Popular sites create the perfect vice for fashion addicts

Virtual outfits and looks can be edited and merged together using Polyvore’s set creation features (Image courtesy of Polyvore.com).

Virtual outfits and looks can be edited and merged together using Polyvore’s set creation features (Image courtesy of Polyvore.com).

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As if the Internet doesn’t already offer a multitude of time-wasting distractions, fashion junkies provide plenty more digital vices. With all the entertainment and interest of Elle or Lucky, sans the price and trip to the bookstore, style Websites are providing invaluable resources to the fashion-forward.

Lingering somewhere between the greatness of paper dolls and inspiration boards, Polyvore is a fashion world all its own—according to the site, Polyvore is the “web’s largest fashion community.”

Members create collage “sets” by layering the seemingly infinite supply of images together. Available pictures include clothing, accessories, beauty supplies, home décor, and “embellishments” like magazine photographs and text.

Virtual outfits and looks can be edited and merged together using Polyvore’s set creation features (Image courtesy of Polyvore.com).

Most images are free of background, meaning the stock picture of a cardigan can be layered directly over a coordinating top without an overlap excessive white space. This creative combination works together to form a magazine-like final product that can reflect anything from a beloved style genre to a dream outfit.

After a set has been completed it is available for members to view and “like”. Items in the set are listed to the side, complete with links and price. The Website also features set contests, often in partnership with popular brands and occasionally with prizes.

As if a virtual closet to play dress-up in isn’t enough, Polyvore features an “ask” section, which allows members to find advice for any fashion conundrum. According to the site, there more than 13 million unique visitors each month, which means the odds of a helpful response are in your favor.

Wishing an item was available for your set that isn’t found on the site? Polyvore also allows members to submit their own found images using the downloadable “clipper” tool.

Looking for something more passive? LOOKBOOK.nu (LB) has been enabling Online addiction since 2008 and describes itself as the biggest “online community dedicated to showcasing member-uploaded ‘street style’ photography.” The site offers an endless supply of fashion photographs as the page automatically loads more posts as viewers scroll.  Better yet, LB gives viewers the chance to see style from a variety of cities across the world.

To enhance searching abilities, LB’s listed keywords are organized by brand, country, and category. This allows fashionistas the chance to not only see what’s popular in faraway cities, but gain ideas on how to wear tricky pieces (for example, suspenders turns up over 5,000 matches). Once a search has been placed, results can be narrowed down by color or material, which truly lets viewers find items truly similar, if not identical, to their own.

Looks are rated by “hype” and organized accordingly. Members, or “LOOKBOOKERS”, may upload full-body pictures of themselves to showcase their best outfits.

In case posting on LB seems too intimidating, Pinterest offers the glory of searching for looks without having to pull out your camera. Pinterest, which describes itself as a site that “lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web,” is comparable to a fancy favorites or bookmarks list. Members create categorized boards and fill them with whatever tickles their fancy—recipes, crafts, party ideas, etc. Since said boards are categorized, users can search both women and men’s apparel for fashion finds.

According to Pinterest, the site prefers images that link back to the original Websites; this means users who love a hair style or homemade tee can often find the tutorials without any delay.

Much like Polyvore, Pinterest also offers a toolbar button to help users add images to the site.

What do these Websites mean for fashion-lovers? While blogs and magazines offer information, the aforementioned groups are image focused. Spending time scrolling through beautiful outfits is a similar feeling to flipping glossy pages and glancing at the pictures; it’s simple, mindless, satisfying, time wasting—and just in time for midterm exams.