The internet has truly become the best resource for the avid shopaholic.
More specifically, the advent of online personal shopping services has completely changed the way we shop, whether we’re looking to buy groceries or a new outfit.
Whether you love shopping or hate it, we can all admit that it takes up a lot of time – time that some of us don’t have to spare.
That’s why personal styling boxes are becoming increasingly popular. Someone else does the shopping part for you, the items arrive at your doorstep, and then you choose what you want to keep.
There are tons of services like this, so the issue becomes determining which one is best for you (we’d file this under the “good problems” category).
One of these boxes is Trunk Club – a personal styling service that doesn’t require you to leave your bed to get professional fashion advice.
But if there are so many service like this one out there, then we want to make sure Trunk Club is really the best.
What Is Trunk Club And How Does It Work?
Owned by the Nordstrom Company, Trunk Club is a personal styling service that uses information from your personal account to curate a unique wardrobe.
Trunk Club is an online service, however the company does have six clubhouses in the United States where members can receive in-person styling and fitting advice by making an appointment.
If you are using it online, you begin by taking a quiz about yourself and your style, what you like and what you don’t like. But, since a quiz can only convey limited information, Trunk Club also sets up face-to-face conversations between you and your personal stylist to really pin down what you are looking for in terms of your wardrobe.
From there, your stylist will provide a preview of your trunk so you have a good idea of what clothing and accessories are going to show up on your front doorstep. If you see something you don’t like, just click “Don’t Send” and provide feedback to your stylist about why you don’t want that particular item.
Once you receive your box, you can try on all of your items and send back whatever you don’t want to keep. As for the stuff you want to send back – Trunk Club provides a prepaid return shipping label and tape to make it as easy as possible for you to get that box in the mail. It’s quite convenient.
Though it has historically focused on the male customer (Trunk Club offers custom menswear, by the way), Trunk Club is now under new leadership and turning it’s head more towards women as of this year. The company carries a wide inventory of high-end styles for both men and women at various price points, and will likely start attracting more female shoppers with its new focus.
Trunk Club uses real people as their stylists – not an algorithm. Each stylist goes through extensive training to determine which styles will align with each customer’s individual taste and body. And, since Nordstrom owns Trunk Club, you will probably recognize a lot of the brands in your trunk.
You should also note that Trunk Club is NOT a subscription service – you will only get a new box of clothes when you request them. However, if you would like to receive a new trunk at any specific interval of time, you just have to let your stylist know.
How Much Does Trunk Club Cost?
Yes – the question that has undoubtedly been on all of your minds.
Well, much like traditional shopping, the cost of Trunk Club depends on what you buy.
With each trunk, you pay a non-refundable $25 styling fee, which is then credited towards the cost of the items you end up keeping. Trunk Club’s clothing selection consists of higher-end ready-to-wear pieces much like you would see at Nordstrom. So, typically, a garment might cost between $100-$300. But of course it will vary.
But, it’s very easy to stick to a budget with Trunk Club.
The key with pricing at Trunk Club is to let you stylist know your budget (if you have one). Then you won’t have any surprises when it comes time to review your order. And if you do see anything outside your spending range, then just remove it from your list.
Trunk Club will never ship a trunk or charge you for it until you have signed off on it.
Trunk Club doesn’t usually offer sales or discounts, however. And keep in mind that if you request a trunk and then decide not to keep anything, you forfeit the $25 styling fee.
How Does Trunk Club Compare To Similar Services?
Without question, one of Trunk Club’s biggest competitors is Stitch Fix.
If you look at the big picture, the two personal styling services are pretty comparable. The general service is more or less the same, and the styling fee around the same price range (Stitch Fix charges $20, Trunk Club charges $25 as we mentioned before).
But the differences are in the details.
For one, Stitch Fix relies almost exclusively on the completion of your online style profile, whereas Trunk Club allows you to have an actual conversation with your personal stylist. So, your Stitch Fix stylist will likely take longer to pin down your style since they will learn more as you give feedback on each box.
Similarly, Stitch Fitch’s FAQ page doesn’t mention anything about previewing your box of clothes before it’s shipped. The surprise aspect of this might be kind of fun, but it could end up being more of a waste of time and money, with a greater chance of you returning more pieces and therefore wasting a styling fee.
You also may get a different stylist every time you schedule a Stitch Fix shipment, unless you specifically request a stylist. Trunk Club keeps you with the same stylist, which means that he or she gets to know you and your style a lot more intimately.
With returns, the process is more or less the same between the two services. However Trunk Club allows you five days to try on clothes whereas Stitch Fix only offers three try-on days.
