Yes, You Can Afford a Personal Stylist and This Is How

Starting a new job is one of the most exciting and challenging transitions. Once you vacillate back and forth on actually leaving, go on other interviews, talk to your boss, weigh your options some more, and finally take the opportunity to move forward, then comes a whole new world of stress. From training to navigating your new insurance to learning your new coworkers, it takes a while before things start to feel easy again. I know because two months ago I was in this exact position. I transitioned from marketing at Lulu & Georgia in Los Angeles to managing editor for The Everygirl and it’s been an exciting ride ever since!

Want to know what isn’t very exciting about the whole experience? Suddenly I found myself staring at my closet, unsure of what to wear. And not in that Cher Horowitz LUUUUCYYYY kind of way. The key pieces that worked for my last job, weren’t transitioning to my new one. I needed a wardrobe conducive with attending events and working on photoshoots, but didn’t really know where to start. Suddenly I’m traveling to temperatures I haven’t felt in years and to give you a peek into my wardrobe: my collection of shampoo is larger than my collection of outerwear. Because I have a limited budget, I wanted to invest in pieces that could be worn with what I already had and in multiple ways (you know, so people can’t really tell I wore the same jacket or pants three times this week).

That’s why when Trunk Club reached out to partner with us for their newly launched women’s service, I jumped at the chance to cover it. The service promises to make shopping enjoyable with zero work required by you and all the help of a professional stylist. HELP. That’s exactly what I needed. So I set off to the Dallas clubhouse to try the service first-hand and give you a detailed recap.

First: What Exactly Is Trunk Club?

Trunk Club was started to solve a simple problem: Shopping for clothes in stores is overwhelming and inconvenient. With Trunk Club, members are shipped a box of items, catered to their needs and taste by a personal stylist. It’s free of charge and you only pay for what you keep. Send back the rest in prepaid packaging and that is it—it’s not a subscription service. You can also schedule a one-on-one appointment at any of the Clubhouse locations. It is perfect for those short on time, looking for guidance from a stylist, and anyone looking for a more convenient way to shop. Guys who aren’t sure what looks good? Moms who don’t have time? People who just hate the act of shopping? The possibilities are endless. 

How It Works

When you sign up on the Trunk Club website, you create an account and fill out a survey about your style and sizes. Any survey that starts with asking me to enter my weight and sizes has me immediately checking for a secure connection and looking over my shoulder. Because it was just my dog lazily looking at me from her bed and internet hackers are probably more interested in my credit card than my growing pant size, I finished the questionnaire and was prompted to set up a phone call chat with my stylist, Emily. 

Let’s just pause for a moment and reflect on the fact that I, Allyson-my-favorite-jacket-is-from-Target, have a stylist emailing me to set up an appointment. I felt like a nervous and far less chic version of Jessica Alba with Rachel Zoe. Would she waltz in with a fur shawl and tell me she “Diiiiiiiied” over my shape in that dress? Or would it be my own version of Princess Diaries where hairbrushes get stuck in my hair and they light my favorite jacket on fire?

Emily called me at our designated time and we chatted. She asked me all about what was in my closet, what I normally wore, and what I thought I needed more of. I told her all about my job transition dilemma. She asked about what I wear when I go out, any aversions to styles I have, where I shopped, and a slew of other thoughtful questions that weren’t constructed like an interview but more of a conversation with a friend. We set up our clubhouse meeting, hung up, and I was still nervous. What if I hated what she picked? Did she really “get me” after one phone call? And do I really have to have my photo taken during this process? 

Meeting at the Clubhouse

Upon arrival at the Trunk Club loft, I was introduced to my own personal Rachel Zoe. Emily was just as sweet in person and kept offering me wine, which immediately promoted her to best friend status despite only knowing her for 30 seconds. I was escorted to my dressing room area where my rack of clothes and accessories waited for me. Even though the clubhouse has a very open nature, the areas where you meet with your stylist are intimate and private. So you can comfortably say phrases like “I feel like my boobs look GIGANTIC in this!” without fear or embarrassment. 

