The one where I let an app dress me for a week

I've written before about the eternal struggle of getting ready in the morning. When I worked in advertising, I felt the need to put a little effort into my look since I was occasionally client-facing. Now that I'm tucked away in a cubicle in startup world, my look has further evolved into more of what I like to think of as "effortless." Effortless in the sense that, I put on jeans and a tee and that's as much effort as you're going to get.

Enter: Cladwell. I got an email from their founder announcing their new "outfits" app and loved the concept - each day, the app serves up three outfit combinations based on the weather and what you've tagged as part of your closet.

Unlike other closet curation apps like StyleBook (which I have used for years and also not used for years), you don't have to take pictures of your clothing to add it to your closet, Instead, Cladwell has curated 100s of articles of clothing and shoes to represent what's in your closet. They're not all going to be an exact match, but when "patterned blouse" pops up in my suggestions, I just choose from the 3 blouses I have that match that description. My "tie front blouse" is actually short sleeved. I know what it means. I use each piece as a suggestion, not a bible.

So I decided to do an experiment and let the app dress me for a week. I'll detail what I learned at the bottom, but here's what Cladwell served up for seven days of outfits:

Monday: Sunny, H 81‎°  L 50‎° 

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Today's outfit just took note of the high, which was looking to be a rather warm afternoon. However, my office tends to be pretty cold and it was breezy this morning, so I threw on a jacket over the suggested outfit of the day. See? I'm already improvising.

Top, Elizabeth & Clark // Pants, Old Navy // Shoes, Zara (similar)

Tuesday: Sunny, H 85‎°  L 65‎° 

I didn't really need a jacket today, but I liked the idea of this outfit and thought it looked cute. The bomber was actually useful during office hours, but I shed it for the evening when we went to a baseball game.

Jacket, StitchFix (similar) // Tee, Loft // Jeans, Express // Shoes, Adidas

Wednesday: H 72‎°  L 62‎° with Surprise Rain

Maybe the forecast said rain and I wasn't listening while getting ready, but today's shoes were not prepared for torrential downpour! I was fine most of the day (which I'm guessing the app was betting on), but the rain rolled in at 5 pm just in time for me to take off my taupe suede and walk barefoot to the car. No cute photos today, but the shoes were saved.

Shirt, H&M // Jeans, Banana Republic // Shoes, Steve Madden 

Thursday: Rainy, H 68‎° L 60‎° 

More pigtails for a cloudy, rainy, gross day. I actually worked from home this day, so I just snapped a quick pic before heading to the radio station to record. 

Sweater, Forever 21 (love this thing, on sale for $10!) // Jeans, JustFab // Flats, Gucci

Friday: Sunny, H 89‎°  L 80‎° 

Thanks to the humidity to the days before, Friday was steeeeamy. I stepped it up when deciding between my three outfits and went with a skirt. I had an event later that evening I changed into a dress for, so these shoes were able to do double duty.

Tee, H&M // Skirt, JustFab // Wedges, Forever 21 (similar)

Saturday: Sunny, H 80‎°  L 68‎° 

Another gorgeous weekend in the books. This is one of my favorite dresses to just throw on and go, so I almost ALWAYS wear it when the app suggests. Didn't really need the jacket during the day, but it got cooler and windy when we were patio'ing and it turned out to be a great thing to have.

Dress, Calson // Jacket, Gap // Wedges, JustFab

Sunday, Partly Sunny, H 84‎°  L 70‎° 

Definitely starting to feel more summery in the Natural State now that June is almost here, so I let it flow a bit for the weekend in a camisole, ripped jeans and wedges while we ran our typical downtown errands. 

Top, Loft // Jeans, JustFab // Wedges, Gianni Bini (similar)

So how did it go?

This was both a fun and interesting challenge. Since Cladwell is new, they definitely have a few things to work on - some of which they've already made changes to since I started working on this post. One of the main requests on their iOS App reviews is definitely more items - they've already added at least 100 more since releasing, and have a special form you can fill out to ask for specific items. I've got a request in for overalls.

