The ‘I Style Myself’ app on trial

19 Apr

I’ve been reading a lot about styling apps recently. There are apps for when you see someone in the street looking stylish and want to know how to copy their look. And there are apps to teach you all about colour and which ones suit you. However I’ve been most interested in apps that help you make the most of your wardrobe, without needing to rush out and buy a whole load of new things.

Enter ‘I Style Myself’ (available to download here, and it’s free, yay!). The premise is that you upload photos of the items in your wardrobe, then, according to the styles, colours and occasions you usually wear these items to, it mixes up new combinations for you. So if you always wear your Breton top with your skinny jeans, this app might suggest you try wearing it with that printed midi skirt instead. It’s got a good pedigree, too, with a former Tatler fashion director on board.

So what’s my verdict? Well, this seems like the perfect opportunity for a pros and cons list…

Pros

1. It’s obvious – but I have discovered lots of great new combinations, so this app definitely does what it says on the tin. Here are a few example of combinations it put together for me that I’d definitely try (none of the accessories are mine because I haven’t uploaded any yet, but you get the gist)…

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2. It also shows you some great new things you could add to what you already own. Here are some of the things I’ve discovered and am now coveting…

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What’s more, you can shop them straight from the app, so there’s no need to actually trawl through any websites looking for the things you like, as is often the case with when you see things in magazines that you can’t track down in the shops. Clearly Mango is made for me and my style preferences!

3. It makes you take stock of your wardrobe: a) taking everything out of my wardrobe to photograph it meant I took notice of things that needed hems sewing and buttons reattaching etc and b) you realise what you’ve got loads of (for me it’s the colour blue, dark trousers, and shirts of all shapes and sizes) and what you’re lacking (coloured trousers, shorts, t-shirts, jackets, plus a major shortage of bag options). All of this knowledge makes for sensible shopping. And because I own lots of blue and green things, the app takes note of this and suggests things that will go with those (see the selection of things above. Notice a colour theme? Yep.)

4. There are handy filters, so you can focus on outfits for certain occasions or seasons, and tell the app how much you’re willing to spend on new stuff. You can also select outfits made up solely of things from your wardrobe, or made up of things currently in the shops that you might like to buy. Very useful when you don’t need the shopping temptation, and also when you’re in the market for something new.

5. Having an ‘I hate my wardrobe’ day? Then switch off the wardrobe setting and enjoy some style escapism in the form of the outfit suggestions that consist of nothing you already own. It’s as much fun as browsing Net-a-Porter, and with some much more affordable clothes in the mix. Here are a couple of my faves. I would definitely wear both of these outfits, especially the fab shoes…

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Cons

1. To get the best out of this app, you really do need to photograph the entire contents of your wardrobe. For me, this is over 100 items (and I’m sure it will be many more for lots of people, as I have wardrobe clear-outs pretty regularly). This takes time, but it’s the only way to get true variety in the outfits it suggest.

2. Unless you’re a professional photographer, your pictures will never look as nice as the brand-new shiny images of items you COULD buy, which makes new purchases seriously tempting (and all-too easy through this app!). But this is a shopping blog, so I’m never really going to complain about being inspired to shop.

3. It’s an app, not a human stylist. It bases the outfit suggestions on the information you input, for example whether you’d wear an item on holiday and what season it works for. This means some of the suggestions are quite random. For example…

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On the left, it’s suggested a cardigan over a cashmere jumper dress. A tad too much knitwear methinks! In the centre we have a delightful leopard print/baby blue/patent black brogues mash up. Not a classic colour combination, nor one I will be trying. And on the right, it’s suggested a long roll-neck tunic with a short skirt and pointy courts. I’m pretty sure the tunic would entirely drown the skirt, and the addition of the courts is just too much for a skirt this short, in my humble opinion. It’s good for a laugh, though! And the outfits are more accurate than not – I’ve got dozens of possible outfits, compared to just a handful that miss the mark.

4. For me, the bigger issue was that the combinations were a little boring. A lot of suggestions were based around my black skinny jeans. I don’t need an app to tell me what black skinnies go with – I know that for myself. It would’ve been nice to see more combinations with some of my brighter, more patterned items – ie, the things we probably all need a little more help styling.

5. Unless you use the price filters, it will suggest you invest in expensive items, and you will feel sad that you can’t afford the beautiful Valentino boots that go so well with that skirt you own. But that’s what the filters are for, of course!

6. There’s not much in the way of styling ideas for dresses. It tends to just suggest a matching clutch, or a trench coat, which I think was suggested for every single one of my dresses. If you’re more of a separates fan, you’ll be golden.

7. It has trouble identifying some colours. For example, every one of my white items registered as a grey (though perhaps that’s more of an issue with my washing powder than the app!).

The challenge

I’ve decided to put the app to the test over the next working week. From Monday to Friday, I’m going to dress solely in outfits suggested by the app, to see how they look in real life, and to find out whether having my own pocket-sized stylist will save me time in the morning.

I’ll photograph the outfits and post the pics next weekend, along with the pics from the app that dictated the look.

