November 14, 2015

There’s an App for That!


   This week I've been testing the virtual closet app called Stylebook. Oh yeah, it’s a wonderful time to be alive. Who would have imagined that here, in the future, one would be able to organize their closet from their armchair? I figured what the heck, I’d play.
     I have to admit that I didn’t really expect much from this app. I 'd read reviews that said it was like playing with paper dolls, something I loved as a kid, and that it was the perfect tool for the fashion-conscious, working woman. I expected that I would mess around with it a few minutes and move on. To my surprise and delight, that was not the case. Yes, like many things on the computer, one might say that this is really a toy, but, like many other things online, it does have some real practical application. I wish I had this when I was working jobs that required me to go outside, look polished and put together every day of the week. Since I'm a writer I could just as well organize my pajamas, right?  

The app's features

     With this little application, and the stuff that already comes with your phone or pad, you take pictures of your clothes and it makes them into little cutouts. I thought this would be overwhelming since I have a lot of clothes, not even including my pajamas. Surprisingly it was not. (More on the best way to do this later.) Once you have pictures of your clothes it sets up a virtual closet. In the app you can click on your clothes and mix and match them with other clothing from your closet. If you make up an outfit you like, you can save that as a “look”. It’s great fun. To start I had loaded in only about six items but I was really inspired to do a few more. I could even do this while eating a Magnum bar and trying to pretend that my clothes would still fit when I actually did get up and put some on.
     At this point I found a couple of clothing combinations I would never have imagined trying in real life. A black and white striped shirt with a tan corduroy skirt? Nope. But it looked great on the little app and when I needed to get dressed for something I tried it out. And I did it without a mountain of clothes spread all over the bed. This was getting to be more fun. I scanned in more clothing. It also does accessories, like scarves and jewelry and, after a bit of roaming around in the program, I found I can add my own categories, like tights. I even considered scanning in a body to put them on. Maybe I need some costumes?

Some of my shoes scanned in (yes, I scanned my favorite slippers too).

     Still in my comfortable armchair, I discovered a video that shows you the best way to take pictures of your clothing. I didn’t have a yellow sheet, as it suggests, but I did have a pale pink tablecloth and it worked well enough. Even better, I found that if I just got online and typed in a description of the piece of clothing I wanted to load in, for example, a black t-shirt, I could download a photo easily and the background was plain and worked perfectly. Now I was finding more ways to do stuff from the chair. Many of the pieces I have in my closet are very basic and this worked great for me. If you shop online it would make sense to just grab the picture and put the item right into the app. I could spend even more time in the chair!

     In much less time than I imagined I had loaded the major part of my wardrobe into the little app and the more I played with it the more cool features I found. One thing I really liked was that it has a calendar. I can either put in one of the outfits I made in the app or any mix of things from my virtual closet and it logs statistics. This tells you how often you wear something as well as what you never wear at all. What an OCD clothes organizer's dream! It certainly beats going through the closet a couple of times a year and trying to remember when I last wore a particular item. Even better, it shows at a glance what pieces were a good investment and which ones were a waste of money. It also makes it easy to pick out something I never wear and try it, from my chair. This adds up to more miles from those clothes I bought and am not wearing, assuming of course I get up and put them on. Conceivably, there should be nothing I own that doesn’t see the light of day, provided I get up out of the chair and go outside.

A "look" I created with my clothes.

     I have to say that this app is a bit addictive. I like to noodle around on my iPad in the evening and this is like playing a dress-up game. It’s private, so I don’t have to build this collage of my personal clothing for all the world to see. I can just play with it all alone in a virtual world and not have to hang things back on the hanger when I'm finished. Or I can pretend I got dressed really awesome and then just stay home!
     If you take your personal clothing seriously this app is worthwhile, or even if you don't it's fun. Once you put in a few pieces of clothing and play with them it's engaging enough that it inspires you to put in more clothes. I gathered many pictures online and it was an interesting exercise to see what I have in my closet that I remembered without looking. Less getting up, right? Is it frivolous? You betcha! In fact that’s part of what makes it fun. Like doing my nails or trying a new hairstyle it’s a fun toy for self-improvement and when I am dressed nicely I feel great, or even if I just imagine I am. I love things that make me imagine I feel great! 

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