Try on Dresses Online: Miss Selfridge’s Magic Mirror is Here!

In Cool Sites, Technology on December 28, 2010 by Naoko Takano

 I was so impressed with this innovation that I had to share with all of you.

I never thought I would see the day that one could try on clothing “virtually”…but it’s here.

Miss Selfridge has implemented an online application where you can snap a photo of yourself and overlay their clothing onto your photo…all on their website platform.  (Up until now this was more than possible if you felt like messing about in Photoshop or some other graphic-editing program [i.e., taking a photo of yourself, then downloading product photos from your favorite online store and layering the items over your body in the program].  But to have this functionality self-hosted on a clothing e-tailer’s site, especially one as big as Miss Selfridge, is huge.  I hope other sites jump on this bandwagon stat!)

You need to first wear a neutral-colored, tight-fitting sheath.  You position your computer’s camera device so that you are about 3 steps away from it, and align the dress that appears onscreen with your body.  Using the touch-sensitive virtual buttons that appear to be suspended in midair on your screen, you resize the dress so it fits the lines of your body, and then choose the camera button, which snaps a photo that you can then share on Facebook.


Fun!  It’s really neat to see how a piece of clothing will look on you before you actually buy it, and once you get the hang of it, it’s quick to try different pieces out.  Saves the hassle of putting on and taking off clothes entirely.  Plus, it helps with the decision-making…for instance, that beige dress I tried on above I really didn’t like until I tried it on…and now, I’m more inclined to get it since I thought it surprisingly flattering for my body type.


1.) Doesn’t work in Firefox (I have the latest version).  I had to use Safari as my browser to allow the application to work.

2.) The Resize and Camera (“take a photo) buttons have an extremely tiny area of sensitivity.  You have to fumble about in midair for awhile until buttons respond – and sometimes they don’t at all.  I found that I could get the buttons to respond only by moving super-close to my camera and trying to “touch” the buttons with my head.  Only then would they respond and I had to rush back to the exact spot where the dress was aligned in time for the photo to be snapped. AND, you can’t use the mouse to click on the buttons when they don’t respond to touch.  MAJOR programming drawback.

3.) Building off 2.), the application takes photos too quickly.  I had trouble fitting my pose and the dress size correctly with only a 3-second countdown.

4.) You can’t take a photo to share on email, or save on your computer, or in an online account. You can only post them on your Facebook profile, and the photos that you can post end up SUPER-TINY.  In order to share the above with you, I had to take a screenshot (of the photo of me wearing the dresses, that for some reason the application tilts, shrinks, and adds a polaroid-style border to – MOST ANNOYING).  Thus, you only have small photos of my 20-minute try-on session to look at.

5) I noticed at least one of the dresses was a different version when you go to buy it – the peacock-print caftan does not have a cut-out shoulder in the version that’s available on the site.  Consistency, please!

6) You can’t try on separates.  Forget about creating whole outfits…and the dresses you can try on are just a tiny fraction of all the pieces they offer for sale online anyway.

7) Unless you have really good lighting, your photos will be really dark and grainy.  The more neutral the background, the easier to see as well.

You may or may not have seen this already, but Wieden + Kennedy Tokyo’s ad for Google search employs a similar technique…though not necessarily usable unless you have a projector. 

Try On Dresses in Miss Selfridge’s
Magic Mirror

If you have a spare 15-20 minutes to play around, this is a super-fun way to spend it!  (I just hope they address some of the technology issues and add more clothing pieces to “try on” soon!)


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6 Responses to “Try on Dresses Online: Miss Selfridge’s Magic Mirror is Here!”

  1. Woah! This is awesome!! Thanks for sharing!

    <3 Kelly

  2. This idea is super awesome BUT do you have to take photos nude? or in bra and underwear? I wonder if they have the rights to and/or copies of everyone's “before” photos, in their underwear? …that can't be good

    Otherwise, it sounds pretty brilliant!

  3. WOW this is so cool! Thank you for sharing Carly xxx

  4. Hmm…I like the idea but you have to have a webcam, from what you're saying? I live in the stone age and don't have one of those :-/

  5. @Tara, in 3 PartsYes, in order to use this feature you do have to have a webcam that is connected to your computer. Unfortunately without that there's no way to overlay their product images onto you. (They don't have an “upload your photo” feature or anything, which I guess would defeat the purpose of a “real-time virtual dressing room.” 😛

  6. @…love MaeganNo, you aren't taking any photos of yourself without the dresses at all (you're only be “snapped” in a photo once the dress image is overlaid onto you). You can wear whatever you want. I chose to wear a nude-colored slip since it's short and tight and provides the illusion of skin (you can see it peeking out here and there in the shots). There is nothing on their site that says anything about them storing images or having any rights to the images…but I suppose it is possible that an unscrupulous company could retain the image of me in my bodyslip (even though the image I've snapped is with their dress virtually overlaid onto me – at least that's what I see on my end, and in the shot their application displays). If they put a photo of me in my bodyslip out on the internet, sure I would be mad, but it wouldn't be the same as a shot of me naked or in my underwear. I felt comfortable with it, though certainly a techincally-minded person on the Miss Selfridge site *could* set it up to view girls as they try out this application, or retail the photos…I believe the risk is low, which is why I tried it out, but it's true…you never really do know.:-)

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