Full disclosure: I have owned the CTS Wardrobe from Carlyle Theas
Solutions for many years now, and find it to be a most valuable utility,
second only to my AO. I am often on the Wardrobe support group helping
people accomplish their goals with the Wardrobe. I love the thing.
Simply put, the CTS Wardrobe is a device for seeing, organizing and
wearing clothes and other items from your inventory. It solves the problem
of "What does that piece of clothing look like?" by creating a visual
inventory, readily accessible from in-world.
Combined with its HUD, the Wardrobe allows you to locate articles of
clothing and outfits using key words ("tags") of your own choosing, see
them visually, and then wear the item you choose with a single click of
You create the tags as you load each item into the Wardrobe. You can then
choose from the index of the tags you've made to get a visual display of
all the items that match the tag elements you selected. Your Wardrobe can
be viewed in a browser in-world or outside of SL. It can also be viewed via the included Closet, a nine prim multi-textured piece of furniture for your SL home that, when opened, will display your Wardrobe web page in-world.
The items remain in your inventory. The Wardrobe only contains pictures of
the items. You can use designer's textures, or you can easily take your
own pictures (as I am prone to doing). The HUD assists you with posing and
uploading the pictures to your Wardrobe's web site, created when you first
use your Wardrobe.
The inventor, Carlyle Theas, combined the SL Restrained Life Viewer (RLV) technology with web and SL technology to give us the Wardrobe with an amazing range of functionality and versatility. It is pretty easy to use for the beginner, yet has many features that will attract and amuse the techies. I invited Carlyle to my home for an interview about the CTS Wardrobe.
Karen: Is this the first thing you ever made in SL?
Carly: No, it wasn't, I had some learning to do before that ;) Actually
I'd been thinking about such a system for a long time before I actually
started creating it. It took quite a while until I figured out a way it
could be done.
Karen: Why did you make the wardrobe?
Carly: I hated that I couldn't look at what I've got in my inventory. SL is very visual, so you always want to look your best, right? But that's
hard (or at least very time consuming) if you have to try on so many
outfits until you've found something that suits the occasion, since you
probably don't remember exactly what they look like. There are of course
textures, sometimes, but they take ages to load, and they're not really
search-able. So what I wanted was a system that allowed me to find what I
was looking for and actually display what it was.
Karen: When did you actually hit on how it could be done?
Carly: It was first released in May 2010, so I must have had the idea for
the technical implementation maybe in February of that year or so.
Karen: How does it work?
Carly: The user can take snapshots of an outfit, tag it so she or he can
find it again easily, and send it to the system by email - directly from
within the SL viewer. Each user has a personal Wardrobe webpage which will
show their items and which they can use to look for items. That was the
basic idea. After that came all the fancy stuff like the in-world closets,
which allow you to show your wardrobe to friends, the dressing feature,
with which you can dress directly from your webpage, and utilities like
the pose stand which makes it easier to create nice looking photographs of
Karen: So you create and maintain the web pages? Just to clarify, only the
pictures, not the outfits themselves, are in the web page, so it is a
visual directory of the outfits and items in your inventory?
Carly: Yes, to both of your questions :) The Wardrobe complements the SL
inventory, it isn't a replacement for it.
Karen: What problems have you found with its use?
Carly: There is a bit of a learning curve to it. Unfortunately, SL doesn't
allow you to make everything as easy and intuitive as it should be, so, as
a creator, especially a creator of something the designers of SL didn't
think about, you have to work around a lot of obstacles and limitations. I
think that's probably the main problem when someone starts using it. Then,
of course, all kinds of small problems keep creeping up, e.g., when
someone wants to use it some way *I* hadn't thought about! ;) Of course, I
have to use what SL provides, but integrating RLV, which allows
interaction between the webpage and the in-world HUD was a nice technical
Karen: So it when the user comes up with a use you had not anticipated,
you face the same problem SL has when you create something they hadn't
Carly: It is probably the same in a way, yes... you have to look for
workarounds to make things work :) But I'm always open to suggestions, so
if I think that more people can benefit from a new idea within the
Wardrobe, I'll certainly add it to the feature set :)
Karen: What's next for the Wardrobe?
Carly: A really neat idea or wish I heard from someone was that there be
an interface which allows the user to "program" the Wardrobe, e.g., with
sensory input: e.g., it could allow the Wardrobe to change your outfit
automatically when you step into water (e.g., put on your bikini and a
swim HUD), or change clothing according to the time of day. Another idea
was to improve the search function, so a tag would "know" which category
it belonged to (e.g. ,color, creator, etc.). I've also played with ideas
like automatic recognition of colors based on the outfit image.
I asked another Wardrobe user what she thought the biggest problem was:
Justme Sideways: In the support group, people sometimes have server side
problems, rarely actual Wardrobe problems. There are so many features,
some people get intimidated... I am still discovering some new things I
can do. I am very particular about the pics I upload to the wardrobe,
though, and this slows down my loading items into it. Happily I don't have
thousands of outfits to enter. :)
For me, the Wardrobe is indispensable and my preferred path into my
inventory of clothing.