Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Technically Fashionable

Today's focus, rather unintentionally, has turned into a total Tech Tuesday!  If you get  a chance, check out today's installment of Pretty on the Inside for few of the best apps that I've found to help me take control of my health on a daily basis.

But there are also a number of apps available now that are very fashion-related, geared to keeping you up-to-date on the latest trends, or even the best prices!  And when it comes to saving money, who doesn't want all the help they can get?!  And is it really a reach to include apps that save you time? I know that I for one look better when I'm not stressed out because I'm late to work due to road raging in endless traffic!


Almost all of the apps that I will feature here have an online counterpart.  So if you're one of the many who can't justify the expense of an unlimited data plan associated with most smart phones, take heart!  You can still be part of the functioning universe.

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Swirl

The first app is Swirl.com, also a free app for your iPhone.  Swirl describes itself as "...the personal shopping assistant you always wanted but never had".  It's a fantastic first-stop on those days you're after something specific and want the best price.  Log on either via your computer or with the app, and you can choose specific stores that you shop frequently.  Every time you log on, you'll be given a list of newly marked down items from each of these stores, and can even set up alerts to let you know if something you're watching has dropped in price!



With this app, you can:

  • Keep up with all of the offers and sales from your favorite stores.  Kohl's having a 30% off everything?  Now you  know!
  • Discontinue the old catalogs that clog up your mail box every month.  With Swirl, you can see everything in the latest mag at the touch of a finger or click of the mouse, and create your own catalog comprised only of what you want to see!
  • Like shopping with your girls but maybe don't live close together?  You can create pages of things that are just your style to share with them far or near, as well as see theirs on your own pages and give them feedback!  What are girlfriends for if you can't share fashion, even in e-format?!
  • Have a limited amount of time in which to find that mint-green chiffon blouse to go with the cream wide-leg trouser already hanging in the closet that will complete that perfect outfit in your head?  Plug your search into the Swirl 'Shop Nearby' option, and you'll get a list of stores within driving distance that carry exactly what you're looking for along with prices.
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Polyvore

One of my favorite burn-time websites is Polyvore.com. You'll have seen their work on my site on my blog daily (see below for example), and all over social media like Facebook.  Think of it as the electronic version of the paper dolls you played with as children.

Install the little 'Clip to Polyvore' button in your browser bookmark, and anything you see on the web can become part of your virtual closet to be used and manipulated as you see fit.  This isn't just for fashion!  There are quite a number of artistic types who use it to create virtual living environments or complete works of art!

I for one have used it as my virtual closet.  I like to come up with new ideas on ways to wear what I already have, and so as I acquire new pieces, will find a picture either the exact item I've purchased or one as close as possible to the item I actually own, and save it to 'My Items'.  You can then organize these in any way you'd like to make them easy to find.  'Create a Set' using not only the items you've saved, but any from the database of millions of items saved by other Polyvorians!  




For me, being able to open Polyvore, click on 'My Items', and then see everything that is in my closet, makes getting dressed every day a complete breeze!  No more pulling everything out of your closet and trying them on in different combinations (surely I'm not the only one who's done this?!).  Think of a new way to pair that shirt with those pants?  Toss it into a quick 'set' like the one above and you'll have it to refer to when you're feeling less than inspired of a morning!  An added benefit is when you save an item, it will list the price of the item, and then send you an email if that price drops for any reason.  Polyvore itself doesn't sell anything, but provides links to almost all of the items saved so you can click directly to the site from which its sold if you absolutely can't live without it.

There is also a social aspect to it in that you can join (or create) groups that focus on things you're most interested in, and post and share the sets you make with other like-minded fashionistas or artists, and most group leaders have contests on an ongoing basis that are fun to enter.  It's gotten to the point that Polyvore has the ear of some major retailers who also run contests with some truly fabulous prizes!  Recently, one of the women in my group won an all-expense paid trip for two to Fashion Week in Paris put on by Thierry Mugler!

