Stitch Fix in February: Polka dots and studs and solids, oh my!

Stitch Fix

This box showing up in your entryway is like Christmas morning circa 1992, I tell ya.

Like a Puppy Surprise with five puppies.

Like a whole bucket of vintage Polly Pockets for the taking.

Yes, friends, it’s time for another Stitch Fix*! Back in January, I decided to try the service as a treat to myself for hitting my goal weight this year. Now 35 pounds slimmer than I was this time last year, I’m still getting used to dressing my new shape . . . and am not entirely comfortable with my thinner frame, honestly. But my selection of clothes after losing four sizes has been pretty lackluster, and sometimes you just have to #treatyoself.

Sorry for using a hashtag in a post. I just . . . it happens sometimes.

Stitch Fix-3

How does it work? Create an account with Stitch Fix detailing your likes and dislikes, specific measurements, style preferences and much more. For a $20 styling fee, five articles of clothing chosen specifically for you by a stylist arrive at your door — and you keep only what you like. The $20 fee is applied to any items you choose to add to your closet; everything else goes in a prepaid envelope straight back to Stitch Fix. If you like everything, you will get a 25 percent off discount on your entire Fix.

Easy peasy.

My first impressions this time? Honestly, I wasn’t super excited about the muted color palette. I guess I’m just dreaming of spring and was hoping for some brighter-hued pieces. But I know better than to get too judgmental too quickly; the trick is to give everything a chance and try it on, regardless of whether you believe it’s very “you.”

“You” can change.

So away we go . . .


41Hawthorn | Tess Abstract Butterfly Print Scarf | $32

Cute print, but I wasn’t crazy about the sherbet-like colors. I mean, I know I probably wear too much black, but I just couldn’t see myself reaching for this one — and my scarf collection has already reached a critical level.

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TCEC | Stevenson Polka Dot Crew Neck Sweater | $48

Okay, okay . . . so from the time I was in kindergarten-ish, I’ve harbored a deep hatred for anything tight around my neck. Scarves are okay because they’re light, airy and easy to untie and remove. But turtle necks and crew neck-style shirts? They make me feel constricted. Tight. Uncomfortable. All this to say that I loved the polka dots, wasn’t crazy about the feel. You know, around my neck.

Also, I’m weird.

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Just Black | Adora Skinny Jean | $88

Ah, the perils of being a short woman. I have such a hard time finding pants — and though these fit well through my seat and hips, they were too long. Most pants are too long. It’s pretty much an eternal struggle and this slimming pair put up a good fight, but I couldn’t justify keeping them for the price. I do love the offbeat, olive-toned color, though! Very unique, and a good alternative to khaki.

Stitch Fix-5

41Hawthorn | Moni Stud Detailed 3/4 Sleeve Blouse | $58

Comfortable, stylish and well-made, this top and I clicked right away. I love the stud details — a little edgy for this bookworm! — and thought it looked super cute with the included skinny jeans, though it will work with black slacks, too!

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41Hawthorn | Capitola Fit & Flare Tank Dress | $78

The color! The fabric! The flare! I really loved the style of this dress and wanted it to work, especially because I fell in love with a blue dress in my first Fix, but alas — the fit wasn’t quite right. Though it’s not obvious here, the top of the dress around the shoulders was loose with too-large arm holes. Sadly, I would have to wear a camisole underneath to prevent, like, half my bra from showing. That could have made for some interesting stares . . .

So what did I keep? Well . . .

Stitch Fix-7

The black stud top! YAY!

I like it with jeans and flats as well as black pants for work, and I’m going to throw on a pair of chevron earrings to make it fancier for the office.

Though I’ve only kept two items so far, Stitch Fix is so much fun — a delightful surprise in every box. The best part about the service is that the more honest feedback you provide, the better your future selections will be. Stylists even check out your Pinterest style board, if you provide it. I plan to tweak my profile to forgo pants moving forward, concentrating instead on tops and dresses. It’s hard enough for me to find slacks that work, let alone a kindhearted stranger across the country!

I’ve already scheduled my March Fix and look forward to seeing what arrives just in time for spring! I am so ready. Bring on the sandals and cherry blossoms!

