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As A Guy Who Hates Shopping, I Had Three Online Styling Services Do It For Me

Business daddy at your service.

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Charlotte Gomez / Macey J. Foronda

I'm Pablo and I hate shopping. As a dude with a bit more love on his handles, being in a fitting room is always exhausting. I want to have a good relationship with my body, but shopping sometimes doesn't allow me to do that.

Instagram: @pablovaldivia

TBH, I've never fully understood the concept of "big and tall" as an all-encompassing statement on thicker dudes. Some men are big and tall, some are big and short. I'm the latter.

My style could best be described as "I don't know what the hell I'm doing." Every single one of my shirts is black. I'm not goth (I wish I was), I just find that black helps me blend in, because I'm too afraid to stand out.

Dramatic, I know, but it's my reality.
Maya Murillo

Dramatic, I know, but it's my reality.

So in an effort to actually make fashion fun again, I decided to try out some online styling services to become the unapologetic "me" I've always wanted to be.

The rules were as follows:

1. I would subscribe to three different online styling services and do exactly as they said to see which one I liked best.

2. I wouldn't tell them that I was writing about the service so that I would get the same experience anyone else would.

3. I would follow their recommendations as best as I could.

The cost: Bombfell has no styling fee. You pay for what you keep. How it works: You start by filling out a profile that asks you questions about your skin tone, sizes and body shape. I went with an oval shape even though I'm shaped like a Pok├ęball. I may be wrong, but are human bodies really best defined by three shapes? They then ask about your preferred style, favorite brands, budget, and your least favorite style options. I feel like they could have benefited from asking a broader range of questions, though I do love that you're able to send them a photo of yourself. Based on all this, they'll send you three garments of your choosing. Bombfell has less clothing options per box than the other two services, but I guess can't complain for something that's free.
Charlotte Gomez

The cost: Bombfell has no styling fee. You pay for what you keep.

How it works: You start by filling out a profile that asks you questions about your skin tone, sizes and body shape. I went with an oval shape even though I'm shaped like a Pok├ęball. I may be wrong, but are human bodies really best defined by three shapes? They then ask about your preferred style, favorite brands, budget, and your least favorite style options. I feel like they could have benefited from asking a broader range of questions, though I do love that you're able to send them a photo of yourself. Based on all this, they'll send you three garments of your choosing. Bombfell has less clothing options per box than the other two services, but I guess can't complain for something that's free.

Bombfell
Bombfell

Here are the three items I received:

Macey J. Foronda
Macey J. Foronda

From left to right: PX Park basic SS tee, $36; Mavi Zach reg-rise straight leg jeans, $98; Cooper Jones university slub knit zip jacket, $125

How the clothes made me feel:

When it first arrived, I was surprised to see that the clothes came in a bag and not a box like the site suggested. I expected this type of betrayal from my ex, not my styling service. Once I opened it, I felt like the clothes weren't as adventurous as I had hoped. In their defense, I'm not exactly trying to land a Vogue cover either. Upon trying each thing on, I didn't feel the need to sob at my reflection, which is a rare occurrence when trying anything on these days. I have a short torso so the shirt was longer than I would have liked it, but the real winners here were the pants and the jacket. I'd rather get teeth pulled than go pants shopping, so the fact that these hugged my thighs and waist so beautifully was an absolute #blessing. The jacket isn't something I would have ever looked twice at in a store, but having Bombfell suggest it felt a lot like having a friend tell me "come on, try it on, it'll look good!" In this case, I'm glad I listened, because the jacket is now one of my faves!

The cost: Stitch Fix has a $20 styling fee per box. Those $20 are applied as a credit toward whatever you decide to keep from that box.How it works: Much like Bombfell, they ask you to create a style profile. But unlike Bombfell, Stitch Fix's is much more extensive and high quality. A few of the more notable features involve a section called "fit challenges" where you can point out any struggle you currently have with clothing, as well as a section where you're able to provide your social media profiles for style inspiration. It probably would have helped if I had a Pinterest to give 'em, but TBH, I didn't even know people still used that site.
Charlotte Gomez

The cost: Stitch Fix has a $20 styling fee per box. Those $20 are applied as a credit toward whatever you decide to keep from that box.

How it works: Much like Bombfell, they ask you to create a style profile. But unlike Bombfell, Stitch Fix's is much more extensive and high quality. A few of the more notable features involve a section called "fit challenges" where you can point out any struggle you currently have with clothing, as well as a section where you're able to provide your social media profiles for style inspiration. It probably would have helped if I had a Pinterest to give 'em, but TBH, I didn't even know people still used that site.

Stitch Fix
Stitch Fix

These are the five items I received:

Macey J Foronda
Macey J Foronda

From left to right: Threads 4 Thought Baseland Tribeland crew tee, $28.00; Mavi Jake slim fit jean, $118.00; Original Penguin Hastings poplin shirt, $89.00.

Macey J Foronda
Macey J Foronda

From left to right: Original Penguin Bering reversible polo, $69.00; Boconi Brewster center stitch casual belt, $38.00.

