Clothing box subscription services can help you change up your closet, but choosing the right clothing box service for you might feel overwhelming. It can feel like there are almost as many options to choose from as there are brick-and-mortar stores to shop at. The search becomes particularly challenging when you're looking for affordable clothes without scrimping on quality.
Stitch Fix is one of the most popular boxes available, with 3.1 million active clients, according to the company. But ThredUp offers an eco-friendly alternative with a few added perks. Here's how to decide which option might be better for you.
Best for building out your wardrobe
I've been a Stitch Fix user for over a year. I'm always excited when I get my box, which you can customize to come at whatever frequency fits your schedule or budget — no membership fee or a monthly subscription required. My account is linked to one of my Pinterest boards, so my stylist can get more ideas about what styles I like, and she always leaves a thoughtful note in my box, which is a nice personalized touch. The items my stylist sends me almost always hit the mark, which can be rare if you're finicky about your clothes.
Stitch Fix offers a fairly wide range of women's sizes — 00-24W in stylish dresses, pants, skirts and shirts.
In a recent box, for example, my stylist picked out an Erica Taylor green straight leg pant ($78), a Pinque navy blue cardigan ($46), a burnt-orange Market and Spruce top ($58), an off-white Lemon Tart blouse ($58) and a striped 41 Hawthorn knit top ($48). I had to exchange the Market and Spruce top for a bigger size, but Stitch Fix gets your replacement item to you within a couple days. The Lemon Tart blouse and the Erica Taylor pants were a little too summery for winter in Kentucky, but with a good cardigan, I decided it would still be possible to make them work. Once spring came around, I was glad I had kept them.
The total came to $288. If you buy everything in the box, you get a 25% discount (in this case $72), and the $20 styling fee you pay in advance counts toward your total purchase, bringing my total plus tax to about $229. Thus, my only issue with Stitch Fix: The price isn't accessible for everyone. Yes, the pieces are designer and quality. But even at the lowest price setting, if you're used to shopping at Target (like me), putting $50 down for a single shirt can feel jarring.
Also, when you get your box, you only have three days to try items on before deciding to purchase them or send them back, which can be a quick turnaround.
Three of the items in my Stitch Fix box made a complete outfit. The others were easily integrated with other pieces in my wardrobe. Also, if I were to really love a sweater or pair of pants, Stitch Fix sometimes gives the option to order them in different colors or patterns in the app under the My Items tab. A Style Card, which comes as a physical copy in each box and a digital version in the app, shows you ways to pair the items to make outfits — down to bags, shoes and jewelry.
Stitch Fix also has a direct buy option called Shop Your Looks. At the top of the app, click Shop between Fixes and Style. This lets you purchase individual items — pants, shoes, accessories — to match the piece you already have. These can be ordered without getting another Fix.
Stitch Fix has an app for iOS and Android that makes it easy to sign up, update your profile, check out and keep your stylist up to date on what you like and don't like. In addition to creating a style profile and extra style quizzes, Stitch Fix lets you link your Pinterest board to your profile so your stylist can get to know your fashion sense better. On the app dashboard, you can partake in daily Style Shuffles — a swiping system similar to Tinder that asks if you'd wear an item or not, to better get to know your style. The app has also added an experimental Inspiration tab where you can save Stitch Fix outfits you like and leave notes for your stylist.
Best for designer clothes on a budget
ThredUp is both an online clothing consignment and thrift store as well as a styling delivery service, offering lower prices on high-end items — new and used — from brands such as Kate Spade and Coach. ThredUp's Goody Box clothing delivery box doesn't require a membership fee or subscription, though there is a $10 styling fee. After making an account, you can select Goody Boxes in the app or in the web browser to get started.
I liked the flexibility of the Goody Box creation process. Instead of a rigid "this or that," ThredUp lets you pick two dress sizes, for example. I also appreciated that the sizing went an extra step, asking if I preferred shirts to fit tight or loose, long or short. Like Stitch Fix, and multiple other styling services, I could link my Pinterest board to help my stylist understand my clothing preferences.
The price range was also a bit more comfortable than some other similar services. You could choose items to arrive in prices ranging from $20-$40, $30-$60 and $40-$120. (In comparison, Stitch Fix items range in price from $20-$600, with an average cost of $55 apiece, according to its website.) A Goody Box also comes with more items than a Stitch Fix box — up to 10, to be exact. When my Goody Box arrived, the total cost to keep all 10 items would've been $304 (with the $10 styling fee credited back). If the 10 items had all been at their original prices, the total would have been $1,155, according to the ThredUp receipt. Given some of the brand names included in the box, like Ann Taylor, I thought paying under $300 for 10 items wasn't a bad deal.
ThredUp gives you seven days to try on the items in your box before you mail back what you don't want. They also give you the option to provide a wide range of feedback in the dropdown menu during checkout, such as "not flattering" or "too expensive," to improve your next box.
Similar to the Trunk Club clothing delivery box, you can explore themed boxes like Tropical Getaway, Spring Essentials and Workouts Optional. You can also "pack" your own Goody Box with or without the help of a stylist. If you want to get a feel for ThredUp before ordering a box, you can explore the website or app and shop like any regular clothing store. On top of the discounted items, there's also a Sales section. You can also get a head start on spring cleaning (and make a few bucks) by donating or selling clothes to ThredUp — just click the Clean Out tab.
Even though I'm a regular Stitch Fix user, if you're looking for a budget-friendly clothing subscription box to try, ThredUp may be a better option for you. If you're a fan of thrift shopping, you might like it even more. The used clothes already feel "broken in," but nothing smells like mothballs. Some of the fabric felt stiff sometimes, and I noticed that the waists of some shirts were wider than I typically like them, but my ThredUp experience was very positive. It's an added bonus that some of the items are new and still have their original tags. In addition, ThredUp is a more eco-friendly option than buying something brand-new — especially since you can donate or sell your clothes as well. I also liked that you get more time to try on ThredUp's clothes than you do Stitch Fix's items, so you don't make any hasty decisions, even if the clothes aren't as expensive.
The most important thing to know about any clothing subscription service is that stylists can't read your mind. The more information you can provide them about what you like and what you don't like, the better your experience will likely be, whatever size you are. Ultimately, choosing a style service is about finding one that works best for your lifestyle, budget and closet. Don't be afraid to get all the information and shop around.