Amazon has added what might be the strangest feature for Prime members yet: a Outfit Compare tool that will judge your clothing, as spotted by TechCrunch.
It’s a pretty simple feature: users can upload two pictures of themselves in different outfits and receive a response in a few minutes letting you know which looks better. Amazon says that the results take into account fit, color, style, and current trends, and that the app “is powered by a team of fashion specialists.” The FAQ section notes that your photos “may be viewed only by qualified Amazon staff,” and notes that its fashion specialists come from a variety of fashion-related backgrounds, but it’s still difficult to believe that Amazon has an army of fashion experts waiting at your beck and call to tell you which shirt to wear.
Each outfit gets scored on a Style Scale, and is given a ranking from “Definitely Pick This One!” to “We Like This Better” to “It Was A Close Call.” Images need to be head-to-toe to work with Outfit Compare, so headshots won’t work.
I put Outfit Compare through a series of tests to see how well it worked, and it actually held up pretty well. It recommended a matching button down / T-shirt over one that clashed, chose a tucked-in picture versus an untucked and slouched option, and a suit over a casual sweatshirt. But none of my recommendations were “Definitely” picks, even when comparing a suit and tie to tank top and gym shorts. The tool also doesn’t seem to be too focused on making sure the person in the outfit is the same, judging me in a suit against a photo of Ryan Gosling with no errors (Gosling won — though I'll point out that we have the same number of Academy Awards, lest he become too smug).
Outfit Compare is a fun tool to mess around with, but it’s unclear what exactly Amazon gets out of it. Amazon’s app doesn’t drive you to buy new clothes after its judgements or recommend ordering a different shirt instead of what you’ve got on. But at the same time, it’s hard to imagine Amazon putting this much effort and manpower into a cute experiment for customers to play. The best guess I can come up with is that it’s looking for user data to better improve its own fashion brand’s offerings, but even that doesn’t seem to justify it. Amazon, when asked for comment, responded that Outfit Compare is an Amazon Prime feature that’s part of the company’s efforts in “making the membership service something that becomes part of our members’ daily life.”
If you’re looking to try Outfit Compare out for yourself, the new feature has rolled out to iOS users today in the Amazon app, (it’s hidden under Menu -> Programs and Features -> Outfit Compare), and it should be rolling out to Android users soon.