How the clothes made me feel:

I know what you're thinking, "wow...basic." Well I hate to break it to ya bb, but I'm basic and proud! Sure, I love fashion that's risky and takes me out of my comfort zone, but the truth of the matter is, I want something I'll actually wear. This box did just that. When I saw that the pants were "slim fit" I immediately assumed they wouldn't get past my ankles, so I avoided trying them on until the very last minute. As it turns out, these were the best pants out of every box. I definitely had to do one or two squats to stretch em out a bit (you know the squat), but after that they fit like a glove. The polo and shirt also fit beautifully, but the fact that they weren't black made me weirdly uncomfortable. IDK if this insecurity makes a whole lot of sense to y'all, but even something as simple as light grey makes me feel exposed. It's something I'm working on, but I'm glad this box confronted me with that fear.

Trunk Club (2/5)

Cost: Trunk Club has a $25 styling fee. This fee is applied as a credit to whatever you decide to keep.How it works: The most unique and noteworthy thing about the Trunk Club experience is that after you've filled out a typical style profile, you're then matched with a stylist. You have the option of chatting with your stylist through their site or on the phone. I obviously chose the first option since I hate phone calls more than I hate shopping. They're there to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your trunk, and will allow you to review the items they've chosen before they're sent out. I swapped out one of their options for a pair of black pants BECAUSE I WANTED SOMETHING BLACK OK DON'T JUDGE ME.
Charlotte Gomez

Cost: Trunk Club has a $25 styling fee. This fee is applied as a credit to whatever you decide to keep.

How it works: The most unique and noteworthy thing about the Trunk Club experience is that after you've filled out a typical style profile, you're then matched with a stylist. You have the option of chatting with your stylist through their site or on the phone. I obviously chose the first option since I hate phone calls more than I hate shopping. They're there to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your trunk, and will allow you to review the items they've chosen before they're sent out. I swapped out one of their options for a pair of black pants BECAUSE I WANTED SOMETHING BLACK OK DON'T JUDGE ME.

Trunk Club
Trunk Club

Here are the nine items (yes, NINE) I received:

Macey J Foronda
Macey J Foronda

From left to right: Nordstrom seersucker check sport shirt, $59.50; Bonobos slim fit stretch cotton chinos, $98; Clae Ellington sneaker, $110; Bonobos plaid sport shirt, $88; Bonobos straight fit washed chinos, $88.

Macey J Foronda
Macey J Foronda
Macey J Foronda

From left to right:Calibrate crew neck tee, $39.50; Fidelity impala straight leg jeans blackout, $208; Calibrate slim fit check sport shirt, $69.50; Calibrate trim fit pocket polo, $59.50

How the clothes made me feel:

I like to call these looks "thicc business daddy." TBH, I wasn't a fan of most of these options, but that's only because I didn't give much direction to the stylist. My bad. If I was going on a job interview however, most of these looks would look great. However, I have no interviews in my future and I'm able to dress casually at work, so the more formal looks weren't too necessary. When I received this box in the mail, I was surprised to see it was LITERALLY a trunk. I was also surprised to see that most of the shirts were one size bigger than I had asked for. Thanks? This wasn't much of an issue for the button-ups, but the poor polo fit me like a dress. As far as the pants went, if you thought I had a panic attack wearing light grey, just think how I felt in WHITE PANTS. Spoiler: not great. But that's a good thing, right? After all, my comfort zone is the size of a box of raisins. Though I really wanted to like these options, I can't pretend I did (minus the shoes and black pants.) I can admit that they ARE good clothes, just not good for me.

Though my experience with each box differs, I would try every one of these services again. I've decided to keep Bombfell since it's free (I love free), but the other two are perfectly fine options as well. Stitch Fix gave me a full box of clothes I'd actually wear so props to them. I would have kept it going if my cheap ass felt like spending $20. As far as Trunk Club goes, the styling experience felt personalized, and for that I'm grateful. Second chances do exist, so maybe the second box would be even greater with a little more guidance.While I'm aware most of these services aren't known to cater to bigger sizes, I hope to see a wider variety of sizes and styles in the future. I don't know that I'll ever stop wearing black, but the one thing I know for sure is that being "seen" might not be such a bad thing after all.
Charlotte Gomez

Though my experience with each box differs, I would try every one of these services again. I've decided to keep Bombfell since it's free (I love free), but the other two are perfectly fine options as well. Stitch Fix gave me a full box of clothes I'd actually wear so props to them. I would have kept it going if my cheap ass felt like spending $20. As far as Trunk Club goes, the styling experience felt personalized, and for that I'm grateful. Second chances do exist, so maybe the second box would be even greater with a little more guidance.

While I'm aware most of these services aren't known to cater to bigger sizes, I hope to see a wider variety of sizes and styles in the future. I don't know that I'll ever stop wearing black, but the one thing I know for sure is that being "seen" might not be such a bad thing after all.

If you're interested in trying any of the services yourself, check out Bombfell, Stitch Fix, or Trunk Club.

The best things at three price points