Can an Online Stylist Improve Your Wardrobe?

Can an Online Stylist Improve Your Wardrobe?

Gregory Han
Mar 11, 2013

What if you could have a complete wardrobe of outfits delivered to your doorstep, ready to wear, tailored specific to your tastes, needs, and lifestyle from the comfort of your desk? The Trunk Club is an online stylist site which sets out to provide sartorialist guidance for men who know what they like, but perhaps do not necessarily know how to put it all together. I've never been accused of being disinterested in clothing or fashion, but I decided to give the service a try to see what someone else would envision I should be wearing...

Upon signing up for Trunk Club (unlike Fight Club, you're encouraged to talk about membership), I was assigned my very own online stylist (Brittany), complete with her contact information via email and phone number.  A preliminary interview over phone or email about general style and measurements is required to establish exactly what you're looking for. Here is a sample of the survey I received:

1. In terms of the reason you're joining Trunk Club, what would you most like to get out of this experience? 

2. What is your occupation?

3. How do you dress for work?

4. Do you want to use our service to receive business or weekend/casual clothes? Or both?

5. What do you like to do on the weekends/away from work?

6. What are your favorite pair of shoes on weekends and at work?

7. When you've bought clothing in the past, what stores/brands have you usually shopped with? 

8. What are your most common fit "issues" with clothing in the past? (e.g. shirts too baggy, etc...)

9.Tell me the size and brand of your best-fitting:

10.How do you like your jeans to fit?

Alongside the answers to these questions, I also had to provide a credit card number, but nothing is charged initially. The Trunk Club operates under the try-before-you-buy model, and you're given ten days to try on and decide what to keep and what to send back. Return shipping is all prepaid, with the trunk perfectly constructed for easy opening and repackaging, so whatever you decide not to keep can be packed back and returned without any cost or hassle. Only what is kept is tallied and charged.

So back to my own trunk. I not only provided survey answers to my friendly stylist, Brittany, but also directed her to my Pinterest boards and favorite online clothing brands and retailers to help her understand my lifestyle, what I currently wore, and what I was aspiring to wear shaped by her fashionable expertise. And so with great hope I awaited the arrival of a fashionable new me in a box with the same  

Less than a week later a medium-sized cardboard box arrived by FedEx adorned with the Trunk Club branding. Inside, a carefully packed selection of clothing was topped off by a thoughtfully handwritten letter from Brittany describing her selections: shoes, socks, underwear, trousers, jeans, button-up shirts, sweater, and coat...a truly head-to-toe wardrobe. Unfortunately, what I described to my stylist wasn't necessarily reflected by the trunk's contents. Perhaps it's due to the regional location, or the personal preference of my stylist, but the clothing picks left me initially wondering if I had received another customer's mix. There were some fine choices offered and everything delivered fit quite well (so well, I considered purchasing what would have been the most expensive pair of jeans I've ever bought). If you've ever shopped at Saks 5th or Gilt, you might even recognize some of the designer brands and their accompanying eyebrow-raising price tags. Everything is clearly priced, and a whole trunk would cost you in the ballpark of $1,500 if you decided to keep everything.

The handwritten letter from my stylist Brittany was a thoughtful touch, which made it all the more difficult to return her choices for me.

But disappointingly, almost everything inside my trunk communicated the sense and sensibility of someone whom I imagined who knew and cared about a golf handicap and carried a Blackberry, rather than reflective of a Southern California fella who loves sun-filled weekend road trips, rolled-up pants tide pooling, and rugged yet refined hiking wear. What Brittany imagined for me unfortunately was a new me I had no desire in becoming, nor could I necessarily afford. And thus I sent back everything except a pair of socks and an incredibly comfortable pair of boxer trunks, slightly relieved I didn't love more, escaping relatively unscathed financially but still left wanting fashionably. 

Customers are given the option to provide feedback, explaining why they loved or didn't care for delivered fashions. The feedback supposedly helps fine tune future choices.

In concept, the Trunk Club is a promising service which could prove helpful to formerly-fashionably disinterested men (or as a gift from their partners) seeking a one-stop makeover. The aid of stylist can be every bit as helpful as an interior decorator for a home or a personal trainer to a body, lending insightful expertise in regards to colors, patterns, and fit. But without an ideal match between assigned stylist and a customer's criteria, my own experience felt like trying on someone else's clothing and life for a few days only to realize I liked the fit and feel of my own well enough.

(Images: Gregory Han)

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. This specific product  was purchased by reviewer for testing and review purposes.

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