Fashionistas, will you be checking out Boutiques.com? I will but am skeptical at Google analyzing my fashion tastes. I like to think I’m not that predictable.
A Shopping Site Customized to Your Tastes
Shopping is on everyone’s mind this time of year. And with many of us opting to shop from the comfort of our homes on the Web, there have been various services popping up that cater to online shoppers.
I decided to test out Boutiques.com, a personalized shopping site recently launched by Google that analyzes your fashion style and creates a customized “boutique” that suggests a list of clothes, shoes and accessories you might like.
To set up your account, you have to answer a series of questions about your fashion preferences. First you’re presented a series of outfits, two at a time, and you have to select which of the two you like the most. Then you can be more specific about your style by saying which patterns and silhouettes you love or hate when it comes to shirts, pants, dresses and skirts. You also give your sizes and name your favorite designers.
According to Boutiques.com, my style is “Casual Chic,” which the site illustrated with brown leather boots, a loose-fitting striped tee and a black cardigan—pretty similar to things I own and wear a lot. But thankfully, I wasn’t limited to this category and could search under other styles, including “Edgy,” “Bohemian” or “Classic” when browsing the site.
I mainly enjoyed the site because the merchandise spanned across a wide range of retailers, and it was pretty easy to sort through it all. I could filter items by price, brand, store, color or designer, among other categories—and there was never a shortage of options. Hovering over an item created a pop-up window with similar items, which I sometimes liked more than the original suggestions. Still I sometimes would have liked a little more flexibility with the filtering options. For example, it would have been nice to be able to browse for multiple colors, but you could only search for one color at a time.
I also really liked that I could be specific about why I loved or hated an item and the site would adapt. If I pointed out that I really loved the color of a pair of boots, I would see more suggestions of shoes in that color. Likewise, if I hated something I could eliminate similar items from future suggestions.
I found the suggestions the site gave me were fairly accurate and for the most part, were things I would wear. But some of the items did not fit my style at all, or I found them to be too plain or too similar. I went back once and adjusted my preferences for styles just to increase the variety of clothing styles in my search results.
It’s pretty easy to go from browsing to shopping because every item is linked directly to a retailer that sells it. Though sometimes I clicked on an item only to find out it was sold out or to be directed to a similar item, that wasn’t identical to the one pictured on Boutiques.com.
Boutiques.com introduced me to some new brands that I liked, something I was hoping it would do because I think I always stick with the same stores and styles when I go shopping. And it also suggested some colorful dresses with funkier patterns than what I would normally go for but that I actually really enjoyed once it showed up in my boutique. The website is good if you are looking for outfit ideas but I wouldn’t make it my main shopping website. If you know exactly what brand or style you’re looking for it might be more efficient to go to a more specialized site, say one for shoes, or directly to a retailer.
I went to a store to try on some of the suggestions to see if they would look as good on me as they did on the site. Not all of the items were a perfect fit, but I did find some items I would buy. I was also reminded that while online shopping is really convenient, sometimes the best deals are still found in the store. One dress I tried on cost about 30% less in the store then it did on the retailer’s website.
So, is Boutiques.com worth it? You have to be strong to avoid buying things you don’t need or can’t afford. And I wouldn’t rule out other shopping sites, since retailers pay to be featured on this website. Still, it’s a fun free service that is easy to use and can get you thinking out of the box when it comes to fashion.
Write to Jonnelle Marte at firstname.lastname@example.org