Chronic Fashion Failure (and a Stitch Fix Flop)

I’ve never shopped much. Even before fibromyalgia. But at least I could shop if I wanted to. I had the ability to get myself to the store. I had the energy to try stuff on. I had a paycheck I could use to buy the clothes. Now . . . not so much.

Getting myself to the store will likely cause pain because I have to drive longer than 20 minutes. The thought of entering a brightly lit, crowded department store makes my skin feel tight and crawly. And the idea of trying on clothes? Ohmygod. I’m crying tears of exhaustion already. And although my husband calls his paycheck “our money,” it feels just a little less good spending it. Especially considering that he still owns and wears clothes from the early ’90s. He doesn’t shop much either.

And, as a result of my shopping impairment, I’m not exactly fashion forward. In fact, I’m more like fashion 8 – 10 years ago. Or “fashion lacking”. On days that I feel not so great about my attire, I try and cheer myself up by remembering that I spend my energy elsewhere. Like on my daughter, volunteering at her school, on friends, on family. Oh, and on maintaining any remaining vestiges of my health. But sometimes there’s no getting around it: it feels bad to look bad.

But sometimes I wish my wardrobe were different. I wish I had the knee-high boots that other moms wear. I wish I had a sweater that wasn’t pilling. I wish my selection of pants included more than ripped jeans and fleece sweat pants.

Then I found Stitch Fix. (As you will see in a moment, they are so not paying me to write this). Stitch Fix is an online service that allows you to fill out a style profile and then a “personal shopper” sends you you clothes. You can return anything you don’t like in a prepaid mailer.

I won’t lie. My expectations were high. Can a person I’ve never met send me awesome clothes that I will love and look good in? Sure, why not?! I was finally going to have access to stylish clothes! I was going to have something new! And I didn’t have to leave my house! I believed, people, I totally believed.

My clothes came two days ago and then I let Journey down. I stopped believing.

Here’s what I got in my stitch fix box:

photo (6)
My husband said, “Is that a night shirt?” But no! It’s actually a dress! Love the color. Didn’t love the multiple layers of fabric on an already shapeless dress. This didn’t do much for my figure.

photo (5)
Initially I thought this was one of those baseball jerseys. But it’s actually a sweater. Sweaters and baseball jerseys shouldn’t be that hard to tell apart.  Meh. Sending it back.

photo (4)

Aaaaaannnnd another sweat in the above pattern. FOur words: “My eyes!!! My eyes!!!!”

photo (3)
Then there was this. In my “style profile” said that preppy was my least favorite style. So they sent me a green and black houndstooth jacket with faux tarnished buttons with castles on them? Yes they did! Total return.

photo (1)
The last thing in the box was an infinity scarf in the above pattern. It was actually super cute. But it’s price tag was almost $40 so . . . No. Way.

Sadly, the first stitch fix box was a flop. And I’m not sure I’m daring enough to try again.

What about you? How do you manage chronic illness and shopping? How do you keep your wardrobe updated? ‘Cause really people, I could use a little help.

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7 thoughts on “Chronic Fashion Failure (and a Stitch Fix Flop)

  1. katecotton

    I am also a person who does not like clothes shopping. And when my daughter was nine months old and I found myself pregnant I nearly panicked at the idea of needing to get maternity clothes (the ones I had during my daughter’s pregnancy were poorly made and did not last). I want to share my strategy because it worked and now that I’m 7 months post-partum I’m thinking of doing the same strategy again. First, I went online to find pants. I was looking for something black, neat, relatively form-fitting, comfortable, no snaps, buttons or zippers. I found a pair of maternity ones and ordered one pair *four* sizes larger than my current pant size (form-fitting pants four sizes “too big” = fits.). I got them in the mail and voila, they were perfect (but my plan was to return if not perfect and keep trying until I found the right pants). Once I knew they fit, I got back on the website and ordered 5 more. Once they came in the mail, I wore those pants only for the remainder of my pregnancy. I was going to let my shirt and shoes do the talking about how dressy I was. Sometimes I was pushing the mark with my pants not being dressy enough, but I generally felt that if my shoes and shirt were dressy enough I was dressy enough. I have two pairs of shoes per season. Fall/Winter: ugg mocasins and black sensible nursing clogs; spring/summer: comfortable chaco sandals and comfortable black sandals with a low wedge heel. Then I got six maternity t-shirts in black, white and four bright colors. I got a light black sweater for layering if it got cold and a few colorful scarves. My Mom had given me two maternity “dressy” shirts and voila, I had much more simplicity and peace around my wardrobe than ever before. Now that I am 7 months post-partum, I’m ready to take the principles and apply them to my everyday wear. One thing I think I’ll keep forever are the dressy maternity tops. They look nice even now that I”m not pregnant because they generally are fitted near the top and long and flowy near the bottom with some kind of bow or belt to make it more fitted (and look less like a maternity top). I’m leaning towards “Life is good” brand for my day-to-day t-shirts because they are colorful, and stay in good shape through many washes. I can obviously keep the shoes and scarves so I just have to find my standard black pants (and something standard for super-hot day) and I’m on my way to my permanent, simple wardrobe. As you can tell, I’ve given a ton of thought to this. 🙂 Hopefully something here seems helpful.

