Since the first time I saw Clueless, I have envied Cher Horowitz's closet. Not even her clothes—although she's still one of my style icons, so I'll take those too!—but the computerized system that she used to pick out her outfits. I mean, it was truly amazing, both because it was pretty high-tech for the 90s (It was 1995! Her computer had a touch screen!) and because it meant that she always looked flawless and her closet could so easily stay impeccably organized.
All Cher had to do was touch her screen and scroll through items of clothing, choose what she thought might work, check if they matched, and then she could actually see what they looked like on her without even trying them on. Meanwhile, there I was, forced to actually physically go through my closet, taking things out (and often finding things I forgot I had), trying them on, and in a time crunch, tossing the rejects onto my bed to be put away later.
Thinking perhaps that my present morning routine could be more like 1995 Cher's, I recently downloaded an app called Stylebook (available on iTunes for $3.99). I wanted to see if my mornings would come close to living like a real-life Cher Horowitz—not to mention, if it would make my life easier.
Stylebook has most of the features I'd fantasized about. First, I could catalog my entire wardrobe in one place, so I'd never forget pieces that I hadn't worn in a while, and I could collage individual pieces together to make full looks. In those respects, it seemed just like Cher's system—though unfortunately it can't show me what my clothes would look like on my body without me trying them on, but I also didn't expect it to.
In addition to those features, Stylebook also has a calendar for you to keep track of what you wear and when, then shows you stats on what you wore and how often. It can also use those stats to tell you how much value you're getting out of individual items (if you add the purchase price while you're uploading them). In that way, it's a handy tool for helping you pare down your closet—if you're using the app for a while and realize there are a handful of pieces you just never wear, you'll know what to get rid of.
The app also has a space for uploading outfit inspiration (much like you might use Pinterest), along with a place for creating packing lists and a shopping section where you can save particular items to your wish list. There's also an option called "Style Expert" that has a bunch of information to help you improve your wardrobe.
All of these features went beyond my expectations, so I was super excited to start using the app—that is, until I got started and realized how time consuming it would be to actually get it set up.
To upload your clothes to the app, you have to take photos of each individual piece of clothing and accessory on a solid background that isn't the same color as the item, then edit out the background (which is easy enough to do through the app, although I will say it's a bit of a challenge to get more detailed pieces cropped out accurately, so I gave up on trying to be perfect), then fill out any relevant information like price, size, and any other notes—whether or not you have multiples, for example. Easy enough to do for a handful of pieces, but when you're uploading your entire wardrobe, it's not so fun.
I quickly realized after I got started that uploading my entire wardrobe would take me days (and I'd already recently pared down a lot!), so I decided to keep things simple. Since I was trying this in the middle of summer, I decided to focus on my summer clothes (most of which I work into outfits year-round anyway) for now and leave out shoes, accessories and outerwear—I don't have enough of those things that I forget about them, anyway. I also left off workout clothes, sweats and pajamas, because I mainly wanted this app for the purpose of creating and keeping track of outfits I'd actually go be a person in.
I didn't input price information, mostly because I didn't remember how much most of my wardrobe items actually cost, but also because my goal was less about value and more about becoming more organized and efficient.
Even still, it took me hours to get it done, and I wound up inputting 52 items in total—30 tops, 4 pairs of pants, 5 pairs of shorts, 6 skirts, and 7 dresses. All that was really missing was sweaters. It was a stark reminder that despite feeling like I never have anything to wear, I own way too much clothing. I also own an absurd amount of crop tops (but then again, that's very on brand of me).
It may have taken a lot more effort than I'd initially anticipated, but once it was done, using the app was quick and easy. I got to work putting together some tried-and-true outfits that I knew I loved, and started using the calendar to track my outfits.
You can see how my July calendar turned out above (note: the empty spots indicate days I stayed home or wore workout clothes that weren't in the catalog).
According to the app, my most-worn item of clothing in July was my favorite pair of denim cut-off shorts, which makes sense, considering...it was July. You can also see that about 80 percent of my wardrobe is black, not that I needed an app to tell me that. Also pictured: my inability to take nice photos of my clothes (I know it doesn't look that bad this far away, but trust me, up close? Not so pretty). There were a lot of items I didn't wear, but given that I work from home sometimes and I only tracked my outfits for a month for the purposes of this post, I kind of anticipated that.
I already mentioned this, but I own way too much clothing, and a lot of it I don't wear nearly enough to justify keeping. This surprised me a lot, because as I also mentioned, I had just pared down my wardrobe and given away quite a bit of clothing. Uploading my clothes took way longer than I wanted it to, so for that reason alone, if I could do it again, I don't know that I would. On the bright side, going through my closet item by item gave me a lot of perspective on what I wanted to keep and what I now want to get rid of when I have it in my budget to revamp my wardrobe.
In terms of living my best life as an IRL Cher Horowitz? Stylebook did make it easier for me to get dressed in the morning since I was able to browse through the app on my sofa and pick out outfits, and as a result, it did help me keep my closet more intact—my bed and chair stayed mostly rogue clothing-free, although there was the occasional style struggle. But, it definitely wasn't as glamorous as I'd hoped it would be. Still a worthwhile—and helpful—experience, though, so not a total waste of an iTunes gift card.
If you have the time and the patience to photograph your entire wardrobe on a solid background, crop them and input details of each item, then I highly recommend Stylebook. Just remember that it definitely makes your life harder before it makes it easier—but it does make it easier!