Thursday, April 21, 2016

Store vs. Stylist

I think there are three types of teachers: 

1. The type who love to shop and dress up.

2.  The type who love teaching, but not so much the dressing up part and aim more for comfort.

3.  Those "shades of grey" who aren't so "black or white" on the matter and tend to have days where they feel like teacher type #1 or teacher type #2.

I consider myself teacher type #3.

So when I'm sitting on the floor with a small group of first graders working on a close read, or leaning forward adding vocabulary cards to the pocket chart, I want to look professional (as professional as one can look sprawled out on the floor among papers, highlighters, pencils, crayons, vocabulary cards, and five 7 year olds) without my body parts hanging out

But after having kids and hitting middle age....I've packed on the pounds. 

I'm going to spare you the diatribe on all the diets I've tried.

And.... the lack of time I have to exercise. I just hate it. Plain and simple. I. hate. To. Exercise. So I make excuses not to do it. There. I said it. It's out there.

I also love sweets. And carbs. And food.  I live, people!  Therefore, I'm overweight.  Oh well. I live with it.

Sometimes I live with it.

Sometimes I hate it.  Like....when I have to buy clothes because my "normal" clothes....don't fit anymore. I'm this person if you see me walking around a store near you. Only I'm not this skinny.

Truth be told, I hate shopping. Almost as much as I hate exercising. Ok, well not that much....but close.
But the time had come. I looked in the mirror and I could not deny it any longer. I had to get new clothes.
So...I put on my big girl pants (Literally and figuratively) and I went shopping. 
As I was driving to the store I thought, why don't I just do that online thing where people pick clothes for you? I looked into that and Stitch Fix doesn't carry my size.

Ok, now look it...I'm not an elephant. I wear a size 16 pants. Come on, Stitch Fix, get it together!
I searched online and found Dia Box.  They have a wait list so it would take 2 weeks my box to come in the mail.  I don't have 2 weeks. to the store I go...
I thought I'd compare clothes shopping in the store versus clothes shopping online. Clothing for what I consider,  NORMAL sized people. 

 Disclosure:  Since I hate shopping I went to 2 stores on 2 different days, that were not at the mall. I don't do malls. But they are stores. That counts.
My first stop was Lane Bryant. They are known for accommodating larger sizes so I thought I would do well.  Shopping, trying on, driving there= 1 hr 20 minutes.  Yup, I timed it.
Hopefully, by now my husband who reads my blog, realized this post was about clothes and stopped reading because I'm about to share what I paid for the clothes I bought. But...just in case he is reading- Lane Bryant was having a sale of 40% off all clothing so I included the before and after sale price.  True story. Your welcome, Kriss.
I bought the following items:
3/4 Sleeve Crew Neck Cardigan $29.97 @ 40% off = $19.98
3/4 Sleeve White Crew Neck Cardigan (same price as above)
3/4 Sleeve Crew Neck Lime Green Cardigan (same price as above)
A-Line Midi Skirt w/ Centerfold Pleat $41.97 @ $27.98
I also bought a bra and nobody needs to see that because I'm not 20 and my bras aren't sexy.
Total spent= $166.38
Total Time= 1 hour 20 minutes
Frustration Level= medium.  (Went from low to medium in the dressing room).
The next day, I went to Catherine's. Catherine's is a chain store that also sells larger sized clothing for women.  I bought:
Black pants $59 (no sale, sorry Kriss)
3/4 sleeve pleated shirt, on clearance for $10.
Ankle length side slits maxi skirt $59
Total Spent= $128.00
Total time= 1 hour
Frustration level= Low
My Store Takeaway: I spent $294.38 and 2 hours and 20 minutes of my time with medium to low frustration. I bought 8 articles of clothing and feel like this:
Therefore, I have determined that shopping is exercise and that must be why I don't like it.
These happy shoppers? They are happy because they got a workout out in's over. That's my store takeaway.
Moving on to the online stylist...
I logged onto Dia&Co. and created an account with my name and email address. It asked me for my birthdate, body type, top size, bottom size, dress size and bra size. After entering that in, I poured myself another drink and I accounted for that in the time below. It then asked what parts of my body I am most comfortable with and which I wanted to keep covered.
I chose from a checklist of given styles, my style type and which patterns to avoid, as well as what colors to avoid. It even let me share my social media handles if I wanted to so that my stylist could get an idea of styles I have liked or have pinned to Pinterest, etc.  Lastly, it asked how much I wanted to spend on items in a box, what type of accessories I like, pants, skirts, dresses, tops, etc.
I then entered in my credit card info, address, and done. The whole thing took 30 minutes. It was easy.
Two weeks later the box came as planned and was on my doorstep after we returned from a weekend with the kids.
I opened the box and it looked like this:

Inside was a note from my stylist, explaining what was chosen and how the pieces could be worn:

Hayden LA-Maxine Top $45
This was cute and I tried it on:
This is the same challenge I face in stores. It looks real cute on the hanger and would look real cute on a thinner girl.  On a bigger girl like myself, it made me feel bigger.  Maybe the busy pattern called too much attention? I'm not sure. It is $45 so I am sending it back.
Next up:
Modamix-Corinne skirt $79.
I don't need another black and white piece.  Nor do I need more stripes. But....I love stripes. I decided I should try it on.
I loved it on!  It flattered my figure and was super comfortable.  I can wear it dressy for school or keep it casual with a jean jacket . It is more than I wanted to spend but I really liked it. I kept it.
Next up:

Zenobia-Printed Chiffon Blouse $42.00
 The colors and pattern would not be something I would normally pick but that is one of the reasons I wanted to try an online stylist (that...and because of the whole exercise thing). I really liked this. But...would it look good on?
I think so. I'm keeping it. The jeans I am keeping too.
Fashion to Figure-Judith Skinny Jeans $42.90
When I first saw the color of these jeans I did not like them at all because I am drawn to dark color jeans. When I tried them on, I loved them. They are very flattering and even more comfortable. I never thought I would be able to wear skinny jeans at the size I am. Thanks Dia & Co!  If it has the word skinny in the name and I can wear it....sold!
The last piece:
Cayenne Necklace $46
The necklace is pretty but- way more than I would spent on costume jewelry and I feel guilty after spending so much on clothes already. I returned it.
I paid a $20 "styling fee" for this box. It included 5 pieces.  It also comes with a postage paid envelope to return any items you don't want.
This is super convenient because I can just put this in my mailbox and I don't have to make a specific run to the post office.
So the $20 "styling fee" goes towards anything I decide to keep. If I decided to keep none of the items, I'm out the $20. If I kept the entire box, I would get a 20% discount off the order. I put the 2 things I didn't want in the envelope, put the envelope in my mailbox, completed a very brief rating on the box for my stylist and I signed up for another shipment. I can't afford to keep buying clothes so this next box will probably be my last (I promise, Kriss).
My Online Stylist Takeaway: Total: $143.90 for 3 pieces
Total Time: 45 minutes. This includes time I spent online filling out the profile and trying on the pieces and completing the survey after receiving my box for my stylist
Frustration level- none.
I will take the online stylist any day over store shopping for clothes, but that's just my opinion. I feel like I spent more in the store because it was there, I wanted it to be done, I felt like I "needed it," and I was frazzled.
I feel like I got things from my "stylist" that I would not normally choose for myself and I like that. At the same time, the clothing my stylist chose is practical. I can wear to school, on the weekends, out for dinner, etc. I like breaking out of my comfort zone a bit.
If you're not a shopper, like me...I highly recommend it. I was very pleased with Dia & Co. They accommodate women sizes 14-32. Have you tried an online stylist?  What has your experience with it been? Please comment and let me know. 


  1. Hi Julie. I know what you mean about shopping. I only shop at TJ Maxx or Marshall's - too lazy to go anywhere else. I've tried Stitch Fix once - too expensive. I only kept a necklace so I could put my $20 fee toward something. I'm glad you have some new fun clothes. I do love the lime green cardigan and striped skirt A LOT. I enjoyed this post!

    1. Hi Susan. I'm so glad I'm not alone with the not loving shopping things. That's too bad you didn't have much luck with Stitch Fix. But it's fun to try, right? Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. LOVED the post - and your honesty. The black and white skirt looks great! I actually like shopping but would be open to an online stylist. However, as you mentioned, some of the items are pricey. Good luck to you!