Today’s working women arguably have more items on their to-do lists—and less time to accomplish those tasks—than ever before. So, it’s no surprise that a host of online services have sprung up to help cross one of those items off the list: shopping for clothes.
But while that solves one problem, it raises a new one: Which company should you choose? As a young professional still building my office wardrobe, I decided to put five of the most popular online styling services to the test, all with a single goal: finding stylish, affordable workwear. What follows is the second installment in our weeklong series. Click here for more.
How it works
Keaton Row is an online styling service that matches clients with freelance personal stylists via the company’s web site. Founded in January of 2013, Keaton Row has already raised nearly $19 million in funding, including an investment from Time Inc., Fortune‘s parent company. Using the site is similar to working with a personal shopper, except completely online and much less expensive. Indeed, the service is free for shoppers. Keaton Row makes money by taking a commission from its retail partners on any item you buy.
To get started, I fill out a profile on the basics of what I’m looking for, including how I like my clothes to fit, how much I’m willing to spend, and what type of body shape I have. I then upload a few photos of both myself—one of my face, the other of my body—and move on to the “Style Quiz.” The quiz is actually just a way of getting to the bottom of what clients want to wear. For example, I note that I wear neutral colors almost exclusively, and that the dress code here at Fortune is business casual.
Next, I’m asked to pick a focus of for my first styling session. I choose work dresses. The “session” isn’t actually a discrete block of time. Instead, you can go back and forth with your stylist for up to 90 days. There is a catch, though: the styling service will be discontinued if you don’t make a single purchase over the course of that three-month period.
The same day that I fill out my profile, I get an email from a stylist named Caroline Maglathlin, who, according to the Keaton Row website, has worked for corporate marketing departments at Ralph Lauren and Club Monaco and calls her personal style “feminine, bohemian, rocker.” She gives me a friendly welcome to the site, asks whether there are any types of dresses I would never wear and assures me that she will “find styles that [I] can wear to both work and out to dinner,” which is what I requested in my profile.
The next day, Maglathlin sends me a few of the dresses she’s picked out for me, which she’s put into a look book with themes such as “Timeless Basics” and “Funkier Work Dresses,” as well as a page where she shows me how she would accessorize one of her dress choices.
I send Maglathlin an email, saying that I love the Joie Ashira dress, but am not crazy about any of the accessories. I also ask her for ideas for what would work well with the Joie dress. Her response is fast and friendly: “I just got the Joie Ashira Dress and have been living in it. It is such an easy dress to throw on and look put together. I suggest sizing down, Joie tends to run one size big. I’ll send you some accessories in a separate lookbook.”
I decide to go with the dress and the necklace. Clicking on each of the items in the look book takes me directly to Keaton Row’s retail partner, ShopBop (the company also partners with Saks and Les Nouvelles). I buy them from the site the same way I would have had I found them on my own. ShopBop has free three-day shipping, free returns, and is Amazon Prime eligible.
The dress and necklace that arrived were pretty much exactly what I expected, and I was happy that I followed Maglathlin’s advice and ordered a size smaller than I normally would have.
So much of this experience depended on my stylist. I loved Maglathlin’s personal style and appreciated the ability to have one-on-one conversations with a fashion professional. She clearly communicated that she understood my style preferences in her first email, then followed up with look books that delivered just what I was after. Between showing me only flat shoes and neutral colors as requested, and picking out additional accessories just for the dress I chose, Maglathlin proved to me that she was listening.
My only complaint about the service is the price range: the only two choices for budget are “Contemporary,” where tops range between $75 and $249, and “Premium,” where they go from $250 to $499. While Keaton Row is a good pick for women shopping in those price points, it would be nice to see a third option for those of us on a tighter budget.
Up next: MM.LaFleur
To see our review of Stitch Fix, click here.
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