Fashion apps and sites are trending right now, and there seems to be a new one gaining attention every week. While researching some of the latest fashion and style apps and websites, I realized that most of them pin their hopes of success on one lofty expectation: that consumers want to share their personal style with others. These fashion-related apps and websites would not work if people did not sign up for accounts, snap photos of themselves and their clothes, Like items they’ve seen online, aspire to learn name brands and designers, or were not willing to discuss their personal style with strangers. However, people do flock to these apps and sites—in droves.
I’m increasingly wary about creating any type of account that requests personal information or access to my Facebook account, but it sure seems as though many people accept that as part of the terms when they want to use a fashion and style tool. Eager to see what I was missing, I decided to try one out. After finding a fashion site that looked to turn Cher Horowitz’s virtual closet into a reality, I jumped at the chance to sign up.
Stylitics is a closet-organizing website that allows you to organize your outfits by keeping track of what has been worn each day. The promise of a virtual closet, complete with a calendar that would let me Check In each of the items I wore each day, was something I was excited to try out. My excitement started to wane as soon as I began to fill my Closet with various items. The easiest items to find were well-known name brands, such as Banana Republic and Calvin Klein, that had been purchased in the past two years. If I wanted to add sweaters or skirts I had purchased from Target or Wal-Mart more than two years ago, I would have to upload the photo and create the information myself. Needless to say I was not all that interested in doing that for nearly half of the items I own.
Each item in a user’s closet shows the retail value of the item. The price can be adjusted depending on whether or not the item was purchased at a discounted price or if it had been received as a gift. After adding close to thirty items to my closet, I was shocked to see the running tally of the retail value of the clothes, shoes, and accessories I had purchased. Even though I had not yet adjusted the price for every item, the estimated retail value of the few dozen items in my Closet was unnerving. While the amount seemed high to me, a comparison showed that the average user had around seventy items in their closet valued at more than three times as much.
Other features of the profile include sections to identify your Style Icons, Style Inspirations, Favorite Purchases, and Dream Purchases. While browsing through other users’ profiles, I noticed obvious similarities in favorite brands, celebrity styles, and dream purchases. Considering that I probably learned about this website the same way several of them had, through an article on Vogue.com, I couldn’t be that surprised to learn that I shared similar tastes with other users. Although, seeing so many similar user profiles dimmed the idea that I had created my personal style on my own. If we’re all drawing from the same inspirations and purchasing the same clothes, how unique are we really? While some users may have the same fashion influences, certain users’ socioeconomic status can be made apparent by the brand (and value) of their featured Favorite Purchases and even Dream Purchases.
While I love the idea of having a virtual closet, I really loathe the idea of sharing my shopping habits and patterns with an online website. The site does offer incentive in the form of reward points and promotion offers to those who are active users, but I don’t know if that’s enough for me to keep feeding this site my personal shopping history. Maybe I should just stick to a closet organizing software that lets me enjoy my closet in private—like Cher did.