We all know that applications for the smartest of the smart phones are big business. With Apple boasting with a smug grin about their ten billionth download and Amazon debuting their own – slightly bastardised – version, the realisation is starting to sink in that the big money business is in mobile development. Of course, where one fashion retailer leads, hundreds follow. More and more retailers and magazines are popping up on the App Store every day; either trying to make a quick buck, or adding value to an already great website or product.
So in order to help you navigate the quagmire of the lesser known (and even lesser liked apps), we at FashionBeans have compiled a list of the current essential men’s fashion apps that you simply can’t live without, as well as some of the famous one’s that just didn’t live up to expectations. We’re being serious here, when you have finished reading this, downloaded the apps and stepped out in the remarkably sunny April sunlight, you’ll feel like a new man… A new man who knows how easy it is to buy the newest lines from All Saints.
Which brings us nicely to our first port of call…
All Saints – Free
The app is styled just like the All Saints stores themselves; devoid of any extraneous colours or textures, it maintains an industrial vibe that sets them apart from their garish competitors. I mean who needs colours anyway, right? The app even reflects their stripped back approach to relaxed tailoring – there are no unnecessary menus, graphics or colours. They’ve managed to pull off having the most simplified app possible and still retained a sense of authenticity.
The product pictures are clear and crisp, and the images ‘pop’ nicely against the stark white and grey backgrounds. Whilst there are no flashy Flash animations bogging down your experience.
Instead, you open the app and it’s straight onto the shopping. The whole experience can be summed up like this: a bish, some bash and a whole load of bosh. It does what it does brilliantly, allowing you to shop on the move quickly and easily for all the latest pieces you need in your wardrobe.
Valet – Free
What we have here is an app for sartorial excellence, taken almost wholesale from their already excellent website Valetmag. It’s chock full of advice; ranging from how to pack the perfect carry case, to making your own belts from climbing ropes.
More of a magazine than an online store, the retailers featured are only applicable to the land of Barneys and Brooklyn, North America – although there is a sprinkling of Topman sporadically dropped in for good measure. So although you may not be able to buy the items featured (unless you don’t mind paying astronomical post and packing charges), you can take inspiration from the items shown and apply them to your favourite brands or online retailers.
The best part of the app is The Handbook section which is full to the brim of advice on how to do the basics; like how to tie your laces, how to cure a hangover, how to get a tan like Mark Wright’s from the only way is Essex. Not really. No one needs that. But it does show everyone how to look super smart with super ease.
Valet is a slick app, dripping in class and etiquette. It is without doubt, one of the most essential apps for business suity types who actually know what a NASDAQ is, and don’t think that Dow Jones is the name of the local baker.
The Cut – Free
Have you ever searched for one place (other than Fashionbeans) that holds all the information that you need regarding what’s currently being pushed down the catwalks? Well The Cut is that place.
Designed like their sister site – the New York Magazine fashion blog – it has extensive pictures of, what’s seems like every single show to be held in the name of good fashion. Some not so much, I’m looking at you Richie Rich (I learnt that from this app).
All the information is held in a magazine style overlay, where you can select pop out tabs to narrow down what you want to search for. If you only want to see Fall 11 catwalks, then that’s as simple as Marmite spaghetti to do.
The Cut is one of the most intuitive apps I’ve ever come across on a touchscreen device. Now I know what you’re thinking, Angry Birds is pretty fantastic too – but lets face it, that’s just firing birds at pigs, and you can do that in your back garden. You would have to search high and low for this information. To have one app bring you all you need with just a few taps and swipes is genuinely exciting.
Not as exciting as hearing George Michael was going to cover ‘True Faith’. Of course that was a car crash, but The Cut is one of the greatest fashion apps available. In Hipster, for those who speak it, it is ‘totes mazing’.
David Gandy Style Guide For Men – £3.99
“After 9 years modelling alongside some of the World’s greatest stylists and creatives, I feel that I can share effective tips and style guides providing informative no nonsense step by step guide to looking your best”
That’s how the David Gandy Style Guide For Men introduces itself. Bragging about it’s helpful videos, and easy to use menus from the outset, with help from Joe Ottaway, who seems to be the stylist for the unimaginative and cowardly, it leads you into a David Gandy sponsored nightmare…
Before you read this review it must be noted that I like David Gandy, we have featured him on site as one of our style icons and he always looks immaculate. Hell, he is consistently one of the top male models in the industry who redefined the body type of the stereotypical model. But The Guide To Style, which many have claimed to be the epitome of class and ease, is nothing more than outdated and basic advice, followed by self-indulgence.
