To truly know anything well requires research and lots of practice.
A former boss once gave me counsel: “Pick something you’re interested in, and become an expert at it.” While I didn’t spend the 10,000 hours or so it takes to become an official expert, over the past three weeks I have read reviews from a variety of trusted sources—The New York Times, Huffington Post, Forbes, Refinery 29—and downloaded 27 fashion-related apps to try out. Some selections came highly rated and others were found by way of yours truly scrolling through iTunes.
Applications that experienced frequent shut downs, had convoluted navigation, or sent way too many notifications were immediately out of the running. After determining which apps seemed most promising, I began my exploration into the unique capabilities of each one. I catalogued clothing from my closet, made “collections” of my most desired items, and even gained a few followers along the way!
These eight fabulous fashion-friendly apps will enhance your industry savvy and generally style your life. Warning: Obsession may occur.
Cloth (free): Cloth is a wardrobe organization app that solves the daily dilemma of what to wear. Although this application doesn’t give you all the bells and whistles, it’s a simple way to make sure you’re getting the most out your closet. To begin cataloguing, take a snapshot of your outfit (this can be accomplished with the help of a friend, while looking in a mirror, or by laying pieces out on your bed) and choose where it fits best between Everyday, Event, Evening, Vacation, Work or Active. If you love what you have on today, shoot a couple quick photos and star them for easy reference. Cloth gives you the option to leave notes or tags to cite specifics like brand, size and fabric. You can share your looks with others via Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. There’s also an in-app upgrade available for $0.99 that gives you access to the local weather reports, photo-editing tools, and Instagram-like image filters. Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
Stylebook ($3.99): Stylebook is the ultimate “pocket wardrobe.” The 90 features included in this stellar organization app ensure you will never have to blindly dig through your closet again. Photograph garments to fill your virtual closet, and use the app’s background removal tools to arrange images and create magazine-style collages of your looks. Customize Clothing, Look, and Inspiration categories to your liking. Record outfits in the Calendar to see which pieces you wear most often. “Style Stats” provide statistics like items never used in an outfit, average items worn per outfit, and color counts that monitor color preferences. Use the “Packing” tool to pre-plan vacation outfits and alleviate travel-related stress. If you still need to find a chic beach hat for your trip, refer to Stylebook’s “Shop” with more than a million items available from top retailers. There’s also a version for men! Available for iPhone and iPad.
Style.com (free): Style.com is the ultimate source for up-to-the-minute fashion industry coverage and is the go-to reference tool for top editors, retail buyers, stylists, designers and other members of the fashion elite. The app is constantly updating to bring you the latest industry news; runway collection photos, including a library of seasons dating back to Spring 2010, and video footage; editor reviews; trend reports and designer spotlights. Missed the red carpet at the Golden Globes? Style.com features comprehensive slideshows of images from award shows and other exclusive events around the world. This app is a surefire way to stay on top of the fashion game. Available for iPhone and iPad.
Chicfeed (free): Chicfeed compiles photos from leading street-style blogs and places them all in one convenient location for easy viewing. Check the latest feed or browse through individual listings from The Sartorialist, Jak and Jil (Tommy Ton), and Face Hunter (an original source of street-chic). Find source links listed under each photo for quick reference. Save your favorite shots, or share them on social media. Although Chicfeed is a bare-bones app, you can determine which blogs to receive by using the info icon. I recommend Chicfeed’s $0.99 upgrade to avoid pesky advertisements. One negative: Since the list of blogs is limited, updates can be less frequent. Available for iPhone and iPad.
Fashion Kaleidoscope (free): As a street-style fanatic, I’ve been frequently disappointed by the lack of detailed information included with featured looks. Where do I find that amazing faux-fur coat? Who designs those loafers? Enter Fashion Kaleidoscope. This brilliant app attempts to solve these fashion quandaries, featuring real-life looks from around the world and telling you where to get them. Interested in a particular jacket? Now, you can “Shop the Look” to instantly view comparable options at a variety of price points. On the negative side, it does lack a search function to narrow down results. Scrolling through the complete feed may seem awkward at first, but this app’s overall benefit certainly weighs out. Available for iPhone and iPad.
Personal Shopping Assistant
PS Dept. (free): PS Dept. (short for Personal Shopping Department) is literally a personal shopper that lives in your pocket. This service lends instant access to managers and sales associates at top stores including Derek Lam, Stella McCartney, Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman and Moda Operandi. “Follow” your favorites to receive trend postings from specific brand consultants throughout the day. Dreaming about that perfect leather tote? Send PS Dept. a question, product photo, or inspiration image through the app, and the professionals will check on an item’s availability, while sending you pictures of alternative options to consider. When you’re ready to purchase, PS Dept. rings your items using the pre-entered credit card of your choice and sends you the receipt—all by way of the app. The company offers full refunds, as well as free shipping and returns. Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
ShopStyle (free): ShopStyle is an e-commerce platform that receives high praise, and I understand why. This app allows you to conveniently search millions of products in women’s, men’s, kids, and home categories from a single, centralized hub. Refine search functions by keyword, brand, store, size, color, price, popularity or recently added to help you find precisely what you’re after. You can choose to only view sale items or those with free shipping, as well as set sale alerts to receive notifications regarding your top-rated brands and products. (I found a Helmut Lang leather combo dress with an original price tag of $495 for $148!) Purchase items directly through the store’s “purchase page” within the app to eliminate the aggravation of being redirected when you want to check out. ShopStyle also provides the exceptional feature of automatic retailer updates when you are traveling internationally. Soon you will be a shopping authority in every city! Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
Svpply (free): Svpply (pronounced “supply”) is my latest app obsession. Purchased by eBay in 2012, the company has remained humble and continues to offer a much more personalized shopping experience, which becomes evident almost immediately. The site is highly curated with each product hand-selected by Svpply members. I enjoy Svpply’s straightforward navigation, super-fast response rate, and overall visual aesthetic. The site also provides superior methods of searching by product, collection, user or store. If there’s something you like or want to save for later, you can choose to “want” it, or create a “collection” of items that formats beautifully as a list within your profile. Svpply’s Shop Explorer feature follows more than 100,000 brands and stores and conveniently maps out the best boutiques near you. Check out the category simply titled “Other” to view some fun and offbeat products listed under such headings as Camping, Games and Booze.Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.