Following our review of Stitch Fix, we caught up with Rich Simmons, UK Styling Team Supervisor at the online styling service, to find out his tips and tricks on looking good this year!
Happy New Year! What are some of your top tips to dressing comfortably, but stylishly, in 2020?
Lightweight layering is a great place to start. Avoid the tendency to wear the heavy jumpers in winter months as you can end up overheating when you finally get indoors. Fine gauge wools like merino and cashmere are also a great option.
Another style I’m loving is an elasticated waist. No longer reserved for the jogger, I love the way most brands are working in this detail to more dressy bottoms to feel chic and elegant without compromising on comfort - which can be a great style-solve if you overindulged in December.
Are the traditional golds and silvers best to wear around January, or should we be a little more daring?
Whilst respecting the classics can be the safe option, there is nothing wrong with working in something a little bit more exciting. Staying close to darker, wintery hues like dark green and burgundy will not look out of place paired with your monotone outfit pieces and help to add some more personality to your look. I’m also a big fan of copper, mustard and sapphire blue around this time of year. They feel tonally appropriate for the season but add a touch of winter-defying brightness.
For those uncomfortable with showing off too much of their body, what tips do you have for dressing well this New Year?
My first consideration is fabrication. Ensuring you have ease of movement is key, so look out for material with some stretch content. A sure-fire way to feel uncomfortable is to choose an item with no stretch and feeling that you’re unable to move naturally - this can highlight areas of your body that you’re not happy to show off and even the most reserved cuts can appear revealing.
Next, I would consider cut. Don’t be afraid to wear fitted items; this becomes easier by ensuring the fabric is right for your body and the occasion. A more substantial material can help you feel secure and even cuts you would steer clear of could work. Lastly, be mindful of proportions, especially when layering. Avoid layering loose fitting mid or outer layers over loose fitting outfits, this can add layers and bulk to areas you don’t want it. Try a fitted leather biker jacket, blazer or open cardigan that will give you shape at the waist.
As for Stitch Fix, can you tell us a little bit about how styling people online, via the internet, works?
When you sign up to Stitch Fix, the customer fills out a ‘Style Profile’, which includes various questions on their individual style and fit preferences. This allows us to learn what our customers want, and means we’re able to provide a really personalised and curated experience. The customer is matched with an expert, human stylist who curates a five item ‘Fix’ based on their specific preferences. For each Fix, there is a £10 styling fee, which can be redeemed against the items the customer chooses to purchase.
Each Fix contains five hand-picked items of clothing or accessories, a personalised note from your stylist and styling cards with images to help illustrate the various ways to wear and style each item. Customers only pay for what they keep, and all postage and returns are free. They will receive a 20% discount if all five Fix items are kept.
We also ask our customers to share feedback on the items they receive in order to improve their future experience. We also allow our customers to select how often they receive Fixes: monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly or on-demand (schedule as needed). You have to opt-in to receive regular shipments, not opt-out, like most subscription services. Finally, no two Fixes cost the same amount and each Fix shipment is uniquely personalised to each customer.
Is it a challenge to style somebody you've never met in person?
At Stitch Fix, our Style Profile is extremely detailed, so we are able to get a really accurate feel for what our customers like to wear, across sizing, pricing, and their personal style. We also ask about their lifestyle, so that we can really get to know the person and their routine. At the end of the Style Profile, there is a box they can fill out with anything else they’d like to notify their stylist of. They might need a specific outfit for a party or a wedding for example, or might mention that they love to wear jumpsuits and tend to avoid the colour green. These personal touches allow us to get to know a person and their style needs without meeting them in person. We also style with the help of algorithms, which is a really useful tool in allowing us to better understand a customer’s size and style, without having to sort through hundreds of options.
Personally, after having spent close to 20 years in traditional fashion retail, I think our marriage of expert human stylists and data science far more efficient. I am able to see and act on more information than I’ve ever been able to gather from a customer when face to face - we are very intentional about the details we ask for, which enables me to choose the right pieces quickly and personalise in a way not possible in my past retail life.
With the high street and retail constantly changing, where do you think the future lies?
Stitch Fix is born from the insight that shopping on the high street is hard to navigate, and shopping online can feel overwhelming. Stitch Fix helps people discover the clothes and styles they love, from the brands they trust, using expert human stylists and the power of technology to redefine and update the traditional shopping experience. It’s a smarter, easier and more fun way to shop. I believe the future of shopping lies in humans and AI working in partnership to give a fantastic customer experience.
Finally, what will you be wearing this New Year?
I’m loving subtle check wool overcoats at the moment and how they are able to cross into both formal and casual looks. Being able to layer jeans and basic tee is great for the milder winter days we’ve been having lately. Aside from that, I’m usually a fan of the ‘all black, everything’ look but I’m determined to work in more dark floral prints to add some variety and flair this season.
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