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October Stitch Fix Review - and why I'm pushing "pause" for now

This is my 7th box from Stitch Fix! I requested a basic black sweater, since I remember that being a gap in my cold-weather wardrobe last year, plus my usual request for ethical/U.S.-made made pieces. My stylist described all 5 of these pieces as sustainable or made in the US, but like previous Fixes, some didn't seem to be when I looked into the brands. Here's what I got, what I kept, and what I thought.

{Stitch Fix Basics: Stitch Fix is a style box of 5 items chosen for you by a stylist and delivered to your door! A style survey tells your stylist about your style, size, and price point preferences. The stylist fee is $20, which also includes shipping and return shipping, and is credited toward any items you keep from your Fix! You can get scheduled Fixes every few weeks, monthly, every other month, or every 3 months. You can share links to your Instagram and/or Pinterest board to give your stylist ideas of what styles you like. You can also leave a note for your stylist about what types of things you might like to see in your next Fix. If you want to try it out, this link will get you $25 off any items you keep from your first box!}

The North Face, Campshire Vest, $98, Made in Jordan

I consider myself creative when it comes to clothes, but I had no ideas about how to style this fluffy green vest. I checked out the outfit suggestions included in with my Fix, and that showed it with a plaid button down in a coordinating color scheme and a geometric-design long sleeved top. My only plaids were terrible colors with this, and I didn't really have anything in my closet like the other, so I tried a few different things. None of them were love, just okay. I will say the vest was super soft and WARM, which I did like. However, I just recently invested in a grey down vest from Patagonia Worn Wear that feels a lot more like "me," so this went back.

I spent a fair amount of time reading the lengthy "Responsibility Policy" information on The North Face website. It was largely focused on environmental concerns and giving programs, which are important, but not my primary concern. They did, however, have one page dedicated to social responsibility and manufacturing work environment. The rather blurry graphic was dated 2017, but there were also links to The North Face's parent company, VF Corporation, where there was even more to read. I'd encourage you to check it out for yourself if you want to learn more about this company's policies and practices. It sounds like they have made improvements to their supply chain and also done good things in many communities where their factories are located. However, their audit procedure is scheduled in advance (though they reserve the right to make unannounced audits) and appears to be mostly done internally by VF as opposed to third-party external accountability. I also looked up The North Face on the Good on You app. I don't consider Good on You ratings as the final say on ethics, but it can be another source of information. The North Face is rated "It's a Start" on the Good on You app, which makes it moderately rated in their system (The Good on You rankings are We Avoid, Not Good Enough, It's a Start, Good, and Great). My final conclusion was that they may be better than many brands, and if I loved a Stitch Fix item I would keep it, but if I were just shopping for myself I would start elsewhere.

Leo & Nicole, Cowl Neck Sweater, $58, Made in China

Warp + Weft, Mitchell Skinny Jean, $98, Made in Pakistan

This sweater is so soft, comfy, and versatile. My stylist said she couldn't find a black one for me, so she sent this dark purple. It's not a substitute for black in my wardrobe, but purple is my favorite color, and can see wearing this a lot. Leo & Nicole have a brief social responsibility statement on their website, including a mention of regular production facility inspections. I would prefer more details, third-party verification, and a specific commitment to fair wages, but appreciate that they shared at least something.

I like these jeans; they are a different fit/wash combination than others I own, and I wear jeans a ton, so these were also a keep. Warp + Weft is very focused on environmental sustainability and include a lot of details about that on their site, but it also included this brief mention of other ethical concerns: "we’re committed to ethical practices, expressed through fair wages, reasonable hours and positive working conditions." However, here is also a perfect example of the confusing garment labeling I've been describing in my last couple Fix reviews. It looks like a U.S.-based brand, but keep looking for the actual "Made in Pakistan" label; it's hiding on the very back in tiny print close to the seam. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with manufacturing in Pakistan, or that these aren't ethically made there. I'm just asking, why hide it? At some point, someone made the decision about how these labels would look and where they would be placed.

Kaileigh, Knit Faux Wrap Dress, $54, Made in Guatemala

I love wearing green! It pretty much always looks good with my skin tone and hair. Plus, this dress has a wrap top that actually lays right on my torso, a rare find. However, I couldn't find anything about the Kaileigh brand's manufacturing standards (or anything else, for that matter. This brand seems to exist only on Stitch Fix, Thread Up, and Poshmark.), so back it went. I'm not sure why my stylist thought this one was sustainable/ethical/U.S.-made. Unless it's because the "Designed in the USA" label is located prominently at the center back, while the the actual "Made in Guatemala" label is located in the side seam. As is often the case, I don't know for sure that this wasn't made under ethical conditions, but I'm committed to purchasing items that were.

Le Lis, Woven Back Knit Top, $44, Made in the USA

I wanted to love this, but I've promised myself no more shirts that I find almost-but-not-quite long enough to wear with leggings. I have a few in my wardrobe, and rarely wear them because I just don't like how they look. I've tried to to stop concerning myself over whether or not something is "figure-flattering" (Who decided what my figure should look like, anyway?), but I just can't quite get past how shirts this length stop right at the widest point of my hips. I've also recently realized that I'm not a big fan of 3/4 length sleeves. They always seem like a good idea, but there's only about one day a year when I can actually wear them. Otherwise it's either too warm or too cold, and the length is perfect for getting bunched up under cardigan sleeves if I try that. This top went back.

Finding 2 out of 5 things to keep makes this a decent Fix for me, and getting a box of clothes to try every month or two has been so fun! I've also tried a few styles I wouldn't have otherwise, which was one of my goals for Stitch Fix. However, I've come to realize a few things. First, I simply don't need several pieces of new clothing on any kind of regular basis. I'm just consuming more, and I tend to do that too much without any help. When I do want or need something, there are plenty of ethical or fair trade brands I know and love that I want to support with my purchase. I've also decided that, even though it's interesting, there are other things I would rather do with my time than research the ethics of brands that come in my Fix. So for the time being, I've decided Stitch Fix isn't a good fit for me, and I've put a pause on receiving Fixes.

Who would Stitch Fix be good for? Primarily, I would say someone who dislikes shopping (or just doesn't have time) and would really appreciate the service of someone choosing clothes for them. It might also work well for someone who is looking to gradually add to or change their wardrobe for some reason, maybe due to size change or moving to a new climate. If that's you and you want to try Stitch Fix (and get $25 off items you keep from your first box!) you can learn more and sign up at this link.

What do you think? Did I make the right choices with these styles? What do you think about my conclusions about the service? Any suggestions for an ethically-made basic black sweater?



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