A Simple Technology Hack to Help Master Your Wardrobe
Sick of spending too much time figuring out what to wear? Have any idea how many times you’ve worn your favorite pair of jeans? Doing some shopping and wondering how many navy blue tees hang in your closet? There’s an app that can help you with all of these things.
I have worked in and around the fashion industry for over 15 years in various roles, including product development, production, and merchandising. I love clothes, and I am fascinated by the relationship between people and clothing. Through my work in fashion and psychology, I received an invite to test the new Save Your Wardrobe (SYW) app. SYW allows users to create a digital version of their wardrobe, helps users keep track of their daily outfits, and then makes interesting, data-informed insights about their wardrobe. I’ve been testing the app for about four months and if you’re not a fashion lover, that’s ok; SYW is still for you, and here’s why.
Save Your Wardrobe has practical features for daily dressing. You not only get a full inventory of your wardrobe in the app, but you can also plan and save outfits. Would you like to simplify getting dressed every day and to save time deciding what to wear? SYW will help you do that. An app is also an excellent tool for anyone that hates to shop. By keeping track of your wardrobe and understanding what you wear most often, you’ll know what items of clothing you need to repair or replace. The next time you shop, you can focus on finding those items and avoid shopping overwhelm or impulse purchases.
Getting started with the SYW app is easy
The first step in using SYW is to create a digital version of your wardrobe. You can do this in two ways: 1) by taking pics of the items in your wardrobe in the app or uploading pics from your phone’s camera feed and 2) by giving SYW permission to scan your email for online purchase receipts. I opted to take pics of items in my closet. But I plan to test the option to have SYW check my email for online purchase receipts because this feature fully complies with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). I don’t foresee any significant data risks.
Any items added to your digital SYW wardrobe are automatically scanned by the app and tagged with the object’s features like garment category (e.g., denim, sleepwear, coats, etc.) and mood/style (e.g., vacation, work, inclement weather, etc.) To-date I’ve added 28 items to my SYW digital wardrobe. I can view all of my wardrobe items on my personalized app home screen. If it’s fall and I want to look at wool pants and cashmere sweaters, I can filter my digital wardrobe by selecting all the relevant tags that suit my outfit needs for that day.
The ‘Journal’ feature of the app lets you log what you wear each day by selecting the ‘build an outfit’ button. I’m a fan of this feature because it allows you to create an outfit by selecting items from your digital wardrobe, adding an outfit name or description, the date you created the outfit, and a location. I can easily reference the outfits I’ve created in my SYW ‘Journal’, making it easy to pull this outfit from my closet whenever I want. The more you log the clothes you wear, the more SYW can tell you how you utilize your wardrobe. Logging outfits in your ‘Journal’ is vital.
The first outfit I created was my “easy work outfit.” It has a black, ivory, and gray wool Pendleton jacket I had made in Santa Fe, NM, a black cashmere hoodie, my favorite Tracy Reese leather and brocade pants (trust me, it works), and black patent leather Nike Huarache sneakers. I like to walk the 1.5 miles to my office, so I start my day with fresh air, but the building I work in is always too hot or too cold. I designed my “easy work outfit” for comfort while walking and layering in the office. I log this outfit in my SWY app every time I use it to have usage data about these garments over time.
Shop less to save yourself time and money
With SYW, you can view your wardrobe anytime, anywhere from the palm of your hand. While shopping, you no longer have to rely on your memory for details about the clothes, shoes, and accessories you own because you can look them up in the app in real-time. Ultimately this saves me time and makes me a smarter shopper.
Before making new purchases, check the app. Vet the item you think you want or need to make sure it’s a good fit for your existing wardrobe. Focusing your shopping efforts saves time — make targeted purchases so you don’t spend your valuable time on returning items that you shouldn’t have bought in the first place.
Making data-informed purchases will also reduce how much money you spend and the amount of clothing you consume. With a complete view of your wardrobe, you can decide what item(s) you’re shopping for and stick to a plan. Focus on spending money on the things you know you need or want and reducing the temptation to make impulse purchases. Impulse buys often come with a side of buyer’s remorse. If you never wear the clothes you buy, they’re a waste of money and take up valuable closet space.
