StyleMint: Five Girls, Same Styles?

If you're a fashion bug, fashionista, fashion fan, wearer of clothes, Full House fan, whatever, you probably heard somewhere this month about the Olsen twin's new website (twebsite?) StyleMint. On it, stylistas Mary-Kate and Ashley offer new T-shirt designs each month.

But they have The Row and Elizabeth & James so what's the big deal, right?

What's causing the stir is not that the $30 tees are hello, freakin' T-shirts, it's that using a personal profile you set up via several multiple-choice fashion-focused questions, the site customizes your shirt styling based on your answers/profile.

This month's tees are just about sold out, so I coerced my fellow lady staffers into answering some questions and seeing just what sort of StyleMint the twins suggested we all pair with our unavailable Olsen Twees (that's our new name for an Olsen Twin tee).

After the jump, check out the feedback from Anna, Catherine, Elizabeth, Laura and me after we were given for our Olsen Twin style (or, stwyle, because we can't stop with that whole thing) recommendations.

Laura: OK, so I am admittedly not a tee shirt girl. I was kind of curious to see what kinds of things the Olsen Twins think that a weird girl like me should be wearing.

I took the survey, which was interesting. One question was, "Where do you go for retail therapy?" The options were Needless Markup, the Gap, and H&M. Where is the Goodwill option?! Apparently, in the Style Mint universe, poor people don't exist. Granted, they're selling expensive tee shirts, so the Goodwill set isn't really their target market, but I was still miffed.

The site asked me to pick my hair color and daily lipstick color from a list that contained nothing close to my real hair color and lipstick color (bright red on both). When asked to pick what I'd wear to a girls' night out or a business meeting, I was given choices that contained some cool pieces, but were horribly styled and looked straight out of the "Do" section of Glamour magazine's "Dos and Don'ts." As a lifelong Don't, I felt left out. [Insert "forever alone" face here.]

The shirts that the site picked for me after I completed this painful survey were pictured on models wearing them with skirts. One of the skirts is pretty cool, I'll give them that. However, this site isn't selling skirts. The tee shirts didn't look like they were worth more than the three dollars I pay for stuff at Goodwill. The picture I included depicts the skirt I thought was awesome; whoever thought this skirt would look good with what appears to be the top half of a set of long johns is probably getting paid lots of money for their styling services, which I resent.

Elizabeth's recommendations are the clear winners. You win this round, Bair.
Elizabeth's recommendations are the clear winners. You win this round, Bair.

Elizabeth: The Olsens think I'm boring. That's fine. At least I look younger than them. I don't really have a style, and I usually just wear whatever is clean and comfortable. I actually like the "Top Pick" the website recommended for me, but I find it interesting that since it's a styling site, there's not more styling. Some of the models could use an accessory or two. I know they're sticking to that "model look," but it would help the boring people like me learn how to dress. Hey MK and Ash, can you guys launch a website that teaches people how to create billion-dollar conglomerates? I'm need that more than tips on wearing a T-shirt.

Catherine: What more can one expect from a style quiz promoting a new T-shirt line from the Olsen twins? [Editor's note: Catherine got the same exact style recommendations as Laura. While both ladies are incredibly stylish, they couldn't be more different in terms of inspirations -- Laura is a mid-century vintage fan, while Catherine is on-trend with booties, leggings and a recent-retro vibe.]

Anna: My style generally could be described as "something black on top paired with jeans and the same fucked up Target flats I always wear" (or motorcycle boots in the winter) so it was pretty much a given that the Olsen twins and I wouldn't share the same fashion sensibilities. I also had some of the same survey issues Laura did -- I like to wear red or purple-y lipstick, if any, my hair is a brighter red than I was given an option for, and I wouldn't ever pick any of the listed stores for my "retail therapy" (gross). How 'bout Ross? That's in my price range.

As for the outfits the Style-O-Matic or whatever it's called spit out for me -- leather shorts? No thanks, unless you give me a Camaro to writhe around on the hood of, in an '80s hair metal video, in which case I will consider it. Dirty cut-off jeans cut off in the wrong place, worn with a studded belt and some shapeless, long-sleeved, scoop-necked thingy with a few buttons? Where would I wear that stunning little number, exactly? It looks like a great outfit for a DUI mugshot.

One of the pairs of pants that was suggested for me looks very soft, though. And sort of fawn-like in color. Maybe I could cut them up and use them to sew together a deranged-looking deer that I could name "Ashley."

Side note: I read some interview with the Olsens where they said that whenever they have their photo taken, they said the word "prune" to form an appropriately sexy pout. Prune. Pruuuuune.

Anna and Merritt got the ill-fitting leather and studded belt styling. Ummm, K.
Anna and Merritt got the ill-fitting leather and studded belt styling. Ummm, K.

Merritt: I got the striped tee as my Top Pick, just like everyone else. But I'm an individual! I wear Danskos in winter without shame! I rarely wear sandals! I like pants but also fabulous dresses! I thought I told you want I wanted, including the Elizabeth & James statement ring you baited me with in the survey, Mary-Kate! I thought I told you that I would willingly wear a fun jacket to a business meeting, Ashley!

Oh, and my styling options? The exact same as Anna's. Like Laura and Cat, we have shared interests -- black tops, for example -- but I know we didn't answer questions the same way. How? Because we work feet away from each other. Also, she told me. Whatever. Rumor has it all of us will start menstruating at the same time anyway, since we're around each other all the time, so perhaps StyleMint sensed this and that's where all the style unity came from.

I like the striped tee and "fawn Ashley pants" (though, naturally, I'd prefer the pants in black or gray), but all the Gold Bond in the world could never make leather shorts work with my Martin thighs. Also, those jeans fit in such a way that were I 16 and wearing them my mother might say, "Take those off -- I can practically see your vagina."

I think it's interesting that on each of the individual recommended tees' pages, the editors' notes (by the Olsens) include styling tips for the T-shirts that varies dramatically with my business. What they say, I can actually visualize as a viable option on my person. What I see, however, makes me cringe.

I'm actually a fan of the Olsen fashion franchises. Can I afford them? Um, no -- but that doesn't mean I don't dig their vision and keep watch on certain over/backstock sites. My issue with the StyleMint experiment is that even though the largest appeal of these tees is allegedly the "low" price point (and I'll give them that for an Olsen line it is low), the questions asked weren't geared toward the middle-income consumer.

A better angle -- as opposed to giving the high-ticket shopper that oh-so delicious taste of "slumming it" -- would be to target the demographic that wishes they could wear Olsen shit for the price of a dress from Target.

Follow the Mixmaster on Twitter: @the_mixmaster.

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