Learn how you can try on clothes at home for free from hundreds of companies with simple hacks, which take full advantage of free returns and companies like Stitch Fix, Try Now, Shoprunner and PayPal Returns on Us.
Options to try on clothing at home
The COVID-19 pandemic severely curbed my desire and ability to try on clothes in person. (For a while, many stores closed their dressing rooms, meaning you couldn’t even try on clothes in person if you wanted to.)
There are several different ways to try on clothes at home before you buy them:
- Stores like Stitch Fix will curate apparel from a variety of brands on demand or on a regular (subscription) basis;
- Certain Direct-to-Consumer brands let you try-on clothing at home before you buy;
- Other Direct-to-Consumer brands offer free shipping and free returns, enabling customers to try clothing at home under generous return policies;
- Services like Shoprunner and PayPal offer additional pathways to score free returns on hundreds of clothing and consumer brands;
- Virtual try on apps and services are starting to come online to allow you to see how clothing, eyeglasses and makeup would look via your smartphone or computer.
Here’s a guide to these options for trying on clothes at home for free:
Personal style services like Stitch Fix
By and large, these companies are clothing curators, a 21st Century riff on a personal shopper. Stores like Stitch Fix and Trunk Club deploy personal stylists and data science to grab from racks of their digital department stores, which are populated by a variety of brand names.
Here’s a quick comparison of Stitch Fix vs. Trunk Club vs. Wantable and more. For a more in-depth look at Trunk Club vs. Stitch Fix and other personal styling services, see For Companies Like Stitch Fix, Try These 18 Compelling Alternatives.
Co-founded by Katrina Lake and Erin Morrison Flynn, fashion startup Stitch Fix is on a mission “to change the way people find clothes they love by combining technology with the personal touch of seasoned style experts.” The company uses data science backed by stylists to try and create truly personalized wardrobe selections for women, men and kids.
Stitch Fix charges a $20 styling fee for each “Fix,” which can be applied to any item you decide to keep.
For me, Stitch Fix proved to be an interesting way to try out new brands, but ultimately I returned everything in the “Fix” that I received. Twice.
See my review of Stitch Fix for more background on the experience.
Nordstrom’s Trunk Club is a lot like Stitch Fix in that it also offers a curated selection of clothing, aka a “Trunk,” for men or women, which aims to match your personal style and fit preferences.
Like Stitch Fix, Trunk Club charges a styling fee — in this case it’s $25 — for each Trunk it sends, which will be credited to whatever you decide to keep. That $25 Trunk Club styling fee is waived for Nordstrom cardholders.
Get started by taking Trunk Club’s style quiz.
Wantable is a styling service that selects personalized clothing for women and men. Women can select a “style edit,” for business and casual clothing, or an “activewear edit” for athleisure. Men are eligible to receive activewear boxes only.
Amazon’s Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe
Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe is Amazon’s foray into personalized styling. For a styling fee of $4.99 per month, you receive customized selections from an Amazon stylist. One really nice feature of Amazon’s Personal Shopper Service is that you can preview and edit your selections before they are sent out.
Prime Wardrobe by Amazon
Amazon Prime Wardrobe is a do-it-yourself style service that allows you to customize your own clothing to try on at home. , which allows customers to try on clothing for free at once before purchasing. Select up to 8 items of clothing and/or shoes to fill your Wardrobe box, and then take up to 7 days to try on the clothes.
Operating since 1998, Daily Look is another subscription personal styling service like Stitch Fix, but only for women.
Birchbox has offered subscription boxes of beauty, personal care and grooming items for women since 2012. Birchbox offers a wide variety of interesting beauty and care brands in its boxes.
Bombfell used to offer an AI-powered subscription service for men, but the company stopped sending new boxes in 2020.
These brands let you try on clothes at home before you buy
Digital native clothing brands have been experimenting with a number of ways to get in front of customers and cut through constant information overload.
Still other digital clothing retailers will allow you to try clothes at home before you buy them. Unlike Stitch Fix and Trunk Club, who curate clothing from multiple brands, the companies below offer their own direct-to-consumer brand of clothing up to try on at home.
Backed by investors and advisors including Craft Ventures, Shine Capital, Ryan Babenzien of Greats, Sean Marshall of Klaviyo, David Sacks of PayPal and William Hockey of Plaid, Try Now provides software for Shopify Plus merchants that facilitates try-at-home experiences for customers.
The Style Plan by Frank and Oak
Canadian fashion startup Frank and Oak offers a range of stylish and solid value clothing for women and men. The digital-first retailer, which prioritizes eco-friendly fabrics and production methods, has developed a brick-and-mortar retail presence in Canada and the United States (though they closed the Frank and Oak store in Washington, DC’s Shaw neighborhood).
