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…
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)…
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…
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…
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…
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!).
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…