Short Story Box Review from a Real Customer

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short story subscription box review by wardrobe oxygen

There were so many folks in emails, Instagram DMs, and especially in the Wardrobe Oxygen community on Facebook who were curious about Short Story Box, a subscription service dedicated to petite women 5'4″ and under, I asked if a member of the community who tried it would write a Short Story Box review for the rest of us to know more about this new service. Mary Moore, a reader of Wardrobe Oxygen is a paying customer of Short Story and offered to share her honest thoughts with us.

Short Story Box Review

Did you know that half of the women in the United States are under 5'4″ tall? Yep, half of us are petite yet you wouldn't know it by shopping the mall or your favorite online retailer. With most brands offering inseams of 31″ to 32″ in length and rarely offering petite cuts, you would think we were a country of leggy ladies (or women who have a passion for platform heels).

But needing petite fashion goes beyond the inseam of a pair of trousers. We shorter folk need shorter rises in our trousers, shorter torsos in our blazers, blouses, and dresses, and even narrower shoulders. Short lengths don't cut it; petite women need a completely different fit model for their fashion.

On top of that, while there are many retailers these days that carry petite fashion, there are few that offer petite fashion over a size 10. I was intrigued that Short Story currently offers sizes 00P-20P and is in the works of extending that size range further. Mary is a size 16/XL and below shares her experience with what she received in her size from Short Story.

Short Story Box Pros

Short Story is a personal styling service for petite women 5'4″ or under. Think clothing subscription programs like Stitch Fix, Short Story has you complete a style quiz and with that and your feedback, the style experts will curate a box of apparel that you receive a box on a schedule that fits your needs.

This is awesome as it is hard to find stylish petite apparel. Many retailer do not carry petite fashion, or think that “short” options will suffice. Short Story Box curates a selection of petite-cut apparel in sizes 00p-20P.

Short Story Box Cons

I have shared before my frustrations with subscription box programs for apparel. I know not every program is problematic, but I am skeptical of any subscription program like this. While I know Short Story Box says they are looking to extend their size range, I really wish that they already offered more than just sizes 00-20 petite.

How Short Story Box Works

I'll break down below how Short Story Box works so you can determine if this subscription box program is a good idea for you prior to reading Mary's personal experience below.

How Selections for Your Short Story Box are Made

Once you complete the style quiz, Short Story will match you with one of its stylists who will handpick pieces that fit your taste, needs, and budget—and mail your picks to your door. Each box contains a curated selection of 5-6 pieces of clothing and accessories for you to try on at home.

How long do you have to try your Short Story Box?

You have 5 days from the date of delivery to decide what to keep. Then, checkout online and mail back anything you want to return. You will only be charged for what you keep. Shipping and returns are always free.

How Much Does Short Story Cost?

Each Short Story subscription box costs $25 and is charged when your stylist curates your box of clothing items. After you receive your box with the items that the stylist pick for you, you only pay for pieces you decide to keep, and that $25 styling fee is credited towards anything you keep from that box. That means if you buy a $100 garment, you will only pay $75 additional.

The styling fee can only be applied to purchases from your current order. It cannot be rolled over to your next curation and is non-refundable. This means if you do not keep anything from your Short Story box, you will still pay the $25 styling fee.

The pieces Short Story offers in the curated boxes in the price range from $35 to over $150. When you fill out your style quiz, you share with Short Story your budget so your stylist will send you items based on that range.

Can You Customize a Short Story Subscription?

Just as with other subscription programs, the default delivery schedule for Short Story is monthly. However, Short Story lets you customize your delivery schedule so you can get boxes more or less often. Also like other subscription boxes, you have the ability to communicate with your stylist, providing feedback, requesting specific items, etc.

How Do You Cancel a Short Story Subscription?

Unlike some subscription programs that require you to jump through hoops to pause or cancel the service, Short Story keeps it relatively simple. To cancel, log into your profile and go to the Settings tab in the top right corner. Then click stop receiving automatic shipments and select “Let me schedule my own boxes”. This means you won't receive another Short Story subscription box until you request one.

