most complete offering of Crayola items I’ve ever seen.

crayons in every color

4. Camping is another good option for making memories. Who doesn’t love campfires and s’mores? You may need to purchase a few camping supplies of course if you don’t already own them, but these can be a good investment. Plus, this gives you something to wrap up and put under the Christmas tree. I’m definitely more comfortable with the glamping style of camping than any rugged wilderness excursion. A bathroom and electrical outlets nearby are non-negotiable for me. After one sleepless night on the cold, hard ground at my daughters’ Girl Scout camp out last fall, I learned that an air mattress inside the tent will be essential the next time I camp, too. (Go ahead and roll your eyes, hardcore campers. I can’t see you.)

camping tents

Other experiential gifts you might consider giving this holiday season:

5. Movie tickets – The Peanuts Movie is adorable, by the way. My kids loved it and it has a nice message.

6. Restaurant gift cards – Take your pick of local favorites or chains, most eateries offer gift cards these days. I don’t know a busy family who wouldn’t love to receive a night off from cooking dinner!

7. Classes – My kids would like to take art, cooking and sewing lessons. We have experience with one local art instructor and my daughter loved her classes for kids. Research providers in your area to find the right class for you or your child!

8. Personal stylist – So this is not for kids, but moms and other special ladies need a treat, too. You may already know I am a fan of StitchFix, the personal styling service that hand picks clothing and accessories and ships them to your door. Did you know that Stitch Fix offers gift cards? These are a great gift idea and can provide a fun treat for the lady who is looking for something different this Christmas. Of course, a spa day is a nice pampering gift, too!

9. Personal shopping – I don’t think this is offered in Northwest Florida yet, but in many larger cities grocery delivery services are becoming more common. What new mom wouldn’t love having someone do the shopping for you and bring the bread, milk and whatever else you need to your door?! Where was this when I had twin babies at home?! This could definitely be a special treat for some folks on Santa’s list.

However you decide to give to the special people in your life this year, remember that it is the thought that counts. Shared experiences and time together can be the most meaningful expressions of love you can give, and these don’t have to cost a fortune. In 20 years, your kids will remember and appreciate your outings to see Christmas lights together as a family more than the 14th toy they circled in the Black Friday circular.

Happy gifting!

 

The fine print: Some of my ideas are admittedly retail in nature, but I do not receive any compensation or consideration from American Girl or Crayola, or Walt Disney World or Peanuts for that matter. I just think they offer unique experiences that many families may not have considered as holiday gift options. I do include a link to Stitch Fix that could allow me to earn a small referral credit toward future purchases if someone uses it to order a Fix, but the company does not pay me for my reviews. 

 

Stitch Fix Review – October 2015

Earlier this summer I decided to try Stitch Fix, a subscription service that provides personal styling and delivers clothing to your door once a month. It’s incredibly convenient if you don’t have a lot of time to shop, and I have to admit I have looked forward to the arrival of my Stitch Fix boxes each month!

I wrote about my first Fix (the term the company uses for each shipment it sends) on this blog, if you want to see what I received and my thoughts on each item. I also explain how Stitch Fix works in more detail there if you are not familiar with it.

I’ve received three Fixes since that first one – the fourth one arrived this past week. I’m going to review those items here. You can get a glimpse of all the items from my fourth Fix on the style card sent by my stylist. It’s helpful for giving you different ideas of how to wear each piece and how to style the clothes with accessories.

stitch-fix-style-card

I have an event coming up that I need a dress for so I specifically requested dresses in this Fix. The stylist sent three dresses:

loveapella-paige-maxi-dress

The Loveapella Paige Maxi Dress (above) came in a deep eggplant color. It was very soft and would be good for an elegant evening out, but the material was terrible for me. It is very thin and not at all forgiving. I tried it on for about 10 seconds and knew it was going back.

41Hawthorn Tillie Dress

The 41Hawthorn Tillie Dress in navy blue and white is a nice, classic look, but once again the material was all wrong for me. This material was not thin like the first dress, but it was clingy in all the wrong places and also too short for my taste. On the hanger it looks like an A-line style, but on my curvy frame not so much!

Papermoon Fabiana Dress

The Papermoon Fabiana Dress was the most interesting of the three in my opinion. I liked the floral print and the material was more in line with my conservative style. Unfortunately this dress did not fit. At all.

I’m a little bummed that only one of the three dresses is one I would have considered, and then to have it not work out was disappointing. One point of having a StitchFix stylist is to try things you may not pick up in a store on your own, but sometimes you wouldn’t pick them up because you know what will work for you and what won’t!

The two tops in this fix were definitely my style. I had asked for more color in this Fix as the last two I’d received had mostly neutral colors. I appreciate that the stylist honored my request.

