“Did I shower today? I don’t remember if I showered today.”
Hosted by former MTV host Lyndsey Rodrigues, ABC News correspondent Rachel Smith and YouTube personality and performer Frankie Grande, also known as Ariana’s older half-brother, “Style Code Live” runs weeknights at 9pm ET/6pm PT, and shares up-to-the-minute fashion and beauty tips via special guest experts; Tuesday’s were Danielle Bernstein, founder of fashion blog We Wore What, and beauty expert Deepica Mutyala.
As the hosts coo over runway-ready accessories and tempting cosmetics, viewers are encouraged to share their reactions via a live chat feed – and, most importantly, to shop for the featured products on Amazon.
Any Amazon user can watch the show, but the quintessential “Style Code Live” viewer is young, fashion-obsessed and concerned about maintaining an up-to-date look. Meanwhile, I make most of my daily fashion choices based on how easily they’ll transition from bed to office chair to couch and back to bed again. Which is to say, I am not the ideal “Style Code Live” viewer. I am a solitary writer, and a bit of a slob.
Yet by the end of the online show’s 35-minute premiere, I had made a purchase.
How on Earth did that happen?
Though “Style Code Live” might accurately be described as a test tube baby resulting from the blended DNA of E!’s “Fashion Police,” a morning television makeover segment, a QVC shopping network show and a haul video, it does boast something unique: a fully interactive Style Carousel, a menu linking to the products being discussed on the show that is constantly updated in real time.
“It’s your magical clothing rack!” one of the hosts exclaimed joyfully. I poo-poohed that idea until Grande got the ball rolling by asking viewers if they’ve ever worn the same shirt several days in a row. My ears perked up, and I sheepishly glanced downward at the long-sleeved cotton jersey blouse I had on. It was still sporting the ghost of a soup stain I thought I’d adequately dabbed off yesterday.
I looked back at my computer screen. Grande had my attention.
With the help of a few enthusiastic runway waifs, the co-host introduced the MORF shirt, a multi-reversible shirt able to be worn up to 24 ways. Meaning, if I had a sauce accident on one side, no worries! I could just flip it over to feature another panel and be ready for action.
The MORF was the first item in the carousel, and I clicked the photo to open a new tab featuring its page on Amazon. It was on sale, and affordable. I selected my size, clicked “Add to Cart,” and hated myself a little. Then I went back to watching the show.
“Style Code” is conveniently broken into segments highlighted beneath its player, with thematic titles such as “Cold Shoulder” (for shoulder-baring styles) and “Boho Romo” (for bohemian…romos). As the conversation moves from one header to another, the Carousel updates.
A smaller “Style Links” section clicks through to pages of merchandise that fit the prescribed theme, includes galleries of “Cold Shoulder” tops and breezy dresses. One chat user handily asked about the jumpsuit Smith was wearing and, voila! A “Jumpsuits” category appeared.
“Style Code’s” premiere also featured a pre-taped interview with “Orange is the New Black” star Laura Prepon, there to promote her weight-loss book “The Stash Plan” (also in the Carousel!). It ended with Smith sweetly showing Prepon that she tried out a recipe from the book, resulting in an unidentifiable tan brick that may have been some sort of quick bread. Prepon was visibly touched.
Other items in the Carousel included something called the tweexy, a silicone nail polish holder you can wear like a ring pop, a pair of stacked heels, a Vince Camuto clutch (which Grande announced by utilizing an oddly exaggerated accent) and a Trina Turk necklace.
Effectively “Style Code” is the world’s most dynamic shopping catalog hosted by incredibly adorable people who want you to think of them as your personal spree enablers.
You’ve gotta give it to Rodrigues, Smith and Grande – they have winning chemistry and didn’t come off as too cloying. (Though when my husband entered my office to see what I was doing, he took one look at the trio and blurted out, “I hope that this is live, because it feels like Clubhouse Disney with credit cards.” Again, I cannot stress this enough: we are not the target audience.)
They also make it ridiculously simple to shop for clothes, jewelry, makeup and the show’s Song of the Day (Tuesday’s was DNCE’s “Cake By the Ocean”), which is obviously what Amazon wants. If a user asks which designer made the jacket a guest is wearing, not long after said guest shares the answer, a link appears where you can buy it.
So…mission accomplished, at least on the show’s first night out.
Highlighted “Style Code” merchandise includes a variety of price points, so although Bernstein kicked off her appearance by advising shoppers to invest in quality pieces that may cost a little more, she also featured a dress that cost a reasonable $15, perhaps to offset the sticker shock of the $298 Rachel Zoe strappy heels one model wore.
Yes, about those models…the show helpfully shares each woman’s size to assist shoppers in calibrating how an item would fit. The first model was five-foot-nine and wore a size two pink dress, meaning that if she glanced at that baked rectangle shown during Prepon’s segment, that counted as dinner. The dress fit her beautifully, of course. So did the outfit on another model who was five-foot-eight and wore an extra small.
The first episode of any new series serves as a table setter in which a show announces its tone and gives viewers a sense of what it’s all about. But one hopes that upcoming episodes feature models of varying sizes as opposed to the classic tall stick figures. I am not the only person who noticed this.
“These model stats are a little depressing,” shared “Style Code” chat user MissGabbers. “What’s good if you’re 5’1” and a size S/M?” Or, for that matter, a size L or XL? I’m curious to see if “Style Code’s” producers take this into account for the second show, which features curvy, body-positive singer Meghan Trainor.
Having said that, as someone who is too lazy to focus on fashion, I’m not particularly inspired to see if they do that — or to make “Style Code” appointment viewing, or to chase down its repeats on demand. But it’s nice to know Grande, Smith and Rodrigues are there for me if I ever need them.
In the meantime, I can’t wait to try on my MORF shirt and never, ever take it off.