App review: Stylebook

I know that I am not alone in having more than a few pieces of clothing in my closet I wear on repeat, and shamefully so, some really nice pieces I never wear. The reason behind this is that I mostly get dressed in quite a rush in the morning, and when I have some time to think about what I want to wear, I always go back to the old trusted combinations, simply because they I know they work well for any given situation.

If this sounds eerily familiar, fear not! Stylebook is here to solve all those wardrobe woes!

I really love this app, and this review should hopefully convince you to invest a few Rands in a truly great planning tool. Now, I know it is not a free app, but before you look at me like I am crazy, go ahead and see why I recommend paying for this app. After all, it does cost less than your average take-away dinner.

Here is a quick round-up of the app’s bits and bobs:

  • Cost: R59,99 on the South African App Store or $3,99 on the American App Store
  • App developers: Left Brain/ Right Brain LLC
  • Also available: Stylebook Men: Closet Organiser & Assistant
  • Rating: 4 and ½ stars from over 600 reviews

Features:

Stylebook is packed full of really great features and you can use as many (or as few) as you like to make this app truly useful to you.

Closet: The main feature is to keep a visual record of your wardrobe, categorised exactly the way you want. You can take your own photos to get your exact item, of search the web for something similar without needing to fuss too much about editing. The editing tool is fairly simple to use, and you can manually edit out the background or simply tap/ slide to adjust. This builds a clean visual of your clothing items that you can use to plan looks and keep track of your closet so you don’t end up with another black jacket that looks exactly like another one you already own. If you enter information on each piece you add, you can search your closet by brand, colour, fabric and many other characteristics.

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Looks: A feature I often use in the app is the look compiler. This is where you get to play around with the items in your closet to get a visual idea of how things will go together without having to play dress-up. I often use this feature to plan looks ahead of time so I don’t keep wearing the same outfit on repeat. This really helps me to make the most of my clothing and I have created many looks that I would never have thought of when standing in front of my closet.

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Packing: I love this feature and use it every time I travel. I create looks, and then refer back to the looks I created when I get dressed so I know that I am making the most of my packing space. It makes so much sense to create different options with a few key pieces when traveling, and the visual nature of this feature helps me to keep my bag small(er) and more organised than ever before.

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Style stats: This feature is not something I use very often, mostly because it can get really labour intensive, but if you are the kind of girl who likes to keep track of everything in life, you are going to love this feature. When adding items to your closet, you can add their cost and retailer details. In the stats feature, you can track the cost per wear for each item by noting each day’s outfit in the calendar in the app. You can track so many stats including what items you wear most often, items you never wear (which could really help when you want to donate items and make space for new amazing pieces), your colour stats and total closet value. This could get really tiring to track each day (for me personally) but I can see how this feature is a really great way to help you in making better choices when you purchase new clothing.

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Other features include a space for inspiration from websites and other apps, the calendar used to track your outfits, a shop and the style expert feature packed with advice, style guides and Q & A with experts.

Here are a few tips that I have found to be useful when getting into Stylebook:

  • Don’t go too specific when categorising items. I started out with about 15 different main categories with loads of sub-categories in each and it became way too complicated. Stick to a few (I have 5 categories) and delete what you don’t want to use. For me, there is no reason to sort my closet into seasons because I try to wear items right throughout the year (with a few exceptions, of course), but if that works for you, go for it.
  • Don’t worry too much about the editing of your items. I spent so much time getting the edges of each item perfect that I got fed up and overwhelmed. The item doesn’t have to be perfect for you to get what you are trying to remember with a look so don’t spend too much time on perfecting the item that you lose interest in the real reason for using the app, which is probably to make the most out of each item of clothing you own.
  • If you don’t have the time or space to photograph your items, do an image search on Google to find something similar and stick it into your wardrobe. I use this method more often than not because you get nice images that already have the item posed in a way that shows the shape and actual look of the item. If you create looks using this method, just don’t go stealing images off the web and claim them as your own to post on social media. For personal use and reference, you can use images as long as you don’t share them.
  • Hand your “closet” over to a friend who gets your style so they can lend a fresh perspective on combinations from your wardrobe. I used to do this with my cousin when we were teenagers and we would spend hours making up new outfits out of our closets. This way is much quicker but no less valuable.
  • Take some time to log your outfits each week. You don’t have to deadly accurate with this, but I found that it really gives you a grasp on how long each item lasts, and how good an investment each piece is. This helped me to realise which inexpensive items turned out to be more costly because I had to replace them often.