My first outfit consisted of white pants and a fur vest—two items I don’t own and would never pick out for myself. You see, I don’t have spindly Kendall Jenner legs and the idea of putting them in white skinny jeans would have terrified me into never even trying them on. But for science and all of you, I did. And you know what? I walked out, took a look in the mirror, and felt oh-so-chic. 

Despite my reservations, everything Emily picked out for me was great, but she could instantly tell from my face and body language what I was oh-my-god-I’m-putting-in-my-purse-right-now in love with and anything less was sorted to the side. When I was hesitant she would ask me questions like “Does this really fit your lifestyle?”—directed at a poofy a-line skirt that looked cute but I would never wear out with friends. Or “Do you already have something similar?”—aimed at a green military jacket similar to the jacket I had worn in. The items were removed without a second thought. It was evident we were building a wardrobe, not just buying what looked cute.

If you’re like me, you shop by sending awkward dressing room selfies to your friends and hoping they answer with an opinion before you get to the register. Shopping with Emily was a much more pleasant experience. There was no rack surfing or Forever 21 and H&M induced panic attacks. The clothes were waiting in my size and all I had to do was try them on. Trunk Club has a partnership with Nordstrom, so they are able to curate products from reputable brands that are on-trend and high quality. You can discuss your budget with your stylist and what pieces you are more willing to splurge on. When I saw the brands that were being passed into my dressing room, I was hesitant wondering if I would be able to afford them. But after seeing the same shirt or pant in three different looks, it was evident that the price (which was less than I imagined!) was worth the investment.

I also talked to Emily about all those weird things we have with our bodies/clothes and only felt slightly crazy. For example, I never wear scarves because of my breast size and I usually wear darker jeans because I feel like they camouflage my thighs (i.e. least favorite body part). She listened, with care, and then laid some experienced advice on me that I will share with you: “It’s not about what the clothes look like, it’s about how you feel in them.” It’s silly right? I should still wear scarves and light colored pants because it’s something I’ve made up in my mind, right? She nodded but added that if I don’t feel confident, it’s not worth trying. Fashion therapy guys, free of charge.

When we transitioned into the all black section of the clothing rack, I was in heaven. Practically spinning and dancing out of the dressing room because I love (love, love!) black and this is my comfort zone. Also, wine. Then she handed me over-the-knee boots and I kind of chuckled in a nervous way and backed up like an animal that realizes they are about to go to the vet. OTN boots look good on fashion bloggers, but me? I always imagined it would be Pretty Woman, but in a bad way.

Partially terrified that they wouldn’t even go up my calves and thighs (a real thing that happens to me when trying on tall boots), I pulled them on and was shocked. Not just because I LOVED the way they looked, but also because they didn’t look anything like Julia Roberts circa 1990 on Hollywood Blvd. We paired them with a few different dresses that all hit at or around the knee, so only an inch of skin showed at any time.

This was one of the more enjoyable parts about shopping with Emily: I tried on a lot of pieces I would have never picked out on my own, but ended up loving them. I also didn’t have to take a single mirror selfie in order to get feedback. Although my boyfriend was disappointed about this because he had no idea what over-the-knee boots are and it was a difficult afternoon to recap without imagery.

When my mini-fashion show came to an end, we sat down and had a meaningful conversation about what pieces I liked and needed the most. I got unbiased feedback and we discussed my budget and what I could afford to get that day. I was out in an hour and a half with everything I needed to take home and kick fashion’s ass. Sadly, the OTN boots stayed behind.

So Would I Do It Again?

Absolutely. I had a lot of fun essentially playing dress up with a stylist and would love to try receiving the box in the mail. You know, so I can play dress up in pajamas. It’s affordable, a pleasant experience (did you read the part where there was wine?), I was able to find pieces that I had been looking for previously without any luck, and now I have an expert to email any time for help. Yes, I might still brave the Forever 21 claustrophobia if I’m feeling scrappy and I can’t promise I will ever leave Target with only the dog food I came in to buy, but for long lasting pieces and thoughtful advice on building a wardrobe? Trunk Club all the way.


This post is sponsored by Trunk Club but the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.