*Stitch Fix affiliate links. Though I paid for this Fix myself, I will receive a referral credit if you sign up through my links (thank you!). Stitch Fix did not sponsor or request this post; I just dig it and am spreading the love!

Shedding that mighty comfort zone with Stitch Fix


I have a hard time getting dressed these days.

I know I wear too much black and my clothes are rather ill-fitting and I lack a distinct sense of “THIS IS ME!” in my apparel choices. But the truth is, pre-weight loss, I was mostly trying to hide beneath my tops and jeans. I certainly wasn’t showing off in them.

I just didn’t feel good. Physically, mentally, emotionally.

Today is actually my one-year anniversary of joining Weight Watchers! And what a year it’s been. Losing 35 pounds has given me a new perspective — and though I’m still not completely comfortable strutting my stuff, I’m getting there. I mean, I’m a book nerd; I’m not someone accustomed to others’ evaluation. It feels weird.

So this post? A little out there for me. Definitely out of my comfort zone. But I figure I’m getting gutsy and ready to start investing in myself, and Stitch Fix* was calling my name.

What’s Stitch Fix?

A personal styling service that brings fashion to your doorstep. After filling out a rather extensive style profile (with all your appropriate sizing, measurements, likes/dislikes, etc.), shoppers pay $20 to have a collection of five items — dresses, skirts, tops, jeans and/or jewelry — sent directly to you.

You set the budget and share information about yourself, including a Pinterest style board (if you have one). You try everything on at home, choose what to keep and mail the rest back in a pre-paid envelope. If you keep an item, your $20 fee is applied toward your purchase. If you keep all the items, you receive a 25 percent discount on your total. Anything that ain’t workin’ for you is returned at no cost. More details are available here!

Stitch Fix box

Why I’m goin’ for it

To celebrate losing four dress sizes, I decided to treat myself to a Fix and use it as an opportunity to get outside my little bubble. I scheduled my first shipment weeks ago and waited anxiously for the package to arrive, checking the tracking like a lunatic. What can I say? I’m super impatient.

In my style profile, I mentioned my changing size and desire to try wearing new things. I hate that I’m constantly in dark, drab clothing — and as I work to scale down my closet and donate items I no longer need, I’m ready to start investing in clothing I will actually wear and enjoy for years to come. Now that I’ve reached my goal weight and am determined to maintain it, the timing feels right to upgrade my clothes.

The only problem?


Like so many of us, I’ve been trained to love a “good deal” — but that $8 sweater bought on clearance looks a whole lot less inviting after a wash or two. I never paid attention to the labels or fabrics, ignoring the hems and seams coming apart rather quickly. If the item was on clearance, I bought it. Never mind that it looked flimsy and threadbare in no time.

And then who wasted their cash?

I’ll be honest — paying $50-70 for pants or a top is not typically in my comfort zone. Though Stitch Fix allows you to choose a price level for items, there are no $10 shirts. And that’s okay. I’m not rich, friends, trust me, but I’m realizing that investing in higher-quality items I truly like — versus just a bunch of cheap-o clothes I’ll tire of quickly — is going to serve me better in the long run.

If I add up all the impulse purchases I make at department stores or Target, I easily surpass the budget I would set for Stitch Fix each month. As 2014 is the year of being more accountable and conscious for my actions and my spending, I’m foregoing buying other items in favor of trying Stitch Fix. I want to get serious and sophisticated.

Mind = open.

Also, I chopped off my hair two weeks ago. It’s probably the shortest it’s ever been since I was, like, 10, so prepare to be shocked. And amazed. And maybe freaked out. It’s different, I know — and different can be scary! But I really liked it. My tresses seem slightly less insane when they’re not frizzy and long. Frizzy and short is actually much better — who knew?!

My first Fix

Skinny jean

1. Just Black Dean Ankle Zip Skinny Jean | $78

Though I liked the fit of these, I wasn’t sure about the ankle zip detail — and I have a similar pair already. If I was in need of black skinny pants, I probably would have given them more of a fair shake! And honestly, since I wear black to work every day (and think these would have been too casual for the office), I try not to wear black in my “off-hours,” too. But they looked great with my favorite red flats and the tops included in my Fix. Including . . .

