Release Date:December 23, 2009
Summary:Excellent organizational tool for anyone who needs help picking an outfit in the morning.
“What should I wear today?”
This thought peppers my mind every morning, as I’m sure it does for most women, or hey, men too. Especially when you have one of those Carrie Bradshaw closets, brimming to bursting with stacks of shoes, a tree’s worth of hangars, and accessories galore, and not to mention the jam-packed pile of laundry in your once tidy bathroom, that quiet, secondary artery to your closet’s main supply. I developed a habit in college of laying out the clothes I would wear the next day, usually draped over the back of my desk chair, but I also developed this irksome habit of changing my mind in the morning, hitting the reset button, and switching out the polka dot top for a plaid shirt, and the black boots for puma sneakers. It was just convenient to pretend I was actually accomplishing some modicum of organization, in some bizarre cognitive trick like getting ready for a run, but then never actually taking one. But, at least I never kowtowed to that college standby, where pajamas and slippers masquerade as actual clothes, and the slumber of twilight slips unnoticed into the commons of daily life. Californians call this style casual or comfortable, but in all honestly, I just call it sloppy. It doesn’t take much planning, or effort, to be presentable.
Unless you’re naturally disposed to picking out outfits quickly in the morning, this app I stumbled upon, called Closet, may appeal to you. I’m pretty good at knowing what I want to wear, but I’ve definitely had my fair share of mornings where I stand stupidly in front of the closet, shifting my weight from side to side and sighing, having absolutely no idea what to wear and being absolutely convinced that, yes, everything is my closet is wretched, and thinking, “I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR.” Here is where Closet comes into play. This iPhone app acts as a digital closet: it carefully organizes your every article of clothing into distinct categories, and allows you to piece together outfits, save them – once again, in distinct categories – and then schedule these outfits on a calendar system. It’s like having a mini personal assistant for your daily fashion crisis. Sure, there’s a good deal of manual effort that goes into Closet before it becomes a useful organizational tool, but trust me, the results are well worth it.
The app starts as a blank slate. A calendar is shown of the current month, with a tab along the bottom indicating Calendar (presently showing), Outfits, Items, Favorites and Tools, the second two of which you will be using anytime you add new material to your digital closet. Obviously, your closet is empty upon first using the app, so you must fill it – and I mean fill it, uploading every item in your wardrobe. I know, it’s an exhaustive effort, rooting through your entire closet, piece by piece, but the process has its perks. When sorting out my clothes, I found myself tossing clothes into a giveaway pile, to either sell or donate. Just by digitally organizing my clothes into the Clothes app, I was inadvertently organizing my own closet, de-cluttering it of items I no longer wear, or don’t wear nearly enough to justify keeping them, shoved in the dark bowels of a drawer. That alone is a reason to use this app, if you can summon the courage to roll up your sleeves and dive head first into the mothballs. Not that I have mothballs, mind you.
Uploading is easy. First, select a category of clothing – you are given a default list of Tops, Bottoms, Footwear, and Accessories – or create your own, then lay out an article of clothing and snap a picture, and save the item (don’t worry, the camera is conveniently a part of the app). At first, I thought the default categories were all I needed, but then I realized I needed more categories to effectively created layered outfits. I originally included jackets and coats in the Tops category, but when attempting to piece together an outfit, I realized Closet was registering only one Top, one Bottom, and one pair of shoes – in short, Closet was suggesting I wear my peacoat and jeans with nothing else. So, I created a few additional categories, like Outerwear, Vests, and Sweaters, which helped with the layering concept. If I really wanted to get ambitious, I could even include respective categories of Jewelry, Socks, and Lingerie if I really wanted to streamline my outfits (“Yes, today I’ll be wearing the matching pink polka dot bra set and the turquoise earrings with black argyle socks”).
After uploading all your articles of clothing, I recommend taking a break, but then the next line of duty is creating outfits for all kinds of occasions, to later schedule into your calendar. Once again, default categories are given – this time they are Casual, Formal, and Work – but feel free to create your own categories, as well. Go dancing with your friends every weekend? Maybe a “Clubbing” category would suit you. Avid golfer? Then, fair chap, make a section on Golfing outfits. Just go wild with those categories, it’ll make your life easier. Creating outfits is where Closet starts getting fun. First, select a category, then tap the plus sign in the upper right – Closet will prompt you with using either the Item Grid or the Manual option, but please, use the grid, because not only is it way cooler, it’s way easier. With the Grid selection, a grid will appear, with all your categories in rows stacked atop one another, starting with Tops, followed by Bottoms, Footwear, Accessories, and then whatever other personalized categories you created. You’ll notice the items on the far left are highlighted, with all other pieces to the right darkened – the highlighted article of clothing indicates this is the active article, the one that will be a part of the outfit you create. There will be times when you won’t want a certain category in your outfit – for example, I don’t think I want to wear any hats or headbands with my dress, so I simply scroll to the left where a blank X appears, indicating nothing for that category. In earlier versions, this was a clumsy thing to perform, as you had to sort through every item in order to blank it out – it was very inefficient for an otherwise impeccable app. Thankfully, Closet’s creator realized this, and for the app’s current version (the one I’m using), the highlighted outfit portions are blanked out by default – the logical solution, and the way it should have been to begin with.
Now, you can manually enter in clothing to create outfits if that suits you better, but the great thing about the grid system is it allows you to visualize the outfit as you create it. It reminds me of those silly, children’s storybooks where the pages are divided in three so that you may flip each page individually at your leisure, switching creature’s heads and legs and thereby creating entirely new creatures. With the Item Grid, I can switch my bottoms to see which pairs nicely with my blue and white silk striped blouse – as it turns out, I would never have thought to pair it with my light, redwood mini skirt, but seeing how nicely they looked on the app, I had to give it a go. The result? Success, and it’s now one of my favorite outfits on Closet (with boots and thigh high socks, no less). I add this one to my calendar fairly often, but if I ever want Closet to take more initiative, I can simply tap the Random button, and an outfit will be created randomly for me – one I can either reject, or accept, and add to my calendar. Or, Closet will take it up a notch for added efficiency, and allow you to switch out just a top or a bottom, etc, in an otherwise saved outfit. This is a particularly awesome feature.
As with any behavior, it takes concerted effort to make Closet a good habit – you have to faithfully input all your clothing, and then uphold your decision to use Clothes by adding any new clothing you purchase. After the initial sorting, though, Closet is a breeze to use, and I’ve found it does streamline my wardrobe decisions – there’s nothing like creating outfits you love and then committing to wearing them on specific days. Variety may be the spice of life, but that doesn’t mean you have to ponder endlessly, trying on different cloths before you throw up your hands in defeat and just throw something on. The only time you’d have to sever your ties with Closet if an unexpected downpour or snowdrift occurs, in which case you might have to switch to another pair of shoes and add an umbrella, or maybe on one of those accursed “fat” days many a woman has, in which case the body-skimming dress may be rejected in favor of the thicker tweed dress you own. It might even be useful for moms when planning their kids outfits – but then again, young toddlers don’t mind wearing ridiculous, mismatched items, and older kids prefer taking the initiative in what they wear, eccentric and mismatched, or not.
I certainly didn’t add all my clothing the first time around, but I fancy I will.