The last personal styling service I will be reviewing in this series is Natalie Attired. This is a "new kid on the block" when it comes to this type of service - they have just celebrated their first anniversary in July. So, some of the issues I raise further down in this post may be due to "growing pains," and I hope the company will deal with them in the near future.
Natalie Attired is associated with and based on Shari Braendel's color analysis system and her Fashion Meets Faith fashion consulting service. The color analysis system was one of the two reasons why I decided to try this particular personal styling service, thinking that, at least, I will be sent clothing in colors that flatter my complexion and hair color the most. The second reason was that Shari approaches fashion consulting from a Christian perspective. That is why I thought Natalie Attired would be the best service for someone who is looking for modest, yet fashionable clothing.
I ordered from Natalie Attired twice, and I am currently waiting for my third collection to arrive. As you could see from the star rating above, I liked this service the most of the four I reviewed, although not enough to give it a rating higher than three stars. One of the things I liked was that my Natalie Attired stylist does know her color analysis basics and is familiar with boho and western styles. My first collection nailed the style about 80% but, unfortunately, was completely off on sizing. Only one of the five items in the box fit perfectly. Three were too small, and one was OK size wise, but the style of the pants didn't fit my body type. The only item that fit - the pretty, flowy floral top by Kyla Seo - was not in the colors I normally wear (although they didn't look bad on me) and was to be maintained by dry cleaning only (very inconvenient), so sadly, all of the items from this collection went back.
My second collection again contained mostly well matched items style wise, but sizing went the other way now: all items except one were way too big. Thankfully, after I contacted my stylist by email, she managed to find two of the items I liked the most in smaller sizes, and they will be coming to me as part of the next collection. So, here is item by item review of my most recent Natalie Attired collection:
1. Sangria Top in Indigo by Caite - $109.00
This top was definitely something I would wear often if I got it in the right size. Tunic length, swing style body of the piece, and lots of pretty embroidery were definitely the qualities I appreciated. True, it was quite a bit over the budget I set in my customer Profile, but after communicating with my stylist through email and being told that the company hardly ever has tops in my price range for the style I am looking for, I gave a go-ahead for pricier tops that would match my style. After all, getting a Johnny Was lookalike piece for half of the Johnny Was price is not such a bad deal. Unfortunately, this gorgeous top felt a couple of sizes too big on me, so I will wait for my exchange to arrive in the next collection and update the review at that time.
2. Kiara Cardigan in Black by Caite - $175.00
This was another gorgeous piece! Multi-colored embroidery running down the front, around the sleeve edges, the bottom, and on the back was superb. Black background color and soft, medium weight fabric would make it a great transition piece from summer to fall or winter to spring to summer. I loved everything about this top except the price. It was by about $30.00 higher than the retail price at one of the western wear retailers I follow online. Unfortunately, the retailer didn't have my size at the time, and my stylist promised to include this cardigan in my next collection again, just a size tad smaller (cardigan is quite generously sized). So, I am hoping to add this piece to my wardrobe in another week or two.
3. Long Sleeved Plaid Shirt by Skies Are Blue - $59.00
This was a decent, double cloth plaid shirt suitable for spring, summer and fall, but unfortunately, the size was too small for me. In addition, compared to the first two pieces, this was pretty much run-off-the-mill shirt which I wasn't too interested in adding to my collection, so this too was returned.
4. Sleeveless Chambray Vest in Lagoon by Fenini - $142.00
This vest, sadly, was a complete miss style wise. Although linen fabric was very suitable for summer, extremely long length, ho-hum styling, and poor fit made it seem even more overpriced than I originally thought it was.
5. Long Sleeve Uneven Hem Jacket in Cucumber by Kleen - $118.00
This was another piece that didn't quite meet the style requirement although, I would have probably considered keeping it if the color wasn't as atrocious and the size wasn't too big. I liked how the peplum-like styling and uneven hem drew attention away from my big hips, and I liked the light weight of linen, but the bright, nondescript bluish-green color was definitely not something I would wear. In the picture below, the color looks more of an aqua green, but believe me, it looked much worse in person.