Doing your bit for the planet
Keeping and wearing your clothes for as long as possible is the kindest thing you can do for the planet. Clothing consumption statistics are shocking; on average, Americans are throwing away 81 pounds of textiles per person per year. And the impact of the fashion industry on the climate is awful. The industry’s CO₂ emissions projections show an increase of more than 60% by 2030. If the industry continues on its current path, by 2050, it could use more than 26% of the total global carbon budget. Doing your part to reduce the amount of clothing you throw away really is a vote for the planet.
If you’re new to clothing care and repair, Save Your Wardrobe has in-app articles and tutorials to read and watch, with tips and instructions on how to get started. If you like to DIY, mending is a great skill, and you can learn it pretty quickly. It’s never too late to learn how to sew on a button. As someone that gets tremendous satisfaction out of altering and mending my clothes and regularly repairing my shoes, I love that SYW provides access to reputable companies and services as well. You can link to these services in-app and schedule/purchase the services you need. This feature currently connects to UK-based companies and services only. SYW’s product roadmap includes expanding this feature to Europe and eventually the US. You may not be able to utilize these services in the US now, but we have comparable services and companies locally and nationally. I recommend starting with your local tailor or cobbler. But if you can’t find what you’re looking for, check out Cobbler Concierge for shoe repair and Tad More Tailoring for alterations.
For skeptical technology users like me — take note
- Save Your Wardrobe is based in the UK, and the app complies with EU standards for data protection. For Americans, this should be a sigh of relief, as those standards are far more stringent than any data protection policies we have in the States.
- The Save Your Wardrobe team is committed to keeping the app 100% free to users forever. A premium version will launch in the future but will add features, not take any away from the free version.
- The app contains zero sponsored content, no ads, and no home screen alerts.
- SYW thoroughly vets service partners listed in the app. They are resources for app users to access, but you don’t have to use them, and they can’t contact you.
- The app’s roadmap includes a paid SYW membership for companies/brands, which will give them access to quantitative data (not personal data)and won’t enable ads or the ability to communicate with or advertise to app users.
SYW isn’t perfect, but I’m here for the long haul
I admit that I don’t use SYW daily, but I’m a massive fan of being able to view, filter, and sort my wardrobe without standing in my closet. That alone has sold me on SYW as a useful tool and worthy of residing on my iPhone.
When I tested other wardrobe apps in the past, I was put off when I started to feel pushed to make purchases. The apps claimed to be wardrobe organization tools, but the emphasis was on consumption once I signed up. In one instance, the app used my uploaded wardrobe items to match me with brands and make purchasing recommendations. I love that SYW isn’t trying to sell me anything. SYW intends to reduce our shopping habits and increase our ability to use the wardrobe we own. They want users to become more informed and intentional about making purchases and emphasize mending and repair to maintain your wardrobe vs. buying new.
As I mentioned, some SYW app features are still limited for US users, like in-app access to repair and cleaning services, for example, but don’t hinder the app’s wardrobe organization features. I’m ok with doing a bit of legwork to find local services or online offerings to tailor, mend, and repair my garments and shoes. SYW keeps me mindful of the clothes I own and how often I wear them, and that helps me keep track of and organize my wardrobe.
Setting up my digital wardrobe was a hefty time commitment (3–4 hours), but don’t let that deter you. There are ways to efficiently get the job down without too much hassle. I broke up digitizing my wardrobe over several days. I used batching, uploading images of my clothing, shoes, and accessories as I wore them or by category. One day I photographed and uploaded every button-down shirt I own and then did the same for all of my sneakers on a different day. I only had to make time to do this mass upload once, and now I add items as I purchase them. If you’re like me, the initial time commitment will be well worth it because you’ll end up with a fully digitized wardrobe that is viewable and sortable from the palm of your hand.
The official version of SYW is now available in the App Store (for free).