In Hollywood, everyone has a stylist. But in the real world, most of us are left to fend for ourselves, forced to make uneducated style choices like how to wear ruffles without looking like a pirate and what kind of open-toe shoes we can sport with socks.
To add insult to injury, there's no one to help us create a library of cocktail-party looks to choose from in a pinch (accessories, shoes and all) or to e-mail us a customized packing list for our next tropical vacation.
Or is there?
You may never see Rachel Zoe any closer than the distance from your futon to your flatscreen, but today, dolls, you, too, can benefit from a personal closet manager and fashion assistant to help categorize your clothes, keep track of outfits you've worn and when you wore them (lest you be caught on the concrete runway wearing the same thing twice) and even help create mood boards and inspirations for outfits you're putting together. It's all possible thanks to an iPod and iPhone app called Stylebook ($3.99 at stylebookapp.com).
In search of great virtual style, I also tested out other virtual stylists including mvm.com, My Virtual Model and istylista.com, an online personal shopping service founded by stylist Chantelle Znideric. But Stylebook emerged as a clear favorite.
Using the app's built-in camera, I'm able to photograph my own clothes, bag, shoes and accessories. I can assemble looks on the fly by viewing a preview of my closet, and I can even create shopping lists for items still missing from my wardrobe. Individual pieces can be layered and resized to create virtual look-books. And if I'm still not sure that an outfit is going to wow critics (or co-workers) I can share looks with others via e-mail to garner feedback or suggestions.
While the Stylebook app can help with a variety of virtual wardrobe needs, some basic fashion sense is required to get started. So I've rounded up a few on-trend tips to ensure that your virtual style is virtually perfect.
Three: The most items in the same color to wear together.
If the shoe fits: Build an outfit around it. Make a standout pair of heels the foundation for a number of go-to looks.
Zero: The number of times you should coordinate your shirt with your shoes.
Mix it up: Do pair high-end pieces with affordable staples from H&M, Zara, Forever 21 and the like.
More is more: When it comes to accessories, minimalism is so last year. Feel free to pile on necklaces, bangles and the like.
— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of tampabay.prettycity.com, a guide to all that is hip and happening in local beauty. Need beauty advice? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.