Google continued its bid to take over the known world this Wednesday by launching Boutiques.com, a shopping website with a heart of glitter. By which I mean, Google’s end game is clearly to get people to buy, buy, buy, but it’s wrapped up in some lovely packaging and the whiz-bang technology that promises to memorize your preferences doesn’t hurt either.
I approached Boutiques.com with skepticism, but my heart grew two sizes when I saw the site allows you to set up your own, personal “boutique,” populated with whatever fashions you deem covetable. Personalization is really a draw for me and (I suspect anyway) nearly everyone in the known universe.
You can “explore” boutiques by celebrity, designer, blogger, retailer, etc. There’s no button to search the boutiques of “Dirty, Common People,” but you can find ’em under “Recent.” I doubt any celebrities really set up their own boutiques and I’m skeptical about the designers, but the bloggers are all for real: more on them later.
So here’s how it works: You sign up for an account and then the “Stylyzer” has you choose between about a dozen pairs of outfits, usually dichotomous, in order to pin down whether your style is Classic, Boho, Casual Chic, Edgy, Street or Romantic. I don’t have any better ideas of how to classify taste, but I’m not really a fan of these labels–it’s the same type of thing they use at ShopBop, and I don’t usually find it very helpful.
Unfortunately, I failed to take any screenshots of the Stylyzer portion, but I’ll break down my thoughts during the process:
– Sarah Jessica Parker vs. Anna Wintour: “HA! This is laughable. Of course I choose Anna Wintour: she doesn’t wear over-sized plastic flowers or have a perfume that smells like bubble gum (SJP NYC: it smells like the inside of a Willy Wonka factory).
– Gwyneth Paltrow vs. Beyonce: “I never pictured these two as rivals but it makes so much sense now.”
– Chloe Sevigny vs. Mary-Kate Olsen: “I really want to like both of your styles, but….blech, thank goodness there’s a SKIP button.”
Stylyzer labeled me “Classic” (which I always get, then whine about and insist on picking “Boho” or whatever, than hate everything that isn’t “Classic.” So I’m old-school, so what, who cares?).
Also labeled “Classic”: Ginnifer Goodwin, Carey Mulligan and Anna Paquin. Labeled “Classic,” but obviously because their PR person cheated on the test: Nicole Richie.
After Stylyzer, you narrow stuff down by selecting which colors, styles, and silhouettes you love and hate. As you can see below, this was hard for me:
So after painstakingly deciding that I do not “love” polka dots and that, yes, beige can be a favorite color, my boutique was ready to be revealed to me. Would the recommended items properly represent me as an individual?
Ok, it’s certainly easy to poke fun at some of Boutiques’ recommendations, but I did thoroughly enjoy setting up my account. And I think it’s plausible, if you give detailed enough information about what exactly you “Love” or “Hate” about items, that Boutiques really will get better at recommending things.
In the meantime, you don’t really need their recommendations: you can search for items and designers and, by clicking “Save,” put those items in your Boutique, making them visible to people who visit your profile. My favorite part of setting up my profile took me a while to figure out how to do, but if you click each of the 5 pictures at the top of your Boutique page, you can change them to reflect your style:
I do think Boutiques is a fairly innovative (if kitschy) website, in that it’s crawling basically every possible high-end retailer and sorting their merchandise. If someone (in my dreams, me) really did purchase a lot of designer clothes and accessories, having a site that reliably mimics their style and makes recommendations based on the same could be very helpful.
While I’m not invested enough in fashion to update my “Boutique” very often, I think what I will enjoy using the site for is scouting out interesting designers and fashion bloggers. I already found Jane of Sea of Shoes, whose site is full of beautiful photos of places and clothes. I look forward to finding more fresh, fun bloggers like her to follow!