We Tried It: Apps to Make Us Love Things We Hate Shopping For
Better living through technology: That's my motto
Who Tried It: Alex Apatoff, Deputy Style Director
Why I Tried It: Because I hate shopping for jeans, swimsuits and foundation, and I love better living through technology
Level of Difficulty: Overall, 2. And way less than doing any of these activities at the mall.
Cocodune: The swimsuit shopping experience can be described as “grim at best” for those of us who aren’t Gigi Hadid. You either go examine your body from unpleasant angles in green-blue fluorescent lighting at the mall, or you order 25 swimsuits to your house, swallow the price and pray for a good return policy, and wind up hating them all. Cocodune allows you to order up to four mix-and-match styles for free, try them on over the course of five days, and send back what you don’t want (getting charged only for what you do).
I am a J. Crew one-piece loyalist, so I ordered one style I knew I’d love (the Times Tank) and two that were a little riskier (the Director Deep V and the Punch Hi-Waist) to try to push myself out of my comfort zone a bit. And I was totally shocked at how much I loved all three styles, especially the high-waist bikini, which I thought for sure I’d never wear. The secret is the fabric (Cocodune says it’s Italian, and the suits are all made in the U.S.), which feels super-sleek and luxe, and kind of sucks you in all over. And because it’s direct-to-consumer, prices weren’t any higher than they would be for my old faithful.
The drawbacks? The color selection is still limited (not that I’d buy anything but black, but you might want a print) and there aren’t many options for busty girls. Plus, for me to try anything on and return it in five days is like telling me to run a seven-minute mile: It might be possible, but it also might kill me. But I’m absolutely sold on the quality and the one-piece tank — I’ll buy the same style again next year.
Match Co.: I’ve never successfully had my foundation matched in a store. I find the idea of facing down all those bottles impossible. Do I have “yellow” or “pink” undertones? Is my skin sensitive or dry? I have no idea, and you guys, I talk about this stuff all day for a living. So when Match Co. promised to take all the guesswork out of it — and all I had to do was a couple slightly goofy phone maneuvers — I was excited to try it.
About those maneuvers: You calibrate your phone camera, then bump it against your cheek, wrists and forehead a few times until the app matches your skin tone. Then the custom-tinted bottle with your name on it arrives. That’s it. The brand doesn’t have multiple formulations yet, but I really liked the original, which also builds in a primer and moisturizer: It’s fairly sheer but very buildable, and it blends really nicely, even in spite of my very lazy hands-only application. I found myself going to it way more often than some of my big-name brands, especially because the pretty packaging looks great on my vanity.
At $49, it’s not the cheapest foundation you’ll ever buy, but it’s right in line with the big guys, and it definitely matches them for quality — and matches my skin tone very well. I’d definitely try it again this summer when my skin tone changes with more sun exposure.
What We Love: Spring Wardrobe Refresh
Jeanuine: And then there’s the perpetually-dreaded denim shopping. Finding the perfect pair of jeans has thwarted women since the beginning of time, and it seems like even beloved brands mix up their sizing (why are my favorite skinnies suddenly 3-in. too long?!) without warning. Jeanuine hopes to address that by letting you pick every element of your perfect pair of jeans, from button to stitching to stamping your name on the inside — no question of who they were made for!
Styles start at $185 and go up with further customization, which can be irresistible as using the site is a bit like using a fun fashion-design game. And they really do think of every detail, from the exact whisker pattern to how many rows of stitches you want on the seams. For someone who’s a denim fanatic, it’s a really fun way to spend 20 minutes.
But getting something so custom from a brand you don’t know immediately revealed its innate challenges when I tried my style on — all the way from France! — and it didn’t fit at all. Jeanuine allows you to take one Mulligan, shipping you another pair in a new size, but that second one didn’t quite fit right either, and it was too long — something I didn’t realize when I chose to have unhemmable zippers placed at the ankles.
The Verdict: All of the apps were infinitely easier than going to any store, so I would be open to trying anything like them again. But I will proceed with caution if it’s something that requires a perfect fit, like jeans or shoes.
What apps have made your life easier?