All in all, I am definitely giving Natalie Attired another chance, and maybe a few more chances in the future. The most frustrating issues in dealing with this service were sub-par communication and frustration I encountered in using their website. If you need to contact the Customer Service, the response to your inquiry will not arrive in a couple of days. If stylist is having problems putting your collection together and is unable to meet the scheduled shipment date, she will not attempt to contact you until you complain. True, once I lodged my complaint, I heard back from the stylist in approximately 4-5 hours, and we started communicating through email from that point on, which was very helpful. Once the shipment arrived, she was again reachable by email and very helpful in arranging an exchange for me. As for the website, it still has a few kinks with checkout to be straightened out and, unlike other services, does not provide photos of the items sent in your collection - only a plain text listing, which somewhat dampens the mood of anticipation if you are not familiar with the brands your clothing comes from. Also, the website does not update in real time, so you have to wait for an overnight update to assure your checkout choices have been properly recorded and to be able to schedule your next shipment if you are not signed up to get your collections in regular intervals. Last but not least, it is fair to say that pricing on the items available for western and boho style lovers is not extremely affordable. However, if you go into subscribing to Natalie Attired service with this in mind, you will definitely be able to find items in your collections that you love.
Like most other personal styling services, Natalie Attired sends you five pieces in each collection and gives you three days to try them on and decide what you want to keep. They also offer free shipping both ways, and you can choose to either get your collections shipped to you in regular intervals or on demand, whenever it is most convenient for you. Considering that the company has been in business for only a year, it is reasonable to expect that their customer service will improve as they go along and that their website issues will be dealt with in the future.
PS. As I was waiting for my Natalie Attired collection to arrive, I discovered two more personal styling services I wanted to check out: Wantable and Stylogic. I will be reviewing these services at a later point, after I have received shipments from both of them.
* UPDATE 8/1/2017 - I received my third Natalie Attired collection, and it seems like my stylist and I are finally getting somewhere. She honored my request to exchange two tops by Caite I liked in my previous shipment for smaller sizes (which worked perfectly, so I kept those items), and she included a gorgeous summer tunic by Kyla Seo as well. Unfortunately, that tunic was too small and had to go back, but I still feel that, with a few more shipments, we will get to the point where all five items in the shipment may be the perfect style for me. Unfortunately, the website issues mentioned in the original post still persist, so I will leave the rating as is for now. I might update it later, depending on how the whole process works again in September, when my next shipment from Natalie Attired is due to be sent.
Have you ever used Natalie Attired personal styling services or do you have an experience with Shari Braendel's fashion consulting services? Please share in the comments below.
In this fourth installment of our series about personal styling services and how well they would fit a lady who prefers boho and western style of clothing, I will be reviewing Trunk Club. If you have ever shopped at Nordstrom's, then you pretty much know what to expect from Trunk Club, as this service belongs to the Nordstrom's fold of companies. Unfortunately, I am sad to say that Nordstrom's and its subsidiaries do not carry many items that could fit a true boho or western wardrobe. That is the main reason why this service received the rating of only one and a half stars. Read on for the full review.
Like most other personal styling services, Trunk Club charges a styling fee that can be applied to the items you end up purchasing from your trunk. At $25, this fee is just a tad higher than the other services previously reviewed, but instead of usual five items, your Trunk Club trunk will include a whopping ten items. In addition, your Trunk Club Profile questionnaire will be much more thorough than either Dia & Co. or the Stitch Fix one. Last but not least, you are guaranteed to work with the same Trunk Club stylist every time, unless you personally request a change. An additional perk of this service is that you can live chat online with your assigned stylist and exchange as many emails with her as you want, and you also have a chance to review your trunk before it is sent to you and request that certain items be omitted if, from the enclosed photos and descriptions, you decide they would not work for you. For every item you request to be omitted from your trunk, your stylist would then choose another in the style of the items you approved, so you will still get your ten items in every trunk. All of this sounded very appealing to me and I decided to try the Trunk Club despite my doubts about the availability of items I preferred at Nordstrom's brand family of companies.
