Site review: Thread

Thread looks like the perfect site for fashionable men or those who perhaps want to become a bit more fashionable. It was founded by serial entrepreneur Kieran O’Neill who explained to GQ at the end of last year what Thread is all about: “what’s special is that you have access to the exact same stylists that celebrities or wealthy individuals have access to.”

Kieran then went on to explain that Thread wants users to build a long term relationship with their stylists. I decided to have a go for myself and see what I can to do improve my style:

  1. How did this site come to my attention? – A friend of my mine, who I know to be very fashionable, mentioned Thread to me.
  2. My quick summary of the site (before using it) – A style guide for men who want to find out about fashion & apparel online which (1) fits their personal style and (2) takes away the need to search in multiple places online.
  3. How does the app explain itself in the first minute? – Thread’s homepage states in bold letters: “Dress well without trying”. It then explains – in less bold letters – that one of Thread’s stylists can help you find clothes you’ll love, “all online and completely free”.
  4. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like (1)? – First, I got asked the standard stuff like my gender, age and date of birth. Things got more interesting when I was asked to select a style that I was aiming for (see Fig. 1 below). Knowing that I could select as many styles as I wanted, I selected 5 different styles which I felt came closest to the look that I’m aiming for. The only downside was that when I wanted to go back and add a few more styles, I realised that there wasn’t a “back” button.
  5. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like (2)? – I then had to give an indication of how much I usually spend on each item. Perhaps it’s just me, but I felt a tad confused by the term “usually”, especially since I sometimes a spend quite a lot of money on clothing (relatively speaking) and other times next to nothing. For example, I’m an addict for sneakers so my collection contains Nike Air Force 1s that weren’t that cheap as well as Converse All Stars which were very cheap in comparison. It might have been better to have been able to use budget ranges rather than a set price point when answering this question.
  6. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like (3)? – The next step, selecting the brands that I wear, felt easy and intuitive (see Fig. 3 below). I picked a few brands and added a brand that wasn’t on the list. I was then asked to upload some photos of myself (see Fig. 4 below). Perhaps I had missed it when I first arrived on the site, but for me this was the first point where I started to understand where all the previous steps were taking me; enabling a dedicated stylist to provide me with recommendations tailored to my style and brand preferences. It wasn’t clear, however, from the explanatory text what would happen if I didn’t upload a picture of myself. Would the stylist recommendations be less good? Would the whole process come to a halt? It might be an idea to have an explanatory text which appears when a user hovers over the “Skip” button. The actual photo upload process from Facebook was very straightforward.
  7. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like (4)? – Even though I had pressed “Done” after uploading my photos, I was nevertheless presented with another step: “What do you usually wear to work? Select by clicking on the pictures, and hit “Next Step” when done” (see Fig. 5 below). Perhaps others may well consider my next suggestion superfluous, but how about adding that one can select as many styles as they like? Not only would this be consistent with the copy used for previous steps but it would also work well with the scenario whereby men dress smart 4 days per week, apart from on ‘Casual Fridays’.
  8. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like (5)? – Next, I was asked about the trouser fit that I prefer. To be honest, by this point I was starting to get a little bit restless. Nonetheless, I clicked on the trouser styles that I tend to wear most often (see Fig. 6 below). I then expected to be asked about the type of shirt fit I preferred. Instead, I was asked about the types of shoes that I prefer. I selected sandals/flip-flops and sneakers/trainers (see Fig. 7 below), followed by specific colours that I preferred (see Fig. 8 below).
  9. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like (6)?  I felt I was getting close to the end when I was asked whether I was “open to trying more daring fashion styles?”. What!? Perhaps I was just getting a bit tired at this stage, but I was like: “are you telling me that my current fashion style isn’t daring enough!?” and “what does daring mean?” (I know guys for whom wearing a slim fit shirt takes them way out of their comfort zones but I also know guys who wear pink clothes like it’s nobody’s business – their interpretations of “daring” are likely to vary). I then realised that I was being a bit facetious, since a good stylist would be able to interpret what “daring” constitutes for each individual user, based on their input as part of the previous steps. Outcome: I dropped my initial thoughts, as they didn’t make sense!
  10. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like (7)?  After I’d indicated which styles and products I’d never wear (see Fig. 10 below), I was then asked some check box questions which aimed to give Thread and its stylists a bit more context about me. Answering questions on the amount of style help I felt I needed and my reason for using Thread actually felt quite helpful (see Fig. 11 below). What I found most helpful when it came to selecting my sizes (see Fig. 12 below) was the ability to leave a comment on any specific requirements. For example, I left a comment in the text field to say that when I buy shirts, I sometimes buy them in size “small” and other times in size “medium”, depending on the make of the shirt (I assumed that the stylist would be able to work out that I’ve got funny shoulders from the pics that I uploaded earlier).
  11. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like (8)?  I found the brief description of “How Thread works” (see Fig. 13 below) very helpful. Part of me was wondering whether some of the info in this description could have been peppered throughout the different onboarding steps. Doing so could in my opinion have helped to provide the user with a clear picture of the end goal. By this stage I was ready to get some good fashion advice and it was great that I could indicate to my stylist what I was looking for in my first outfit (see Fig. 14 below). Et voila, I was then presented with my personal stylist, Sophie Gaten (see Fig. 15 below).
  12. How easy to use was the site? – The signup process mostly felt easy and intuitive. As noted above, I felt that there were few points within the signup process where additional explanatory text could have been beneficial. Also, I believe it would be good if the site would provide with more opportunities to mention specific clothing requirements or issues. For example, I liked a recent F&F fashion campaign by social media agency We Are Social which allowed users to pose more specific styling enquiries or requirements.
  13. How did I feel while exploring the site? – Not sure if one can truly refer to the onboarding process as “exploring”, I guess that will come once I’ve received some specific recommendations from Sophie, my personal stylist. Having gone through all the steps of the signup process, I have some suggestions for potential improvements that Thread could consider in order to keep users fully engaged throughout the process (see Fig. 16 below).
  14. How does this app compare to similar sites? – As intuitive as I found Thread, I really struggled with a similar app in CoolGuy; I clicked on the icons for “My Closet” and “Outfits” but struggled to grasp what was expected of me or what the app was about. My first impression of Trunk Club, which promises similar things to Thread, was that this site wasn’t geared to people like me. Purely based on the imagery used, I got the sense that people wearing baggy Carhartt trousers and colourful sneakers, might not be well served by Trunk Club’s personal stylists. It would be good to see what the user experience on similar apps for women (e.g. My Shape Stylist and Blynk) is like.
  15. Did the app deliver on my expectations? – Overall, I was very happy with the signup process, even though it did feel lengthy at times. The proof is in the pudding, so I’m looking forward to Thread’s actual recommendations!