Let’s see what it comes up with…

Bethan x

I love navy

11 Apr

I gave way to temptation at the Whistles sale yesterday and bought this dreamy dress…

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Here I am wearing it…

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I’m so happy with my purchase; it feels lovely to wear, I think it’s really flattering, and it was half price (down from £140 to £75). I know I’ll wear it loads as it’s great dressed up like this with heels and dressed down with flat tan sandals and a denim jacket. All sizes except size 4 are now sold out on the website (see here) but I reckon there are other sizes still in store, as I only bought mine yesterday.

I’ve realised I actually have a bit of a thing for navy – when I open my wardrobe doors, it’s one of the main colours staring back at me. But I think that’s a good thing – it goes with everything and it’s more flattering than black on a redhead.

So I decided to take some pictures of a few of my other navy things to show you just how much of a fan I am!

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From left: pointy ankle boots from Next, Orla Kiely flats from Clarks, velvet dancing shoes from Topshop and embroidered slippers from Penelope Chilvers.

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Clockwise from top left: Marrakesh flares from MiH Jeans, silk dress from French Connection, sequinned skirt from Zara, stripy jumper from Chinti & Parker, PJ-style trousers from Zara and floral dress from Zara.

Navy doesn’t have to be plain – I’ve got stripes, sequins and patterns in this mix, and they’re some of my favourite pieces. So go on, join the navy this weekend.

What’s your most-owned colour?

Bethan x

All denim everything

6 Apr

It’s no secret that denim’s having a fashion moment. Gone are the days when we laughed at people in double denim and stuck faithfully to our indigo skinnies. Now you can buy pretty much everything in denim, and some of this season’s hottest pieces are made of the enduringly popular fabric.

Take my regular shopping haunt Zara, which is all over the trend. I fell in love with this skirt a couple of days ago…

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£29.99, Zara. It’s the perfect nod to the 70s look that’s hot right now, but I’m obviously not the only one who’s clocked it, because it’s already sold out in two sizes – argh! If they’ve still got it in your size, buy it now!

I also love this patchwork mini, which is still available in all sizes…

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£35.99, Zara, but post-winter, I’m still feeling a little too leg-shy for a skirt this short!

This tunic top has serious hippie vibes…

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£39.99, Zara. I think it’d be great as an evening cover up on a beach holiday, or worn over a short skirt (better find that fake tan after all) to mix up the proportions.

I’ve got a major hankering for this H&M denim dress…

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£17.99, H&M. Denim shirt dresses seem to have been selling out all over the place, but I think this one is perfect, and at such an unbelievable price. In fact, excuse me one moment while I place my order…

I’ve also been scoping out the best longer-length denim shorts on the high street. You’ve got to buy these pieces early, because when the sun comes out and it’s finally shorts weather, all the good styles will have already gone from the shops and they’ll be bringing in the winter stuff already. Asos has a couple of options…

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£30, Asos

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£32, Asos

I’m torn between them because I love the retro high waist and dark wash of the first pair, but I like the slightly longer length of the second pair. Maybe I need to try both to find out which is the most flattering.

Gap also has this longer-length pair…

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£34.95, Gap, so they’re also in the running.

I already have a denim jacket that’s been in my wardrobe for probably about six years now, and it’s still as good as ever. In fact, it’s softened up over the years, so it’s probably even better. I got mine from River Island, but they seem a bit low in denim jackets right now, so if I was planning to invest in a new one, I’d go for this classic style from Topshop…

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£45, Topshop

And until it’s warm enough to wear these summery denim pieces, I’m going to keep rocking the double denim…

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Bethan x

The perfect Breton top

2 Apr

The iconic striped Breton top is one of those items loads of us have in our wardrobes. Like leopard print, those white and navy stripes have become a new neutral, working just as well with clashing prints as they do with simple jeans.

But while we might already own a stripey top or five, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for one more! Recently, I’ve been on the quest for the perfect Breton. I wanted something simple and true to the original French design, without any funky embellishments.

Wikifashion says the Breton originated in France in the 1850s, as uniform for the French navy. It was made in wool or cotton, with a crew neckline, and with thin navy stripes on a white background. This pretty much describes what I was looking for.

I think this one from Charles Tyrwhitt fits the bill nicely…

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£22.95, Charles Tyrwhitt

And I also love this one from Joules

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£24.95, Joules at John Lewis

But I bought this one, also from John Lewis, which I think has now sold out…

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Now, for those of you looking for a twist on the classic Breton, how about one of these?

With denim patches…

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£22, Next

A block of bold colour…

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£45, Hobbs

Ditch the trad colours…

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£40, Jaeger

Or wear your Breton on your skirt…

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£38, Fat Face at John Lewis

How do your wear yours?

Bethan x

Looking for an LBD

30 Mar

Following on from my last post, I’ve decided I need a cute new LBD to go with my new shoe purchases. Yes, the idea behind all three pairs of shoes was that they’d go with everything I already own, but a) I think they’d look especially cute with a flippy LBD and b) it wouldn’t be right if, as soon as I’d bought one thing, I didn’t want to buy another!