They've also added the option to "refresh" an outfit directly from the suggestion each day, so if you like the general idea of an outfit but not a particular piece, you'll get new suggestions. You can also reset your three options for the day completely, or choose a particular item from your closet and see outfits with just that piece. Another pro I forgot to mention in the list? You can log these outfits and see stats on how often you wear what's in your closet. Of course, this doesn't really help if you're not wearing that exact combination for the day.

One big con for me is that their algorithm is still learning, so sometimes it'll suggest shorts mid-week when I'm supposed to be at the office, or a shift dress and heels on a Saturday. I hope to see them continue to tweak, and then offer further specialization to outfits as well. I think it would be a SUPER powerful app if you could customize it to your own needs - say, business casual outfits only for M-Th or only showing outfits with flats. If they develop a honed filtering system that helps you get the most out of your closet, and not just the outfit suggestions, this will be a home run.

The app is $4.99 / month currently, with a three day trial so you can give it a shot. It's definitely aimed at those who want to do the whole "capsule wardrobe made easy" thing, but taking the thinking part out of getting ready in the morning may be worth it in the long run! Let me know what you think if you try the app - this is a non-sponsored post, so I'd love to hear honest reviews from those of you who have tried and how you're making it work (or not) with your lifestyle.

UPDATE: I got this comment from Cladwell on some upcoming features and the exact item thing and thought I would share: Just so you know, now you CAN choose a specific item that you want to wear. Click that item in your closet, hit "show outfits" and then on each outfit it curates, there are three dots in the bottom right corner of each outfit. Click that, and hit "log this outfit" (So, more control that way). Yay! 
Also, we here you on some of your other cons! We are creating a new update where you can "categorize" your closet so that you can have different wardrobes for work vs. weekend. 
You'll also be able to edit outfits in the new update, so stay tuned!! That way, if you don't like the outfits you get or maybe want to swap out different shoes, you have more control. 

What I Wore This Summer

Thanks to a summer of funemployment, I inadvertently had a capsule wardrobe the past few months. I should've planned better and written dozens of posts (gotta get those CLICKS GUYS), but I didn't realize it was happening until I started seeing the same people while wearing the same clothes. Chances are, if you saw me this summer, I was wearing some variation of an outfit below.

Casual, uninspired outfits don't make for great blog fodder, which is why it's been pretty slow on the blog this summer. So I'm going to show you what I wore all summer long in one post! 

These Grandma Black Shorts 

Outfit 1: Shorts, J.Crew Factory. Tank, Everlane. Sandals, XXI.
Outfit 2: Shorts, Factory. Top, Banana Republic. Wedges, Vince Camuto. Necklace, BaubleBar. 

Black shorts + Everlane Tank was basically my uniform this summer. This pair from J.Crew Factory is particularly amazing, because they have a nice wide, stretchy waistband. The fabric was awesome for dressing up or down, so...

I bought them in white too.

Outfit 1: Shorts, J.Crew Factory. Tank, Everlane. Shoes, Soludos. Bag, Alexander Wang.
Outfit 2: Shorts, Factory. Top, Express. Bag, Gucci. Heels, Zara.

What's that? The same shorts in white with a BLACK Everlane tank? Yeah. You're seeing it. It's happening. In fact, J.Crew has a bunch of different colors and patterns on sale right now, so I might be picking up a few more pairs (they're TTS). I also lived in these espadrilles from Soludos - super comfy, super cute. 

A Black Maxi Dress

Outfit 1: Dress, Asos. Shoes, XXI. Bag, Clare V. Hat, Goorin Brothers.
Outfit 2: Dress, Asos. Shoes, Zara. Bag, Vintage Chanel.

When I wasn't in those magic shorts, I was probably in a dress. This particular black maxi is super soft (and kind of see-thru, whoops) and inspired by the one I loved from Theory. Grab a cute clutch like the leopard one here from Clare V. and you're good for day or night.

