I recently had the opportunity to test-drive Trunk Club, a new-ish fashion subscription box from Nordstrom.
Nordstrom is one of my favorite places to shop. In 2013, I took advantage of their free in-store personal stylist services at the Arcadia, CA location. This was an amazing way to shop. My stylist, Denise, culled items for me and had them waiting in a dressing room. I was so impressed, I even took pictures of the fitting room from my first visit with Denise.
Over a few visits, Denise began to understand my personal style, which brands I favored, and she knew what I already owned. I was heartbroken when Denise left Nordstrom in 2016. She left to pursing a career in medicine, which I know is the best move for her, but I miss shopping with her. She was a zero-pressure sales person and over time, it was definitely like spending the afternoon with a friend. We even got lattes at the Ebar during her breaks.
After Denise, I never requested a new personal stylist. I had a few different sales associates helping me, most notably Olivia from the Portland, OR location, but not in a stylist capacity.
With this background information, I was very excited to try Trunk Club. Trunk Club is a mix between having a personal stylist and a subscription box service. Here's how it works:
You head over to their website and sign up. If you're a Nordstrom card holder the $25.00 styling charge per trunk will be waived. If you're not a card holder, the styling fee can be applied to any item that you keep from your box. Additionally for Nordstrom card holders, if you use your card for trunk purchases, you will get your Nordstrom points. This was a huge plus for me; I love racking up those points! Also, purchased items can be taken to your local Nordstrom for alterations.
Signing up was a breeze and within minutes, I was contacted by my stylist, Alexandra, via an internal messaging system on the Trunk Club website. Alex is based in Los Angeles and I think, if I wanted to, I could schedule an appointment to meet her in person. Alex spent about thirty minutes discussing my fashion and lifestyle- likes/dislikes, body shape, needs, et...I wanted her to focus on sweaters and layers for my first trunk, with an emphasis on casual pieces that I could wear at my new office job. Alex was very personable and listened to my needs. We also discussed budget and I agreed that she could throw in a few pricier items, to see if I'd be interested. I'm always game to take a look!
Within forty-eight hours, I was given a virtual trunk to preview. At this point, I could turn down specific pieces marked for my trunk. I turned down two things and they were replaced by surprises. After that first round of approval, the trunk is set to ship. The entire process, including shipping ( I live in a mountain community), took a week from when I initially signed-up.
I was super excited to receive my first trunk and I told everyone in the post office about it. It was a little heavy, but had a handle for easy carrying.
Inside, the items were neatly packed and tied with pretty ribbons.
I had a personalized note from Alex.
I photographed all of the items, some were very wrinkled and didn't photograph well. I need to ship back the items that I'm not keeping within five days, otherwise I would have enlisted my husband to take better photos, perhaps of me wearing the items. He's away on business, so he missed out on the fun. Next time!
Opening up the box is the best part of any subscription service. Even thought I was fairly certain that many of the items would be going back, it still felt like Christmas. My expectations for this first trunk were low, only because Alex doesn't know me very well yet and I think it will take a few trunks for her to have a better idea of me and my likes.
1. Halogen/Cinch Cuff Sweatshirt/ Navy/Medium $59.00. This was enormous on me, with very long sleeves. Odd-fitting. Although it is called a sweatshirt, it wasn't sweatshirt material. The material was a heavy tee-shirt fabric.
2. Joie/Clema Top/Porcelain/Small $298.00 - I love Joie, but it's a pricy brand. I have to really love the piece and it has to fit perfectly ( or it needs to be on sale) for me to splurge on Joie. This top fit well in every area except the bust. It was cute, but not enough for the price.
3. Leith/Bell Sleeve Sweater/Brown/Medium $59.00 - Leith is one of my go-to brands, but I just can't do the bell sleeve trend. The bell sleeves just get in the way and are fussy. The color is listed as brown, but it was a pretty purple/brown.
4. Joie/Amalyn Sweater/Ash Heather Grey/Small $298.00- Great fit and pretty sweater. Not exceptional for the price. It had strange slits on either shoulder, which I don't think would be great for winter. I don't need an air-conditioned sweater!
5. Rails/Ingrid/ Jalisco Embroidery/Medium $188.00 - I saw this and immediately didn't like the design on the denim. The shirt itself fit well and the denim was super soft, but this was just not me.
6. Nordstrom/Cashmere Tie Side Pullover/Green/Medium $249.00 - Love the color (green is my favorite), great fit, and the ties on the bottom are a fun touch. The big problem is this is cashmere and it's just too itchy for me. I can do cashmere blends, but I can't do pure cashmere.
7. Caslon/ 40x80 Lace Love Wrap/Navy $45.00- This is a beautiful wrap, but I have one that is very similar, so it's a pass.
8. BLANKNYC/ Bonded Velvet Moto Jacket/Shadow Boxer (deep grey)/Medium $148.00 - I so wanted this to fit perfectly. I love the style and the fabric makes it unique. The fit was bad. First, it was simply too small, but even if the size had been larger, it still would have been boxy on top. Not flattering. I love the velvet though!
9. Vince Camuto/Dorintina Bootie/White/ 8.5/ $159.94 - I have a lot of boots, but none that are white. I liked that these were different that what is already in my wardrobe. I have a bit of a bias against Vince Camuto clothes from when I worked in retail. I noticed that the quality wasn't great. I had never tried his shoes before. I thought these were fun, but the pointed toe was narrow and pinched.
10. Leith/ Shawl Collar Cardigan/Cloudy Grey Heather/Small $79.00- This is the only item I decided to keep. The picture does not do it justice. It's a great, neutral, mid-weight, long cardigan, perfect for layering. I mainly purchased this thinking it would be great for the office. It looks polished when paired with a light shirt, skinny jeans, and boots.
I've packed up all of the items minus the Leith cardigan and I will take them back to the post office tomorrow. Everything ships in the same box and the postage is paid for the return. I just need to seal it up, stick on the prepaid label, and drop it off. Trunk Club even included sheets of super strong tape to seal up the box. If I had wanted, the would have arranged a service to pick up the box at my home. However, since I live in rural community, I didn't think this service would likely be available in my area. I don't mind making the trip to UPS.
I've left feedback for all of the items on the Trunk Club website and additionally, I have a phone call scheduled with Alex for tomorrow, so we can go over my thoughts on the first trunk. I've signed up for the monthly trunk refresh, but you can receive the boxes as frequently or infrequently as you wish. The monthly option is said to be the most popular, but if you're an infrequent shopper or would just like to use the service for a certain occasion, you can simply contact them when you want a new trunk. You can theme your trunks to an event, such as a vacation or upcoming party. You can even use Pinterest to create boards and send them to your stylist for ideas. There is so much flexibility and the stylists are very hands-on.
A huge bonus about shopping through Trunk Club is you can see how the pieces will fit into your existing wardrobe. The rush of trying things on in a fitting room is eliminated and you can carefully consider each piece.
I may have only purchased one item (on my Nordstrom card to get points!), but I would consider this first trunk a success. I like the concept of Trunk Club and I enjoyed working with Alex. I'm looking forward to seeing what she includes in my next trunk.
Check out Trunk Club for yourself!