By Melanie Zanona
4:42 PM CDT, May 17, 2012
Fashion is not just for females.
At least that's the message of Trunk Club, a relatively new personal shopper service in River North that helps men look like walking GQ ads, but without having to expend all the time, effort and hair gel.
"The main goal (of Trunk Club) is to help guys get awesome clothes without having to do any work," said Brian Spaly, Trunk Club CEO. "Most guys either don't have time, don't have access or don't have the desire. The process of shopping seems terrible to them."
And that's where the Trunk Club comes in.
The Chicago-based startup relies on the very basic principle that most men hate to shop, but still want to look good. In fact, Spaly said most of their clients are working men between the ages of 25 and 50 and are in search of everything from weekend and casual wear to work and date night outfits.
Customers start by setting up an appointment by phone or email with a stylist, who figures out their size and style. A trunk of clothes is then sent directly to their house (or bachelor pad) where they can try on the clothes, keep what they like and simply send back the rest.
"I've worked with one stylist the whole time, Lisa, and she's helped me figure out the stuff I like, the stuff I don't like and even pushed me to try new things," said Tim Wilson, a Chicago management consultant that has used the Trunk Club since fall 2010. "I never thought I would own a pair of red pants before, but I just got a pair this month and have worn them twice already."
While the service is available to anyone in the U.S.--Spaly said about 30 percent of their clientele are from the Chicago-land area, while the rest reside around the country--locals have the advantage of being able to come into the store and have their wardrobe revamped in person. Not to mention, men who come into the Trunk Club are immediately greeted by the young, 20-something female stylists and offered scotch, wine or beer to sip on while they shop.
It's free to sign up and speak with a stylist; customers only have to pay for the clothes they keep and are provided with a prepaid Fedex box to send back any of the clothes they don't want.
Spaly noted that trunks are only delivered as often or little as the client pleases: "It's a shopping service, not a subscription service."
But that doesn't mean customers won't have to cough up the dollars, as most of the retail selection is on the higher end. Trunk Club's inventory, which focuses on blazers, jeans, button-ups and shoes, includes everything from John Varvatos and Jack Spade to AG Jeans and Eton Shirts. Spaly said the average transaction usually runs between $500 to $1,000.
But for some men, it's worth it.
"I've been ecstatic with the results," Wilson said. "I used to go shopping on my own and only wore 60 percent of the stuff I bought. Now I wear everything. And I only have to go to one place."
Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC