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CONVERGE | Technology

The Closet of the Future: Technology Helping You Decide What to Wear

January 16, 2018

Torn between a smart-casual and nautical-inspired outfit? Technology could soon be helping you pick the more stylish look.

From Amazon to Netflix to Cox Contour, our favorite services use what we click on to make increasingly savvy — and irresistible — predictions about what we’ll like next. Now, fashion-centric services are incorporating similar technology, using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning software to recommend new clothes, build outfits, and answer that age-old conundrum of just what it is that defines good style.

AI-Powered Second Opinion

Not sure if those velvet brogues are in Vogue? Amazon’s Echo Look is a voice-activated camera that will let you “ask Alexa” — it takes full-length photos and short videos to show off an outfit from all angles, with an AI-powered Style Check to make the call on which of two outfits looks better.

“Better” might be subjective, but the service will combine pre-installed fashion advice from real-life specialists with software that learns its users’ style to decide which outfits are more fashionable. Users will also be able to compare current outfits with saved images of past outfit successes.

Clever closets

Keeping track of clothing is half the art in recombining old favorites into new and effortlessly stylish looks. Tailor is a smart closet (currently in beta) that comes with tracking tags that can be embedded in clothing, allowing it to log which items are worn together and when. The software then builds a picture of the user’s personal style across various seasons or time of day — and assuming Tailor is linked to that super-fast home network like Cox — could also check the weather to recommend a great outfit, rain, wind or shine.

Personal Stylist-Bot

If it’s time to update that wardrobe, Thread is a personal shopping site that combines the fashion savvy of human stylists with the computing power of AI. Behind the scenes, its eight stylists lay down general outfit suggestions for their 480,000 clients. Then, the AI engine sifts through brands, sizes and budgets to recommend specific items that land in customers’ shopping boxes (which customers are free to send back without buying). Machine learning algorithms track stylists’ choices — and customers’ purchases — so the software can make even more accurate recommendations in the future.

AI Clothes-Matching

Aimed at anyone with a closet full of key pieces and nothing to wear them with, Malaysia-based startup SuitApp suggests clothing purchases based on online retailers’ inventory — and even more usefully, what users already own. Like Thread, SuitApp’s recommendation engine takes into account users’ budgets, favorite colors and styles, plus general fashion tips from real-life stylists.

Smart Lighting

A small but crucial factor in dressing well is dressing in the type of light where you will be viewed. Most of the time, that’s likely to be natural light — and Soraa smart lightbulbs sync with sunrise and sunset to emit a sunlight-mimicking glow in the day (including a crisp, rejuvenating dawn) and a sleep-friendly, blue-omitting light at night. They work with and without smart home hubs.

Selfie by drone

Not all selfies are created equal. Where an awkward arms-length smartphone usually results in a less-than-stellar selfie, a drone-mounted selfie camera like the foldable ZeroTech Dobby Pocket Drone is ideal for snapping at that flattering above-eye level, throwing the jawline into high relief and removing any pesky illusion of a double chin. Perfectly styled? This might be the ideal way to get the proof onto Instagram.

Like any student of fashion, AI-powered technology requires time and data to learn about general aesthetics and personal style. As these services and gadgets become more sophisticated, they could become the ideal assistants in the art of looking good.

Naturally, to power all this futuristic fashion tech, you’ll want a super-fast home network like Cox’s Panoramic WiFi, with wall-to-wall coverage that’s guaranteed to reach your closet and smarten it up.

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