After a detailed chat with my stylist, I received the first trunk proposal as shown in the image above. To be fair, I forgot to mention to her that I didn't want footwear with open toes and/or heels and that I didn't wear high heels. Still, the proposed items were quite disappointing: skinny jeans instead of the requested bootcut jeans, bomber jacket instead of the requested moto jacket, sleeveless tops instead of the requested bell sleeve tops, and the list goes on. Even though I was told by my stylist to approve items that I could even remotely see myself wearing, I unfortunately had to reject this whole trunk. That seemed to complicate and substantially delay the creation of the second trunk, and subsequently, I felt it got my stylist mad at me as well.
When the second trunk was finally created, it contained half of the items from the trunk proposal I originally rejected, and the rest didn't seem to match my style and preferences either. Read on for the full review of the ten items I received in my trunk.
Here is the item-by-item review of everything I found in my trunk when it finally arrived:
1. Glamorous Button Up A Line Dress - $79.00
Despite the fact that my profile specifically stated, "no dresses," I was sent two dresses in this trunk. This first one was too large overall, constructed of cheap looking fabric that got horribly wrinkled just from being folded in the shipping box, and it looked nowhere close to something I would wear even if I got over my dislike of dresses.
2. Print Chiffon Shift Dress by Vince Camuto - $148.00
This item was not only overpriced, but also everything I told my stylist I did not want in a piece of clothing: horizontal pattern, 100% polyester, and dry clean only maintenance. In addition, this dress was too large overall as well.
3. Marilyn Stretch Straight Leg Jeans in black by NYDJ - $124.00
This was another piece where it seemed the stylist sent me what I specifically told her I did not want. We discussed jeans, and I was clear that I only wanted black bootcut jeans. I found a straight leg pair in my trunk instead, and an overpriced one for that matter.
4. Billie Stretch Mini Bootcut Jeans in Oak by NYDJ - $144.00
Another pair of hugely overpriced jeans had found its way into my trunk. In addition, they were in a regular, denim wash. Returning them was a no-brainer as I already had a better looking and less expensive pair of Wranglers I liked and wore often.
5. Flor Off The Shoulder Top by Sanctuary - $89.00
This was another complete miss on the stylist's part. In our lengthy online chat and subsequent emails, I had made her aware of the fact that I didn't like cold shoulder and off the shoulder styles. Yet, this piece was included in my trunk. In addition, the fabric this top was made of was nothing to write home about, definitely not worth the listed price.
6. Pleat Back Blouse by NYDJ - $88.00
Apart from the cheap looking fabric and high price, this top was too tight in the hip area, and again, not the style I would wear.
7. Paisley Border Print Blouse by Vince Camuto - $79.00
Out of the whole trunk, this was the only piece where I might have been willing to overlook the high price and cap sleeve style because the paisley print in the shades of navy blue definitely displayed the boho vibe I was looking for. Unfortunately, this top too was awfully tight in the hips, even when worn over a thin maxi skirt. I don't think it would have fit over the hips at all if I had my jeans on.
8. Print V Neck Blouse by Hinge - $69.00
This was supposed to be a fun print top with navy background. To my surprise, what I found in my trunk was a strappy beige top three sizes smaller than the other items in the trunk. What caused the wrong top to be sent remains a total mystery.
9. Embroidered Tencel Denim Shirt by NYDJ - $98.00
In the photos of items my stylist emailed to me, this shirt looked like a lot of fun with its 3/4 sleeves and a floral embroidery patch over one shoulder. Unfortunately, the shirt was less than hum-drum in person. Tencel denim was of poor quality, embroidery was a very obviously poorly executed machine embroidered motif, and the shirt was also too tight in both the bust and hip areas.
10. Blair 5 Slip On Sneakers by Vince Shoes - $195.00
If my stylist wanted to spite me, this pair of shoes was definitely it. Regardless of the fact that my profile specifically stated, "no sneakers," this was the cheapest looking, most overpriced pair of shiny black plastic upper slip-ons I have ever seen. I honestly couldn't fathom why they were in my trunk, and I wondered who on earth would pay almost $200 for such an ugly pair of shoes.
