Once upon a time, the blog world blew up with people talking about StitchFix, a personal styling service that, for a small fee, selects outfits for you, ships them to your door to try on, and lets you choose what to keep and what to return. It sounded great for people that are short on time, or don’t like to shop, or aren’t so good at the whole fashion thing. It sounded great for me! Well, StitchFix only covers sizes 0 to 14 (RTW). I’m not spending 20 hours a week in the gym right now, so I’m more like an 18 these days. No StitchFix for me.
Then, one day, I saw an ad for Dia & Co on Facebook. It sounded like StitchFix for the plus size community – and the skies parted and the angels sang! Or something like that.
Dia & Co describe themselves like so:
Dia&Co is an online personal styling service for women with curves, sizes 14-32. We take the time to get to know you and then send hand-selected clothing and accessories chosen to match your unique style and figure.
Sign me up.
Here’s how it works: once you fill out the style survey and request a box, Dia & Co will assign you a personal stylist. For a $20 styling fee, the stylist will pick 5 items to ship to you, along with a note card with suggested outfits and styling advice. You have 5 days to try everything on in the comfort of your own home. If you decide to keep and purchase any item in the box, the $20 styling fee is credited back to you. If you buy the whole box, you get the styling fee credited, plus an additional 20% discount. If you decide that you don’t want any of the items, you lose the $20 styling fee, but that’s it. Items are returned via a pre-paid USPS envelope, provided in the box.
I decided to try it out. On Jan 1, I filled out the style survey and provided links to this blog and my pinterest and some other things to give my stylist an idea of what I’m currently into. On Jan 9, my first box shipped, and yesterday (Jan 13), it arrived!
Everything was wrapped securely in tissue paper inside the box. My stylist hand-wrote a note to go with her styling tips. The box included an invoice with the prices for each item and a pre-paid USPS plastic envelope to return any items I didn’t want.
I decided not to look at the prices until after I had tried everything on, so that I wouldn’t be biased against an expensive piece. The average price point for Dia & Co items is $50, but the range can be anywhere from $25 to $150. There are very specific budget questions in the initial survey, so the stylist will try to offer items that fit within your budget. Paying retail prices for clothing is already out of my budget (hello, Kohls billion percent off!) so I figured, I’m going to have sticker shock no matter what – but if I want to develop some sense of a personal style and dress a little nicer, I’m going to have to pay for it – at least for the pieces I can’t sew knock-offs of! I also rationalized that good, staple pieces that get a lot of wear are worth paying for.
My Dia box had 5 items: a sweater, black velvet leggings, and a cardigan/waistcoat type thing, which were suggested as an outfit, a sweater dress, and a funky knit top. I absolutely loved the knit top – it totally hit my style – but was just a tiny bit too small. I decided to request a size up. I loved the sweater dress too. I’ve never seen a knit sweater dress that managed to be fit-and-flare; usually they’re form fitting and clingy. I liked the sweater, and since I am suffering from a lack of cold weather, work-appropriate clothing at the moment, the sweater was a keeper, and the velvet leggings fit well and were surprisingly comfortable. I hesitated on the leggings, because velvet plus cats = cat hair fever, but I did like them. I wasn’t a big fan of the waistcoat (my stylist called it a cardigan… the tag called it a waistcoat). It looked to me like someone 20 years old than me would wear it. To be fair, I didn’t try it on in the ensemble suggested, because I was short on time.
First impression: 2 loves, 2 likes, 1 meh. 3 definite keepers, 1 maybe.
Time to look at the invoice.
My first thought: “Of course the dress is a hundred bucks! GAH whyyyyyyy universe, whyyyyyyy?”
The leggings seemed a bit pricey, but everything else was on par with what I expected.
I added up the 4 items I wanted, and they came to $214. Hmm…. for $5 more I can get the old lady waistcoat, too, because buying the whole box would invoke the 20% discount.
And that is how I came to buy the whole box.
OK! Here goes. Sadly, I could not get a picture of the funky knit top, because I am sending it back to get a size bigger. But here’s the rest.
First up, the sweater dress:
This fabric is just the perfect weight and the perfect softness and it feels like it will last a long time. I would have never picked it off the rack to try on myself, and that’s exactly why I need a service like this.
Next up: the sweater with velvet leggings and waistcoat. I can’t lie… I do like the waistcoat a little more now that I’ve seen it put together with the whole suggested outfit. (The knit top was suggested as an option for this outfit, too). Here it is:
And here’s the sweater and leggings, sans waistcoat, plus cat:
The more I look at these, the more I think I might like the outfit better WITH the waistcoat. Hmm. I could also wear the sweater with jeans, of course.
My original plan was to order a box every two or three months. I don’t really have money to budget on clothing like this. I’m in such dire need of work-appropriate clothes, though, and this box was such a success, that I’m going to get another box next month and see how that goes. That should set me up for winter, and then I can hold off a couple months until spring.
There’s no commitment or required frequency of boxes. When you fill out your ratings for your current box, you tell them when you want your next box – next month, skip a month, hold off until you say, or no more boxes, thanks.
I’m very happy with my first Dia & Co box. The service itself is right up my alley, and I can tell by the pieces in this box that my stylist did her homework and definitely checked out my links and survey to get a feel for my tastes. I had to laugh that there was so much black/gray. My mom used to bemoan the fact that I never wore any “colors.” Black has always been my thing. I did branch out a bit in my late 30s and started wearing more colors, but I have to say – the return to black and gray felt like a hug from an old friend. I have to imagine that my stylist was attempting to choose items that would look good on me, so maybe I wasn’t as fashion-dumb as I thought I was back then. See, Mom! Even the stylist picked black for me!
Why am I buying RTW clothes instead of sewing my own? Fear not… I am most definitely still sewing my own! But, to be honest, I don’t have the time or inclination to improve my sewing skills to the point where I can make higher end stuff. Heck, I don’t have the time to sew enough easy stuff to cover a whole work week! The other issue is that I really have no sense of personal style. I’ve been a jeans, tees, and hoodies girl for so long that wearing a dress was a foreign concept to me before 2015. I had to be going to a wedding or a funeral to put one on. I’m hoping that with the help of a stylist, I can figure out the kinds of things that work for me and my tastes and as a result, get better at putting outfits together on my own. This will surely help my sewing, too, as I’ll have a better idea of what fits me and what doesn’t. I think it’ll get me thinking outside the box, too, as I’ll be trying things I never would have considered on my own.
So, there you have it. I’ll post an update when I get the replacement knit top. My next box should arrive in a month. Let me know if you try it out!
Note – the Dia & Co links in this post are referral links. I’ll earn a small credit toward my next box if you sign up for your first box through my link. Thanks!
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