Lookbook.nu is a hugely successful fashion aggregator that allows teens, tweens, and young adults all across the globe to submit photographs of themselves in extremely trendy outfits. The community, while once exclusive, is now open to all interested users regardless of their style credentials.
The site works by rating a series of recently submitted looks on what’s called the “hot page.” No one knows the exact formula by which looks are ordered, but it’s common Lookbook knowledge that it mostly has to do with which looks have the most amount of “hypes” within the shortest amount of time. “Total hype” is a number that reveals how many users liked a certain look. Generally, successful looks have hypes that range from 300 to 2,000. A look with hype from 2,000 to 3,000 is extremely successful and a rare occurrence. The highest amount of hype a look has ever received is 3,763 (and counting).
The Lookbook community is not one that is easy to be inducted into. Ever since the site leader’s decision to open its gates, a new set of extremely restricting rules has been introduced. New and inexperienced users can post looks, but they won’t show up on any live feed. This ensures that those posted by established users won’t be drowned out by the noobs. In order for a newbie to earn their place on the “new” or “hot” page, they must spend days to weeks exploring the site forums and making a name for themselves. It takes a great deal of time, effort, and implementation of especially trendy themes to become a notorious Lookbooker.
If you’re one of the many Lookbook users that find yourself on the cusp of mad hype on Lookbook, the following insights into the trends that drive Lookbook hype will be useful.
Lookbook has rules that require looks to display a view of an outfit that is at least head-to-knee or neck-to-toe (head to toe is encouraged.)
The most successful looks are taken with professional cameras in an outdoor setting with flash disabled. The theme of nature is extremely appealing to ‘fashion free-spirits,’ most of which identify themselves as hipsters.
Another way a look becomes successful is when it features fine-tuned Photoshop editing. No successful look has ever featured an image with too much brightness, contrast, or sharpness applied. Sorry Generation Myspace, looks like Lookbook isn’t the ‘scene’ for you. Photos with 10-30% opacity applied generally receive a respectable amount of hype.
Some Lookbookers opt to photograph themselves indoors, instead. A quirky looking bedroom featuring a wall of Polaroids and magazine cut-outs will generate praise from users who appreciate photography that caters to rebellious youths. Someone who takes a photograph of themselves against a plain white wall is relying heavily on the originality of their outfit and not their backdrop.
A popular special effect for looks is layering an image of a galaxy on top of another photo. Constellations and galaxies have made a name for themselves in the Tumblr community as ‘hipster iconic,’ especially when white text in Helvetica font is superimposed. Icons like triangles, crosses, and pentagrams are extremely trendy within today’s indie counterculture. When presented on Lookbook, they generate buzz.
Popular looks often feature close-up shots of charms and accessories with recurring symbols. Successful charms include owls, bird cages, mustaches, clocks, bows, and dream catchers. Charms are seen as novelty tokens symbolic of one’s youthful nature. For example, a mustache charm for a girl is meant to be ironic, and a bird cage charm for either gender is meant to represent the ‘soul set free.’ Anything related to animals or wild life is representative of one’s ‘down to earth’ personality.
Current articles of clothing that attract ‘mad hype’ are Jeffery Campbell Lita platforms, dotted tights, aviator jackets, knitted sweaters, and hooded capes.
This season, bigger is better. Designer shoes have six-inch platforms and blazers sport Gaga-chic shoulder pads. Minimalism is passe – you either go bold or you go home.
Those who aren’t a fan of fitted jackets and pastel color pallets can aim to capture the aesthetic of a drop-out rebel runaway. Tussled hair, beat up Doc Martens, ripped tights, and high-waisted denim shorts will have inspired fashionistas right-click-saving faster than you can say “life is what happens between cigarettes.”
And this year, Lookbookers with red hair are in luck – most top-rated contributors rock red locks. Whether it’s dyed or real is irrelevant. The fashion community is crazy for rouge ringlets.
Either the fashion community is incomprehensibly poetic, or everyone just happens to name their looks after song lyrics. One of, if not the most popular artist to be quoted among look titles is Morrissey of The Smiths.
Lookbookers generally listen to the same artists: The XX, Crystal Castles, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Florence and the Machine, the Dirty Projectors, and La Roux. While Lookbook contributors and fashion bloggers seem to favor independent art genres, the occasional Kesha song lyric will appear on the hot page from time to time.