What is Trunk Club?
The basic premise behind the service is this:
You're a pretty stereotypical dude. You love red meat, you hate asking for directions, and you certainly don't like spending hours in the mall shopping for clothes. In the 90's Tim Allen achieved fame starring in a sitcom loosely based around your life.
Wouldn't it be great if a person could figure out the kinds of clothes that look good on you and then mailed them to you? Yeah? Well, what a serendipitous turn of fate! The article that I'm writing at this very moment is about a service that does just that!
How does it work?
You sign up through the website and provide them with your address, billing info and phone number. Within a few days you'll be contacted by one of their stylists who will ask you some questions to try and understand your personal style.
If I am a representative sample of Trunk Club's customer-base, then their stylists have a hard job. When I was prompted to describe the types of clothes I like to wear, the most detail I could offer was along the lines of "...jeans and a t-shirt, I guess". My stylist asked a lot of other general questions about me (where I lived, what I like to do for fun, etc.) to figure out what kinds of clothing I'd find appealing. And she really did a great job. Kudos to you Kathleen, apparently I'm not so enigmatic that I can't be reduced to a certain brand's target-demographic after a fifteen-minute conversation.
About twelve to fifteen items show up to your house a week after your request (depending on where you live). You then have ten days from the delivery date to try everything on. If you like something, just take it out of the box and hang it up in your closet. Everything you don't like stays in the box and gets mailed back with pre-paid postage they've included. They bill you for the difference. Rinse. Repeat.
If you're not immediately matched up with a Kathleen, don't fret! Not only are you not obligated to buy anything, but you can also log back onto the website and comment on why you did or didn't like each article of clothing. This feedback mechanism should increase the quality of subsequent trunks as you and your stylist morph into an elite SEAL Team Six-style duo whose prime directive is to make you presentable.
As I said above, the experience is highly tailored to the individual, but the following list should be able to give you a general sense. I told my stylist I was a late-20's tech-type who lived in Los Angeles and here's what I got:
Fidelity 5011 Dark-Wash Jean
Bonobos Straight-Leg Washed Chino
A.G. Graduate Slacks
J Shoes Civil Washed Canvas Shoes
Life After Denim Dojo Plaid Button-Up
Paige Denim Normandie Slim Straight Jean
Jack Spade Thayer Oxford Check Shirt
Bonobos Slim-Leg Washed Chino
Alternative Apparel Marathon Pullover Hoodie
John Varvatos Slim Fit Shirt
Tommy John Fashion Solid Socks
Theory Marlo New Tailor Pant
Original Max's Garments OMG Henley
Bonobos Conover Plaid Shirt
Alternative Apparel 3/4 Sleeve Henley
The clothes they send over are nice. Like, really nice. Their stylists strike a great balance in selecting items that would probably already fit into your wardrobe, but also including a few articles of clothing that you'd likely never take into a Macy's fitting room. To me, the access to a knowledgeable curator, is the real value of Trunk Club. If I knew my measurements and how to dress myself well, I could just order clothes online from anywhere. But I'm a schlub, and this service helps me conceal that fact.
Even though you get items selected for your size, generally the pants you get are sized only to your waist and not your length. It makes sense from the perspective of Trunk Club as it allows them to carry significantly less inventory. The only drawback of this is that even after spending a premium on some high-end slacks, you still need to take them to a tailor to get them hemmed to your correct length. Also, there's a weird psychological pressure to buy when you have $2000 of high-end clothing show up at your doorstep.
For me, Trunk Club is a "sometimes-treat". I consider it a luxury service and your opinion on its necessity will probably correlate pretty highly with your income tax bracket. If you're the type of person who isn't mortified by the prices at Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's then the cost of Trunk Club shouldn't surprise you, and the extra intangible benefits definitely make it worth it. There are no subscription fees or financial obligations of any sort so everyone should at least try it out once. Just be cautious when you're suddenly in possession of a great deal of new and expensive clothing. Snagging an item here or there every month or so is a fairly convenient and affordable way to vamp up your wardrobe.