Today’s post is from StyleBlueprint Louisville editor Heidi Potter.
I asked Dr. Sean Maguire if he would share his secrets to dressing well. Sean is a plastic surgeon and Medical Director at Physician’s Center for Beauty in Louisville. When he is not helping people look better, he loves to shop and dress well. He has a new trick up his sleeve, too, called Trunk Club for Men.
It’s a simple concept and he has been very satisfied with the results. It is for men only and is especially geared towards men who like to look stylish, but who hate to shop at the mall. (Sean loves to shop however). After a phone consultation with a stylist, a trunk of clothes is assembled just for you and shipped to you for free. You have 10 days to determine what, if any, clothes you want and ship the remainder back for free. You are only charged for the items you keep.
Here is Sean’s review of Trunk Club:
I have a confession to make. I love to shop. I know, I know, as a guy I’m supposed to hate it. But I must admit that I love shopping for clothes. But not the way women love to shop. If my wife is at all representative of the norm for women, I could use her as an example. She likes to shop online, buy a few things that look good and then return half of them. When shopping at brick and mortar businesses, like Blink, Clodhoppers, Circe, J.Crew or Von Maur, she typically goes in with absolutely no idea what she is looking for. She just has a thought that she needs an “outfit” and meanders around the store for half an hour before putting some things together, looking at herself in the mirror, paying for them and then walking out. Then she returns about half of them within a week.
When I shop, it is much more specific, and, I’d like to think, efficient and precise. I go into a particular store, like Brooks Brothers, Von Maur or J.Crew, and, when I’m feeling particularly flush, Rodes. I have already made the decision that I want a specific item – a shirt for example. I walk in the store, I spend 2-5 minutes picking out said shirt, I pay for it and I walk out. Then I move on. I probably wear it that night. I don’t return it. Later that month, I may decide I need a pair of khakis. I go to a store, I spend 2-5 minutes picking the pair of khakis, 5 minutes trying them on, then pay and leave. Then I move on. I never go to a store to just browse or “shop” per se. And I never go looking for an “outfit.”
I don’t buy anything online. Too many choices. Too difficult to figure out the right size and impossible to tell what something will actually look like on me. Most of the male models would look pretty good in a gunny sack. Not me. Also, there’s a delay of the immediate gratification I’m used to. And I like immediate gratification.
So maybe I don’t really enjoy shopping, maybe I just like clothes. Yes, that’s it. I hate shopping but I love clothes.
Enter Trunk Club.
The company was started in 2009 by a group of young entrepreneurs. I first became familiar with Trunk Club through a well-placed ad on Face Book. I can think of only a handful of times I’ve even looked twice at an ad on Face Book, let alone clicked through to the advertiser’s website, but this one caught my attention. The concept was presented as simple and it is. I like simple and I don’t like to work too hard, so this service was very appealing. Here’s the concept: a personal shopper who knows your clothing needs, your size, color preferences and your style, if you have one, selects the clothes you want and ships them directly to you. If you don’t know what your style is, the personal shopper or stylist can help you with that.
I first had to register on Trunk Club’s website and give them some pretty detailed information about myself: height, weight, favorite stores and brands, measurements and my needs.
Then came the phone consultation. Justin was my style consultant. He called me from Chicago where Trunk Club is based. He was straightforward and easy to communicate with. He started by asking me about my profession, work setting, family, hobbies and everything else that comprises my lifestyle. We talked about what things I liked to wear at work, at home and when I’m out socially. He asked me about colors I preferred (grey, blue, pink, orange, purple). He asked me about my body type (athletic build?) and what kind of fits I wear (loose and comfortable, not tight and Euro). Then we talked about what my needs were.
At that moment, I was having a really hard time finding good casual khakis that fit better than what I could find with Bill’s Khakis or at J.Crew and Brooks Brothers. I needed some casual khakis that fit well and had a better finish than the standard issue, heavy cotton plain fronts. (My old pleated khakis were completely out of style, but this should be obvious to even the casual observer of mens’ fashion.) The other need we identified was a good pair of jeans. I wanted to find something that looked good and fit better than either the slim, low-rise euro jeans I had tried (too young), or dad jeans (too old?). Something in between. Next we decided to try a couple of sport shirts (point collar, not button down) and a sport coat.
What was interesting was that through the whole process we never talked about specific brands. I never asked about brands and it was never part of the conversation. They carry many different brands, many of which you don’t see locally, like AG, John Varvatos, Earnest Sewn, J.Brand and Bonobos, to name a few.
That was it. I didn’t have to tell Justin anything else. I didn’t want to control, over think, or over analyze Justin’s choices. That was the point.
My first trunk was delivered in two days. It was actually a well-decorated cardboard shipping box made to look like an old trunk or foot locker. I had given Justin my credit card number with the understanding that I would not be charged until I had tried everything on, decided what I wanted and sent back the rest. I had 10 days to do that, and they encouraged me to actually wear the clothes to decide what worked and what didn’t.
I decided I liked one pair of jeans (they had sent three), one pair of khakis (out of two) and one sport shirt (of four) from the trunk. The rest I sent back in the original trunk with a prepaid return label provided. My credit card was charged a few days later for the items I kept. Justin called me about a week later to see how he did with his selections. This helped him gauge my preferences and needs even better for my second trunk, which I ordered a few months later. He did a little better with the second trunk, and I kept about half the items.
Here are some of the pros and cons as I see them:
Pros– Convenient mail order shopping with free shipping, a no-risk trial period, lots of brands not found locally and the experience and knowledge of a personal style consultant.
Cons– You pay retail prices (no sales), no ability to try clothes on in a store, and something just a little slower than immediate gratification (but close).
Overall, my experience with Trunk Club was great and I plan to use the service again.
Thanks, Sean! For more information about Trunk Club, visit their website: www.trunkclub.com.