Gandy appears in almost every shot in the – I presume they think – ground breaking and genre defining embedded videos, which centre on such important topics as how to find the perfect white shirt. I’m sorry David Gandy and Joe Ottaway, but if you think you need to tell people how to buy a white shirt, and think that a shirt with a fold over flap to hide the buttons is directional, then not only do you need a slap to the fashion chops but you need to reassess your direction in life.
Helpfully there’s a body type index scurrilously hidden away in one of the menus that allows you to find out what shape you are. News flash: David Gandy and Joe Ottaway think you are stupid and will gladly make you pay £3.99 to rub it in your face. If you’re tall, do you know you’re tall? Or are you under the impression that you could fit under a table without stooping? If you’re over 34″ waist, then according to David Gandy and Joe Ottaway, you have a full figure. What a crock of sh*t. A fuller figure is Ricky Tomlinson. A fuller figure is John Prescott. A fuller figure is King Kong. 36″ is NOT a fuller figure.
There is nothing redeeming about this app when you consider just how much better some other free apps in this subject area are (see Valet Mag above). It might include features that are slightly helpful, like an available list of products that is broken down into types; bags and luggage, white shirts (ffs) and the like. But you can’t even buy these through the app, it only works as a link to the actual website that sells them.
Never before have I relished my apps jiggling on the screen with the all important ‘x’ to delete. Don’t waste your money, buy three hundred and ninety nine penny sweets instead.
GQ (US Version) – £2.99 then £1.79 per issue
If the venomous bile squirted at David Gandy and Joe Ottaway was a little too much for you, then perhaps you should pass onto the next section because the GQ app is just as bad.
I like adverts just as much as the next person. Aleksandr the Meerkat was entertaining for just the right amount of time set by the Human Rights Council in Geneva, and the Richard Hammond Morrisson’s adverts reassert my faith in humankind, because if he can still find work with hair like that, then there’s hope for anybody.
But what I don’t like – and I can say this with a clear conscience – what others don’t like, is a magazine that is so full of adverts, you lose the excited feeling you get when you inhale too much ink. Page after page of adverts is what awaits you if you buy the GQ app. Before you even get the index page where all the good stuff is detailed in full, there are thirteen pages of them. THIRTEEN! That is an obscene amount… even for GQ. This is just about acceptable in print format because it is easier to skip through double spread adverts quickly, rather than being forced to flick through each individual one on an iPhone.
After you persevere with the app, eager to learn about the porn-tactic implosion of Charlie Sheen, and taking a number of pain killers to fight off the RSI that you get from flicking from one page to the next, you find that every other page – that’s one in two for all the maths whizzes out there (50% for the accountants) – are adverts. One half! The content itself is a direct replica of the main magazine (which allows GQ to count downloads to its readership figures) so I don’t need to tell you that the actual articles and writing standard are of great quality. However, many people have complained about the app crashing before the magazine downloads fully, and unless you are using an iPad, you are not going to get the same graphical experience which you would from the print version. Being able to purchase exact replica back-issues via the application is an obvious benefit for loyal readers.
As a true app it pales in comparison to the standard setting T3 magazine app, and the artsy fartsy project. There’s no user integration, there’s no helpful videos from the place where news is made, there’s not even the brain death inducing matrix that has made the iPaper app so ground breaking. Unfortunately as one of the few mainstream magazines to make it onto iOS, this fails to deliver on so many fronts that it’s just like last Christmas and the Royal Mail. Which in this day and age, where everyone is fighting for your precious pound, is a real disappointment.
Why release something so substandard? Because they know that people will buy GQ regardless. Well we at FashionBeans urge you to wait until the app is actually good enough to warrant your money… and they produce a UK version.
Style.com app – Free
Like everything else that Style.com does, their free app for iPhone and iPad is ridiculous good. Unlike some poor imitations of apps, naming no names – GQ and David Gandy Style Guide For Men – this app actually provides something interesting and thought provoking.
That being a frequently updated look at the slew of catwalks that pepper the fashion world; ranging from Acne all the way through to Yves Saint Laurent, with bright images that fill your screen with eye watering beauty.
Adverts are expected because this app is free, but they are terribly discreet and astonishingly easy to move past, so this isn’t really a big an issue like it is with the GQ app. No black marks there style.com.
Social integration comes as standard, so when browsing throughout the endless hours of inspiration provided by the app, if you find the perfect white shirt that David Gandy wants to get married to, you can share it with all your friends – as well as some random people who’ve added you on FaceBook that you don’t actually know. Twitter and Google Reader sharing is also an option, amongst many others that I don’t think people actually use, like Instapaper.
If you strive for sartorial excellence, or if you simply want to know what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to the coming season(s), then this app is definitely the one for you. It’s ticks all boxes, even the ones on that annoying Census.