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Are online stylists worth it? We tried Stitch Fix and Trunk Club and here’s the truth.

Jeanie Ahn
Senior Producer/Reporter

Stylists aren’t just for celebrities anymore. Today anyone can get outfitted by the pros through online stylists who promise to up your fashion game, and without you having to trek to 9 different stores to find the perfect black dress. Once they get to know your style and size, you get a boxful of clothes and accessories selected just for you.

But how well do these services deliver on their promise to customize outfits tailor-made for your budget and lifestyle? A few of us at Yahoo Finance tested popular online stylist sites, Stitch Fix and Trunk Club to find out.

How Stitch Fix works:
After filling out an online survey, you wait a few weeks for a delivery “fix” of 5 items. Within 3 days, you buy what you like and return the rest. The average price per item is $55. There is also a $20 styling fee, but it’s applied as a credit toward anything you keep. If you decide to keep all 5 items, there is a “Buy 5” discount of 25%.

How Trunk Club works:
After you sign up for the service on the site, you chat with your stylist over the phone. They send you a preview link of the items they’ve chosen for you and you provide feedback about what you like and don’t like. With that feedback, they send you 15 items within 1 to 2 weeks. Truck Club’s is Nordstrom so everything they source is from that department store. Prices range from $50 to several hundreds of dollars per item. You have 10 days to try the clothes and send back what you don’t want.

All three of us have different body types, styles, and budgets. Check out the video above to see how we fared.

Justine’s take:
Out of 10 items from Stitch Fix, I kept one piece. Out of 15 items from Trunk Club, I kept 4 pieces. While the prices of my Stitch Fix items were lower than those from Trunk Club, the quality of the items was so poor that I found them to be more overpriced than Trunk Club. In terms of bang for your buck I would rate Stitch Fix a C and Trunk Club a B-.

By using these services I am "paying for a stylist," which saves me the time and hassle of shopping, so expectations for getting a great deal might be unreasonable.

Nicole’s take:
Stitch Fix was affordable, but I felt like I was getting Forever 21 clearance items for Zara prices. They really didn’t get my style at all. They may as well have sent me a velour tracksuit. I didn’t keep any items.

But I do want to be fair -- the stylists are supposed to get to know you over time. I bet if I kept sending things back and discussing what I liked and didn’t like with my stylist, the Stitch Fix shipments would get better. But I’m not going to do that because the first shipment was so off the mark.

Trunk Club felt better than Stitch Fix from the get-go. I had a phone conversation with my stylist, who was really nice and personable. I feel like she got me. I liked the clothing though there wasn’t that much diversity, I think nearly everything I received was some version of a black sweater. It was also very expensive-- like $400 shoes expensive. Still, I kept a skirt and a shirt and got lots of compliments when I wore the outfit to work. I was happy with the service, and think that I can afford to keep an item or two every other month. I’ve spoken with my stylist and we’ve scheduled another shipment. I hope she doesn’t hate me after she finds out I was secretly making a piece for Yahoo Finance!

Jeanie’s take:
I was really impressed that everything from both boxes fit well, because my petite recently-had-a-baby body isn’t the easiest to dress. Overall, I like Stitch Fix better because the items they sent were flirty, but professional, while Trunk Club’s pieces were more practical, good quality, staples like pants and solid-colored tops.

In the past 4 months, I’ve received a “fix” each month and I keep an average of 2 items per box. From the last fix, I’m keeping one sleeveless black and red dress. From Trunk Club’s 15 items, I’m keeping 1 pair of pants.

For a tally of all our ratings, check out the chart below.

Our grades for Stitch Fix.
Our grades for Trunk Club.

What would you like us to try next? Let us know at YFmoneymailbag@yahoo.com