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Stitch Fix and other clothing 'boxes' deliver new styles to Long Islanders' doors 

Long Islander Colleen Quigley Radcliffe unboxes her Stitch

Long Islander Colleen Quigley Radcliffe unboxes her Stitch Fix delivery at her home in Bethpage. Credit: Newsday / Shelby Knowles

When spring came around and it was time to freshen her wardrobe, Colleen Radcliffe of Bethpage used to feel it would be no walk in the park. She was in a “rut” when buying clothes for any season — and getting a new pair of jeans was something she didn’t even want to think about.

“I was getting the same things all the time, so I thought of having someone curate clothes for me,” says Radcliffe, who works for a private day care company and does professional photography from her home. “I’m not very tall, 5-1 — and not thin — so it can be difficult to be able to find things that look good and fit.” 

So, like some others with problems getting their wardrobes together for one reason or another, Radcliffe turned to a personal styling service for help: Stitch Fix. It's one of a growing number of on-demand styling companies with no subscription commitment that deliver boxes of clothing pieces, entire outfits, accessories and costume jewelry right to the customer’s door for styling fees as low as $20. In addition to clothing for women and men, some services have selections for children, and others, such as Dia & Co., are dedicated to plus sizes. Most also provide discounts when you choose to keep everything in the box.

“I started using Stitch Fix about two years ago and it’s been a very positive experience,” Radcliffe, 49, says, adding that it’s particularly challenging to find clothes for work since neither of her jobs are conducive to dressing up. Among the pieces she has gotten from Stitch Fix are tops, blouses, a sweater coat and, yes, jeans. “It was hard for me to find jeans and my favorite pair of jeans is from them,” Radcliffe adds. She usually spends between $15 and $25 per piece and uses Stitch Fix about four times a year, but she also randomly called on the service recently when she was invited to a daytime birthday party for a 1-year-old and wasn’t sure what to wear.

Michele Devine, 49, a mother of two from Bethpage who works as a full-time financial adviser, turns to both Stitch Fix and Nordstrom’s Trunk Club for help in filling her closet with the right pieces. “I hate shopping and going to the mall because it’s frustrating to find something that fits.” She’s purchased accent pieces, shoes, scarfs, pants, sweaters, blouses, jeans and “comfortable heels for work.”

Although Devine says she wasn’t immediately sold on Stitch Fix when she started using it about two years ago, she later changed her mind. “The first ‘Fixes’ weren’t great — the styles they chose weren’t my style or they didn’t fit right or look right, and they sent me a handbag that I wasn’t going to use,” she says. “But the stylists don’t give up. They’ll find you something that fits you." At sign-up, you'll be asked to take styling quizzes to share your likes and dislikes. The more you answer, the better the online stylists get to know you. 

Devine says she likes Trunk Club too because you can get a preview of your “trunk” candidates via phone. “They’ll tell you how to wear the outfit; they’ll say, you already bought this, and this would go with that.” She notes she uses Trunk Club about once a month and seeks out on-demand services from Stitch Fix when she needs “a refresher” item, about every six weeks.

Sonia Grgas, 65, a reference librarian at Syosset Public Library, is also a Stitch Fix customer and says it makes life a lot easier. She adds, “I think I always dressed well,” but now her husband tells her, ‘You really stepped up your wardrobe.’ ”

Trunk Club spokeswoman Caroline Mattingly says that with people becoming busier and busier online styling services can help make shopping more convenient and fun and carry the bonus of a professional stylist’s assistance. Stitch Fix President and COO Mike Smith says he thinks companies like Stitch Fix are fashioning the future. “We believe strongly that the future of retail is personalization.”

Ready to try out your own online stylist? Here is more about some of the on-demand services (and their differences) that can help you step up your style. All will ask you to answer a survey that includes questions about your sizes, measurements, style and preferred price points.

STITCH FIX, stitchfix.com

Cost: $20 styling fee (can be used as a credit toward the total for the items you keep)

Customer: Men, women and children

What you get: Your stylist will select five clothing and accessory items for you. Keep what you want and return what you don’t. It is not a subscription service, but clients can opt in to an auto-ship cadence of their choice (e.g. monthly, every 3 months). Additionally, existing clients can use shop features to directly buy items outside of a recommended “Fix” with free shipping and returns and no styling fee. Shoppable looks are refreshed throughout the day so clients can find styling inspiration to build complete outfits. Stitch Fix works with more than 1,000 brands including for women, Rebecca Minkoff, Tahari, DVF, Rag & Bone, Free People; for men, Bonobos, Vineyard Vines, Polo, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein; and for children, Joules, Primary, Hurley, BCBG Kids and Flapdoodles.

TRUNK CLUB, trunkclub.com

Cost: $25 styling fee (can be used as a credit toward the total for the items you keep, and fee is waived if you have a Nordstrom credit or debit card). For men’s custom items, pay 50% of the cost of the order in advance.

Customer: Men and women

What you get: Founded in 2009 as a men’s outfitter for guys who hated shopping and wanted luxury goods, and then expanded to include women, Trunk Club is a mid-to-high-end styling service that carries the same brands as its owner, Nordstrom. A Trunk Preview feature allows customers to see their “trunk” and give feedback before it sends, and clients can access the service both digitally and in person. The service also includes made-to-order custom clothing for men including suits, tuxedos and golf pants. In-person services are only offered at six Trunk Club “clubhouses” located in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

DIA & CO, dia.com

Cost: $20 styling fee (can be used as a credit toward the total for the items you keep)

Customer: Women sizes 14 to 32

What you get: The CEO cofounded Dia & Co after saying she always loved fashion but struggled to find clothes that would fit her body and worked for her personal style, saying on the website that she had been “everything from a size 12 to a size 22” and found there was “nothing for me.” Each order includes five pieces of clothing and accessories and although it is not a subscription service, you can order style boxes monthly, bimonthly or at a customized frequency.

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