Online Styling Tools Pull Us Together

As I flicked through the January edition of Harpers Bazaar, I came across an excerpt from a newly released bio of Jacqueline Kennedy by John Loring, who had worked closely with her during her days as a Doubleday book editor. He described her savvy approach to dressing and wide knowledge of fashion, writing, “Yet Jackie was more interested in how people wore things than in what they wore.”

I imagine in this digital age of fashion voyeurism, the many online style tools available with a click of her mouse would have delighted the high priestess of American chic.

Photographer Scott Schuman, better known as “The Sartorialist” to the rest of the world is one of the industry’s most influential figures, capturing exactly how the stylish are wearing their things from New York to Milan. Together with StreetPeeper, currently documenting the world’s fashion editors as they arrive for the fall shows, the sites make for utterly irresistible daily style inspiration. Another favorite of mine is Vogue’s online feature “Five days, Five looks, One girl” where they break down the looks of glamorous gals about town in their daily ensembles.  Rather than looking at fashion through the abstraction of a magazine layout, it’s useful to see how real people wear the latest designer fashion to work, albeit to a job that accommodates 5-inch ponyskin heels.

Putting together our outfit for work every morning is one of the most creative things modern women do. In our fast-paced, work-heavy lives, few of us engage in other types of creative pastimes. Many of us are waking up to the environmental ramifications of forever buying more while still wanting to revel in the fun and creativity of fashion. Happily there are a number of sites that aim to provide with the grown-up version of playing paper dolls. Vogue’s Light box, Polyvore and Closet Couture allow users to put together an outfit, to see which combinations work – and which don’t – without handing over credit cards or adding to our overstuffed closets.

Perhaps you get your creative kicks from hair and make up. The hundreds and thousands of viewers who enjoy the beauty tutorials on YouTube phenom, Pixiwoo prove you are not alone.  Make up artists, Samantha and Nicola Chapman’s exhaustive resources show you everything from how to wear to Spring’s acid bright color palette to how to skillfully recreate the chiseled cheekbones seen on the runways.

InStyle magazine’s Hollywood Makeover feature allows you to upload a photo of yourself and superimpose a collection of celebrity make up and hairstyles.  Another way to utilize the style know-how of celebrity stylists  (who are largely responsible for enhancing their client’s best features and minimizing their worst), is to take some cues from your celebrity lookalike.  Try uploading a picture of yourself onto My Heritage’s face recognition tool to find out which star you most resemble and pick up some hair and make up tricks from your Hollywood doppelganger. You can spend a frivolous ten minutes, okay, 40 minutes – uploading your photos to produce a range of celebrity faces that are most similar to yours. Consider yourself forewarned and turn the gender function on first.

And if, after all that fun and creativity, you do decide to go ahead and buy something, first visit Made By, a U.K. based non profit that recently launched a set of online tools that allow us to make our fashion purchases as transparently as possible. Features such as Scorecards and Track & Trace, record the eco-developments of the participating brands and allows the consumer to see exactly where and who created a garment.

Rowena Ritchie

Rowena is EcoSalon’s West Coast Fashion Editor and currently resides in San Francisco, CA.