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Online Personal Stylist: Thread

Thread is an online personal styling service that caters for both men and women. The principles of the service are the same either way – Thread aims to make shopping for clothes a much less stressful experience that you can do on your own terms rather than those of the high street.

Speaking to DiscerningGent.com, Kieran O’Neill – Co-founder & CEO, says “Thread was founded on the desire to find a solution to a personal problem. I wanted to dress well, but spending a Saturday afternoon on Oxford Street was my idea of hell, and the sheer amount of options online was overwhelming. I thought shopping should be much simpler, and Thread was born.”

About The Service From Thread

How does the service work in order to provide all the details you need? Talk DiscerningGent.com through the steps a discerning gent needs to go through to use the service.

Men want to dress well, but many find it difficult or frustrating to do so. They have little desire to tackle crowded high street stores or trawl through the millions of choices online – and they’re often unsure about what looks best on them.

Thread, a free online personal styling service for men, uses a unique combination of human stylists and a powerful algorithm to make it easy for guys to dress well. Here’s how it works: A guy signs up by completing a short questionnaire and uploading photos of himself. He’s then paired with a stylist who reviews his information and uses Thread’s proprietary algorithm to sort through thousands of items to create the best outfits for that particular guy.

By focusing on style – not fashion – Thread helps men build wardrobes around quality, versatile basics that will last.

Tell us more about the depth of clothing inventory your service carries (e.g. number of items, focus on particular clothing items etc.)?

Thread offers an incredibly wide range of clothes from over 1200 brands and shops. But because the best and worst part of buying clothes online is limitless choice, Thread only recommends the clothes your stylist thinks will suit you—so everything you see on the site is tailored to your sizes, budget, tastes and other preferences.

Which are the most popular menswear brands you stock?

We have such a range of brands, it’s hard to narrow it down, but our stylists and clients tend to have similar favourites. For high street brands at value prices, Selected Homme is great for being fuss-free and fairly classic. For those with higher budgets, A.P.C, Oliver Spencer and Paul Smith are very popular. The most successful brands on Thread are those whose clothes are simple and practical, but with characterful details, and made from quality materials.

Do you cater for specific occasions (name all themes/occasions you provide for)?

Thread generally recommends three different types of outfits: for work, for the weekend and for evenings out. If you sign up to Thread and let us know you’re looking for something specific—like a pair of dark-denim jeans, or a khaki utility jacket—your stylist will also send you a few options of those items each week until you find something you love. And stylists will also send perennial favourite staples tailored to your budget, sizes, tastes and other preferences.

How many stylists do you have at Thread?

We have eight in-house stylists and about 50 freelance stylists. Some cut their teeth at magazines, such as iD or GQ, some styled for online stores such as Burberry and End, some styled celebrities and musicians, and some were personal stylists in stores and boutiques, such as Gieves & Hawkes and Browns.

How do your stylists ensure the lines you stock are the latest/on trend etc.?

The best part about Thread is that everything you see on the site is tailored to you—which means people who are trend-conscious will see trendy clothes, but guys who prefer the basics will see quality staples they can build their wardrobe around. Guys can also message their stylists for advice and recommendations for particular events or specific issues (like what to wear to a warm-weather wedding, or the best shoes for size 14 feet).

How do you ensure the items picked suit the tastes of that specific customer?

Our vision is to provide personalised recommendations to tens of millions of people (on top of our existing 325,000 users in the UK), and we’re achieving that by teaming up our eight human stylists with our own proprietary algorithms, which assist the stylists in making recommendations.

Thread’s system uses incredibly complex decision trees to group users into millions of microbuckets to deliver a new level of personalisation. Our stylists hand make every outfit a user sees, and an algorithm generates the direction an outfit takes for each user (using parameters like budget, tastes, and some of 31 million user-submitted likes and dislikes we’ve amassed). Because there are 3.7 trillion different potential outfits in Thread’s database, no two users will ever see the same outfit.

All of this data-led work has allowed us to help scale the expertise of our team of stylists, and deliver a quality of personalisation that hasn’t been achieved before.

So my items arrive, what next?

Once your items arrive, you can message your stylist through the site, or send him or her an SMS, to get advice on wearing your new clothes well. You can also access our content on thread.com/tips for style advice and suggestions of what types of clothes to wear together. And of course returns are free and easy in case anything isn’t quite right.

What if I don’t like anything you’ve select for me?

Thread doesn’t operate by the trunk model. We send you personalised recommendations on the website each week, you order your favourite items, and they arrive shortly after in one of our signature boxes. If you don’t like something you’ve ordered, returns are simple and easy.

To experience the service, visit Thread

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