Striped top

2. 41Hawthorn Brentwood Jersey Stripe Tiered Top | $68

Cute top, but too similar to items I already own. In fact, I shed the black-and-white striped top I wore to work yesterday in order to put this one on! For $68, I would have wanted something more outside my comfort zone. But the material was very soft and I really liked the tiered styling; the triangles at the bottom were flattering, I thought.

V-neck top

3. Collective Concepts Valencia V-Neck 3/4 Sleeve Blouse | $68

Oh, I was torn about this one — but in the end, I think the sheer quality of the fabric ultimately convinced me to wait. I hate having to constantly wear a camisole under everything. I loved the bright color, though, and thought it was really cute with heels and the black skinny jeans! I’ll have to look for something similar myself.

Purple skirt

4. 41Hawthorn Milo Pleated Detail Skirt | $38

Cute — but too snug around the midsection. Half a cookie would have sent me into paralyzing discomfort!

And finally . . .


5. Ezra Kim Racer Back Fit & Flare Dress | $64

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! I knew I’d be keeping this one as soon as I slid it over my head. The material has a slight stretch that is sleek and polished, and my husband had to pick his jaw up off the ground when I walked out. It’s very comfortable, sophisticated and lovely.

I added my own belt at the waist, plus one of my favorite zebra-striped necklaces, and I could easily see how it would mesh with my current wardrobe while still updating my look. It’s hard to tell from that first photo, but it’s actually a very bright blue similar to the bridesmaid’s dress I wore in my sister’s wedding. Oh, like this:

Blue dress

The verdict

Only the blue dress, No. 5, has a permanent place in my closet now, but I absolutely loved the experience of Stitch Fix! The personalized note and style cards that accompany the pieces were so fun to read, and I felt inspired just looking through everything.

Stitch Fix was so fun, and I adored trying on clothes chosen by a stylist for me. A fellow Megan definitely nailed my interests and sizing, and I liked that the tops were in the realm of something I would normally choose while still being just a little bit different.

I already have my next Fix scheduled for February . . . and I sense an obsession a’brewing.

* Referral link. I am not being paid to write about Stitch Fix and purchased my first Fix myself, but signing up through my links will grant me a referral credit toward my next box. Thanks, friends!

Brightening up

Black is my go-to. Wearing “dress-up” clothes to work eight hours a day, five days a week, my biggest priorities are looking professional while feeling comfortable. In those early post-college days, I had a handful of dress tops, one pair of (black) slacks and two pairs of heels. When I earned my first paycheck, I started flipping that dough into other pieces . . . and other pieces . . . and still more pieces. Building a wardrobe.

Needless to say, I have a little more clothing now. And, um, a few more pairs of shoes.

But one thing has remained constant: all that black. On any given day, I’m wearing at least one — if not two — black articles of clothing. Black boots, black heels, black flats. Black pants or a black cami under a black sweater. Black earrings with a black belt. Black.

I’m not sure where my late-blooming obsession with dark hues came from, but it’s sort of my signature now. Black and red are incorporated into almost every outfit, and I’m mostly okay with it. Lately I’ve been waking up early only to stand in front of my closet with the familiar, baffled look of a woman who squeaks about having “nothing to wear,” though. I’m just so sick of everything I own.

I went shopping on my lunch break Wednesday, tearing through a local department store until my arms ached under the weight of dresses, shirts and capri-length pants. In 30 minutes, I’d racked up a hefty bill (but had a 30 percent off coupon so, you know. Less guilt). Where once I’d have wandered around the mall with friends and my sister for hours, I rarely get out anymore — so it’s easier to justify my shopping sprees by remembering I don’t piece-meal purchase things throughout the week.

My goal for the outing was clear: buy cute, casual clothes I can wear on upcoming trips to New York City and California, and no black. When I do shop, it’s usually for work-appropriate garb . . . which makes sense, of course. I spend most of my time in work-appropriate garb. But that means I wind up reaching for the same two shirts on Saturdays and Sundays. And even those have black.

