Here was my ideal outfit for Monday morning here in Los Angeles, according to my daily, personalized StyleCaster email: an oversized gray T-shirt and black tights.
StyleCaster is among a new generation of Web sites that are trying to solve a stubborn problem: how to make fashion-shopping Web sites more than simply online catalogs. Using video and social-networking techniques, Stylecaster, ShopFlick, SmashingDarling and other sites aim to connect us with new indie designers, stylists and each other, all the while presenting items we can buy.
It's an intriguing idea. Fashion retailers went online back when Bill Gates had red hair, but few have improved on the catalog format perfected by Sears & Roebuck. StyleCaster offers daily personalized weather and fashion "forecasts," news and the opportunity to link to other users, who include stylists and designers. The site aims to serve as the "Facebook of fashion," says spokeswoman Fernanda Valente.
The idea sounds broad and accessible, as online shopping should be. Yet one group may not feel so welcome on StyleCaster: women over 35. The styles featured there appear to be largely designed by and for twentysomethings. The way the technology works, the outfit suggestions should improve as I click on more stuff I like — but so far, the clothes have been so young and casual I haven't found much to click on.