Short Story Box Brands

Short Story has petite tops, pants, pairs of jeans, jackets, dresses, jumpsuits, and accessories in a variety of styles and price points. You will find clothing brands like:

  • Joe's Jeans
  • Vince Camuto
  • Vero Moda
  • Amour Vert
  • Good American
  • Liverpool
  • Short Story's in-house brand Petite Principle.

Short Story Box vs. Stitch Fix

I think most think of Stitch Fix when thinking of a clothing subscription box, and I know many of you have tried this service over the years to mixed results. Some of you love Stitch Fix, some of you have been underwhelmed. Since my Stitch Fix review, Stitch Fix has increased their selection and size range. Stitch Fix carries petites in sizes 0-16P and you can complete your style guide to reflect your needs for petite apparel. Short Story Box has a more extensive petite size range.

Short Story Box says they have clothing that goes up to $150+ in price; Stitch Fix states they offer apparel up to $500+. If you are looking to stay on budget, Short Story Box may be a better choice for you. If you are looking for more elevated apparel, Stitch Fix may have the options you desire.

Stitch Fix charges $20 for their styling fee, Short Story Box charges $25. Both companies use that styling fee towards the cost of what you choose to keep, and both charge you the styling fee if you do not keep anything in your delivery. Stitch Fix offers a discount on your order if you keep everything sent to you; Short Story does not.

The biggest difference I think that matters to those considering Short Story Box is that the company's stylists are focused on petite customers and only petite customers. Stitch Fix offers fashion for women, men, children, and those who are pregnant. With Short Story Box being so specific, I can only imagine petite individuals will have a better chance finding clothing that actually fits their body and their tastes and finding a favorite item (or more) for their wardrobes.

Before I pass the baton on to Mary, I want you to know that Mary has been paid a fair rate by me in thanks for this Short Story Subscription Box review, but she paid for the subscription herself. Short Story is not aware of this review at the time of publishing as I wanted this to remain honest and unbiased.

Short Story Box Review from a Real Customer

Embracing Change with a Short Story Subscription: A Confidence-Boosting Wardrobe Experience by Mary Moore

From virtual work and time alone to reflect on what truly matters, the past few years have been a whirlwind that was challenging and transformational. Now I find myself embarking on a new journey, including a move to a new part of my state and leaving a great career at a community college. This also means a new job search. As a 61-year-old with a newly-embraced grey hair and a pandemic pudge, I really needed a wardrobe makeover that would boost my confidence during interviews and reflect my style.

Short Story Box Review
Wearing a pair of Liverpool pants that came in a Short Story Subscription Box

On the Hunt for Petite Fashion Beyond a Size 10

I was particularly anxious about finding comfortable, cute and well-fitting petite sized items in 16, or XLP, that were versatile and would fit in an education or business environment. My work requires me to wear a lot of hats: meeting with students, interdepartmental team projects, and meeting with employers and local government officials. Sometimes I am doing all three in the same work day.

Petite clothes have always been a bit of a challenge to find. When I find something I like it's rarely available in my size. If I can find it in my size, petite fashion is either frumpy or super dressy, neither which fit my style or lifestyle. I like to pair classics with casual and highlight my own jewelry work in silversmithing and bead weaving crafts. My go to brands are Coldwater Creek, Chicos, and Universal Standard, but sometimes the vibe is too casual or too dressy for my needs.

I was on a mission after applying for several job positions and spent two weekends on a hunt at local malls with very little success. I found either the size or style selection was limited. Falling back on ordering online, I had great difficulty finding petite 16 or XLP jackets and pants even from from Macy’s, Belk, and JCPenney. I was disappointed and nervous that I wouldn’t find the right items to help me feel confident in interviews.

contents of a Short Story Subscription Box
The contents of a Short Story Subscription Box

Discovering Short Story Box

During my plan for a wardrobe refresh, I saw Short Story boxes advertised on social media and TV commercials. I was initially hesitant about styling and pricing, as previous subscription boxes for me have been hit or miss. However, I finally decided to try a Short Story Box, seeing it as an investment that could save me endless shopping trips and returns.