Like a frizzy-haired tornado, I wound up with three short-sleeved cardigans (gray, white, fuschia); a knee-length floral dress to wear to “The Newsies” in New York next weekend (ye-ah!); two brightly-colored tops; khaki and blue cotton crop pants; and a pair of fuschia-jeweled earrings. Basically? Everything I would never wear in my “normal” life.

So, for the first time in a year or so (or more?), I recently went to work in a floral, pastel-colored top, brown capris, brown heels and a bright pink pin — as evidenced above. Not a stitch of black to be found.

And I have to say: it felt good. My initial awkwardness over the no-black rule faded by lunchtime, especially as coworkers complimented my ensemble. As we’re thick in the middle of the warm weather months, I’m going to make it a personal goal to have a no-black-clothes day weekly. And if I’m feeling crazy brave? Maybe twice a week.

I’m sure the Angel of Darkness will be glad I’m out of his closet.


Is your wardrobe dominated by any particular color? Are you as into black as I am? What’s your favorite color to wear?

The dress that changed my life

At some point in the last few months, my style has changed dramatically. For a while I was contributing this shift to a pair of $6 leggings I bought at Target, crediting them with giving me the ability to wear a pair of slouchy black boots with a dress to work. Not too keen on the idea of freezing to death when the temperatures dropped, leggings opened up a new world to me: the world of wearing skirts. In winter!

What I failed to realize? I never would have bought the leggings — or the skirts, or the dresses — without having first purchased The Dress.

The Dress is a deep pink color cut just above the knee, cinched at the waist with a matching fabric belt. It’s a classic silhouette that hugs my curves just enough to be flattering — but not enough to hug some, ahem, areas I would rather not be hugged. Y’all know what I’m saying.

After undergoing a period of intense emotional change and losing a bit of weight, I was feeling ready to embrace something new and different in my life. I wanted new clothes! A new attitude! A new me!

And I got it. Walking around H&M in Annapolis with my mother, I came across The Dress on a random rack, tried it on and, a mere $30 later, took that baby home with me. It wasn’t something I would have normally chosen for myself, which is exactly why I bought it. After years of steadfastly refusing to wear anything exposing my legs, I was ready to let all of that go.

The first day I wore it to the office, I created a bit of a stir. Gone were my baggy, frayed black dress pants — the ones I purchased right after college in an effort to establish my “career wardrobe.” (Some of my fashion choices from that era, just a few years back, still haunt me.) In a dress — and a dress that showed off my figure — I earned appreciative looks from friends and coworkers, gathering up their compliments like sprinkles on cupcakes.

Wearing The Dress to work — where attire is pretty business casual — gave me a super confidence boost. And whenever I want to feel cute, sassy but professional, I throw on this lil’ number with black flats, a chunky black necklace and get ready to take on the world. I love it so much, I’m even wearing it in my column photo at the paper! Basically, it’s my Power Dress.

Do you have a Power Outfit — a certain article of clothing that makes you feel so good every time you wear it? I’ll cull any ideas for a back-up. You know, just in case The Dress ever lets me down. (Right. Like that could happen.)

Hoodie love

Happy New Year! I hope everyone managed to get some rest last night, didn’t find themselves in any sort of trouble and woke up today ready to tackle a fresh year of new challenges. Or… you just had a good time! You know, whichever.

terps_hoodieI’m off today and plan to spend most of it cleaning up around the house, going back through all of my great Christmas gifts and pondering when to take down all of the decorations. And I’m going shopping, too. Some of these gift cards are burning a hole in my pocket… and I could really use some new casual clothes. Since I became one of the legions of women sauntering around in “business casual” clothes a year and a half ago, I’ve been stocking up on dark separates, slacks and boots ever since. The problem there? I’m managed to completely overlook my “evening wear.” I wear silky tops and heels all day long, and when I get home I just want to throw on something and be comfortable. This usually results in that most dreaded of all pieces of apparel post-college: the hoodie.

In my pink Maryland hoodie... and being beat up by my dog

In my pink Maryland hoodie... and being beat up by my dog

Let’s be honest: hoodies are great. In the fall, walk around any university campus in the country and you’ll be assaulted by the fleecy goodness of school pride. The first crisp day in which you can wear your school sweatshirt is a very happy day — and college freshmen everywhere make purchasing their school’s hoodie one of their first orders of business. And what’s not to like? They’re warm, they’re comfortable, they allow you to express your collegiate pride or joy about a band or remind you of a great vacation you took. On our way to Europe in May 2007, my sister was freezing during a lay-over in North Carolina. What did she buy on our way to Italy and England? A North Carolina hoodie! With flip-flop decals! So now when she wears that N.C. sweatshirt, I think of Europe. See? Memories!

