In late January, an instagrammer I follow posted a notice that Dia&Co was hiring for part time stylists, based right here in Dallas.
Even though my job was ramping up to a busy spring, I decided to apply. I love clothes, I love shopping, I spend most of my weekends endlessly clicking through plus size clothing anyway, why not get paid for it? Right?
(Me in my Dia&Co/Junarose blush trench coat. Just call me Rachel Sandiego!)
I had seen plenty of Dia&Co ads on Facebook. I actually commented a bit disparagingly on an ad once, as it had billed itself as workwear but every sample outfit had jeans. However, my mother is a subscriber, and she seemed perfectly happy with the service.
Let me back up. Dia&Co is a plus size subscription styling service.
Whenever you request a box, a real live person reads through your profile, looks at any photos you’ve uploaded, and even looks at any social media profiles you’ve linked. Your stylist tries to get an idea of how you normally dress, what your body type is, and what pieces they think you’ll like/appreciate/want/need. Then, the stylist writes you a personalized note about how to wear the items included. The box gets packed and shipped out, then you have 5 days to try everything on and decide what you’d like to keep, return, or exchange. If you keep everything, you get an extra 25% off.
Way back in September, I went to a plus size pool party. It was awkward. I did meet a lady there who was the head of styling at the Dallas office of Dia. I kept my previous denim comments to myself. She asked if I was going to attend Curvy Con, which was happening the next week. Dia is the main sponsor of Curvy Con. At the time (and now!) I was dying to go to Curvy Con in New York, but just couldn’t swing it, so she definitely had my attention. We chatted more about being a stylist, we took some pictures in the Texas-shaped pool, and then we exchanged numbers and instagram handles.
And then I kinda forgot about it. Until I saw her post that they were hiring for part time. And then I found out that I needed a new car. So a second job was on the cards.
The interview and hiring process was lengthy, but I think it was necessary.
There was a video interview, a take-home styling test, and then an in-person group interview, which included another styling test and a typing test. I was surprised to see how many straight size ladies were in my group interview, and then how many were at the 2 day orientation and training we attended after we were hired. The orientation/training was great. We got to see a lot of the garments in person, to see house brand quality (high!) and sizing (fair!). We also went over different body types, different clothing shapes, different styles, and each of the in-house brands. Some of the body shape and clothing info was a little redundant for me, as a fat seamstress, but it was definitely important for the straight size employees to understand how many factors go into clothing and fit for plus sizes.
Once those two days were done, we were on our own to work from home. Our lead stylist still oversaw our progress to make sure everyone was getting the hang of it. All boxes and styling notes were double checked before being sent out. Corrections, suggestions, and ideas were given to each of us via Google Docs.
I couldn’t resist and have so far styled 2 boxes for myself.
I am really pleased with the quality, fit, and style of the clothes — especially our house brands you can’t test out in a store beforehand. It’s been really fun to know that I’m helping under-served plus size women throughout America try new styles and find their confidence through clothing. The downside of that is reading their personal styling notes – things like, “I have a fat stomach and I should never show it” and “I hate my butt, I have to wear long shirts to cover it”. It’s a bit jarring to read how many women have such strong insecurities.
(My favorite Dia&Co/Rachel Roy dress)
I don’t have cable. I don’t read magazines. My instagram feed is BoPo beauties and DrakeOnCake. I have been living in a body positive, pro-visible belly outline, anti-diet talk bubble and I didn’t even realize it. I feel very lucky, and very proud to be able to help create that bubble for other women through She Might Be and through Dia&Co. While critics may call it an echo chamber — not all echos are bad. It’s perfectly okay to have positive ideas and feelings echoed back at you.
I personalize styling notes to each customer.
I try to use mine to help women feel confident and empowered by the items I’ve chosen for them. Dia&Co is focused on empowerment. We share positive feedback and happy customer photos throughout the company, and cheer on our beloved customers. Within the first month of work, there’s been a call for deserving organizations that we can help. Confidence through clothing can be looked down on as shallow. However, feeling confident in an outfit can be the building block to feeling confident in other areas of life. I walk taller and speak more confidently when I’m not afraid of people looking at me. That leads to doing better at work. One tiny step snowballs into a happy, content life.
If you’d like to sign up for Dia&Co and are in the US, my affiliate link will give you a $20 discount.
(My Beth Ditto Collection skirt and Dia&Co blouse.)