What is Trunk Club? And How does it Work?
Christian Davis is a 24-year-old Los Angeles based writer who up until now has focused mainly on writing about video games. He recently began wanting to dress better, and he’ll be cataloging his process for us here on Dappered. For more, you can follow him via his tumblr.
When it comes to conversations with others about fashion and clothing, I’m finding a surprising amount just don’t like shopping at all. Going to a store and trying things on can be rewarding for people like myself; at the opposite end of the spectrum, less enjoyable than kissing a shark. On the mouth. With a lot of tongue.
Trunk Club is a service that lets you be completely lazy, but still end up with stylish clothes at your disposal. How’s this done? They provide you with your own personal stylist who will do the “shopping” for you. Then the items are sent to your home so you can try them on. Afterwards, you can keep the items you like or none at all. All from the comfort of your home.
Genius! … Maybe.
Getting set up with Trunk Club is easy and they start the process off based on how much you think you know about style. You have three options to choose from: Clueless, Confident, and Aficionado (which probably applies to most of you reading now. Not Joe though. He’s a bum).
That’s “Clueless”? Damn Trunk Club, you’re harsh!
Once you’ve labeled yourself, you’re shown a bunch of different outfits. Some are casual, some are more dressed up. You click on those that you could see yourself wearing. Then you’re shown the name of a bunch of stores/retailers. The stores range from H&M to Brooks Brothers to Club Monaco to Saks Fifth Avenue and up. More clicking on where you’d think you’d shop, and along with the outfit preferences, that’s supposed to help your stylist. Even from the get go, Trunk Club is trying to narrow down your tastes no matter the scenario. Pretty smart.
After that you input some of your basic info, measurements, weight, height, age, etc…
Once the preliminary stuff is done, you’ll be presented with your stylist. Mine was Danielle Darah, a very sweet and very attentive Trunk Club stylist. She emailed me once and called me within two days to properly introduce herself. I got to know her and we talked about a multitude of things; not just my trunk.
When we got down to business, I found out that I had customization options available for my trunk. Want a Trunk full of just shoes? Sure! No sweaters and three different belts? Gotcha pimpin!*
No, you won’t really know precisely what the products are going to look like, but there’s still a certain level of guidance and control that you can give. A bit of direction so the trunk can at least suit you.
Receiving Your Trunk
When my trunk arrived two things were prevalent: Shit, this is one beautiful looking box. Second; shit, this thing is a little heavy. This package was packed full of clothing and it’s exciting to not know exactly what was chosen for me. It’s always a surprise, all of the time.
Open the box and you’re presented with this nice, organized, and expertly folded selection of clothing (Danielle, did you fold all of these? Teach me your ways girl!) that’s staring at you with the most loving eyes saying “please sir, try me on and keep me forever!”
Sitting right on top was a list of items and a note written by Danielle explaining the reasoning behind some of the items she chose. AND she used the word “smorgasbord” in my note. Inside were brands like Billy Reid, New England Shirt Company, Rodd & Gunn, and Tommy John. Everything from basics like underwear and tees, to Japanese Twill jeans and all linen shirts, to an all season navy hopsack blazer. I loved the sense of discovery. I was familiar with some of the brands, but not all of them. Show me the world Aladdin. The fact is, simply opening the box and digging through gives you a fantastic feeling; Salma Hayek braiding your hair fantastic.
But then I saw the price tags…
Reality. A Cruel bitch.
Here’s a list of every item that came in my trunk, plus the price tag attached:
- Tommy John Cool Cotton Deep V-Neck – $40
- Rodd & Gunn Inchbonnie – $145.00
- New England Shirt Company Trim Navy Linen Shirt – $195
- Fidelity Dark Wash Slim Jim Jeans – $179
- Hartford L/S Henley – $160
- Life After Denim Tournament V-Neck Sweater – $98
- Paige Denim Normandie Japanese Twill Jeans – $179
- Billy Reid “John T.” Shirt – $195
- Sand Sherman 4 Season Blazer – $545
- Tommy John Cool Cotton Trunk – $29
Grand Total: $1,765
I remember speaking with Danielle and she gave me various price ranges of where items could fall. It seemed a little steep at the time, but I accepted that and thought it was more of a possibility. Just not so spot on. But you’re under no obligation to keep any of the items.
Sending it back. All of it.
From the day you receive your trunk, you have 10 days to decide whether you want some or all of the contents. You won’t be charged until that time limit has been exceeded. I still wanted many of the items… but two hundred bucks for a button up shirt? $160 for a Henley? Nothing in the trunk was especially wallet-friendly. Plus, I wanted to test the waters a bit. What would happen if I returned everything? So I did.
Thankfully, returning your trunk is just as easy and getting one. Return sticker is included with the package too. Just slap it on in the designated area and get FedEx to pick it up. The return can also be set up through Trunk Club.
A few days later, when the package arrived back at the Trunk Club office, I got a call from Danielle asking what was wrong with the trunk and to say that she was sorry I didn’t find anything I liked. I didn’t pick it up however. This was all left in a voice mail. She then sent me an email essentially echoing what she said on the phone.
I didn’t reply.
“Christian, why? That’s such a dick thing to do!”*
I KNOW! I HATED IT. DANIELLE I’M SO SORRY!
My reasoning behind this was to see how often they contacted you. Would they keep calling? Multiple times a day like bill collectors? Nope. None of that. I showed lack of interest and they moved on. It was nice not to be pestered.
Would I recommend Trunk Club? Absolutely, even if you like shopping on your own. Everything from customer service to the selection of clothing and the variety of brands is fantastic. Yes, the pricing of some of the items (okay… most… all? almost all?) were expensive in my first trunk, but if you choose one or two things as opposed to all of your trunk’s items (NAW, B. That’s two stack right there) it’s maybe not too ridiculous.
You’re also paying full retail for all the items through them. No sales or discounts. But, you can let your stylist (I highly recommend Danielle) know where your budget is going to be and they’ll do everything they can to be within that range.
I can see why a lot of us in the Dappered community would pass on Trunk Club due to the sticker shock alone**, but if you like discovering brands, albeit higher end brands, and are willing to possibly pay a bit more for that discovery, then Trunk Club is worthwhile.
I’ll be getting one again for sure.
*These aren’t actual quotes from Danielle.
**Editor’s Note: Yep.