Letters of Life

Why There’s A Wolf At My Door

Paper doll with clothes

Polyvore: The 21st century's answer to paper dolls

In one word, Polyvore.

When I should be writing in this space, I am instead “playing at paper dolls” online, as The New Yorker magazine describes what users do on this style site, cutting and pasting and being fashion editor when I should just be—an editor.

Polyvore, created by three men with little or no fashion-forward sense (one wears corduroy pants), is the web’s largest community of tastemakers where people can discover their style and set trends around the world. Trendseekers and shoppers alike come to Polyvore to discover the hottest brands, products, trends and looks.

In a space of two years, unique visitors have jumped 778 per cent to 6.5 million unique visitors a month. Why? Because if you like fashion and graphics and design, Polyvore is fun. More importantly, it’s addictive. The digital canvas that stares blankly at you nudges you to fill it with all manner of candy-coloured dresses, beautiful models and celebrities, and sprinkle the spaces with fragile blouses, empowering heels, and handbags for our ever-changing moods

I get to browse all kinds of clothes and acessories, art, backgrounds, textures and themes, and decide what I want to create in a fashion page, or ‘set’. The range and possibilities of permutations of style is infinite. What’s fun is that other users can see what I post online and ‘like’ what they see, as I can with theirs. This is a dynamic space with ideas bouncing off each other like molecules bumping and colliding into each other in a heated space.

I admit that Polyvoring uses up less brain cells than blogging; it’s a lot like how fans of role-playing games can’t seem to get enough of it. There’s a lot less analysis going on compared to writing, obviously, though it is tricky when it comes to deciding whether to use a Ralph Lauren Navajo-inspired leather belt with embedded turqoise stones or a sleek Michael Kors caftan to capture the quintessential look of Summer 2011. (There’s no such thing. There are at least 10 looks for this summer.)

So, don’t be surprised if you open your email and find one from me with a set created with you in mind and the message: I created this look just for you! (I think you’ll look great in it!)


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