In 2018, Frank and Oak launched the Style Plan, a subscription clothing service, which allows you to try on clothing selections at home. Like Amazon Personal Shopper, Frank and Oak allows you to preview and edit your style box before it ships out.
Myles Apparel coupons
Headquartered in Telluride, Colorado, Western Rise offers elevated apparel for men made from technical fabrics for the outdoors, work, and everyday. Try up to 4 items for up to 7 days from Western Rise.
Founded in 2007 by sisters Nicole, Jennifer and Colette, Lime Ricki sells a range of cute-but-modest swimwear for women. The company lets you try up to 5 items of clothing at home for up to 7 days.
Menlo Club is the subscription shopping service from Menlo House, part of the Five Four Group, which offers menswear brands Five Four, New Republic, Grand Running Club, and Melrose Place.
Ash and Erie
Specializing in clothes for shorter guys, Ash and Erie allows customers to try up to 8 items of clothing at home for up to 7 days.
Try clothes at home with stores offering free shipping and free returns
Another option to try on clothes at home before you buy is to take advantage of generous free shipping and free returns from direct-to-consumer ecommerce companies.
Here is a list of some stylish stores for men and women that offer free returns so that you can try on clothing at home:
- Nordstrom is one of my favorite places to shop. The company offers free shipping and returns, and curates a strong selection of stylish clothing brands for men and women alongside its own house brands.
- Amazon claims to offer free returns on millions of items, though the fine print stipulates that the methods for free returns may differ depending on the item and seller. I’ve had a couple of instances where the only option for me to return an item for free was to drop it off at an Amazon delivery center about 45 minutes away from my house. To drop it off at a UPS Store, I was on the hook for a return fee. That said, in my experience, Amazon tends to have pretty liberal return policies for clothing.
- Bonobos, one of my favorite one-stop-shop for men, always offers free shipping and free returns to make it easy to try on clothing at home.
- Neiman Marcus offers free shipping and free returns.
- Pact is an excellent option for affordable, sustainably-made basics for women and men that offers “free and easy returns.”
- Outerknown is a great place to find sustainable, West Coast casual fashion for women and men including SEA Jeans and blanket shirts. Outerknown offers free returns.
Get free returns with PayPal
Here’s another hack: Take advantage of Return Shipping on Us by PayPal. PayPal offers free return shipping on eligible orders.
This is how it works:
How to get free returns with PayPal’s Return Shipping on Us
While PayPal’s return shipping program is useful, it’s not automatic. Here are the steps you have to take to score free returns from PayPal:
- Sign up for a PayPal account if you don’t have one already;
- You must manually activate PayPal’s Return Shipping on Us service by going to an Activation page;
- Once you have activated the service and you are logged into your PayPal account, go to your Activity page;
- Click on the transaction for the product you want to return; and
- Click “get return shipping on us” and follow the instructions to print out a return shipping label or request a shipping refund.
Also note that there are a number of conditions attached to the offer. Take a look at the full terms and conditions for PayPal’s Return Shipping on Us program to get the complete details.
Select list of retailers that accept PayPal
PayPal is accepted by millions of merchants, so it’s impossible to list them all. Here is a list of select clothing and apparel retailers that accept PayPal (which should allow you to take advantage of PayPal’s free returns assuming the purchases meet the terms and conditions):
- Aldo shoes;
- American Eagle;
- The Frye Company;
- Hot Topic;
- Hugo Boss;
- JC Penny;
- J. Crew;
- Joe’s Jeans;
- Kate Spade;
- Lands End;
- Lucky Brand;
- Michael Kors;
- New Balance;
- Paige denim;
- Patagonia outdoor wear and gear;
- Ralph Lauren;
- Rebecca Minkoff;
- Stitch Fix personal styling service;
Free returns with Shoprunner at hundreds of stores
Here’s a hack to shop with free shipping and free returns at more than 100 clothing retailers: Take advantage of Shoprunner.
E-commerce services company Shoprunner partners with clothing retailers like Bloomingdales to facilitate free shipping and free returns.
When shopping at an eligible store using Shoprunner’s integration, you can receive free two-day shipping and free returns.
I’ve been a member of Shoprunner since 2017. It’s really nice to shop online at a place like Saks Fifth Avenue or Eddie Bauer and know that I can get fast and free shipping and free returns.
How to get a free Shoprunner membership
There are several ways to get a free membership to Shoprunner:
- If you have an American Express credit card, you are eligible for a free lifetime membership in Shoprunner. (Don’t have an American Express Card? Apply for the American Express Blue Cash Card or the Amex Everyday Credit Card.)
- If you have an account with Chase, Mastercard, PayPal or Yahoo, you are eligible for a free Shoprunner 1-year membership.