Completing my Short Story style quiz, my styling request focused on business formal outfits to build up an interview-ready wardrobe. I provided my sizes, color preferences, and some specifics about what I considered my casual, unique and a little funky style.

Short Story Box Review
The contents of a Short Story Subscription Box

Unboxing as Self Care

I received an email notification two days before the Short Story box arrived. The box arrival, and the unboxing experience is a much-needed self-care treat. Even the boxes are well designed, with a great brochure with images, brands, descriptions, and costs of every item in the box.

Through my Short Story subscription, I have now discovered new favorite brands like Liverpool and Margaret M, alongside the in-house brand, Petite Principle. It was lovely to realize that Petite Principle's pieces, such as a grey suit jacket, blended comfort, and style perfectly, matching my preferences for classics with a touch of casual flair.

Short Story Subscription wardrobe
Styling a Petite Principle blazer and Liverpool pants from my Short Story Subscription with other items already in my closet.

A Transformation Thanks to my Short Story Box

The wardrobe transformation through my Short Story Subscription Box has been invigorating and empowering to me. I now have several interview outfits that make me feel confident and comfortable, seamlessly transitioning from business formal to business casual settings. The new sparkle in my eyes reflects the assurance I now feel about showcasing my skills and talents during interviews, free from concerns about my appearance.

Monserti top and Petite Principle blazer
Wearing a Monserti top and Petite Principle blazer, both which came from a Short Story Subscription Box

Hits and Misses from my Short Story Box

As with any subscription box, there were some hits and misses. While I purchased around 50% of the items sent to me in my Short Story Boxes, I returned the majority of the shirts, finding them either flimsy or too trendy. I have kept two tops: a turquoise shirt with pom-poms and a plain white tank. I haven’t had any luck with dresses as they didn't fit comfortably over my chest.

Returning items not selected from a Short Story subscription box is hassle-free. Short Story gives you a five-day window to try on items and decide what you want to keep. Each delivery comes with a postage-paid envelope. I just drop in what I don't want and drop it in my mailbox. You aren't charged by Short Story until you notify them what you want by completing checkout.

gray blazer from Petite Principle
Wearing a gray blazer from Petite Principle which came in one of the Short Story Subscription Boxes

A Confidence-Boosting Success

My greatest successes with Short Story are petite pants and jackets. Previously, my closet lacked interview-appropriate options, but with Short Story's assistance, I now have a versatile collection of dark maroon, dark grey, black, and navy pants that have proven comfortable and suitable for various occasions.

Most of the style of jackets in my closet all have a touch of flair, such as rhinestones, embroidery, and denim. While I enjoy wearing them, these weren’t what I needed to be interview ready. However, the Petite Principle jackets are exactly what I needed to elevate my interview outfits. The light grey jacket, in particular, had become a fast favorite.

As a petite person, I am used to alterations. So far, the only alterations I have had to make from any Short Story box purchase was with a moss green jacket sleeve length for a perfect fit.

Yellow and black mini check pants outfit
Styling Yellow and black mini check pants from Margaret M which came in my Short Story Box with other items already in my closet.

Embracing Change and Moving Forward

Taking the plunge with Short Story was undoubtedly a great relief. The curated subscription box provided me with business wardrobe staples and adaptable pieces that fit both business formal and business casual settings. Alongside my newfound wardrobe, I also rediscovered hidden treasures in my own closet, now pairing them with Short Story's selections for a refreshed and confident style. As I continue my job search, I'm excited by the prospect of finding a new opportunity that appreciates my talents and passion for Workforce Development, with the added boost of confidence that my wardrobe refresh has given me.

Is the Short Story Box Worth It?
Styling maroon pants from the brand Liverpool that arrived in a Short Story Subscription Box

Is the Short Story Box Worth It?

My experience with Short Story has been a positive one. Amidst major life changes, the wardrobe refresh brought me confidence and I helped me reevaluate many pieces in my own closet. It has been worth the investment and I feel ready to take on new opportunities. Short Story's styling and selections have matched my preferences and requirements for business wear, allowing me to focus on my applications and interviews.