41Hawthorn Colibri Tab Sleeve Blouse

The 41Hawthorn Colibri Solid Tab Sleeve Blouse was a beautiful aqua color. The stylist noted that she had seen it or a similar top on my Pinterest board (this is another way Stitch Fix gathers input on your personal fashion tastes – by looking at a Pinterest board you create, if you choose to make one. I love Pinterest so this is a no brainer for me). The top looked great on, except the buttons gaped open a little as it was too snug through the chest. This was the same issue I had with the Papermoon dress above. StitchFix knows your bra size if you choose to include it on the Style Profile that you fill out when you join, so I wish they were a little more effective at  sending you items that will work with your measurements. I guess it’s not always a perfect science with different cuts and materials.

Parkhurst Jeffrey Waffle Knit Sweater

The last item, the Parkhurst Jeffrey Waffle Knit Color Block Sweater, is the only item I considered keeping. The fit was great and it was oversized, which I prefer for pairing with jeans and boots in the fall. For a sweater, this was actually a pretty lightweight knit so it could have worked in Florida. I was on the fence about keeping this one, but I didn’t love it and the $84 price tag was more than I was willing to pay for a sweater I only kind of liked.

So, if you’ve done the math, I kept zero out of five items in this month’s Fix. I did feel that the stylist had listened to my requests but unfortunately these items just didn’t work out. (Although I didn’t blog about my second and third Fixes, I kept 1 maxi dress from those two shipments.)

I’m not sure how this Fix compares with others’ experience with receiving items you like and that fit well from Stitch Fix. I’ve made sure to log in and update my Style profile and I also provide detailed feedback on each item I have returned. Hopefully this will help make the next Fix more successful. I’m going to give it one more month but I don’t know that I will continue my subscription beyond that if it’s like this one. I just can’t see spending the $20 styling fee if I’m not able to apply it to a purchase.

After I received this Fix and knew I wasn’t going to keep anything, I did go shopping on my own and found several great items at Belk and Old Navy. It was nice to treat myself to a few new things, even if the Fix wasn’t quite right.

I definitely recommend trying Stitch Fix, as it is fun to fill out your style profile, receive the shipments and try some clothes you may not otherwise select for yourself. The convenience is unrivaled with the return envelope already included in the box when it arrives. You just log in to Stitch Fix and tell them what you’re keeping or returning, drop off the return package at your local post office and you’re all done.  Of the items I’ve kept from previous Fixes, I really do like and enjoy wearing them.

Stitch Fix does not pay me to review their service, but I do receive a small credit if anyone uses the links in this post to sign up. If you do decide to give it a try and use my link, thank you!

I’m also participating in a link up this month with other bloggers who review their Stitch Fix experience. See what fun pieces they received here.

stitch-fix-link-up

Shopping Tax-Free on the Gulf Coast

tax-free-weekend-2014

If you are vacationing on the Gulf Coast this weekend (or you live here like me), you have the rare opportunity to shop tax-free in Alabama, Florida and Louisiana.

On Friday, August 1, each of these states begins what many refer to as tax-free weekend or a sales tax holiday, a designated time when consumers can purchase certain items for personal use without being charged state sales tax. The most common of course is school supplies, as students prepare to go back to school over the next several weeks in most areas (like it or not, kids).

Vacationers, if you going to be out shopping for sunscreen, don’t forget to toss a box of crayons in your cart, too. You can take them back home with you. Just don’t let them melt in the car! (Many schools post students’ supply lists on their website, so be sure to check yours before you shop.)

For more significant savings, you may want to shop for personal electronics (rules vary by state as to what items qualify, as well as the maximum dollar amount to which the savings can be applied.) This may be a good time to buy the Mac Book you’ve been eyeing or software for your college student. Before you shop, just check the tax-free weekend details for the state where you plan to buy:

Alabama

Florida

Louisiana

Texas will hold its sales tax holiday August 8-10. Mississippi’s was last weekend (sorry we missed it!).

Most clothing and shoes qualify for the sales tax savings, as well. I expect shoppers will flood the malls and outlets (and we have some good outlets on the Coast) for summer sales and (gasp!) fall clothes. I’m not sure why those are even sold in this part of the country until at least October, but they are there if you feel the need to stock your closet.

My children won’t stop growing, despite my pleas, so I’ll be shopping for bigger sizes for them this year. Although it won’t be tax-free, I plan to shop one of my favorite consignment sales in September. It’s called Mom2Mom. Twice a year, this massive resale event comes to the Pensacola Fairgrounds. Managed by two moms and many, many volunteers, you can purchase gently used and new children’s clothing, baby items, toys at greatly reduced prices. According to the Mom2Mom Facebook page, the September sale will also feature women’s clothing, so that’s another bonus! The sale is open to the public September 18-20. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I should acknowledge that I could benefit financially as a consignor at this event. Even if I wasn’t a consignor at Mom2Mom, I would highly recommend this sale to parents.)

Happy shopping and saving!