Fashion & Technology

For some, being a sustainable fashion consumer is their style DNA priority and their feel-good factor comes from knowing they are taking stylish steps towards reducing the impact of the fashion industry on people and the planet.

Easter weekend signifies the height of spring with imagery of fluffy chicks and yellow daffodils surrounding us which means from here on in it’s time to start thinking about summer! Life in Guernsey where the seasons start a little earlier than most of the UK it means that the daffodils are almost all over and I spent a couple of hours the other weekend recusing four ducklings from a drain they had fallen into. You can thank Hamish for alerting me to them, as he was insistently sniffing and pawing at the drain cover. Mother duck showed up mid-rescue and her squawking brought them into reach until one by one they were reunited. Nature is a wonderful thing.

This week my musings are also about instinct. Whilst chatting about tech in fashion from smart tech for body shapes to sales algorithms and returner consumer behaviour (yes – your returns are also data which are analysed and you become categorised/labelled as a certain type of ‘returner’.) I was being quizzed why I didn’t develop an app that would solve the mysteries of which clothes really suit you based on your individual body shape. Something, where you would take a picture on your phone and it would tell you if it was a match to your body shape or not in terms of fit and with some clever coding from a stylist such as myself would confirm if it enhanced your unique shape.

Sounds good but...

If it was as simple as mapping your body and retailers sizes to find matches, trust me, we would already be using it. I first worked with body scanners to improve the fit of clothes and reduce customer returns back in 1998. It was envisaged that by the early 1990’s that the customer would hold their own body data and be able to identify which styles would be the most flattering to his/her particular shape as well as preferred fit – a type of automated personal shopper.

Today, style advice often still focuses on labelling bodies into one of five shapes.

Apples, pears, rectangles, triangles or hourglass. Whatever names or label you want to try to tag a body with, the biggest deciding factors to cracking the code of curating clothes that we really love wearing is not a number-crunching mathematical algorithm; instead, it’s about you. Personal style is just that. Personal. All an App can do is “introduce” you to certain fits and shapes. The rest is much more about trusting your instincts if you are to remain in love with that item after the initial purchase.

Here’s my hierarchy of clothing attributes or tick boxes our clothes have to pass to be keepers and repeaters.

TEST 1. It physically fits you in all the places you want it to. It kinda goes without saying that fit is the No. 1 essential criteria but fit is subjective. Some like loose fitting clothes and sizing up; only an item which is too small is a no-no.

TEST 2. It feels good to the touch. Yes, touch. Without even trying some clothes on the fabric can turn off people from wanting to wear it. Texture, surface interest, slippy, spongy, fluffy all of those things, not something an App can deliver.

TEST 3. The cut. Too low at the front, too high at the waist, too short on the arm or legs. All of these factors will be part of the decision-making process and you could program an App to your particular taste and preferences. But it varies depending upon the style of the garment, the season, the occasion and importantly how you actually feel on that particular day. Have a read of my other blog on this subject here

TEST 4. Colour including patterns or print. Something we filter so easily without the use of an App and we are already used to shopping online and in-store by navigating the colour sections. If you don’t like green it’s unlikely you are going to start considering green dresses, you simply walk by, or set the filters on the shopping site.

TEST 5. How something makes you feel. It’s the magical one. Does it have the secret sauce to make it a keeper and a loved purchase? Does it make your soul sing or as Marie Kondo would say “Does it spark Joy?” When we tap into and trust our style DNA instincts, this is where the magic happens.

Where do we find this secret sauce? How do we know when we have found it? It can seem to be as elusive as love when you’re single. Knowing what you are looking for is the first step, as opposed to being led by the marketing machines to continually consume in the hope that something might actually be right for you.

Make that list of what you want your clothes to say about you: –

1. Who are you? What do you want your style to say about you?

2. What textures and colours do you like to wear?

3. How do you want to feel in your clothes?

(e.g. Taller, slimmer, stylish, fashionable, professional, happy, confident.)

When we buy pieces that we know are truly our style, we love wearing them over and over, which means you need less clothing but yet get more enjoyment from what we are wearing.

Loved clothes are cherished and looked after better than clothes which we have no emotional attachment to leading to them lasting so much longer too. From my years of supplying staff uniforms, two people with identical clothes could make their work clothes look immaculate or shabby, simply by how they looked after them over the years.

I recognise that for some, getting clothes that actually fit well, is their number one priority but the aesthetics and true lasting feel-good factor of clothing is not simply just about if it fits you. If it was, we’d have cracked our what to wear dilemmas, a long time ago.

For some, being a sustainable fashion consumer is their style DNA priority and their feel-good factor comes from knowing they are taking stylish steps towards reducing the impact of the fashion industry on people and the planet.

For most of us, it’s a combination of the test factors I’ve listed above and by breaking them down into these categories I hope I’ve helped you get closer to working out deciding what to buy to ensure you love it. I’d love to hear what’s most important to you when deciding what to buy and what to wear. You can get in touch with me here. 

Stylish Wishes