Fig. 1 – Signing up for Thread: Screenshot of “What kind of style are you aiming for? Select as many as you like”

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Fig. 2 – Signing up for Thread: Screenshot of “How much do you usually spend? Select the amount you usually spend on each item”

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Fig. 3 – Signing up for Thread: screenshot of “What brands do you wear – Select as many as you like”

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Fig. 4 – Signing up for Thread: screenshot of “Upload photos of you”

 

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Fig. 5 – Signing up for Thread: screenshot of “What do you usually wear to work?”

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Fig. 6 – Signing up for Thread: screenshot of “Which trouser fits do you prefer?”

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Fig. 7 – Signing up for Thread: screenshot of “Are there any of these shoe types you prefer?”

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Fig. 8 – Signing up for Thread: screenshot of “Which colours can your stylist include in their recommendations?”

 

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Fig. 9 – Signing up for Thread: “How open are you to trying more daring fashion styles?”

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Fig. 10 – Signing up for Thread: “Are there any of these styles you’d never consider wearing?”

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Fig. 11 – Signing up for Thread – Screenshot of “Tell us a couple things about yourself”

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Fig. 12 – Signing up for thread – Screenshot of “Select your sizes”

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Fig. 13 – Signing up for Thread  – Screenshot of “How Thread Works”

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Fig. 14 – Signing up for Thread – Screenshot of “Tell your stylist what you’re looking for your in your first outfits”

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Fig. 15 – Signing up for Thread – Screenshot of my personal stylist

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Fig. 16 – Suggested improvements in relation to Thread’s signup

  • Ability for users to save their signup information and be able to come back to it later – There were quite a few steps to go through, which made me think that it would be good for users to feel comfortable abandoning the process halfway through, knowing that they can always come back to and edit their info.
  • Style summary at the end – I like having my style profile captured as part of my account info on Thread. However, it would be great if users could be presented with their profiles at the end of the signup process, prior to ‘submitting’ one’s profile. This way users will have the opportunity to edit any info before sending it over to Thread and their dedicated stylist.
  • Progress bar – Given the number of steps involved in the signup process, I’d suggest introducing a progress bar which gives users a sense of where they are in the process. During the signup process I felt at times  that I wasn’t sure when this process was ever going to end. It would be good if I could see a visual representation of the remaining steps and understand the consequences of skipping a step.

Related links for further learning:

  1. http://reviewify.co.uk/thread-free-personal-stylist-review/
  2. http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/style/articles/2014-01/02/kieran-oneill-thread-personal-stylist-website-for-men
  3. http://www.businessoffashion.com/2013/12/thread-kieran-oneill-offers-a-personal-stylist-for-every-shopper.html
  4. http://adamreynolds85.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/threadcom-shop-with-online-stylist-for.html

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