Who's Afraid of Virtual Styling?

Updated: Dec 22, 2018

Does anyone else remember playing with paper dolls as a child? With cut out paper outfits…? With fold over tabs...?


While those days may be long gone, the concept has since gone nuclear. And digital.


Not only do people want to be able to try on and ask for feedback on how they look in different outfits – they want to be able to do it from their smartphones.


But what does virtual styling mean for the industry? And who hates it as a result? 


All Change


Almost two thirds (59%) of all 16 to 24-year-olds have said they would use a virtual styling app for fashion advice. With 68% of all under-35s believing sending a picture is the best way of receiving instant feedback when trying on clothing in a shop.


And the fashion tech industry is capitalising on these trends, with a range of virtual styling services and apps detailed below.


1. Wardrobe Management & Storage


Your wardrobe. Reaching its full potential.


The one everyone is talking about is Vault Coutre. They collect, sort, style and store your physical wardrobe where it can be viewed and managed via the Vault Couture iPad app. 


They then provide global delivery of requested items, 24 hours a day, to anywhere in the world.

As Harper’s Bazaar described it: “knowing exactly what I have is liberating, it’s like shopping from my own wardrobe”.


2. Apps Harnessing Ideas & Inspiration


For those wanting a virtual pinboard of style inspiration, ideas, advice and feedback a range of apps are available. Some of our favourites are Stylect (think shoe wonderland) and Polyvore(think you as style editor).


Images of items from users’ wardrobes can also be stored and categorised on apps such as Stylebook.


3. Outfit Creation Sessions


Here apps such as DV Closet and rue21 show you how to create new looks and give you feedback on possible outfits. 


The Death of Personal Shopping?


So does this virtual trend mean the end of personal shopping? In short, no. But personal shoppers should be afraid of virtual styling.


The savvy ones have not been standing still. In fact, they have embraced this change and transformed their approach into something new and exciting.


While apps are strong in the market some believe there is no substitute for a real human showing you how to create personalised looks and outfits, maximising the use of what you already own.

The difference is, while before this was predominantly marketed at individuals wanting a personal in-store experience, this can now be done via video chat or online.  


What do you think about virtual styling? Has personal shopping had its day or will there always be a market for this premium service, either in-store or online? 


Email us your thoughts.



Photo by Mihaly Borbely.