Let me preface this post by saying that generally I don’t let anyone choose my clothes. Not GB, not my friends, not even my Mum. No-one. I’ve always been this way from a young age – I knew what I wanted to wear and I’d find a way to get it – and I still operate like that. I’ll search for months if I have to to realise the picture that’s in my head and to get my hands on just the right pair of metallic heels that have been haunting me in what feels like forever. I’ll take advice sure, and second opinions are always needed but generally I’ll usually discount them all and go with my original instinct anyway.
When it comes to gifts, people rarely go in the direction of clothes and shoes for me saying things like ‘I just wouldn’t know what to choose!’ or ‘I saw this top… and I was tempted… but I thought I better not risk it.’. Clearly my fussy-ness has got around. If GB has ever bought me a present of the fashion variety in the past it’s more than likely been done after a series of helpful hints and a gentle steer in the direction of what I’d be planning to buy myself anyway. My Mum doesn’t even attempt it anymore, and my friends operate the same way that the guys do with Rachael from Friends, by making sure the words ‘I’ve got a gift receipt’ immediately follow the handing over of any present.
Now I sound like a right ungrateful so-and-so don’t I? I’m really not. I actually don’t think I’ve ever returned a gift from someone before (as you can see from my recent birthday post, my friends are all superb present buyers!) but then maybe that’s because no-one’s ever bought me clothes before?
Anyway my point is (seriously Jac, you sure know how to ramble on… and now you’re talking about yourself in the third person, whaaat? Just get on with the post already) that I know my own style, and I know what I like. And I like to shop, so having someone take that out of my hands wouldn’t ordinarily be something I’d be overly excited about.
Why then, you may well ask, when Wallis got in touch asking me to review the new Style Advisor app on their website where a handy little computer system helps you pick and choose the clothes that are right for you, did I accept?
Well I guess I was intrigued. There’s an app for everything in life nowadays and soon we might not even need to step out of our house or converse with another person to get everything we need in life delivered to our doorstep, so I wanted to see whether using a service such as this could still ignite the same love for shopping, the same thrill when the pieces arrived and the same joy when I wore them for the first time. In short, I wanted to put it to the test.
So let’s see how it got on shall we?
How it works
Once logged in to the Wallis website, the Style Advisor creates an individual profile for you – one that will stay on the site for as long as you need it, allow you to keep checking in and adding/taking pieces away and one which, after collating your info, will be able to recommend new style pieces you might like (based on the info you provide) and alert you when these pieces either come online or go into sale.
First off, you’re asked to complete a quick questionnaire based on colours you like and dislike, your body shape and which areas you prefer to accentuate, and your personality type within fashion. From there you’re given a bit of a dry run where a few Wallis pieces are thrown out at you designed to ‘test’ whether the app is on the right track (cue pieces in colours you’ve said you’d never wear and shapes that might horrify you) and you’re asked to ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ the items as you go along. I disliked all of the items at this point, which made me unsure whether the app was on the right track or the wrong one, but either way those items are then added to your dislike pile never to be seen again, so be careful how hasty you are.
The clever little computer bot (I always like to imagine a little ‘Brian’ like robot within my computer screen, anyone else do that?) then takes all of your information and regurgitates it into a style profile, full of recommendations and suggested outfits that might suit the person you’ve just told them you are.
Here’s what mine said:
“You have got highly desirable curves and in all the right places! Your key to dressing is to keep your top and bottom in balance whilst accentuating your waist. Dresses and tops with ties, belts or nipping at the waist are your best friends. Loose, baggy clothes swamp your frame and are a waste of time.”
Wow, straight to the point huh? While I agree with most of that (I definitely like to accentuate my waist) I was also a little sad that a whole group of items (those baggy numbers that were swamping my frame) had been completely cut from my decision making process. I guess that is the point of the app, to help those who might not feel confident knowing what shapes suit them, but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for all those ‘loose, baggy clothes’ that never even got a look in. After all as much as I know a nipped in waist suits me, there’s times when all I want to wear is a slouchy knit and a pair of boyfriend jeans.
