Trunk Club: A College Student’s Review of a Personal Style Service

I normally don’t need help finding clothes that suit me, because I think I know what works best for me.  What’s interesting, however, is learning what other people think looks good on you.  Everybody has got opinions and sometimes its best to use them and broaden your sartorial horizons.  That’s where Trunk Club comes in.  It’s a mens outfitting service that sends you clothes based on your personal style to try on at home and  keep what you like.  After chatting with Emily, my personal Trunk Club stylist my first trunk came in.

Before we look at the items, let me get more in depth on how it works.  Firstly, there is no monthly subscription charge or shipping fees; trying the clothes on is completely free.  Secondly, you only have to pay for the items you keep. After your 10 day trial, the rest are shipped back to Trunk Club free of charge, as long as none of the items have been washed or have any wear.

When you sign up for Trunk Club, you pick a store or brand that you like (Banana Republic, Urban Outfitters, H&M, etc) that will help your stylist learn what clothes to send you.  After putting in your credit card information (so they can automatically charge you for what you keep), you are connected by email with your personal stylist whom you can even call.  Emily called me shortly after and I was able to tell her what I wanted in my first Trunk:  short sleeve shirts and street wear clothes.  I told her I normally dress up to classes and I’m trying to get more casual clothes; she said no problem.

Before sending out the Trunk, she sent me pictures of all the items that would be in my first trunk.  At this stage, you can either accept the trunk or ask her to “repack you one” with new items.  The only items I asked her to remove were pants.

Now here’s the real kicker:  Trunk Club is very expensive.  The items they send you are high fashion and very great quality.  These aren’t the shirts from Zara or H&M that Tim and I normally wear.  According to one statistic on the Trunk Club website, the average price of a single item from a 13-piece trunk is about $145.  Yikes.   Pretty steep for the everyday guy.  Pretty average for the salaried guy.

The Products

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Here’s the presentation of the products.  It’s really nice, compact and well done.  I didn’t get much pictures of the box, but it’s literally designed as a luggage trunk with a plastic handle.  Included in the box is your return label and packing tape to reseal the box.

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 Loved how they put all the shirts together like this.  It made me feel like it was a gift personally selected for me!

Here’s all the clothes that came in my trunk.  One major problem was the track jacket.  It came with folding stains.

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Check out these prices…

After looking at these prices (which was previously shown to me before the trunk was sent) I carefully put on each item and made an outfit.  It’s important to know that when you use a personal shopping service, you are not restricted to only wearing these items together.  You should look for items that fits your established style, that make you feel comfortable, and that can definitely be worn more than once.

The Looks

1.  American Casual 

This shirt wasn’t a big deal to me.  It’s a common go to shirt and a bit too casual for my taste.   The shirt really screams “American” due to its literal red, white, and blue colors and it’s not a diverse item.  If you want one of these shirts, you can find a cheaper alternative literally anywhere else.

Also worn with this outfit are these canvas shoes which can also be found anywhere else.  It’s much more casual that the boat shoes frequented by Raj and Ian and again not my personal favourite.  This overall look is one frequented by college males all over the country.

Trunk Club Items:

Short Sleeve Plaid Shirt by Gitman Brothers ($170) 

Otto Canvas Shoes by Tretorn ($70)

2.  Only One Layer Needed

Here’s something I felt that was unique.  It’s not everyday that you get a four button thermal that is able to prop the collar.  Thanks to this and the four button placket, this is a diverse item that can be worn by itself or layered with a casual jacket.  The fit was great and super comfortable.  It was warm during this shoot and I could barely feel it.

Trunk Club Item:

Barstow Half Snap Thermal Sweater by Jack Spade ($148)

3.  A Preppy Spring

This is one of my favourites from my first trunk.  Short sleeved button up shirts have been around forever and have a “nerdy” stigma about them since they are frequented by working geeks like Dwight Schrute from the office.  However, the modern short-sleeve button up is back with a vengeance.

As you can see, the body and the arms are slim, allowing a great silhouette for the wearer.  Additionally, they can be dressed up or down, depending on the pants.  In this outfit, I paired the gorgeous green checked shirt with neutral khakis (pinrolled!) and boaters to create a preppy look.  I really recommend more people to get some!

Trunk Club Item:

Turquoise Micro Check Shirt  by Life After Denim ($88)

4. The Mature Athelete


This is exactly what you think it is.  It’s a plain navy blue shirt.  The fit is great and it’s most likely made of some expensive fabric, but I really wouldn’t recommend spending more than $20 on a t-shirt.  It’s a versatile item and I’m sure you’ll wear it out much faster than any other item.

For this outfit, I kept the khakis from the previous look and ditched the boat shoes from some mature suede oxfords.  I’m starting to get into varsity jackets for that “americana” look and when you wear one with a plain shirt, it just looks great.  This look is youthful and works for a casual, fun night with your friends!

