First, let me preface this article by giving you a little background as to my motives for taking on this (insane?) arduous task.
Pulling an outfit together in a pinch can be a problem unless you are one of the fortunate few who knows exactly what to wear at all times. Admittedly, I am not one as I too find myself standing numb in front of my closet not knowing where to begin. Even the most organized closets only allow you to take in an overview of everything—much like looking at a book of fabric swatches.
In an attempt to solve the problem of the ever evasive outfit for clients I would put an outfit together (top, bottom, shoes and accessories) and take a picture of it thereby creating a personal lookbook. This practical concept seemed simple enough but the execution proved to be problematic as I could never get the lighting right. And lighting, as any photographer will tell you, is key.That was at least until I found an app called Stylebook.
With Stylebook you take a picture of each article individually against a high contrast background in daylight—like a white bed sheet behind a pair of black slacks. After you take a picture it pops up with a greyed-out background which you save in a folder labeled; tops, pants, dresses handbags, etc. When you open the picture in the app the grey background becomes white. In the event the picture shows any other colors in the background other than grey it needs to be edited out with a manual editing function. This takes time. Now here is the groovy part—after you have taken your pictures you then select pieces from your folders to create a look. Trouser, blouse, shoes, scarf and handbag can be placed on the same page much like something you would see on Pinterest or a fashion magazine. These outfits are saved into another set of categories; day, cocktail, work, formal etc.
After uploading pictures of everything in your closet and drawers choosing an outfit can be leisurely selected by scrolling through your Stylebook Lookbook.
Let’s say you are invited to a last-minute cocktail party. Instead of panicking at the thought of “what do I wear?” and then rushing home and frantically rummaging through your closet you would instead open your folder of cocktail dresses, scroll through them and choose one, along with shoes, jacket and anything else.
Sounds easy enough, right? Well, that part is!
The truth is it takes time to upload and edit each piece of clothing and accessory you own unless, of course, you were Steve Jobs who famously wore only blue jeans and a black turtleneck every day (in which case you wouldn’t need any of this). And since I am being truthful here, I need to let you know that it took me a solid week to photograph and edit my closet (keep in mind I have a lot of clothes) but in the end it was worth it and here is why;
-When I took a picture of each article, one at a time, in proper light I noticed the following; clusters of pills on my sweaters, missing buttons, hems gone awry, spots, dirt, stains and holes. I fixed all of them because I knew this was an opportunity to fine-tune my wardrobe and if I didn’t attend to it then it would no longer be a priority and would sink to the bottom of my to do list.
-I threw away so much more than I would have if I just did a closet edit because all that illumination only shed light (no pun intended) on the condition of each piece.
-Since I was committed to the painstaking exercise of actually going through each piece, I tried on everything in question and then decided whether it’s worth tailoring.
And in the end . . .
-I realized how many more possibilities there were in terms of outfits as I was able to easily put one piece with another from the comfort of my couch.
-I am able to shop and know exactly what I am looking for just by pulling up pictures of my clothing. For example if I need a pair of shoes to go with a dress I just pull up the picture of the dress I need to accessorize. If I see a black shirt that I love I pull out my Stylebook app, have a look at my inventory of black shirts and pass on this one as I already own four that I love just as much.
-Matching prints became a breeze!
-My anxiety over packing for a trip was gone.
-I realized I don’t need any more red heels!
There is a learning curve with Stlyebook and it takes time to get your groove on with this app but it is well worth it! If you need help with tips on how to set up your stylebook app
I can help. For the month of April I am offering a 2 hour tutorial for $95. Contact Catherine to make your appointment.