fashion

REVIEW: Can the Cladwell app really help you reach your peak capsule wardrobe?

I’ve long toyed with the idea of building a capsule wardrobe.  I like the thought of “investment” pieces, the notion of having space between my coat hangers, and the ability to smoothly glide my drawers shut is, although seemingly far-fetched, so appealing. But, the reality seems… well, a bit boring.

How would I get my fix of fashion endorphins with a limited wardrobe to choose from, when I already have too many clothes and nothing to wear?

The catalyst came a few weeks ago when I read Jackie Lunn’s article about challenging herself not to buy one new item of clothing for 12 months.

I was inspired. But I knew that, like most ‘resolutions’, I’d likely fail in the execution. Then, using its far too intelligent mind-reading robot brain, Facebook served me up an ad for Cladwell. And I clicked.

How it works

Cladwell is an app that is basically the wardrobe from Clueless on your phone.

via GIPHY

There are other apps around that help you to catalogue your wardrobe and create outfits from the images, but that takes time and, to be honest, if you don’t have time to be creating new outfits from your existing clothes, then you don’t have time to take photos and code them into an app.

Cladwell works differently. It has a library of images for common items of clothing. You go in, select the items that match the ones in your wardrobe, then let the app do its magic. It mixes & matches your own items to provide three outfit suggestions per day based on the weather.

cladwell app
Lauren wearing one of her suggested outfits. Image supplied.

When building your wardrobe, the app says not to look for an exact match, but to choose items that are primarily the same colour and shape as your items.

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Pros and cons

It took about a week for me to get used to using the app. I work it a day behind, so the suggestions that come through tonight will be the outfits I wear tomorrow. But this is only because I get dressed in the dark before the rest of my family are up!

There were lots of things in my wardrobe that matched exactly to what was in the app, like basic tank tops, jeans and ballerina flats. But for items that were a bit more 'interesting', like a navy blue blouse with zebras printed on it, I had to select a similar navy blue blouse with a black & white pattern. It does take a bit of time to discover all of the options and find the best match, but I've found it easy to build my wardrobe up when I have a spare moment rather than worrying about getting everything logged in at once.

You can also suggest items to be added directly from the app. These get sent to the developers, who then make a call on whether they should be added and do all of the back end styling and matching.

I can see that, for some people, it would be frustrating not being able to exactly match their clothes to the options available. For someone like me, who has lots of basics and is looking at the whole outfit rather than specific items, it works really well. I also found that once I delved further into the item options, there were better matches than the ones I initially made. For example, I swapped out a leather pencil skirt for a leather mini skirt.

Over time, the app logs your outfits to see what you wear most, while also making suggestions for items to buy that will expand the options in your current wardrobe.

For instance; Cladwell tells me that if I add a striped top to my repertoire I will create an additional 56 outfits with my current wardrobe options!

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What I love most? The way I feel when scrolling through the app. It’s a similar interface to the ASOS or The Iconic apps, so it gives me a healthy dose of outfit inspo, except I'm scrolling through photos of. my. own. clothes. Genius.

The Cost

The app costs around $5 per month for a subscription, and I suspect that cost is offset but what it saves you from succumbing to fast fashion buys on other apps.

LISTEN: Stylist Sarah Elizabeth Turner on how to turn your wardrobe around. 

Did it live up to expectations?

There are a few things I’d love the creators to add.

I need to travel for work, so I would like to be able to save a collection of outfits that could then turn into a list of what I need to pack.

I’d also like to be able to receive my next day’s before I go to bed, as I am up and out of the house well before anyone else has stirred.

I thought I might be able to plan out a week's worth of outfits, which technically you can do by starting with one item and looking at the various outfit options you have using that item, but you can't find outfit combinations that you like and add them to a collection or week.

Also, you can't "favourite" outfits, which I would love to do because when you're scrolling through the options, there are so many that I was quickly forgetting that I liked.

Lastly, and this is counterintuitive to the purpose of the app, but if you were able to purchase new items directly from the app it would be amazing. It would act almost like an Amazon rush button for the absolutely essential items you need to unlock your wardrobe.

I think a good addition would be accessories. This is because many of the outfits look a bit boring because they're often only changing out one item from option to option. For example, a ballet flat for an ankle boot.

Am I a capsule wardrobe convert yet?

I am yet to throw away anything to declutter my wardrobe and reach peak capsule, but I am looking forward to it.

Using this is a little like using a food diary, it makes you much more aware of what you have got and how useful it is.

It's made me realise that I have about ten white tops, all of a similar cut (the same with dark jeans) that will effectively create the same overall look when I combine them with other items from my wardrobe. I think that when I am considering buying something now, I will look at the app and be able to make a more rational decision around whether or not the new item will add to my wardrobe, or simply be doing the same job as something I already have!

What's your go-to wardrobe hack? Tell us in the comments below.

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