Changing The Way Men Shop – The Chapar
The Chapar are a relatively new company who are set to redefine how men shop for clothes. Billed as a ‘personal styling service for men’, The Chapar realised that the way men shop for clothes is fundamentally flawed – namely, men don’t like to shop.
Yes, of course there are those of you who will love to browse for hours online or shop the high street each weekend looking to add to your wardrobe – we are on a fashion site after all – but for others it is still a chore. You want to look great, but you want to alleviate the hassle of having to visit 10 different shops or websites in order to find the perfect styles, brands or pieces that will work for YOU.
Not only that, many men simply don’t have time to shop. You might spend 10 minutes reading our feature article every day, but who realistically has a couple of hours spare to then put the advice into action? You could have a job that dominates all your free time or simply have family responsibilities (read: children) that makes it hard to keep on top of your wardrobe – ensuring that it stays up to date and is ready for each new season.
So how can The Chapar help? Well, it is essentially a three step program that takes the whole purchasing experience out of your hands. You request a ‘trunk’ of clothing to be delivered as and when you feel your wardrobe needs a refresh, and you are sent a selection of clothes that are tailor made for you and your lifestyle.
I personally went through the whole process with the company in order to try out the new service, and here is a break down of my experience:
Step 1. The Consultation
After you have gone through the registration process on the site, you have the option of arranging a consultation with one of The Chapar’s personal stylists. All of the stylist team have vast previous experience within the industry, working as personal shoppers or reporting and dissecting the very latest trends. You can choose to do the initial consultation via an online form, over the phone by requesting a callback, or even meeting them for coffee if you live in London.
I recommend the phone consultation, just for the fact that it is much more personal than an online form can ever be. After signing up I was put in contact with Chelsea, who arranged for us to have a quick 15-30 minute chat over the phone at a time convenient to me.
During the initial consultation Chelsea delved into my personal style – asking what kind of styles I liked, my current favourite brands, what my lifestyle was like, my measurements (make sure you know your sizing for most common measurements such as chest, waist, leg and collar beforehand) etc. allowing her to build up a clear picture in her mind of what type of clothing would be suitable for ME.
The whole process was relaxed, friendly and very personable, with us even going over stuff I don’t like: Do I like prints/patterns? Are there any colours I don’t like? Any cuts or styles I want to stay away from? Sometimes knowing what you don’t like is just as important as knowing what you do. We have always said this about FashionBeans content – you can learn just as much about yourself and your style reading the articles that don’t appeal to you.
Overall, I came away from the consultation feeling confident that Chelsea was going to be able to pick pieces that would appeal to me. I was also told that if I had any questions or had anything to add over the coming days before my trunk was dispatched to just email her. I took up this offer and mentioned that I didn’t want any checked patterns included – you can never be too specific right?
Inspiration: The Chapar Lookbook
It is important for you to have an idea of the style you are wanting to achieve before you have this initial consultation, as it will make the whole process a lot easier for both parties. I stated that my style was timeless and classic, but I wasn’t afraid to include statement pieces in order to individualise myself. This is the standard ethos of FashionBeans and thought it would be a style that would appeal to most of our readers.
In order to provide you with some inspiration, The Chapar have actually designed their very own lookbook, showcasing a variety of looks created using the brands they carry. I actually referred to this in my consultation as a great representation of the look I was going for:
Step 2. The Trunk
After putting my credit card details on file – the company take a nominal £1 refundable deposit for security reasons before sending a trunk out – my trunk was dispatched 2 days later after Chelsea had put together my personalised picks. It was delivered by UPS the very next day to my place of work, making the whole process extremely convenient.
To say it felt like Christmas was an understatement. The ‘trunk’ was essentially a large white box with The Chapar branding on the front, but the size of it and the anticipation of what clothing was inside took the excitement factor to the next level for me. I am a fashion fanatic, so ANY delivery of clothing will cause a similar reaction.
When I opened it the clothing was presented and packed beautifully. Groups of 2-3 pieces were folded and tied together with string, with the trunk lined with orange tissue paper (one of their branding colours). It felt professional and like a premium service.
I wasn’t disappointed with the picks. I personally received 12 pieces, but I assume this can change dependant on what is included – if you request bulky knitwear or outerwear, it may reduce room for a lot of picks in the same box.
Everything was right on point and hit my brief almost perfectly. It was full of timeless pieces that could be mixed and matched in order to create versatile outfits on a near daily basis. It included a pair of classic Levi’s 511 jeans and Dockers Alpha Khakis (both of which I already own), a white polo, navy polo, a couple of formal shirts, a casual shirt, a white and grey crew neck t-shirt, a navy v-neck knit, a pair of fitted boxers and one of the most beautiful blue double breasted blazers I have ever come across.
The above may sound plain or too ‘simple’ for many of you, but that was the specification I had given Chelsea. I wanted to see if this was a service that beginners could use in order to develop a capsule wardrobe – the ‘Holy Grail’ for any man who takes pride in his appearance. What I received were the perfect building blocks, plus there were statement pieces in the form of a bold green shirt and the aforementioned blazer, which would allow me to experiment and stand out from the crowd.
The Chapar supplies brands that would fit in the mid – premium section of the clothing market. Think prices that are similar to House of Fraser or Selfridges. Here are a list of a few that were included in my trunk or are available from the company:
Albam | BD Baggies | Brooks Brothers | Chucs | Dockers | Emmett | Henri Lloyd | Hentsch Man | Johnstons | LBM 1911 (FashionBeans’ favourite lookbook this year) | Levi’s | MC2 Saint Barth | Pantherella | Riding High | Sunspel
Step 3. Returns, Exchanges & Payment
As this order was purely for reviewing the service, I knew that returning these goods quickly and easily would probably make or break the whole process. It is all well and good ordering a trunk full of items, but if it is a hassle to return what you don’t want, then suddenly it doesn’t become worth it.
I shouldn’t of been worried. Everything I needed was in my initial trunk. You are to inform your personal stylist within 10 days if you want to make a return, and they will arrange a pick-up date that is suitable for you. Again, the whole process works around your schedule. You have a returns label included to stick over the original delivery address, and some sealing tape to secure the box. It is then just a case of waiting for UPS to pick up the trunk and take it back for you. Simple.
When the trunk returns back to The Chapar, they only charge you for what you have kept – an itemised billing is included as standard, so you are always in control of the cost. If you send everything back, you are not charged a penny. It really is a completely FREE service.
Should you really like an item but it doesn’t quite fit properly, you can of course request for a new size to be sent out. I didn’t test this part of the service but if everything else is anything to go by, it is sure to be just as effortless.
So there we have it, my personal review and break down of The Chapar service. Whenever a company like this comes along and tries to redefine an industry, there is always that small doubt in the back of your mind that it won’t work. However, what is going to make this particular company and service a success is the ease of the whole process – from setting out your brief, to receiving your personal selection of clothes, to the returning and paying for items.
Essentially, you are getting a completely free personal styling consultation on demand, and taking the hassle out of keeping your wardrobe up to date. There is something for all levels of ability here – beginners can start with wardrobe basics and build upon these with each subsequent trunk, whilst more experienced guys can request the latest trend items or specific cuts/styles to fill holes in their wardrobe as and when they need to.
Finally, I would like to thank The Chapar, and especially Chelsea, for the time and effort they put into helping me develop this review. I wholeheartedly recommend them to all FashionBeans readers, and think they have a very bright future within the industry.