• Katie Nave is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, New York who says she often felt unprofessional and messy on Zoom calls.
  • Nave decided to sign up for Stitch Fix and says using it has helped her achieve a more polished look.
  • It may not be a permanent fix, but at least for now, it’s helping her feel more confident at work.

A typical pandemic workday finds me juggling back-to-back

meetings and entertaining my six-year-old, often doing an imperfect job at showing up for both. 

As a work-from-home single parent, fussing over my weekday wardrobe is low on my priority list. I’ve blossomed from the early quarantine days of sweatshirts and messy buns for the most part, but I wouldn’t say my outfits are boardroom-ready. 

I vividly remember sitting on an all-staff call, thanking my generous colleague for her public shoutout, and looking into my tiny square on the screen. This was a moment where I desperately wanted to appear professional, and instead I had on a band t-shirt from college and a zit on my chin (I’m a 37-year-old woman). I hadn’t expected to have to turn on my camera, but I looked like such a mess that even the Zoom “touch up my appearance” feature was at a loss.

I hated how unprofessional I looked on Zoom calls and wanted a change

Katie Nave

Nave’s usual work from home outfit.

Katie Nave

Unwilling to live through that moment again, I began to consider my options for how to overhaul my look.
Several of my friends had tried subscription clothing services and said they’d be pleased with how it enhanced their wardrobes. I gathered specific details, along with promo codes, and decided to give it a try. 

I decided to sign up for a monthly clothing delivery service 

After comparing costs and commitment levels, I landed on trying Stitch Fix. Several friends vouched for its reliability, and I found it to be affordable. The service doesn’t require a subscription and returns are free. You only pay a $20 styling fee per order, and it’s credited towards any of the items you choose to keep. The deal is that you get five clothing and accessory items, tailored to your style, delivered as frequently as you’d like — and you send back what doesn’t work for you. 

After signing up for a monthly delivery, I took a survey about my style preferences, sizes, lifestyle, preferred brands, and price points. While I derive no joy from shopping, it turns out that I love sitting on my couch and judging outfits. The app has regular style questionnaires, aimed at determining the pieces that will suit you best and are easy and fun to wear. 

Getting my first box of surprise clothing and accessories in the mail was pretty exciting

The box arrived with a lightweight black blazer, a short summer dress, a bralette, a breezy maxi dress, and a basic white sleeveless top. I tried the brand new pieces on, and decided to keep everything, aside from the somewhat frumpy maxi dress. Keeping these items cost me $350. 

If you decide to keep the entire box of items, Stitch Fix will credit back the $20 styling fee. If not, the fee goes towards what you do keep. Also, the company has a price-matching program, so if you find any of the items for a lower price elsewhere, they’ll match it.   

The claims were true that returns were straightforward and I wasn’t charged for anything I didn’t want. I simply put the items I didn’t like back into the package and shipped them back for free at my local UPS store. 

The cohesive wardrobe made my morning routine easier

Katie Nave

A new outfit from Nave’s first subscription box.

Katie Nave

As I wore the clothes for the first time for work,  I realized  the joy it brought to actually wear something new for the first time in a very long time. Plus, I didn’t have to stand paralyzed in front of my closet wondering what look I was going for today — like a college kid preparing for finals or an exhausted mom trying to keep it all together. 

Over Zoom, I noticed that I felt better in my skin, more confident and polished, and not horrified at what I saw in my tiny digital square. 

It may not be a permanent fix, but at least for now, it’s helping me feel more confident at work

I don’t know how long I’ll keep the subscription boxes coming, as I’m a person who doesn’t do well with a lot of clutter and I’m well aware that making more sustainable choices when it comes to fashion is crucial. So, it’s quite possible this is a short-term solution to the luxury problem of hitting a COVID clothing slump. 

Still, signing up for a clothing delivery service is one small perk that makes me feel more professional and is bringing a little joy and ease to my morning routine. Maybe it won’t last forever, but at least for now, I’m not haunted by my workday Zoom fashion statements.