Try on virtual clothes in mall with Fashion Trip software

November 02, 1998|By Audra D.S. Burch | Audra D.S. Burch,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

The youthful fashion genre has taken a decidedly cosmic turn into point-and-click chic.

Fashion Trip, a new "virtual shopping mall" on CD-ROM, allows women shoppers to surf their way into a flattering, if not stylish, wardrobe. The program shows clothes from 30 designers and lets you superimpose the garments on a mannequin that you've chosen in your image.

It has personalized advice on what clothing types and cuts work best - without sounding like your mother.

You can spend all the time you want cruising the mall, without nagging from your boyfriend, spouse or child.

The online shopping features thousands of items - ranging from makeup to swimwear to shoes. Find something you like? Chat online with friends who can see the same item you have chosen on your screen. They think it's cute, too? Buy it online or through the retailer.

The beauty is that you avoid the potholes of personal fashion. No more crowded dressing rooms or mirrors that surely belong in a fun house. No more outfits that, no matter the fabric, look like Spandex. No more phrases from overly eager sales help like "it's you," when it's only "you" minus 20 pounds.

Fashion Trip, developed by Moda and distributed by Sierra Home for Windows 95/98 computers, costs $39.95 and claims to be "the shopping trip of your life, guaranteed."

This might be true for those of you who find shopping a painful, inconvenient task. I, for one, take pleasure in finding garments that fit my flawed figure. I get a thrill out of touching clothes, trying on shoes, hunting for bargains, inhaling that distinct department-store air. But for those of you without a shopping fetish, this program could solve some basic fashion dilemmas - or at least provide hours of fun dressing up Barbie-like mannequins.

My Fashion Trip took 20 minutes to load onto my computer. It's important that your PC's processor be at least 133 MHz and have 32 to 64MB of RAM to create colorful, realistic images.

When the mall finally opened, I went to the shoe stores, where I found a hot pair of black cropped boots that would make a stunning addition to the two pairs of black cropped boots already in my closet.

Next up: clothing stores, which allowed me to mix and match pieces from different shops - then drag and drop the outfits into the virtual dressing room. The best part: No one was there to warn me that "six garments is the limit." Just because I hate those rules, I dumped 10 things into the dressing room, snickering with each click of the mouse.

The program also offers a personal consultant of sorts. Click on the "Expert Advice" button to view five faceless mannequins of different proportions. You also select a skin tone closest to your own.

I am a combination of two mannequin types, No. 1 (slender, broad shoulders) and No. 3 (small upper body, hippy, wide-waisted), but because Fashion Trip has no combo buttons, I went with No. 1. The program gobbled up my deeply personal information and spit this out:

"You've been blessed with a killer frame, so work it! Stick with straight lines, fitted styles, and you will always look chic. Anything with broad shoulders will make your waist look waif-like."

I love this Fashion Trip now. My ego got a boost with one push of a button, even if I know that I may have had a killer frame about 10 pounds ago, if then. The advice was right, though. Straight lines and fitted styles are flattering to my shape.

The folks at Fashion Trip say that as the program evolves, they might add more shapes to choose from.

Back to the store. The program asks you to select a designer and after you do, three outfits suited to your frame appear on the screen. For example, Nicole Miller picked a kind of cute gray velvet above-the-knee number for me. XOXO envisioned me in an above-the-knee skirt with a long-sleeved V-neck blouse.

Hey, I already have one of those. This thing must have good taste.

Information: www.fashiontrip.

com or call 800-845-9964.

Pub Date: 11/02/98

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