I used to be a paper doll fanatic. Not only did I buy paper dolls and painstakingly cut them all out, but I also made my own. But these days I don't have time for those... But I'm reminded of my old paper dolls by a number of tools which can be used to shop and play virtual dress-up at the same time. These awesome tools serve a number of purposes. First- they are just fun to play with. Secondly- it can be hard to visualize outfits when you're shopping, so this makes it easier to see how things might work with other items or with items similar to ones you already own.
So what are these fantastic programs?
The first which I remember finding a few years ago is MyVirtualModel. Its a cool program because you can create a sim that looks like you and then see exactly how you will look in something. The downsides are that there are limited companies that use this program and some of them are hard to use. My favorite is the MVM for H&M...
Also available from MyVirtualModel is Adidas, Lands End, and Sears.
The Adidas site is good for work out clothing, but a little difficult to mix and match clothing between collections. Sears and Lands End are not very fashion forward and not worth the trouble. Hopefully we'll see more companies adopt this program. Another problem is that its almost impossible to layer clothing on this program.
But my favorite web site is.... Polyvore! On Polyvore you can browse thousands of clothes and accessories and drag and resize things to create outfits. It is easy to layer and find lots of items from different stores. You can even use their clipper program to import items from sites not already included. And each item has a click through link if you want to buy it! Lots of people save and publish their "sets". A few companies and magazines also hold themed contests. Here are a few screen shots...
So what are you waiting for? Go check it out and play! (See how I'm using that yellow?! =D)