- Alternately, you can also enroll for a free one year Shoprunner membership online.
How much does Shoprunner cost?
If you do not qualify for a free membership through one of Shoprunner’s partners, the membership fee is $79 per year. (Remember, you can get a free lifetime membership if you have an American Express card.)
How Shoprunner works:
- Browse normally on the clothing retailer’s website;
- Look for the Shoprunner name and/or logo (it looks a little like a lightening bolt) on the product page of a participating store, or on the checkout/cart page. Once you locate it, sign into the Shoprunner service directly from the merchant’s website.
- When completing your order, make sure that you select the corresponding “Shoprunner” shipping method rather than another delivery option.
What’s the catch with Shoprunner?
- You have to be a member of Shoprunner in order to take advantage of its perks. (See above for how to sign up for a membership for free.)
- In addition, you must order separately from each merchant using the Shoprunner integration. (You cannot combine items from multiple Shoprunner partners into one shopping cart.)
- You also must make sure that you select the Shoprunner shipping option on the merchant’s checkout page. (I’ve had some trouble in the past getting my shipping option correct during the checkout process.)
List of stores that offer free shipping and returns via Shoprunner
Shoprunner boasts a list of over 100 merchants who utilize the service.
Last I checked, the list of clothing companies that use Shoprunner to offer free shipping and returns to try clothing at home includes:
- Alexis Bittar, which specializes in hand-carved Lucite bangles and other statement jewelry;
- Alice and Olivia, a stylish clothing boutique for women;
- American Eagle Outfitters, the mall staple that sells inexpensive clothing for men and women (you can start an AE return here);
- Aquatalia (Italian shoes for men and women);
- Luxury retailers Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks Off-Fifth;
- Boston Proper (another stylish women’s clothing boutique);
- Brahmin (gorgeous handbags for women and classy wallets and travel bags for men);
- Brooks Brothers, the storied, troubled American retailer;
- Burberry, the luxury British trench coat icon;
- Cole Haan and Frye (the Frye Company) for footwear for women and men;
- Everything But Water for swimwear for women;
- Gore Wear for cycling, running and activewear and gear;
- Halsbrook for preppy and colorful clothing for women;
- Hugo Boss, Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger and Vince for high-street designer fashion for women and men;
- J. Jill and White House Black Market for classic womenswear;
- Joe’s Jeans, which makes some of my favorite stretchy jeans for men (and also makes women’s jeans);
- Johnnie-O, specializing in California-cool preppy attire for men and boys;
- Kate Spade, Tory Burch and Vera Bradley for handbags, totes and accessories for women;
- Keen Footwear for rugged, outdoor shoes for women, men and kids;
- Kiehls for cosmetics (and my favorite amino acid shampoo);
- Liverpool Jeans, the California denim company;
- Maje and Sandro Paris for French-designed clothing for women and men;
- Nic and Zoe for a “fiercely female” clothing brand specializing in knitwear;
- PJ Salvage for pajamas and more for women;
- Ramy Brook for transitional wardrobe essentials and loungewear for women;
- Sam Edelman for iconic slippers, sandals, espadrilles and wedges for women;
- Soma for intimate apparel for women;
- Under Armour for workout and athleisure clothing; and
- White and Warren for cashmere sweaters, cardigans and luxury loungewear for women.
This list is based on my research, but please be sure to confirm details with the merchants directly. Things change.
Utilize virtual try on apps and mirrors at home
There is another way to try on clothing at home: via virtual try on apps and virtual dressing rooms.
Eyeglasses retailers have led the way in deploying virtual try on apps and services. (Liingo Eyewear is one of my favorite destinations for prescription eyeglasses, and offers a virtual mirror.)
Clothing companies are still experimenting with virtual try ons and fitting rooms that utilize Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies to project images of clothing onto your person.
- Nordstom allows you to meet virtually with a stylist to go over wardrobe options.
- Adidas has piloted virtual try-ons of sneakers via its app.
- Asos piloted an online Augmented Reality online fitting tool via its app.
- Macys has trialed an online virtual fitting room.
- Rebecca Minkoff launched an online fitting room alongside New York Fashion Week back in 2016.
- Walmart acquired Zeekit, the virtual fitting room technology that underpinned several clothing retailer programs in 2021.
For now, most of these programs are trials only and are not widely available. (Virtual try on programs also raise a host of privacy considerations.) It will be interesting to see how virtual try on options for clothing evolve in the coming years as AR, VR and AI improve.
About JakeJake is passionate about exploring entrepreneurs' global journeys. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the innovative brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and/or fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine, and has provided analysis on international business for BBC Radio, NBC News, CNN and Time Magazine.
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