Trunk Club also will give you anywhere between six and 10 items per box, whereas Stitch Fix only gives you five each time. However Stitch Fix’s average price point per garment is about $55, which may end up being less expensive than Trunk Club but it truly depends on what you buy.
But, there is no denying that Trunk Club is a bit more luxury leaning – much like Nordstrom.
Stitch Fix also provides kids clothes, unlike Trunk Club, which is a great option for busy parents and kids. Kids items start at around $10 a piece.
With Stitch Fix, you can schedule automatic deliveries on your profile that you can change or cancel at any time as long as your stylist isn’t currently putting together your next “fix.” However, you can call the customer service line to cancel at this point.
Another bonus of Stitch Fix is that you get a 25% discount if you decide to keep everything in your shipment. Trunk Club, unfortunately, offers no such discount. But, you do get a $50 bonus if you refer a friend to Trunk Club.
What Makes Trunk Club Unique?
Two aspects of Trunk Club make it really stand out against similar services: its connection with Nordstrom and the Clubhouses.
Because Nordstrom owns Trunk Club, you can use your Nordstrom Card to make Trunk Club purchases, thereby earning Nordstrom Notes that you can use at Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack. Nordstrom Notes are not currently redeemable at Trunk Club, but the company is hoping to make that possible in the future.
Nordstrom Card holders are also not charged a styling fee if they use their card to make Trunk Club purchases. And, any items purchased through Trunk Club are eligible for alterations at any full-line Nordstrom store.
But, the Clubhouses are what make Trunk Club truly unique.
There are Trunk Club Clubhouses in six cities across the United States: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C.
You can make an appointment to visit any of the clubhouses, where you will get an in-person styling session with on of Trunk Club’s expert stylists.
There is no styling fee when you visit a clubhouse, and there are complimentary drinks! You can relax in one of the lounges while your stylist does all of the grunt work.
The clubhouses are also where you will go for any custom clothing fittings if you are looking for totally individualized menswear.
Trunk Club definitely has more of a high-end, exclusive feel because of the clubhouses and the connection with luxury brands you would find at Nordstrom.
Do People Like Trunk Club?
Generally speaking, yes.
Trunk Club customers like the selection and the fact that it’s not a subscription. Because the price points are higher, it’s nice to be able to pick when you want a new shipment. Plus, the higher quality garments means that you’re making an investment rather than a throwaway buy.
People also like that they kind of have an idea of what they’re going to get with each shipment. Surprises can be fun and you may end up liking an item of clothing you wouldn’t have tried on otherwise, but it’s even nicer knowing what’s coming your way. It simply saves time for everyone in the long run.
The styling session is much more personalized than other services as well. It makes customers feel like they are actually being heard, rather than crossing their fingers that they filled out some questions well enough to steer an anonymous stylist in the right direction.
For this reason, a number of reviewers said that Trunk Club got it right more often than other services. And even if they didn’t keep anything in a shipment, they at least could understand and see where the stylist was coming from.
In short, the stylists may not always hit the nail on the head, but they are at least swinging the hammer in the general vicinity of the nail.
What We Think About Trunk Club
Honestly, go for it.
You don’t have a lot to lose (only $25 to be exact, and that’s only if you don’t end up buying anything).
We know that Stitch Fix is all the rage right now, but we are much more inclined to use Trunk Club, a styling service that sources pieces that will stay in your wardrobe for years to come. It seems silly to have a stylist pick out pieces that are of lesser quality and will end up in the Goodwill pile by next spring.
Sure Trunk Club doesn’t offer sales or a lot of fancy discounts or bonuses, but the overall service seems worth the full price.
Plus, the access to the clubhouses is a truly unique experience. What better way to spend a weekend in a major metropolis than relaxing as someone picks out outfits for you?
We also love that you get brands like Madewell, Topshop, Rag & Bone, J. Crew, etc. Basically, you can get brands that you already like and trust.
And we seriously think it’s so much smarter to allow customers to preview shipments before they are actually sent out. It’s a little detail, but it illustrates that Trunk Club first and foremost wants customers to be happy.
So if you have wanted to try an online personal styling service, we recommend trying Trunk Club before anything else. You’ll get a wider selection to choose from with each shipment, a chance to chat one-on-one with a stylist (instead of trusting an algorithm), and the benefits of Trunk Club’s connection to Nordstrom – particularly the free alterations.
If you need a new outfit but don’t have time to actually go to shopping (or are just too lazy – we aren’t judging you), we think you should definitely use Trunk Club.