Recently, I packed for a 10-day trip, half business, half vacation, where the temperature difference between my two destinations was about 20 degrees. I did all my laundry, then pulled things out of the basket and put them in my suitcase, counting each day’s worth of clothes as I went. It’s not the most elegant solution to the packing problem, and it’s just one way Finery — a site that catalogs your clothes and ensembles like some sites do with your music collection — can help those of us who don’t keep a running tally of our wardrobes in our head.
The idea came from services such as TripIt, Spotify, and Mint, Finery founder and CEO Whitney Casey told Digital Trends. “We want to be the iTunes for clothes, the Spotify for clothes… I get dressed every day, sometimes two or three times a day,” she said. “You definitely are using your clothes far more than you’re making playlists.”
But while you have to tell Spotify your favorite bands and rate movies to get Netflix to give you accurate recommendations, Finery is supposed to populate most of your wardrobe for you, provided you’re an avid online shopper. Give the site access to your email, and it will pull in the receipts stores sent from the past 10 years. It will then pull in clothes and accessories, giving you an online view of your online shopping items. You can either search for things you bought in the store and add them in or upload a photo of that sweater your grandmother knitted for you.
In an era of data breaches, it can definitely be a little daunting to give a company free reign to peruse your email. Casey said the site isn’t pulling in the e-card your co-worker sent you for your birthday or even the receipt for the tool set you bought from Home Depot.
“We’ve trained it to only take in apparel, makeup, accessories, because the amount of data of that alone is a lot,” she said. Sites such as Target — where you could conceivably buy a tulle dress and a tool set — are a little trickier, she admits.
From there, a lot happens to turn your receipt into an item you recognize.
“Our system uses all of this proprietary data analysis that we’ve done on the backend to then know, ‘Oh, this is a white Céline Mule and it is spring/summer,’” Casey said.
If a couple of users suddenly buy boots from a newly opened boutique, Finery will learn how to process the unfamiliar receipts.
The image recognition piece is about 97 percent accurate, she said. The site has over 3 million unique items categorized thus far and supports receipts from 625 brands and stores. If a couple of users suddenly buy boots from a newly opened boutique, Finery will learn how to process the unfamiliar receipts. Because your email account is linked to your Finery account, new purchases get added into your wardrobe when you log on.
For those squeamish about linking their email accounts, there are other ways to add items to your wardrobe.
“I always say, ‘if you can Google it, you can put it into your wardrobe,” Casey said.
Stores such as Nordstrom let you link your account and should send your purchases to your wardrobe. For adding individual items, you can upload a photo and put in the details yourself, or just copy and paste a retailer’s link or an item you found on Pinterest. There’s also a searchable catalog on the site. Each item’s card is editable, so you can switch the picture and customize the information. Your sweater might be lightweight enough that you wear it in spring and fall, so you can click both buttons. You can also change the item’s color and mark it as a favorite.
Once all your clothes are in one spot, Casey thinks there are lots of possibilities with what you can do with them. Finery already has a browser extension that lets you add items from any retailer to a universal wishlist, and you’ll get an alert when it goes on sale. Macy’s may not remind you when you only have days left to return the ill-fitting jeans you just bought, but Finery will. You can also create looks from all the items in your wardrobe and plan what you’re wearing for the next month or so. As a former CNN anchor, Casey said she constantly had to mentally keep tabs on what she’d already worn or viewers would call her an “outfit repeater.” (Male anchors, of course, can wear the same suit every day for a year without someone noticing.) Even if you don’t have a group of mean girls memorizing your outfits every day, the calendar can still help remind you that on Wednesdays, we wear pink.
Sometime this fall, Finery will also launch an “insight button.” Taking information from hundreds of articles about what’s “in” this season, Finery will find about 300 trends everyone’s talking about. It can then show you which trends match with items you already have, so you can avoid buying something new. Believe it or not, Casey said one of Finery’s goals is to help its users shop less. She’d rather see that money go elsewhere, like investing in a home or education.
“The main goal is to get women to spend money back on advancing their lives,” she said.
Believe it or not, Casey said one of Finery’s goals is to help its users shop less.
Eventually, she’d like Finery to help extend the lifecycle of clothes as well. Consignment sites like RealReal could bid on items in your wardrobe or you could put them in Finery’s marketplace. It doesn’t exist yet, but Casey envisions the marketplace being curated just for you; you’d only see items from fellow users who have a similar style and are selling their clothes in your size within your price range. When Hurricane Harvey damaged a Dress for Success affiliate, Finery’s coders added a button that lets users donate the clothing or accessory to the nonprofit right from the item’s card.
With all the information users are giving the site, Finery will also develop tools that help users make the most of their wardrobes.
“Your data should be working for you,” Casey said.
Whether you’re boho or downtown or another style archetype, she said, “your twist on that is going to be different.” While you can only categorize an individual dress as casual, cocktail, and so on, you get more specific with your “looks,” as Finery calls your outfits. Outfits can be marked for certain collections (brunch, holiday) and as specific “vibes” (edgy, tomboy). As more women create more outfits, the site’s machine learning tools will get better at learning what works together, she said, but you’ll have to do some of the work, too, so it gets to know you. It could recommend you pair these tights with that dress because that’s what other users are doing, but “you’re going to want it to be your style,” she said.
If you think you lack style or are just too busy to find outfits that fit together, there are sites that will do it for you — with clothes you have to buy. Trunk Club and Stitch Fix have personal stylists that create ensembles for you based on a few questions and some Pinterest boards you send over. But imagine if they sent you dresses, jeans, and tops based on what you already own, ones that work with what you already have. While these sites are helpful for some, Casey thinks they would be even more valuable with Finery’s help.
“You have to start in their closet,” she said.
Finery just launched in April, and the team is made up of 17 people. It has lofty ambitions, two data scientists, and a handful of coders.
Going through the process of creating a Finery account wasn’t the breeze I’d hoped for. It only imported about 12 items from my Outlook email, couldn’t connect to my Nordstrom account, and thought that items’ colors include the model’s skin tone when I added items via a link. Still, once I’d added a bunch of dresses, shoes, and tights by copying and pasting links from retailers and Pinterest, I found myself looking forward to some of the features. Please, suggest sweaters for me to wear with my dresses!
But even without those tools, Casey thinks users will find the value in being able to plan next week’s wardrobe while they’re waiting for a friend at a coffee shop instead of forgetting about what’s hanging in the back of your closet.
“We’re giving you your time back one t-shirt at a time,” she said.