BreakingModern — Fashion is a social thing, whether offline or online. More and more companies around the world are creating apps that let you “try on” clothes for friends, get advice, share your latest fashion finds, buy items suggested by “influencers” and sell stuff out of your own closet, all without being in the physical presence of other human beings. In fact, you never have to go shopping alone again, although you might end up hanging out online with fashionistas from England or China instead of folks from down the block.
The field of social fashion apps is growing so crowded that it’s hard to choose just 10 of them for a top apps list. Some of these apps contain built-in features that seem to be borrowed from social sites like Tinder or Instagram, and many allow for sharing across social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and Pinterest.
Certain apps are more oriented to selfie posting and fashion blogging, and others are oriented towards people who want to either buy new fashions or buy and sell vintage pieces. Some apps are aimed at U.S. users only, whereas others embrace a global approach. Some are for women only, while others are for both genders. There are overlaps among the feature sets, but each of the apps described below is a unique entity with its own strengths (and weaknesses).
1. Pose — Android on Google Play and Apple iOS
You can buy and sell some pre-owned items on Pose. As its main claim to fame, however, Pose purports to operate “the world’s largest community of online bloggers, stylists and celebs.” To get started as a fashion blogger, you take a selfie snapshot and post it to Pose, together with a description of what you’re wearing in the pic.
Other community members can then “love” the post (a la Pinterest), comment on it, share it to other social networks or add it to their own collections. Pose also puts together some curated collections from community members’ postings, with names like “The ’90s Were Da Bomb” and “Pet-Friendly Fashions.” Male bloggers are present too, as are bloggers specializing in plus-sized garb. If you get noticed on Pose, congrats! A fashion star is born.
2. Lyst — Apple iOS
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Lyst is almost exclusively a shopping app for brand new items (although you might easily mistake it for the online edition of a mag like InStyle or Lucky). Lyst’s editors post blurbs identifying au courant runway trends such as wide leg trousers, varsity sweaters and “date night jumpsuits.” You then press “shop” to see what you might buy at retail to get the look.
You can opt to follow up to four of your fave designers on Lyst. Lyst also claims to have developed the first “universal shopping cart” for fashion, and you can indeed start shopping for everything from the same place. Yet you’re almost certain to get redirected to multiple sites – whether it’s Net-A-Porter, Stylebook or Ann Taylor, for instance – if you’re buying multiple items. Moreover, most of the items listed on Lyst – a Dolce and Gabanna skirt for almost $1,200, $570 swim trunks from Alexander McQueen, and a $2,400 pantsuit from Stella McCartney, to name a few – will be wallet-pinchers for many shoppers. Ouch.
3. Poshmark — Android on Google Play and Apple iOS
Poshmark is a gigantic social marketplace for pre-owned (sometimes known as “pre-loved”) fashion. The app is kind of reminiscent of eBay or Amazon, except that its target audience is (relatively) sharply defined. Poshmark, Inc. urges you to “Get Ready to Shop with the Women of America,” and all you can shop for is clothing and accessories.
When you drill down into an item for sale, you can try to negotiate with the seller for something less than the asking price. You can also “like” the item on Poshmark and share it across a boatload of social networks. Also in the social vein, you can organize and attend in-app “parties” around a specific designer or type of style. Although many users are ecstatic about Poshmark, a bunch of others have complained about various buying and selling issues on places like Google Play, Ripoff Report and Pissed Consumer.
4. WeStyle — Apple iOS
You can get (and give) veritable gobs of fashion advice with the WeStyle app. Do you want feedback on a single look only? Then upload a single photo to rack up “Yes” and “No” votes. If you’d like more-detailed advice, you can upload up to four images at a time and receive real-time responses with push notifications. You have control over whether your posts go out to the whole WeStyle community or just to your own followers.
To help make image uploads specific to WeStyle, the app recently added new photo filters and a cropping tool. WeStyle is currently available for iOS only. However, an Android edition is now in the works, according to the app’s developer, FittingRoomLLC.