    Reply
    1. joslyne

      This is FABULOUS!!!! Where do you usually get your shirts? And what is the return process like? Do you pay for postage or is there a prepaid envelope? I’m trying to avoid going into the the post office and waiting in line . . . THANK YOU so much for taking the time to write all this out!

      Reply
      1. katecotton

        As for returns by mail, the only thing i got by mail were the black pants which i didn’t have to return, but my thought for my upcoming pant search is to enroll Christopher (tell him my peace of mind is good for the family) and then order like 20 different styles and sizes of black pants (from the same place- my maternity pants came from Old Navy so I may try there first). Hopefully one will fit and it will take only one huge effort to return the other 19 (and maybe Christopher will go to the post office this once) and then order 5 more of the pants I know fit. As for the shirts, I do go to a store. For maternity shirts I went to the mall (yuck) but for my collection of “Life is Good” I’ll go to a small sports store (we have Binks outfitters here). If you already have Life is Good that fit you can probably take a chance with the same size and get them online without having to return.

        My philosophy is this: it may take a little work on the front end, so I’m going to take it at no faster than the pace I am comfortable with and I’m going to get any help people will provide (anyone want to go to the post office for me??). And I’m willing to pay a bit more for quality, but I believe it is a good financial choice if I succeed in getting things that last a long time (therefore I don’t need to buy replacement clothes so I save money by not getting more). Hopefully that makes sense.

        And I have a mantra for myself when I see the women with the boots (and I have had that exact same reaction when I see them look so good). I literally say in my head “this feeling (of desiring the boots that look so good on her) will pass. you get peace from your simplicity. plus those boots are expensive so you are saving money by not getting them. And the feeling does pass! Until the next time I see them. But then it passes again. 🙂

        I would love to share my journey of getting my new post-pregnancy wardrobe with you as I go along. I’m still in the beginning stages.

  2. katecotton

    “And I’m willing to pay a bit more for quality, *because* I believe it is a good financial choice if I succeed in getting things that last a long time (therefore I don’t need to buy replacement clothes so I save money by not getting more).” Hopefully that makes more sense than what I wrote above.

    Reply
    1. joslyne Post author

      Yes, I think some work at the front end is needed. But then it should be a total breeze! Now I just have to do the work. 🙂 And I had to laugh at your comments about seeing other women in boots!!! “This feeling will pass!” And it’s soooo true, it does! 🙂 Let me know of any good fashion finds! xo

      Reply
  3. fibrosmart

    I wish I had more style, but I tend to just keep wearing the same stuff too even though it’s a little dowdy. Being plus-sized and short is part of it, I just struggle to find things I like that fit well that don’t cost a mint. When I do spend money, it’s usually on basics for work, so not much excitement there. So I have no advice! I did splurge a year ago and bought myself 10 new pairs of really nice basic underwear. I’d been wearing the same ratty pairs forever. It was a little thing that made me feel a lot better.

    Reply
    1. joslyne Post author

      Oh my gosh! I totally hear you on the underwear!!! A few years ago my husband bought me a single pair of Patagonia underwear bc it was on sale at REI or something. But I LOVE them. They fit so well and don’t cause the whole muffin top scenario. :O This year for Christmas I asked for several more pairs. Feeling good underneath our old clothes goes a long way. 🙂

      Reply

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