High-tech publicist and former amateur ice-hockey player Patty Handschiegel has snapped her own photo in the mirror every day for more than a year. She uploads each one to a Web site she founded called mystylediary.net, where anyone can create a profile about themselves and post pictures of what they are wearing for others to see.
The site, which appears to be the first of its kind devoted to fashion, has attracted nearly 6,000 members from more than 75 countries since it went live in March. Fifty percent of its members live outside the U.S., and as of Tuesday, the site contained 44,000 photos of outfits and accessories.
Handschiegel has encouraged the raw and natural look of many of the pictures readers send in. Some are a little blurry, and in many of them, the subjects hide their faces behind their hands or snap the photo from the neck down.
“We wanted it to feel like you were in somebody’s house, even though the site has grown,” she said.
A few of the participants are designers, jewelry makers, or boutique owners. Members, who register for free, can message each other about outfits or whatever is on their minds.
A sister site, stylediary.net, runs articles about fashion, including detailed reviews of new products, such as specific brands of straight-leg jeans.
Stylediary.net started as Handschiegel’s blog in August 2004, but when people started sending her photos of themselves and their outfits, she quickly got the idea of creating mystylediary.net to showcase them.
Business partner and boyfriend Will Kapke built both sites, which are supported by advertising and profitable, said Handschiegel. Kapke recently quit his job as a senior software engineer at an Internet service provider to work full-time as the site’s chief operating and technology officer. Handschiegel, meanwhile, has kept her day job as a publicist for a high-tech p.r. firm. Both are from the Midwest and moved to Los Angeles in 2002. They currently live in Sherman Oaks, Calif.
“The community of the Web is influencing a lot of trends probably more than people realize, in my opinion,” she said. “I do believe it can have an influence on fashion because people are being exposed to things.”
As for her own fashion sense, she says she has good weeks and bad weeks. “I get a lot of clothes,” she admitted. “I have to buy them for the site. I joke that this all came from me trying to make a return on my investment on my shopping habits.”