5. Strut — Apple iOS
Strut appears to have taken some of its own inspiration from Tinder. The app delivers 50 curated fashion items to you each day to help you communicate your style. By swiping LEFT, you skip an item. By swiping RIGHT, you like the item.
If you swipe UP, you can create an outfit and share it if you want with your feed. If you like a particular jacket, for example, Strut will show you various pants, shoes and shirts that you might wear with it to finish the look.
6. Covet Fashion — Android on Google Play and Apple iOS
Covet is for shopping too, but it stands out from other apps here for its additional role as a social fashion game. Essentially, users put together virtual outfits for various “style challenges” (such as “Red Carpet”) and vote on one another’s mock ensembles. If you’re playing with friends, you can connect to Facebook to borrow clothes from their closets.
Some game participants have said online that Covet needs to make in-app purchases, such as “diamonds,” to enter or win certain contests. In a “Payments FAQ,” Crowdstar, Inc., the app developer, advises users to turn off in-app purchases on their devices if they don’t want to use this functionality in Covet. But, of course, turning off the in-app purchasing feature won’t actually help anybody who is really serious about winning.
7. Spring – Go Shopping — Apple iOS
Just launched in 2014, Spring takes an Instagram-like approach to laying out shopping items. Spring NYC, the app developer, has also partnered with people ranging from Beyoncé to the CFDA on exclusive offerings of new designer styles. You’ll also find secret sample sales and shopping collections curated by “fashion influencers.” You can love any item you find and save it for later.
What really sets Spring apart, though, is the use of Apple Pay as its payment method. You can “click to pay” to buy brand new stuff from over 80 fashion brands. The app saves your credit card information, so you can complete a purchase in just one tap.
8. Walk in My Closet — Apple iOS
On the selling side, this app provides “a curated selection of only the best pre-owned fashions, ‘recycled’ from our members’ wardrobes, and harder-to-find contemporary styles from around the world,” according to Walk in My Closet LLC. Also, each week, the in-app Styles and Trends Magazine features editorial reports honing in on what’s happening in this space.
For members, the app incorporates privacy controls to rival those of Facebook, plus strict buying and selling rules along the lines of what you’d see on eBay. You can decide to keep either specific items in your closet, or the entire closet, just to yourself, or to share the fashions with either your own immediate “clique” only or the whole community. Meanwhile, moodboards — collages of images aimed at fashion “inspiration” — can be created by individuals, cliques and the editors. In the latest version of the app, you can now share your moodboard pics and other images directly on Instagram.
9. Fashionfreax Street Style App — Android on Google Play and Apple iOS
On a budget? Then Fashionfreax could be the app for you. Many of the brands pictured there — for instance, H&M, Forever 21 and Zara — offer trendy clothing that won’t bust your bank account.
You can also find fashions and get tips that can help to give your style a European flare. In a recent peek at the fashion blogs, featured bloggers hailed from places like the Netherlands, Russia, Italy and Bulgaria along with Tampa, Fla., and Montpelier, Vt. “Fashion influencers” on Fashionfreax are able to include links to shopping sites in their blogs, although this could mean that you’ll end up on a non-English language site, which demands non-U.S. currency.
10. Viss — Android on Google Play and Apple iOS
Viss is another international fashion app that combines blogging and shopping. The app developer, Vissable Company & Limited, is affiliated with Viss Me Company & Company, the Hong Kong-based publishers of HMViss, a Chinese-language online fashion mag. Although many of the bloggers live in Asia, some are from Europe, the U.S. and Canada.
Meanwhile, this up-and-coming app is done in American-style English, and the concepts couldn’t be presented much more clearly. “Simply SNAP your own and favorite styles, people and trends. TAG and share the photo with your followers. SHOP the styles you see directly in the app,” says Vissable. Pricing is available in U.S. currency, and purchasing can be done from a centralized spot.
For BMod, I’m Jacqueline Emigh.
All screenshots: Jacqueline Emigh
Featured/Header image credit: “fashion May 1918” by plaisanter~ via Flickr Creative Commons