I can advise you on style. Like many style advisors I have been trained in how to analyse the shapes and styles that best suit individual men and women. But my time is relatively expensive and not everyone wants a personal consultation. Wouldn’t it be great if a computer could tell you what would suit you to make shopping easier, more reliable and economical?
I have been thinking about how some of the knowledge I have could be translated into a computer programme, and have considered producing an app. But it is fiendishly complicated! Although there are some very clear and scientifically based rules about Men and Women’s style, wardrobe personality and colour, individual quirks are as important. Lots of smaller issues arise which a programme cannot deal with – a high or low bust, a long neck, sloping shoulders; a strong view on certain items (eg “I would never wear a mini skirt/shorts/a low cut top/flat shoes” etc); the precise fit of a garment; and fashion preferences for example. So, having critiqued the Boots No 7 colour analysis tool, I decide to try Marks and Spencer’s online Style Advisor.
The website features a comprehensive programme, asking you your to determine your colouring and basic body shape, your age, which bits you like and dislike and how confident you are in dressing. It also tries to work out what sort of clothes you like and dislike by giving you some fairly generic shapes. I was tempted to say I disliked them all, but ticked the shapes I prefered.
So what did the site come up with for me? Three pages of clothes from their current range, in the size that I had specified. I was surprised to see one dress I had actually tried on in the shop, finding of course that the top was too big and the hips too small. So, while I had told the site that I was “pear shaped” it still showed me an item that would work better on someone with a straight body shape.
The virtual Style Advisor suggested billowing tops and a kaftan (pul..ease) to even out my larger hips – but I don’t find this a good strategy. If I wear baggy or floaty type tops I feel they make me look bigger, so I tend to wear neater, tailored T shirts and jumpers. The colours were fairly dire too – lots of black (I said I was fair, with grey hair and blue eyes). I ticked pink, red, blue, turquoise and green as my favourite colours. However despite me not ticking orange, black or beige I was offered this. Had I been asked I would also expressed an aversion to mullet hems and ombre looks.
Finally, despite it asking me to declare my age, it offered me three bridesmaid dresses!
All in all, it is not a bad programme. There were some items proposed that I could wear, including one which I might actually buy. With a belt, necklace and scarf, a jacket, tights and nice shoes this is the sort of dress I would be happy to wear. I
Has anyone else ever tried this or similar programmes? What did you think?