Trunk Club Item:

Navy Blue V-Neck from Velvetmen ($60)

 5.  Slick and Suave

This is the jacket that had those stains from the packaging.  With that aside, it’s an absolutely stunning jacket.  Most of my casual jackets are leather  but this jacket is made of one of the lightest fabrics I’ve ever worn.  The sleeves have some ribbing, making it come slim around the wrists.  It’s definitely worth the price.

Next is the white henley style shirt.  It’s an essential for anyone’s wardrobe due to the buttons, but not at this price.  What sets this shirt apart from typical ones at H&M and Zara is that it has a texture to it.  Even though I love texture, I prefer to have my t-shirts smooth.

Lastly, we have the boots.  They’re nice, but I’m not digging the blue laces.  They did come with brown replacement laces which is good, but they really aren’t set apart from other boots you can find at Aldo or Call it Spring.   However, you really want quality items, buy these.  Made of leather, they’re pretty stiff and will take a lot of wearing in to get them to be soft.

Trunk Club Items:

Nebulous Henley from Theory ($115)

Navy Track Jacket from Billy Reid ($195)

Monarch Boots from J Shoes ($198)

6. Work Day and Happy Hour

Lastly, we have an awesome gingham shirt.  It’s slim, it breathes, and it has a modern spread collar that can be buttoned with a tie or unbuttoned for a casual look.  Gingham is easy to wear because it’s so diverse but it’s still tough to find a reason to buy this particular one.  Just try to find slim gingham shirts in a variety of colors to spice up your wardrobe!  Always remember to scale your patterns when mixing!  Here, the small gingham is engulfed by the large windowpane.  Eye-sore averted.

However, say you want to head to happy hour right after work but you don’t want to bring extra clothes. No need for that. Just bring a pair of jeans and a casual jacket and you’re good to go!  If you’re going to spend big money on some luxury items, just make sure you’re able to mix them together and wear them often!

Trunk Club Items:

Gingham shirt from Ledbury ($145)

Navy Track Jacket from Billy Reid ($195)

Conclusion

While Trunk Club does a great job of finding high quality luxury items for men, it is definitely not for the young man at this stage in life.  These prices are not completely outrageous, since they are about the same price as if one shopped at Nordstrom or Bloomingdales, but the normal day to day guy doesn’t have that kind of budget.  These items are reserved for men who are already in a profession, has a disposable income, and needs a little outside help finding stylish clothes.

My advice when using a clothing subscription or personal style service is that only keep the clothes that you know you’ll wear.  You might be tempted to keep all the items because it’s overwhelming but don’t fall into that trap.  These items aren’t meant to only be worn with each other but rather supplement your existing clothes.  And that’s what I did with these items.  Each piece was able to be combined with my own clothes and create different outfits that looked great.  If only I had the kind of money that would’ve let me keep these items.

So if you have that kind of cash, go for it.  If you’re tired of seeing the same thing at the mall at stores like H&M or Urban Outfitters and want patterns and fabrics that only high fashion brands can offer, this is a service for you.  It lets you see what’s in your trunk before it ships and you’ll always have to approve the trunk.  You don’t need to live in LA or New York to check out those high end stores to find the look you want; Trunk Club will send those clothes straight to your door.

However, if you’re in school (high school or college) or working at an hourly job and you want to expand your style, Trunk Club is not for you.  It may take a while, but there are always random finds at “mall stores”.  You won’t be able to walk out with bags of clothes, but every so often you’ll find one unique and well designed item that finds it’s home in your personal style.  It’s a bit more work than just picking and choosing from a list, but that’s what makes fashion a personal experience.

Other than that, Trunk Club is a fantastic service that has helped a lot of guys find their style and clothes that they enjoy.  They have truly revolutionized the personal shopping experience and brought it into the 21st century.  The stylists are friendly and establish a real rapport right off the bat and genuinely care about their clients and are passionate about their business.  I hope you enjoyed this review and that you’ll be able to know whether Trunk Club is right for you!

Sincerely,

Ethan W.

Street x Sprezza

Photography by Ethan W. 

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2 comments

  1. Abby · December 16, 2015

    Loved you’re review. However, I told my constant that I was a student and with not a lot of money but was preparing to enter the work force and she found me stuff for my Trunk that was really rather reasonable.

    There were a couple of things on my list that hit a 100 dollar or more price point but she kept it mainly in the 50-60 area and that’s what I would spend on something nice that I would use for work/long lasting items anyway. If you talk with your stylist they’re more than willing to work with you!

    Like

    • Ethan W. · December 18, 2015

      That’s true! I believe I made it clear I was a college student on a budget, but I should’ve given her an actual dollar amount.

      I may try it again if I have the time!

      Like

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