Which style or lifestyle apps do you enjoy? Leave your recommendations and I will take a look

 

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Dressing like you mean business!

Whether you are an old hand at corporate wear, or selecting you first interview outfit, I have some great tips to climb the corporate dress ladder! Read on for some advice to help you liven up your corporate closet or guide you in your first steps to becoming a style savant in the office.

Elevator pitch

Here are some great general tips to sharpen your look without fail!

  • When in doubt, dress formally. They say there is no such thing as overdressed and over-educated, and I totally agree. I am not referring to wearing a ball gown to a family dinner (which would be fabulously daring, BTW!) but rather about the events that you are not too sure about. When done right, formal is never too much whereas you will easily stand out if you are not dressed formal enough.
  • Business does not mean boring. You can go a long way with a basic ensemble and change things up with accessories like scarves, jewellery and shoes. By using accessories to liven up an outfit, you avoid the risk of overdoing it and looking unprofessional.
  • By investing in classic, high- quality pieces you are giving your wardrobe longevity that will benefit you in the years to come. Beautiful fabrics in classic colours and quality cuts will never go out of style.

Now, on to the more specific guidelines!

Colour within the lines

  • Stay away from too many colours at one time
  • Stick to a colour palette, this will make it very easy to mix and match items without worrying about clashes. I opt for white, black, grey, blues and burgundy coloured items
  • Add a flash of colour to your wardrobe with cardigans and jewellery

 Proportions = promotions

  • Be deliberate with your proportions. I have way too many items that fall in the mid-range (especially bottoms). These include jeans that are too relaxed fit to be skinny and others that are too tight to be a boyfriend cut. These items make your outfit look “lukewarm”
  • For the office environment, anything too baggy or too tight-fitting can really leave a bad impression. Leave your super comfy, two sizes too large jersey for Saturday Netflix sessions on the couch. Also, don’t even look at the second-skin skinny jeans that force you to go commando in an effort to avoid the dreaded VPL (visible panty line). You want people to notice your intellectual assets, not your “other assets”
  • Same rule applies for anything that is too short or too long. Mini-skirts are usually not appropriate (depending on how they are worn) but what about your dramatic long sleeve shirt with the cascading French lace cuffs? It might also be a bit over the top, especially if it gets in the way of actually doing your job (theatrical lace and keyboards? I don’t think they are comfortable colleagues)
  • Limit the amount of accessories you wear. Coco Chanel was quoted as saying: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory”. You don’t want to look like a Christmas tree. Leave that for the weekend or girls night.
  • Keep your shoes polished and stylish. Don’t opt for casual shoes- this is one small detail that can really bring your outfit together
  • Remember that high heels are not always appropriate and when you do choose to wear heels, stay away from sequined, leopard-print stilettos with huge bows and cartoon characters to top it off. If your shoes speak louder than your resume, you are not doing yourself any favours

Trends

  • No matter what the fashion magazines say “sports luxe” or athletic wear is almost always out for business attire. Some exceptions may apply and you should use your judgement in this matter, but I know I would never feel comfortable wearing a baseball cap to the office unless it is a sports day or some other specific reason. And for the love of all things fashionable, remember you are not a Kardashian, you most likely cannot pull off wearing sweatpants and heels to the office. Just don’t do it!
  • Some trends are great for the corporate environment, including the masculine trend, minimalism and beautiful winter textures that are coming into the stores in South Africa at the moment
  • If you love a specific trend, don’t be afraid to incorporate it, but do so with caution. A neon-coloured ring or silver studded bracelet would be great ways to liven up an outfit. Neon leggings and a biker inspired sleeveless t-shirt on the other hand, not so much!
  • Generally speaking I would advise not to over-invest in trends. They come and go faster than the latest corporate buzz-word and your money is much better spent on key, timeless pieces that will add to your wardrobe for years to come

Whether you love dressing formally every day, or you are a jeans and sneakers kind of girl, spending some time on your professional wardrobe will keep you looking ready for the corporate world, and will save you money in the long run (by avoiding overspending on trends and replacing lower quality items frequently).

Go on, conquer the boardroom and show the world some love while dressing to impress!

Lsj (1)