The new app for iPhone and iPad works quite well also, and when you find yourself sitting waiting for your flight, log onto the local wireless and spend some time being creative!  This is a fun tool to play with when you've got some extra time, and as a fashion blogger, a completely indispensable tool with which to display your own personal style!

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Wanelo

Wanelo.com is another great place to spend some free time!  The name comes from Want, Need, Love and is a virtual wishlist of everything you might see on the web and would love to have!  In fact, some of my favorite Christmas gifts came from the suggestions that My Person found on this site, things that I saw and loved yet probably wouldn't have purchased for myself but was ecstatic to receive as a gift!


Sign up, follow others already on Wanelo, and once the program has determined what keywords you most often search or save, you're sent recommendations of things that you might want, need, or just love!

Pictured below is a small assortment of what is on my own personal trending page today.  Everything from clothes to items for the home, this becomes a living, breathing list of the things you most admire. You can also share it with your friends, and follow each others trends,so you're always up-to-the-minute on what is most on their minds or lusting after.  Along with most pictures is a link to the actual item so you can have the immediate gratification of purchase if its truly something you don't want to miss.



You can also follow businesses and see what they're 'trending' at any time in your updates.  Waiting for the new spring colors to get in to Old Navy?  This is the perfect place to stalk it!  You can get the update first, as soon as it hits the shelf.  Need a giant beanbag big enough to fit you and three or four of your closest friends?  I'm betting you'll find it here.  And you can make it grow by adding your own favorites from anywhere on the web.

The app for iPhone is streamlined and easy to use, every bit as good as the website itself.  :)

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Waze

And, as promised, you're never pretty when your raging...road rage, that is!  I've recently come across this handy little app that's fun to use and saves you all kinds of brain damage on that twice-daily commute! 



Waze is a cute and fun little interactive GPS app that helps you navigate those particularly tricky routes when you're in a hurry.  Completely voice-driven, you turn it on as you get into your car and it tracks your movement through traffic, giving you warnings as you move along the road, navigating everything from potholes to that hidden police car running radar three intersections in front of you.  Using voice command only and completely hands-free, you can add your own tidbits to your route (if you're the one who sees the cop or hits that pothole!) and earn points, unlocking different fun little things throughout the time you're using the app.  



Change your little Waze icon to reflect your mood, chat (by voice of course) with other Waze drivers, and get to work on time without that perpetual scowl that you've had upon arrival for the last two mornings!

Have a job interview or lunch date in an area with which you might not be familiar?  The navigation aspect will also help you get there safely and on time after you input the address, and will take your location and get you there, turn by turn, from exactly wherever it is you're currently located.  Though it's not without the opportunity for user error, as in Saturday night when My Person and I were on our way to pick up some friends for a dinner date, and I input their address into Waze, got impatient and then put it into Siri, and shortly thereafter had, as My Person put it, "Three women telling me where to go and none of them knowing for sure that they're right!".

I on the other hand was laughing. :)

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A Few Honorable Mentions

Before we wrap this up, there are a few more that beg recognition.

Hautelook.com - Online and available on iPhone, iPad, and Android platforms.  What they say about themselves:  "Acquired by Nordstrom in March 2011, HauteLook is a place where you'll discover thousands of the top fashion and lifestyle brands at amazing savings. Each day at 8 AM Pacific, shop new sale events featuring the best names in women's and men's fashion and accessories, beauty, kids' apparel and toys, and home décor at up to 75% off. Membership is free and everyone is welcome.

Zoomingo.com - Online and available on both iPhone and Android platforms.  What they say about themselves:  "Zoomingo (which stands for “Zoom-in and go”)  is a shopping discovery application that helps you find the best sales in local retail stores in town. Zoomingo catalogs thousands of actual items on sale at a store by store level at top retail chains such as Macys, JC Penney, Target, Nordstrom as well as smaller boutiques.  Why trudge through the shopping mall looking for the best prices when Zoomingo can instantly show you cool items on sale around you. You can even use the Zoomingo web site  to plan your shopping trip before you head out to the mall."