The Problem With Clothing Box Services

retro little black dress

“I used to have three fittings for a nightgown.” — Diana Vreeland.

It seems like the perfect solution for the busy woman with no time to shop. To rent a dress for an occasion that “you’ll only wear once.” Or to have your clothing picked out by “a personal stylist” and sent to you monthly.

When you buy too many items, you aren’t thinking about fit and tailoring, which is the most important thing when it comes to style. Tailoring our clothing was one standard, but now forgotten by many expecting brands to fit off the rack. It’s a great fit that makes you stand taller in a dress.

Kerry Washington noted the absurdity of expecting a brand to fit your body perfectly this in an interview once, noting that every woman should have a good tailor. Carmel Snow, the former editor of Harper’s Bazaar and who we named our fit and flare after, was a nurse during WWII. The first thing she did was take her nurses uniform to be tailored. Givenchy and Balenciaga obsessed over minimizing the number of seams on a garment. When the House of Givenchy released the details about Meghan Markle’s wedding dress they specifically noted that they used six strategically placed seams. Whenever I design an item I always think about how easy it will be for a client to tailor it — a simple nip at the waist, taking up of the hem, or changing a dart. The fewer number of lines or seams the easier it is to alter a garment to create a bespoke fit.

Comfort equals confidence and it isn’t about Lycra it’s about fit. When a garment fits properly — meaning it doesn’t bunch or gap, you simply feel better. You stand taller and feel more confident. Alter your clothes, alter your life because it’s like having a closet full of power suits. If you rent a garment or own so many you don’t have the time (or money) to alter them, will you ever perform at your best?

Are they really saving you time?

When things are just sent to you, you probably end up with a lot of things you really don’t need or want. Once upon a time I was biggest over-shopper there was — especially if something was on sale. I always invested in classic items, but if there was a sale I too would fall for the “well it’s X% off” rationale. Now I have a closet full of clothing I don’t want and don’t wear and I’ve wasted tons of time and money, dry cleaning them to prep them to give away or try to consign them. I’ve written before on how much time we waste managing our wardrobes. The box services are just another time suck or unnecessary decision you have to make each month over something you won’t likely wear again in three months time.

How well does or can the “personal” stylist really know you?

This is the biggest complaint I’ve heard from friends who have used the services. They’ve told the stylist they don’t like trendy, or shoulderless items or whatever, and still end up with those items in their boxes. Most likely because that’s what’s trendy and that’s what they have to sell. Or if it’s an online form, it’s no surprise you end up with items that don’t quite work. The incentives for these businesses aren’t to help you build a beautiful closet, but a bigger closet. They don’t really care if it lasts or if you’ll wear it past a season, then it just goes into the wasteland of unworn items. We have a questionnaire to help you identify your signature style and are happy to help you find the silhouette that best flatters your shape from our collection, but once you figure that out there’s no need for a monthly delivery.



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