Dawn of the digital style guru

Genevieve Roberts and David Ryan try out the latest in online, interactive clothes shopping

Fashion is a bruising business at the best of times and, for many, the idea of having their fashion foibles scrutinised by millions is the stuff of nightmares. But the rise of online digital styling is transforming shopping, and a growing number of consumers are willingly exposing themselves to merciless critique.

Shoppers can upload pictures of their outfits to be judged, and share their vital stats to seek sartorial suggestions. A raft of sites are leaping on to the bandwagon, prompting questions about whether they are any good.

Poppy Dinsey, the founder of the site WIWT (What I Wore Today), said: "It used to be thought that the one thing that online could not offer, that traditional shopping could, was styling. But now personal shoppers are working online to give style advice and accessory suggestions, while communities are sharing style advice."

To test this notion, I and my colleague David Ryan tested some of the newest sites.

WIWT.com

More than 6,000 outfits have been uploaded since the site launched in September, with more than a million page views. The site has rapidly become a community, and you're more likely to remain anonymous than attract the disapproval of the fashion pack.

I'm flattered when my dress attracts three stars – strangers' objective approval counts double that of friends.

Dressipi.com

Launched last Wednesday, Dressipi calculates your "fashion fingerprint", and has already attracted 20,000 users.

I'm delighted to learn I have a "waspy waist", and appreciate the broad sartorial advice: avoid drop waists and go for belted shirt dresses and waisted, not baggy, coats. Stylists offer suggestions for birthday outfits. I love the Vivienne Westwood dress they pick, and am now searching for a high street version.

Meemee.me

It sounds like a dream: create an avatar who will try on clothes while you avoid the changing room. But the avatar is – at this stage – only personalised by hair colour and skin tone, so doesn't show height and weight ratio, which would be a great improvement.

StylistPick.com

"Free, unique, individual" are the watchwords that stylists use to select accessories for me – for sale at £39.95 – after I've filled in a questionnaire, in the footsteps of more than 50,000 others. Stylists include Arabella Greenhill, a Marie Claire fashion editor.

MiMirror

Inviting friends' opinions through Facebook seems to be asking for mockery: "What is that bat on your shoulder?" a friend posts about a bow on my top, while "Big bust – which is a good thing" I'd rather stayed in the fitting room.

The MiMirror in Republic at Westfield, Stratford, east London, allows you to seek advice from friends online. It's a shame you can't choose who sees the images.

Gotryiton.com

Since its launch in March last year, more than 12 million opinions have been posted. Its chief executive, Marissa Evans, says the 80 per cent female community is about "helpful advice, not being hurtful".

While Evans denies the site can be brutal, it's here that its real strength lies. It's hard for friends to tell you those clothes do make your bum look big.

Debenhams picture app

Launched last week, the app lets you try on virtual clothes in a real-life world. Style advice comes from friends who you email with pictures – or if you're feeling especially brave, can tweet or send to Facebook.

The three-day, online pop-up store closed yesterday, but more are planned.

A male view: David Ryan

I do care what I wear, honestly, but I hate clothes shopping. I am 52 years old and have never owned a suit! At the Republic store at Westfield, Stratford, I tried out some hopelessly trendy straight, fawn corduroys, a check shirt and green body warmer. "West Country chic!" came one response on Facebook. I then went a bit sharper: jeans, powder-blue shirt, leather ankle boots and a black duffel-style jacket.

"Not bad," my daughter Facebooked. "A duffel coat would really suit you," she added.

"Yes, one that fits!" fizzed a poison shaft. It was then I lost the plot. A light grey rompersuit and woolly hat with tassles is not an easy look, but I think I carried it off. I was baffled by WIWT. I posted my picture but have gained no followers and scored 0 kudos. My picture on Go Try It On, has yet, perhaps luckily, to be rated.

Suggested Topics
News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Year 5 Teacher

    £80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

    Software Developer

    £35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

    Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

    £35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

    Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

    Day In a Page

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

    The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album