But I’ve been told by friends — and, well, Stacy and Clinton on TLC’s “What Not To Wear” — that the modern woman can’t survive on hoodie apparel alone. I would never go out for a family function or an evening out or some sort of “sophisticated” gathering in one of my many UMD hoodies, but the fact is that when I get home at the end of the day, that’s the first thing I’m pulling on. Usually with pajama pants, no less.

No, I’ve got to class it up a bit. I have a few gift cards, some free time and the will to make a positive change in my appearance this year — and I’m going to put it all to good use at Kohl’s, I suspect. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even get really crazy and cut my hair — or try to lose some weight. Anything is possible!

An unassuming jean skirt, or . . .

I may be a bit of a packrat, but I am generally pretty good about getting rid of clothes — whether it be because they no longer fit, they’re out of style, I just don’t like them, I’ve ruined them in some way . . . you know. There are a million reasons to get rid of old clothes, and only a handful of reasons to keep them.

Since the end of a particularly heart-breaking relationship several years ago, I’ve generally been able to pack up old things and place them in a nice little “boyfriend box” — a stash of momentos from past relationships I keep under my bed. I’m sure my current significant other isn’t thrilled about its existence, but I think he understands that some of that stuff . . . some of that just can’t chucked out. Whatever the reason I have for keeping old dog tags, photos, cards and printed e-mails (yes, I have printed out plenty of e-mails!), they’re all together in one common place, gathering dust out of sight but oddly still within reach.

Except for the clothes.

For years, I’ve tormented myself with constant reminders by keeping around old tops, skirts and sandals purchased when I was a completely different person — physically, emotionally. Even though I routinely go through all of my clothes and pack of bags of them to give to charity, there are a few items I just couldn’t bring myself to give away. Until this weekend.


Exhibit A

I know — it’s an unassuming, albeit short, jean skirt. Probably not that trendy. Definitely doesn’t really wrap around me quite the way it used to . . . and it’s incredibly wrinkled from the years I’ve had it shoved in some dark, cold recess of my closet. But I bought it on an important day . . . and wore it on an important day. But three and a half years later, I don’t need the jean skirt anymore.

I got rid of a lot of other clothes, too — clothes I thought I would have to save forever, just “because.” I read somewhere (or heard somewhere?) that if you’re emotional about having to part with something material, take a photo of it — you can keep the picture forever, but you don’t have to worry about the stuff taking up space in your house — and your heart — anymore. It’s just stuff.

To paraphrase home organizer extraordinaire Peter Walsh, “Will you choose the stuff, or will you choose your life?”

Needless to say, I’m choosing my life.

So, goodbye to . . .


Exhibit B


Exhibit C

Exhibits D & E

Exhibits D & E

Maybe no one will notice?

black_and_brownIn my post-election-results stupor of excitement and emotional drainage last night, I had to force myself to get my stuff — and clothes — ready for work this morning. I figured I would feel even worse at 7 a.m. than I did at 1:30 a.m. and dug around in my closet for a while to find something suitable for work today. I thought I had grabbed a white sweater, dark brown pants and my brown boots, carefully laying them out for this morning.

What I realized at lunch, with a growing sense of horror, was that my “brown” pants were actually black — very black — and I am now traipsing around the office, Panera and Southern Maryland wearing brown boots, black pants, a black purse and a white sweater. That’s a fashion faux pas if ever I’ve heard of one.

Even my boyfriend recognized my obvious gaff — as I stopped dead in my tracks walking across the street.

“Are these pants black?” I asked Palmer in horror.

He squinted at my legs. “Yes. And your shoes are brown.”

Oh, the shame!

See, if only I had this purse I’ve been lusting after for months, I could have made this whole debacle work!

I blame Obama — I haven’t been able to think (or see!) straight since the results poured in last night.