Styling for Nerds – The Stylebook App

A few days ago, the girls in my office started talking about clothes. There are always some who don’t care about clothes, and some who care a lot. At this stage it’s known to mankind that I do happen to care, but I don’t think anybody in the office expected quite what I came out with that morning. In other words, our female contingent now thinks I am one or more of the following: a) a nerd, b) mentally ill or c) ahead of my time.

I’m sure you want to know more about this revelation of mine which had the entire office ooo-ing and aaa-ing so much that the weekly team meeting was cut short to make time for some Q&A. So, here it is.


I’ve only waited 20 years…

People who know me well know that I have closet OCD. I really like organising and reorganising my clothes. Sad, I know, but I have a lot of clothes, and I don’t have a lot of space, so organisation is crucial. I engage in this activity so much and so relentlessly that the other half has created a new verb for my favourite passtime: “are you ocd’ing in your wardrobe again”, “honey stop ocd’ing with the sock drawer” or “you’ve ocd’ed again, haven’t you” are commonly used phrases in our household. Ocd’ing is normal for me. But now a very clever app has made it possible for me to take my disorder to the next level. And I told my colleagues all about it.


Cher’s matching some outfits

The Stylebook app is the mother ship of closet organisation tools and I’ve wanted something like this ever since I saw Cher Horrowitz match outfits on her computer in the 1995 teen movie “Clueless”. For those of you who aren’t old enough to remember Clueless but are young enough to enjoy a high school rom com, give it a watch. The soundtrack is fun too.

I may have had to wait twenty years for it, but the wait was worth it. The Stylebook is exactly what I wanted – an electronic copy of my physical wardrobe, a visual database of garments, a place where I can log inspirations, create outfits and track how often I’ve worn something.

Particularly great is the Looks function where you can mix and match clothes on the screen and put a whole outfit together without touching a single physical thing. Sometimes you will find that what looks good on the screen does not look so good on your body, but often it works astonishingly well.

You can then log what you have worn on your calendar, from which Stylebook pulls information to calculate statistics – showing cost per wear and worst/best value items.

Stylebook is a great tool to organise and get more out of your wardrobe, but you have to be prepared to do the work. And it’s hard work. If you think photographing every single item of clothing you own and then essentially postprocessing the photo so as to remove any unwanted borders sounds like fun, wait till you arrive at item 100. Or 200. It took me months to get my wardrobe on Stylebook and I’ve still not archived everything. Admittedly a first world problem, so I will spare you further accounts of my ordeal. Suffice to say that if you have a very large wardrobe (another first world problem), you need Stylebook.

We all need a bit of organisation in our lives but most people will probably be fine with just hanging blouses with blouses and jeans with jeans. The problem is that with a rather large closet like mine, and limited storage space, the approach doesn’t work well. If you know the “So many clothes, so little to wear” phenomenon you know what I’m talking about. If your clothes aren’t visible, you won’t wear them. You certainly won’t be able to come up with any new and exciting combinations if there is too much crammed together. The mind needs space. Even though I have a very good memory and a highly analytical brain, I struggle to keep hundreds of things on rotation on my mental clothes rack. I previously tried to get around this dilemma by setting up a spreadsheet for all my clothing, logging item type, color, brand, size, cost and so forth. As an accountant, I love spreadsheets. I thought from there I would be able to create pivot tables and graphs which would shine light into the vortex of my wardrobe. They didn’t. The spreadsheet approach failed as it became too complicated to manouver. Unbelievable, because professionally I deal with some pretty scary numbers at times, yet I failed to conquer the contents of my own closet.

So, starting out I had high hopes for the stylebook, and I have to say I”m not disappointed. Stylebook is a tool to create better outfits, opens up new ways to use your existing clothing, and helps you shop smarter. I wouldn’t want to be without it, and I use it to create outfits and track wears nearly every day. I know this probably makes me a nerd, but certainly a very well dressed one.

Outside the box

I love my jewellery, but keeping it organised and accessible at the same time has always been an issue. There just isn’t a jewellery box in the world big enough to hold everything I got, so I had my stuff stored in four different places. Needless to say that I could never find anything, kept on forgetting about things I owned and necklaces and earrings often ended up in a tangled mess.

So what better to do on a cold and windy (what’s going on, Spain?!) Saturday afternoon than to reorganise it all. I turned a shallow chest of drawers that was only good for underwear and clutter into a giant treasure chest. Cost of the project: €14 for about ten cardboard jewellery boxes plus lining from a local Chinese shop.

The pinnacle of organisation or mental illness – you decide!