So, needless to say, this whole trunk went back faster than it took to get to me, and once it was received by Trunk Club, I promptly cancelled my membership.
As you could guess from this review, if you wear classic boho and western clothing, I'd say, don't even bother with Trunk Club. You most certainly won't find items to match your style there.
In my next post, I will be reviewing Natalie Attired, a brand new kid on the block (just celebrated their first anniversary) when it comes to the world of personal styling services. Stay tuned!
Do you have an experience with Trunk Club? Feel free to share in the comments below.
As promised in my last post, Part 3 of the series on personal styling services will address Stitch Fix, one of the better known services of this kind.
Although Stitch Fix does not specialize in plus sizes, they do carry a certain range of sizes in the plus spectrum that make them a viable choice for providing a decent selection of items in larger sizes.
Similar to Dia & Co, I gave Stitch Fix three chances to get it right. Unfortunately, despite refining my customer Profile and leaving detailed messages for my stylist, it seemed my very first fix was the best, and quality and appropriateness of items kept deteriorating with each following shipment. I ended up keeping two items from my first fix (I would have kept three if the maxi skirt I received was not too long), one from the second, and none from the third.
Much like other personal styling services, Stitch Fix charges $20 styling fee, which can be applied toward any of the five items in your fix box you'd like to keep. The company also provides free shipping and returns, and you have five days to decide which items to keep and which to return. You can opt to receive your fixes in regular intervals, as often as you want, or you can choose to receive them "on demand," as infrequently as you wish. Before you can request your first fix, you are required to fill out a detailed customer Profile, and based on your responses, you are assigned a personal stylist to work with you. Unfortunately, much like with Dia & Co, this doesn't guarantee that you will have the same stylist style your each subsequent fix, even if you specifically request to keep the same stylist.
As I already mentioned, I decided to keep two items out of my first fix box. Both of them were tops: an embroidered peasant style chambray top (exact match for the style I requested), and a navy, lightweight knit top with dolman sleeves that I normally wouldn't have chosen for myself, but it looked so good with maxi skirts that I decided it was worth keeping. I only kept a blue and white maxi skirt from my second fix, and the third fix seemed to be a complete failure, and all of the items had to go back.
Here is a "blow-by-blow" review of the items in the third fix box.
1. Fidel Button Detail top by Skies Are Blue - $48.00
Although this top was well within my budget and had a peasant blouse shape, it was too big in the bust area, and colors were so dull and the print so unattractive that it looked like something an 80+ year old woman without much sense of style might choose to wear.
2. Jordan Caplet Knit Top by Universals Standard - $78.00
Not only was the styling of this top inappropriate for boho or western style, but it was also very uncomfortable, too tight in the hips and shoulders, and rather overpriced for the quality.
3. Romy Bell Sleeve Top by Spade & Heart - $48.00
This was another poor execution of a nice concept. Bell sleeve styling was what I requested, but the cheap looking crepe fabric with dull olive background and an even duller floral print completely ruined what could have been a good looking piece of clothing. In addition, the top had a horizontal border style print right over the hips, which made my plus sized hips look even more oversized.
4. Suzette Bootcut Jean by Slink - $88.00
If I didn't already have a pair of dark bootcut jeans in my closet, I would have kept these black bootcut jeans. They fit well and looked good. My only complaint about this item is that the fabric was rather thin and wrinkled easily. True, one would want lighter weight jeans for the summer, so maybe this pair would have worked well if I kept them.
5. Ariya Back Tie Cargo Vest by 41Hawthorn - $68.00
This vest was so small that I couldn't even get it on properly. In addition, the fabric wrinkled easily and seemed of poor quality, and the olive color was rather drab. Last but not least, a cargo garment in this specific style would not have fit well with boho or western style.
Have you used services from Stitch Fix? If so, what style of clothing do you prefer, and what was your impression of this personal styling service?
the mind and hands behind hART Sense Design. I am a designer and hand-maker of one-of-a-kind and limited edition jewelry and accessories for artistic, chic cowgirls, boho babes, and lovers of all things western.
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