When I naively ascended the elevator to Trunk Club headquarters last Friday, I thought I knew what I had in store. I’d heard of the personal shopping service years ago when my brother and his young Wall Street friends were early fans and customers. It goes something like this:
Talk to a personal shopper (stylist), tell them your M.O., they curate a trunk of clothes just for you, try it on at home, keep what you like, send anything you don’t like back. Free shipping both ways. It’s easy for the guy who has no desire (or time) to shop but still needs and wants to look good (and it should be noted that while Trunk Club began as a men’s only outfitter, it’s recently started catering to women too).
Stylists working among the hubbub of the bar and stylist/customer meetings.
Dress shirts in the stock room waiting for stylists to choose them.
But when I got to their 6th Floor headquarters in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, the scene was a little different. If Nordstrom, Bar Louie, and your living room had a kid, this would be it. What began as an online personal shopping service seven years ago has turned into the new, interactive, social and fun way to shop (also of note, Trunk Club was just acquired by Nordstrom for $350 mil.). They still have a large online presence (roughly 60% of their business) but if you live close to one of 5 “Clubhouses” nationwide- you can meet with your stylist, shop your trunk in a cozy “parlor” designed by one of a handful of brands (Vince and Nike were two of my favorite areas), mingle, and cocktail while you’re there.
Customers mingling at the bar.
The Vince “parlor.”
I ain’t gonna lie, the clothes were cool, but the scene was cooler. Distressed wood floors, high ceilings, exposed beams, hipsters everywhere. There were personal shoppers working the phones, a long bar lining one side, rolling racks and fabric swatches scattered about. The place was buzzin’. The employee I was talking to said that many couples actually make a date out of Trunk Club Friday nights!
If you use Trunk Club, they’ll show you an assortment of brand names you’ll know, but also some you can only get at Trunk Club: i.e. bespoke suits (made in the same fabric that the English royal family uses for their hunting wears) or a 100% waterproof wool raincoat they have in production (Burberry, consider yourself warned). I’d say the only thing keeping me from becoming completely obsessed with the place is that they never go on sale. No Anniversary sale? No friends and family? No BOGO’s?!? I’m sorry, but the only thing I like better than clothes, are clothes on sale.