For some women, shopping for a work wardrobe is like a trip to the dentist: painful, and something they’d like to put off…and put off. It’s also time-consuming, and rarely satisfying to spend money on clothing that reflects the requirements of a corporate dress code more than it does your personality.
What’s more, building out a robust array of office-appropriate attire can often leave your closet with a severe case of multiple personality disorder: all neutral-toned shifts and pencil skirts on one side and worn-in denim on the other.
It’s enough to make you wish for a personal stylist. Because, let’s be real: Who wouldn’t want to outsource this?
The good news: While it used to be that personal styling was only for the ultra-rich or
ultra-famous, a recent spate of digital styling services have made expert advice, shopping guidance, and personal attention significantly more accessible and, perhaps more importantly, affordable.
Stacy London, stylist and host of TLC’s “Love, Lust or Run,” is a fan.
“These services are exceedingly useful and on trend, and can help take the work out of figuring out what to wear to the office,” she says. “If you’ve been out of the workplace for a while, using them is a good way to acquaint yourself with what’s out there.”
First to launch and perhaps most well known, this service carries over 200 contemporary brands such as Amour Vert, Citizens of Humanity and Daniel Rainn. It starts with a quiz-based assessment that allows one of their team of trained stylists to get to know you, with sections focused on your basic preferences (age, size, budget), as well as your Pinterest boards and LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.
After reviewing the quiz, your stylist will put together a box (your first “fix”) featuring five items hand-selected for you. Each fix costs $20, which is deducted from the price of anything you keep, and both shipping and returns are free; you get a 25 percent discount if you say yes to all five. Stitch Fix allows you to leave a note for your stylist with specific guidelines of what you’re looking for in advance of each shipment as well as feedback when you check out online. While you are not guaranteed the same stylist for each fix, you can put in a request to work with the same one, pending their availability.
Founded by two Harvard Business School graduates, Keaton Row offers a more personalized service that is focused on seasonality (each “styling session” lasts 90 days), which allows you to have an ongoing conversation with your stylist via the site or app. Instead of sending you a box of clothing to purchase or return, your stylist puts together a “lookbook” free of charge—all you need to do to qualify for another season of styling is buy one item from it. What sets Keaton Row apart from its competitors? A handful of add-ons: for $75, you can schedule a 90-minute virtual hangout that allows you to walk your stylist through your actual wardrobe or, if you live in New York, $300 will get you a three-hour in-person styling appointment at your home. Most personal stylists run at least $200 an hour, which makes Keaton Row’s offering a relative deal.
Think of MM. LaFleur as the workplace wardrobe you’ve always wanted—with personal styling services thrown in as an added bonus. The brand focuses on well-tailored, made-in-New York officewear designed with maximum versatility in mind and at a price point comparable to J.Crew. You can shop directly from their site like any other retailer or brand, or, if you’re pressed for time, let their in-house experts do the work for you. Opt for this and you fill out a short survey; they then send you a “Bento Box” filled with 4-6 items they think you’ll like. You keep what you want, return what you don’t, and are charged only for the clothing. Every Bento Box after that will cost $25, but, like Stitch Fix, the charge is deducted from the cost of anything you choose to keep.
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