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Dia & Co. vs. Stitch Fix: Which clothing box is better for plus-size clothes?

Dia is a dedicated plus-size styling service for women, but Stitch Fix has clothes for the whole family.

Stitch Fix
Stitch Fix

There's no shortage of clothing box subscription services that can help you add some variety to your wardrobe while avoiding the in-person shopping experience. But choosing the right clothing box service for you might feel overwhelming, with dozens of options available -- particularly when you're looking for plus-size clothes. 

Stitch Fix is one of the most popular boxes available, with 3.1 million active clients, according to the company. But Dia & Co. offers a dedicated service to plus size women, and has 5 million active users. Here's how to decide which option might be better for you. 

Shelby Brown/CNET

I've been a Stitch Fix user for about a year. I'm always excited when I get my box, which you can customize to come at whatever frequency fits your schedule or budget -- no membership fee or monthly subscription required. My account is linked to one of my Pinterest boards, so my stylist can get more ideas about what styles I like, and she always leaves a thoughtful note in my box, which is a sweet personal touch. The items my stylist sends me almost always hit the mark, which can be rare when it comes to larger-sized clothing for women. 

Stitch Fix offers a fairly wide range of women's sizes -- 00-24W in stylish dresses, pants, skirts and shirts. 

In my last box, my stylist picked out: an Erica Taylor green straight leg pant ($78); a Pinque navy blue cardigan ($46); a burnt-orange Market and Spruce top ($58); an off-white Lemon Tart blouse ($58); and a striped 41 Hawthorn knit top ($48). I had to exchange the Market and Spruce top for a bigger size, but Stitch Fix gets your replacement item to you within a couple of days. The Lemon Tart blouse and the Erica Taylor pants were a little too summery for November in Kentucky, but with a good cardigan, I decided it would still be possible to make them work. 

The total came to $288. If you buy everything in the box, you get a 25% discount (in this case $72), bringing my total to $216 plus tax. There's a $20 styling fee charged before your stylist gets to work, but that's credited towards anything you buy -- it's basically a deposit. Thus, my only issue with Stitch Fix: The price isn't accessible for everyone. Yes, the pieces are designer and quality. But even at the lowest price setting, if you're used to shopping at Target (like me), putting $50 down for a single shirt can feel jarring.

Three of the items in my Stitch Fix box made a complete outfit. The others were easily integrated with other pieces in my wardrobe. Also, if I were to really love a sweater or pair of pants, Stitch Fix sometimes gives the option to order them in different colors or patterns in the app under the My Items tab. A Style Card, which comes as a physical copy in each box and a digital version in the app, shows you ways to pair the items to make outfits -- down to bags, shoes and jewelry. 

Stitch Fix has an app for iOS and Android that makes it easy to sign up, update your profile, check out and keep your stylist up-to-date on what you like and don't like. In addition to creating a style profile and extra style quizzes, Stitch Fix lets you link your Pinterest board to your profile so your stylist can get to know your fashion sense better. On the app dashboard, you can partake in daily Style Shuffles -- a swiping system similar to Tinder that asks if you'd wear an item or not, to better get to know your style. The app has also added an experimental Inspiration tab where you can save Stitch Fix outfits you like and leave notes for your stylist. 

Stitch Fix also styles men (XS-3XL, waists 28-48 inches and inseams 28-36 inches) and kids (sizes 2T-14), so if you're looking for a clothing box option that allows you to subscribe for multiple family members, this could be the one for you. 

Shelby Brown/CNET

Even though the average US woman's clothing size is between a Misses 16-18, many stores still cater to smaller sizes. This can make for an uncomfortable and discouraging shopping experience.

But Dia & Co.'s style service defies the often limited and drab choices that make up extended sizes. The service offers sizes 14-32. My box was packed with vibrant, colorful items -- blouses, dresses, skirts, jeans, even a clutch. I always have trouble finding jeans that fit my waist and hips, and Dia nailed that. The box also mixed classic pieces, like a polka-dot blue wrap dress, with more colorful, patterned pieces that stepped outside my comfort zone.

In total, my sample box included a Caria Classic clutch ($38); a Prescott New York Donna long ruched sleeve cardigan ($39); a Cameo Carolina zipper detail Ponte skirt ($59); a Jessica Simpson Lorelei plaid button-up shirt ($49); an East Adeline Orlando faux wrap dress ($49); a pair of Molly and Isadora Leroy skinny jeans ($65); a Meera Lane Antonella sleeveless tie-neck blouse ($32); a Rachel Roy Sandra long sleeve blouse ($82); a Dex Plus Lucilla classic button-down top ($55); and a Rachel Roy Esme midi dress ($109). Though this was a larger sample box for the purposes of this article, an average box would contain five items. Dia & Co. was unable to disclose the average price of each style box per price bracket, but said that it has a box that comes in under $200. Items can range from $35 to $250 and the service strives to cater to your budget preferences.

Dia & Co. is adding a co-curation feature which allows more ways for users to shop with no additional charge. You can get a standard box with five items selected by a stylist, an e-commerce model vox which lets you select all five items, or a co-curation model box, which gives users the ability to choose three items and has a stylist fill in the other two. This makes Dia & Co. the only retailer to offer all three options. 

"Put simply, we added these two new shopping options because over the years, it became clear that our customer wanted them. Some customers love leaning on their stylist to create the perfect box for them, others want to shop completely independently. And there are shoppers who like both, depending on what they are looking for. We wanted to make sure we served all them efficiently," Dia & Co. said in an email. 

To use Dia & Co., you first take a style quiz that asks about your sizes, how clothes typically fit you, your style preferences and your preferred price range for items like tops, pants and dresses. You pay a $20 styling fee to have your box assembled. When the box arrives, you can buy what you like and return what you don't. The $20 fee applies at checkout to whatever you keep. You can order style boxes to best fit your schedule -- a monthly, bimonthly or a customized frequency -- as long as you try on and return clothes within five days. If you love your box and keep everything, you also get a 25% Buy All discount. There's also a boutique if you're not quite ready to try a whole box. 

Takeaways

Shopping for extended sizes can be incredibly frustrating. It took me years to figure out that my body isn't the problem -- it's how the clothing is put together. Even in the Dia box, every item was the same size, but made by different brands, which led to very different fits. It's important to know this and not berate yourself in the event that something doesn't fit (especially if it should be your size). 

Ultimately, both style boxes had excellent customer service and offer extended sizes. Stitch Fix does offer clothes for the whole family, if that's something you're looking for. But as I said, Dia & Co. is a dedicated plus-size style service for women with very fashionable options, which can be empowering in an area that has historically been lacking. If you're a plus-size woman and looking to find a box of stylish clothes that's just for you, I'd give Dia a try first. 

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