As is often the case, my faithful Asos was the starting point for my LBD search, and I’ve found some beauties. The first three are at the budget-busting end of the scale, so I might need to save my pennies for these, but being such classic styles, I think they’d be worth the investment.

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£139, Ted Baker at Asos

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£95, Whistles at Asos

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£82.50, Whistles at Asos

However, if I decide I’m simply too impatient to save up, I’ve found these pretty alternatives…

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£25, Vero Moda at Asos

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£35, Vila at Asos

I also like this little number with a knotted waist from H&M

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£29.99, H&M

Which is your favourite?

Bethan x

Sample sale shoe purchases

27 Mar

I’ve had a brilliant couple of days getting stuck in at London’s sample sales, and I’m the proud new owner of three amazing pairs of designer shoes, eeek!

Yesterday lunchtime, I headed down to Penelope Chilvers’ store on Duke Street, Mayfair, for the end of season clearance. The sale had been going on for a few hours, so it was nice and calm by this point, though I think I probably also missed some of the best gems from earlier on in the day. However, I picked up a new pair of ‘Dandy’ slippers in corduroy – very school-uniform chic, and therefore very ss15!

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I also bought some gorgeous leather sandals, which I can’t wait to wear. They’re super-soft and I hope I’ll have them for years to come.

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These shoes were just £30 each – bargain!

Obviously, being in the store, I couldn’t resist a look at the latest, full-price collection. I LOVE these neon safari boots…

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£239, Penelope Chilvers

However, this was just a sale-shopping mission, so I’ll save my pennies for the boots another day.

Then, today, I had the day off work, so I set my alarm early and headed to the Connaught hotel for the Charlotte Olympia sample sale. I almost didn’t go because I think a lot of her heels, while beautiful, are simply too high for me! But then I thought, it’s a work day, so maybe it won’t be as busy as a weekend.

Boy was I wrong! I arrived on the dot of the 10am start time – along with the rest of the women in London! People with VIP invites were allowed into the sale an hour earlier, so I could see them coming out with their purchases, and I knew I’d have to wait it out to get myself a piece of the action. So I joined the queue. And queued. And queued. For an hour. The security guards in the hotel found it hilarious that this bunch of mad women was willing to spend this amount of time waiting to get into a tiny room filled with shoes. But did we care? No!

I was keen to get my hands on some flats – Charlotte Olympia’s flats are just gorgeous. The holy grail is, of course, the iconic ‘Kitty’ flats, but I had a feeling these would all be gone by the time I got in. I thought I’d be lucky just to find any flats in my size. When I got in the room, it looked like I was right, until I hit upon three pairs of cute ballet flats in a variety of cute patterns – and they fit me, woohoo!

Then I clocked the size of the queue to pay. Oh boy! So I thought it best to stop hunting for more shoes and join the queue. While I was in the queue, I acquired another two pairs of shoes – one embroidered heels, one flatform sandals. So now I had five pairs in my hands. It was time to do an edit. I whittled it down to one pair of flats and the heels. Now it was just a case of waiting to get to the tills.

But then it happened.

As I was right at the front of the queue, another lady actually crawled under one of the tables and found a stash of the dreamed-of ‘Kitty’ flats, which she started passing to her friend. And I could see they were in my size! I couldn’t leave the queue to look under the table myself (nor did I particularly want to be on all fours!), so I had to watch in agony as the friend tried on two pairs of the shoes I wanted. Argh.

But then…

She discarded them as they were too small for her! Another girl was in there quicker than me with one of the pairs, but I got my hands on the second one. With that, I ditched my other pairs and danced off to the till with just the ‘Kitty’ flats – exactly what I went to the sale for, and what I thought I’d never find. Thank you shoe gods. And here they are…

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It’s been a purr-fect couple of days (sorry not sorry!)

Bethan x

Grey tee + statement skirt = perfection

21 Mar

I’ve been dreaming up new eveningwear combinations today, and I think I’ve settled on this formula: long-sleeved grey tee + statement midi skirt + heels = hopefully a not overdressed yet totally chic look. I think it was partly inspired by this outfit on TV presenter Laura Jackson…

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SO chic! I had a fondle of this amazing Osman skirt in Fenwich a couple of weeks ago, but at about £1,000 (no joke), it’ll forever remain a dream. And I love Laura’s COS knit, but I think that, for spring, I’d prefer a grey tee.

Starting with the basics, then, it was actually a little tricky to find the ideal long-sleeved grey tee on the high street. But I have hunted high and low to bring you these…

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£9.90, Uniqlo

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£14.95, Gap

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£10, Next

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£12.99, H&M

I think the H&M one gets my vote for the loose shape and the perfect shade of grey.

Now for the fun part – statement skirts! Here are my pick…

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£55, Topshop This one is my favourite because, while it’s really beautiful and detailed, it doesn’t scream ‘statement’, so it can be worn with lots of things. I also think it’d be nice with a breton top and flat sandals.

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£55, Topshop

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£50, Asos

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£60, Asos

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£55, Oasis

What do you think of this combo idea?

Bethan x

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