Now that I have great options for interviews, I changed up my Short Story Box styling requests to business casual and look forward to seeing new items and brands.  I am working to embrace change and all the adventures that lie ahead, and now feel supported by a wardrobe that reflects my unique style and personality. Wish me luck!

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I want to be able to preview clothes and pick things out , I couldn’t find anything on that sight to do thst. So I might stop subscriptions. I want to see what I am getting. I am picky!!

    1. I was looking at this site for my mom who is petite but just FYI, Stitch Fix lets you see what you’re going to get first if you want.

  2. Mary and Allie,

    I think it would be fun if the company had a companion line they call Tall Tales for us taller people who have trouble getting pants that are long enough.

  3. Thanks for a great review of a company I didn’t know existed. The difficulty finding petites in extended sizes is hit or miss. It will be fun trying on different brands.

  4. Great review, Mary! Your writing, wardrobe, accessories, hair and make-up lead me to think you will soon be hearing, “You’re hired”! Please keep us posted on your new journey.

  5. Thanks so much for your review Mary! You gave a great assessment of the services offered and you look great in the Short Story pieces. I’m going to keep this in mind since Petites are getting harder and harder to find.

  6. Mary, you look terrific and ready for those interviews! I wish you the best and I hope your interviewers appreciate the experience and wisdom you have to offer.

    I just wanted to add that Stitch Fix now lets you shop without a subscription. I like one of their brands, Market and Spruce, and I often find good prices on accessories, where fit is not usually a concern!

  7. Great review and you look terrific in those clothes! I’ve tried one Short Story box so far and kept 1 out of the 5 items. I’m looking forward to seeing if my second box (due out next week) is closer to the mark on more items. One interesting thing to note is that I told them in my “what I’m looking for” description that I strongly prefer natural fabrics/natural fabric blends like cotton, silk, linen, and wool. My first stylist let me know that they don’t carry many items made mostly from natural fabrics, and my second stylist sent me a nice note today saying:

    “I wanted to let you know that while we have a limited selection of products made of these fabrics but we also have other natural fabrications like modal and rayon. Modal is actually considered a more eco-friendly alternative to cotton because beech trees don’t require much water to grow and the production process uses about 10-20 times less water. Rayon is a fabric made from natural plant sources.”

    They gave me the option to reply if I was ONLY open to my preferred fabrics to let them know before they proceeded pulling my pieces. However, while I strongly PREFER those fabrics I listed (find that they breathe better, hold up better over time, and crease/wrinkle/pill less), I’m fine with receiving some of their options which I hope might wow me.

  8. Great post. I’ve been Short Story curious as well. However, petite pants cut me in the rise and give me camel toe, so I’ve been holding off. I might give them a try soon but not request pants. 😀

    1. I should state that I’m 5’1″ and weigh 120 pounds so I’m definitely in the petite range but my bone structure is a smidge on the small side, rather than petite. And I’m well-endowed, even after a breast reduction (did not get implants).

    2. Perhaps you could specify your maximum front rise & back rise requirements to them before ordering, then? That should help reduce the ‘bisected camel toe’ look, lol.

  9. I have also been trying Short Story and am purchasing at about the same rate – most often I buy about 2-3 of the 5 items in the box. They are batting around 50/50 on pants, all of the tops have fit although some didn’t look good (particularly in terms of colors), jackets and dresses have been great although not always appropriate for my lifestyle.

    I will say that I didn’t realize what a huge difference petite jackets or tops could make to how my outfits came together until I tried this box. I had tended to focus on pants, but a jacket cut to my height made a huge difference – it only looks oversized when it is supposed to look oversized for a change.

  10. I am by no means petite, but I appreciate the thoroughness and authenticity with with you approach any topic in your blog. i am much your senior, but I have many of the same daily health, fashion, and life concerns. Thank you!

  11. I love the outfit with the yellow cardigan and bag! What a great way to show your personal style while looking competent and sharp. Best of luck with your job search!

  12. Thank you for this post, Mary! You look amazing in these outfits. I hope we get a follow-up on your job search. I am also petite and always searching for solutions.

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