Have you ever seen a random stranger wearing something — shoes, a coat, a blouse — that you really, really love but have no idea where to buy? Sure, you could try to ask her where she got it, but what if you don’t want to yell across the subway platform, or you don’t have time — or you just feel sort of awkward about asking? Aside from posting a Missed Connections ad on Craigslist (W4C?), how can you track down clothing or accessories that you happen to see on the street? Reader C wonders…
I was out to brunch a few weeks ago and saw a woman wearing a gorgeous cardigan — white with a pattern of bars in different shades of blue. I’m kicking myself for not going up to her to ask where she got it, and since then I’ve desperately been google image searching to no avail. Any suggestions for how to find this cardigan-that-got-away?
Interesting question, and I’m curious to hear readers’ responses about how to track down mystery pieces of clothing. (For the record, I am sorry to say I have no idea which cardigan she saw!) Here are a few tips that come to mind:
- Shopstyle. Shopstyle.com can be a great way to find what you’re looking for — type in “purple plus-size wrap dresses,” for example, and you’ll see a bunch of options that are on the market right now. For Reader C’s missed connection with the sweater, I would type in “cardigan” and then narrow by “blue.” If the woman was obviously plus-size or petite, put that in because it narrows the range considerably. If you can narrow the color of blue (ocean, cobalt, Tiffany blue, etc), give it a try. If you can think of a brand that has similar patterns (Missoni on the high end — Nic and Zoe on the more affordable end), that can help. If you can think of how the product might have been described — paintstripe! vertical stripes! brushstrokes! — that can help. Polyvore is a similar option, as is Pinterest.
- Image search. There are enough outfit bloggers out there that odds are good, of all the sweaters made that Reader C saw, SOMEONE, somewhere, has photographed it and wanted to describe it. In my experience, Bing seems to have the best image search. Again, you get a ton of options — it is both a pro and a con that the sweaters you’re looking at may not be on the market right now. Pro: it’s a broader search, and you may find it (after all, she could have bought that sweater 10 years ago!). Con: It’s a bigger pool to look through.
- Reverse Image Search. If you can either a) snap a picture of the clothing when you see it, or b) find something kiiind of similar, you may be able to deal with a smaller haystack. This bookmarklet interfaces with Google Images to look for similar shapes. For example, I found this old Nic + Zoe cardigan that looked like it MIGHT be similar — running a reverse image search on the cardigan netted a lot more patterned blue cardigans than the other searches.
Ladies — have you found any better methods to track down clothes you’ve spotted on women without asking? What do you do?
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