What to Wear's Real Time Style Advice

Online retail empire Like.com has joined forces with editorial heavyweight Glamour for a unique initiative that caters to customers with the hands-on dedication of a personal shopper. Confounded fashionistas can now go to Like.com’s “What To Wear” website, ask a fashion-related question (from an appropriate occasion outfit to a particular restaurant attire) and receive expert feedback from a trained stylist—with linked visual suggestions to boot. The result has opened the doors to a more discerning approach to self-styling. We chatted with Abigail Holtz, product manager at Like.com, about the inspiration behind “What To Wear,” how the website works and the benefits of harnessing social media platforms.

JC Report: What was the idea behind “What To Wear?”

Abigail Holtz: After finding that thousands of style questions are asked on Yahoo! Answers and Twitter every day, we saw the need for a Q&A site that was specifically geared to the fashion community. We built “What To Wear” to be a place where visitors could get visual answers to all their fashion questions answered by experts: top stylists, experts from one of America’s leading magazines and top fashion bloggers.

JCR: Who are the target customers?

AH: Anyone with a fashion query, from young to old.

JCR: Getting real time fashion tips seems like a big technological undertaking, what are the site’s best features?

AH: The Style Visualization Tool grabs fashion keywords from the user’s answer and automatically searches for products from Like.com’s visual search engine (which pulls from all the top online retailers, from net-a-porter.com to Target) and pairs them with the style advice. For instance, with the question, “What do I wear to a summer BBQ,” a user might answer, “I would wear a romper,” and and be served a bunch of rompers to look through. Each user can follow topics (trends, brands, locations and events), people and questions that they find interesting—so, when they login, they have their own personalized feed that surfaces questions that are interesting to them. We also have more than 100 top stylists, including celeb stylists, glamour experts and fashion bloggers on hand. In addition, regular users can climb the ranks (by earning points for answering and commenting, etc.) and even apply to be a featured stylist.

JCR: Stylists can’t see people’s body types on “What to Wear”; how is the site overcoming this caveat when they’re making wardrobe suggestions?

AH: We’ve found that when users have body type related questions, the users include their body type or their concern in their question.  The more specific they get, the better the stylists and community can answer.

JCR: How do stylist choose suggestions of clothing? Is it from specific sites that your work with as affiliates?

AH: Stylists can recommend products using the Style Visualization tool, which pulls from Like.com’s over 5 million skews. Stylists make personal recommendations based on what the user’s question.

JCR: Why choose to piggyback Twitter and Facebook platforms for consumers to ask questions?

AH: We aren’t actually piggybacking on Twitter and Facebook—we just have pages on these social networks to share some of our favorite questions and news where our users go to consume their social media. When it comes to asking and answering questions, our users come directly to our site. Facebook and Twitter can help you get answers from your friends, but not from style experts. “What To Wear” connects you with a community of fashion experts that can give you great style advice and unbiased product recommendations.

JCR: What makes “What To Wear” stand out from the rest of the pack?

AH: It is a unique fashion community where users can get answers to all their fashion questions from style experts as well as discuss the latest in fashion with fellow fashionistas.

This interview was conducted by Robert Cordero

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