But the app has a purpose and that is to narrow down your choices within the website and bring those straight to you without you having to trawl, which is definitely a preferred way of shopping. Many clothing websites just have too much choice in my opinion, and as someone who likes to know all the options before I make a purchase I can easily find myself wiling away 3 hours going through 36 pages of dresses ‘just to check’ before going right back to page 1 to buy the first dress I saw. So, yes the app’s ability to collate all of my favourites in one place was most helpful indeed. To give you a little idea of how it works below are some screengrabs of what my style profile looked like.
There’s also a section of ‘new in’ products which fit your style profile, and ideas on how to style those with your existing ‘likes’ and you can search through your options based on the type of occasion you’re shopping for, using the categories such as ‘smart casual’ and ‘evening’.
It was then up to me to make my selection, and as you can see from the pics, I selected a pair of black waxed denim skinny leg jeans (as instructed, but also probably my favourite style of jean) and a pretty white lace shirt, which although wasn’t nipped in at the waist, could be tucked into the jeans avoiding a baggy look. I then added a bit of trademark shine with the rose gold metallic block heel sandals (all of which are now on sale by the way!). I threw on my own Gestuz leather jacket, the gorgeous opal necklace my friend bought me for my birthday and a vintage quilted bag.
So, how do I think clever little computer bot did? Well the shape of the jeans were spot on – I’m always a little scared of waxed denim as they are usually pretty unforgiving but these were stretchy and had that all important high waist, which just flatters me so much more than a low hipster fit ever does (no one needs to see my belly roll hanging over the top). The shirt allowed me to inject a little more of my personality with the prettiness of the lace and the feminine scalloped edges, which were adorable. And I loved the rose gold sandals – they were comfortable and good for everyday while the metallic strap added some much needed shine – but I’d probably prefer to wear them with a little summer dress rather than with jeans so as to show them off properly.
So as far as technicalities and body shape goes, the app did really well and ticked all the right boxes. If you aren’t super confident with fashion or need a bit of a helping hand knowing the type of shapes which will flatter your figure or the colours that work well with your skin and hair tone, then this could offer some much needed professional advice without having to make a personal styling appointment in a store. For occasion dressing or if you need a dress for a specific event it’s ideal, and if you hate shopping then it will be your best friend.
I think for me however, someone who loves shopping, it missed out on a little of the magic of finding a new item of clothing and didn’t quite allow me to depict as much personality through my clothes as I normally would. For example, even though I picked my favourite colours, the majority of my suggestions were monochrome based or pastel shades – the app couldn’t see my love of pink or appreciate my daring side that would pick the red dress over the black every time. There’s also an element of how truthful you need to be for it to really work, and how we see our own body vs how our body really is to the outside world. Yes my hips are probably my least favourite part of my body but, in me ticking that box without thinking, I’ve immediately eliminated any option of showing those hips off even if to others they wouldn’t look that big at all. There were other slight discrepancies too, such as the fact that most of my suggestions were jeans and trousers even though I’d mentioned my legs were one body part I didn’t mind showing off (but perhaps that was more to do with the current stock of the website than anything else).
I guess for me fashion isn’t really about technicalities or making sure boxes are ticked, I’m kind of one those people who says ‘to hell with the rules, just wear what you want’ as I know from previous experience that it’s the items you’d never normally choose that end up being the best for you, and that dressing up shouldn’t be precise or exact but free and surprising. Like choosing a yellow dress even though you’ve always been told yellow won’t work on pale skin or buying the cullottes even though technically they’re all wrong for your shape. I also really really love the act of shopping so perhaps, as predicted, having an app choose my clothes was never going to be entirely preferable to choosing them myself but, having said all that, as an added extra option within the Wallis website it’s very handy and I know a lot of people who would take this option and run with it if it meant having to make less fashion decisions themselves so hey, maybe it’s right for some and not others.
How about you? Would you let an app choose your clothes?