“How do I look wearing these boots?”. I was shopping at Nordstrom Rack, which isn’t known for their sales staff, and needed an answer. I texted an image of the boots to a couple of friends with the low expectation that they’d help style me.
I didn’t get the outfit advice I needed to make a confident purchase since no one responded in a timely manner, so when I got home I looked for a fashion app on the App Store and Google Play. 99% of the fashion apps I discovered were built for women and there were few places to receive men’s style advice. Men need just as much advice on how to dress as men are returning clothes at a higher rate than women.
That following Saturday I was at a bar waiting for a friend and typed a note into my iPhone, “What do you think app - guys shopping”. That was the first effort I made to build STYL. Armed with a yellow legal pad I created a list of the desirables I believed should be included in an app for fashion, and consulted with other frustrated shoppers in online men’s style forums.
The common theme amongst everyone was that there wasn’t a trusted and comfortable source to answer the question; How Do I Look? We’d all love to have our own personal stylist on-call to help us confidently answer, what should I wear today?
“We all have moments in our lives when we require the assistance of others. The biggest reason many people seem to have for staying stuck rather than reaching out is fear. People fear they will be rejected or told “no,” fear being seen as “less than” or weak, or fear being “found out.” - goodtherapy.org.
I created online and in-person focus groups and guided discussions that focused on specific instances that can create uncertainty, fear, and anxiety, such as,
Have you ever asked anyone for outfit advice when deciding what to wear for an interview?
Have you ever asked a friend or family member what to wear to a wedding?
Would you be more willing to use an app for fashion tips if the outfit advice was offered in an honest but kind manner?
When I was able to help individuals identify painful experiences they’ve endured such as finding outfit inspiration or shopping online for clothes they were eager to engage and share their ideas on how to build a better solution for personal styling advice.
What makes STYL different is that it’s the first fashion app designed to help others whether getting dressed or shopping online for clothes and be inclusive and respectful of gender identity. STYL focuses on the emotions we experience when we’re uncertain what to wear and alleviating the anxiousness of asking others for outfit advice when clothes shopping so that we can all dress confidently, together.
- Conor Sammartin is a Co-Founder at STYL