This Particular Old Navy Dress

Outfit 1: Dress, Old Navy. Shoes, XXI. Bag, JustFab.
Outfit 2: Dress, Old Navy. Shoes, Zara. Vest, XXI. 

This dress cost like $15 on sale, and to say I got my money's worth would be an understatement. I wear this thing like three times a week. I'm wearing it now, actually. This dress was my version of the muumuu this summer. Lucky for you, they've produced a ton of them in different patterns.

So that's it. Two dresses, two pairs of shorts, two tanks, and a handful of other tops and shoes. "Capsule Wardrobe" is really just a fancy way to say "I wear the same thing almost every day."

Closet Confessions :: The Uniform

I've been spending the past few months cleaning out my closet and trying to refine my personal style. You can read the whole journey here.

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When I started my Closet Confessions series, one of the things I really wanted to get out of it was a sense of what things I really LOVED, and WHY. I'd never been able to pinpoint what made a piece a favorite before, so I just bought an endless stream of stuff I thought I liked (usually on a whim, and for cheap) that took up valuable real estate in my closet. So during this journey, I've been reading lots of other blogs about everything from curating to organization trying to find my way.

Over a weekend iced-in, I discovered Into-Mind and her amazing series, the 10 Step Wardrobe Revamp. I spent a good majority of my Saturday reading, taking notes, examining my closet and really thinking about what she was saying as it applied to my own wardrobe. The concept of minimalism has always seemed romantic to me, but let's face it - hardly anything I do is minimal. But the idea that you could curate your closet into a hundred outfits you'll always love by adopting a uniform was so intriguing to me that I started down the path toward my own.

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What I didn't realize is, I've always kind of rallied around a "uniform" of sorts, subconsciously. I'll say I'm "on a drapey sweater kick right now" or "I can't stop buying ankle boots", but what I'm doing is creating multiple possibilities for my favorite things within my wardrobe without even realizing it. What the Wardrobe Revamp does is help you hone those tendencies into a thoughtful, deliberate outfit of your choice. I spent time on my blog pinning my outfits that I considered "home runs" from the past year, then I took the time to really study them and look for consistencies (the advantage of doing this if you're a blogger). What I discovered was, while I love color and pattern and incorporate it into most outfits, I prefer the outfits that are based mostly on neutrals with just a "pop" of interest. This time of year, I favor layers, particularly jackets. So I decided on my uniform - skinny jeans or pants, flowy top, fitted jacket, ankle boots. The variations on the uniform include sweater over button up or long sleeves, and jacket and skirt. My patterns are stripes and leopard, my fabrics are leather and tweed,  my details are bold jewelry and bright bags. Using this concept, I started building an inspiration board on Pinterest filled with "The Uniform" to get my creativity flowing.

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Finally, I pulled several pieces from my closet that fit the theme of the uniform and also were consistent favorites. I had an epiphany - why do I constantly pull the same items when I travel? It's because they fit the uniform. They're easy to remix, work in a variety of situations, and I'm always comfortable in these few pieces. Using that knowledge, I can begin to create a capsule wardrobe.

Now, I'm just at the beginning stages of this revamp, but it's definitely on par with the goals I had for my own closet (which I'm listing below). I highly recommend you take the time to read every single word on Into-Mind. Girl's got a good head on her shoulders and it's a great starting point for anyone trying to define their style and really dig in to their closet. PS - I'm planning on doing a 30x30 - Capsule Wardrobe edition in January if you want to join in!

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Closet Goals:

1. Get rid of anything that doesn't fit me, my style, or my lifestyle.
2. Identify trends in my style to focus on in the future.
3. Develop a uniform, color palate, and defined style.
4. Slowly replace cheap items with better quality ones.
5. Continue adding pieces (of high quality) that fit the goals.
6. Buy better, buy less.
7. Break up with Forever 21 (it's not you, it's me. Just kidding, it's you).
8. Have a closet full of favorites.
9. Have a defined style, appropriate for my lifestyle and age.
10. Be the everlovin' most chicest person that exists, etc.

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As we're nearing the end of the year, what are some of your closet confessions and goals?