Reviewing the apps that aim to revolutionise the way we dress
Words: Daniël Geldenhuys | Images: Supplied
Always too lethargic in the evenings and way too rushed in the mornings, I’m lazy as hell when it comes to conceptualising looks for myself. So if there’s an option to lie in bed and do this all using apps on my phone? Yes, please!
It’s free and with a cringy name like that, it better be. There’s a Cool Girl version, too. Speaking of the Stone Age, the app has not been optimised for iPhone X, which is proof it hasn’t been updated since (at least) November 2017. The design is notably terrible, but I decide to give the functionality a chance.
I pull out the mountain of clothes I wear regularly, photographing them one by one in less-than-favourable late-night light. Styling clothes on hangers or as flat lays is something I’ve been paid to do in the past, so this feels way too much like work.
The first thing you need to do on Cool Guy is upload images of your clothes, which you can photograph via the app or select from your camera roll. The app then allows you to categorise each piece by type, brand, style, size and more. Because this is Cool Guy, my jumpsuits defy categorisation. Turns out all this thing really does is put images of the items next to each other in a very sad layout — not much more than you’d get standing in front of your actual wardrobe.
Verdict: Please remove from app stores.
Smart Closet has a far better design than Cool Guy. It also allows you to follow and be followed, posting outfits ideas for others to appreciate. Uploading items is an unavoidable laborious process, but the functionality is better, because you can cut out the clothing in your selected images. That process isn’t perfect, but I’m not mad at it either given my shady photography. A look at the clothing categories makes it clear that Smart Closet is aimed at women, but these developers live in a world where women don’t own shirts. I make a mental note to use this as an anecdote one day when I visit Coco Chanel’s grave. The app can generate random outfits, an intriguing feature. I select the categories I’d like it to incorporate and scroll through the results. By outfit three, I finally give a tepid nod of approval. By outfit five, I realise that the app has generated 100 random looks. And... I’m out.
Verdict: There is potential, but in terms of its attempt to create a social network, Instagram still wins.
In Closet Space, another internet-recommended download, I am once again confronted with years-old design and a login screen. I don’t bother, thoroughly disheartened.
Verdict: I can’t even.
A week later, having blocked out the traumatic memories of disappointing apps past, I download Stylebook for R59.99. If this one didn’t impress, I’d be done with this venture for good. At first tap, I see that at least someone from the year 2019 has designed this app. An opening instruction screen gives you some really great tips on how to shoot the items in your closet. I start uploading my terrible images. It is very important to note that this is a lengthy process – you’ve truly got to commit. This time round, the payoff is actually worth it. The app magically (like, would Photoshop even be able to match this?) cuts your clothes out of its image. You can also tweak the cut-outs manually if your photos are as bad as mine. The process of setting up Stylebook feels intelligent and necessary.
And so the real fun begins. I create my first look and the result could be a beautifully designed product page from a fashion magazine. There’s even an option to add an inspirational image from your camera roll or the internet. I use the calendar function to plan outfits for the week ahead – major! Then I discover the packing feature: name your trip, add your outfits (with the option of tweaking them as you go) and Stylebook generates a packing checklist that, for lack of a better expression, has changed my life.
I mourn my latest paycheck as I tap the shopping tab. In a matter of minutes, I’ve shopped the latest menswear on Superbalist and added items to my closet. As I add them, I have the option to calculate an estimated cost per wear, which only fuels my motivation to switch apps to Superb and actually make the purchase.
Last but certainly not least, I explore the Closet Stats tab. The number under “total closet value” makes me feel rich, until I imagine what Rihanna’s would be. I can see everything from “never used in an outfit” to “top 50 most worn” and a graph showing me the colours I wear most and least. You can view your closet by brand, colour, season, fabric or size. At this point, I feel it necessary to add that this is not a sponsored post for Stylebook.
Verdict: It’s this or nothing.
If you’re going to appdate your wardrobe, Stylebook is a must. Personally, I find myself still being drawn to the tactile exploration of rifling through my wardrobe, throwing potential combos onto my bed and discovering things I forgot I had. Though an app will never (well, until augmented reality gets a serious upgrade) be able to proportion clothes onto your body, the shopping feature on Stylebook is a game changer, because it allows you to visualise a potential purchase as part of your wardrobe in a way you never could before. Putting in the time it takes to upload your wardrobe to an app like this, when it’s the right app, is certainly worth the try. I’ve not regretted it for a second.