How to learn good wardrobe-building skills from PoupeeGirl

First, an introduction to PoupeeGirl, which is an online fashion community where you have a doll-like avatar (une poupée, French for “a doll”) that you can dress up with clothing, makeup, and accessories that you earn or buy through the game. You can earn ribbons, the primary form of currency in the game, by…

  • posting pictures of items from your own wardrobes. For each item you post to your online closet, you can earn a combination of an item for your Poupee and ribbons.
  • commenting on other users’ items.
  • receiving comments on your own items from other users.
  • updating your Poupee’s daily outfit picture.
  • selling items on the Poupee Market.
  • exchanging jewels, the other form of currency earned by paying with actual RL money, into ribbons at the Bank.
  • winning one of the contests held for best-dressed Poupee according to the contest theme.

Back when I first began playing the game, before anything was even translated into English and non-Japanese-speaking users had to follow the guides we found online to get through the basic functions of setting up an account, it was quite easy to collect every wardrobe item available for your little Poupee. If you worked hard at uploading pictures of everything you had and commenting on other people’s things, you could max out your ribbon earning income and buy the items made available at the in-game shop on a periodical basis. Then PoupeeGirl became very popular very quickly, began doing in-game events with sponsors and such, and introduced clothing that could only be purchased with jewels. The game events, which marked the updates of the in-game department store “getting new stock,” came more frequently and it was, quite frankly, impossible to keep up unless you were literally putting hundreds of dollars into the game per month.

So how does this game teach you anything (except to be careful about resisting the allure of pay-for-play systems)?

  1. You learn how important it is to have consistent earnings. At the very minimum you can earn about 10 ribbons per day by posting your Poupee’s daily outfit picture, but you won’t have very much money to spend when the event chock full of all your favorite things pops up without warning. PoupeeGirl is very much about taking advantage of the moment sometimes because they offer limited quantity or limited time items and few of the events are ever announced beforehand. This reflects the real world market in that you can expect certain sales around holidays or the end of the season, but sometimes flash sales can catch you off guard and you miss a good bargain. When you have a consistent source of income, it’s a lot easier to float a little money into a rainy day fund to pay for that in-love-at-first-sight piece you see in the shop window.
  2. You learn how much you’re willing to spend and how much to save. Related to the first point above, I’ve noticed the tendency amongst myself and others that after you put so much time into accumulating ribbons, then you’re less likely to blow it all on anything less than your absolute must-haves. Many will splurge on new events until they hit they’re minimum limit of ribbons that they require themselves to have in reserve at all times, which makes it easier to build your savings back up later. The same reasoning can be applied to your bank and savings accounts in that you should always have a baseline above $0 for your savings, and only dip below your line when it’s for a very specific reason.
  3. You learn to buy only the things you really like. After the changes PoupeeGirl initiated that I mentioned before, players had to focus their in-game purchases and be more careful with what they got for their ribbons. Some go for the shoes, some prefer certain colors, some like the traditional clothing, some the punk style clothes, and so on. You may like only one item from one event but nearly all of the items from another. Thus, you have to make those tough choices between what you want to get on the spot and what you might be willing to wait and try to find on resale on the Market later on. By the time an item makes it to the Market, you may find that you don’t really want it after all or that you can get it at an even better price than it was originally. Additionally, you have to take into consideration if the item will be of any use to you in consideration of the rest of your Poupee items. Sometimes an out of place item will be a dazzling punch to your Poupee’s outfit for the day, other times you’ll have a devil of a time getting it to match with anything! This can teach you to use the same strategy in your real life closet and avoid purchasing clothes and accessories that you neither love nor have use for.
  4. You learn to train your eye for style. One of the easiest ways to earn ribbons, as mentioned above, is to update your Poupee’s daily outfit picture. Other users can give you a suteki rating, basically saying that they think your outfit is cute. This is incentive to actually give your virtual doll a little style, which in turn will demonstrate your own tastes and help develop your creative skills. Sometimes the items don’t quite match up on the pixel level, so you have to get a little creative with layering items to achieve certain looks. This is one of the key skills that a person can learn to manipulate their real wardrobe to make it suitable for any occasion with just a tuck here or a repurposed skirt there. Your Poupee doll’s outfits might give you the inspiration to try a new look that you hadn’t thought appealing before, you never now!
  5. You learn to cull and save things. Since you can sell items on the Market, many people like to sell old items to be able to buy new items. This is tricky because you never know if you’ll regret selling something. This is often the hardest task people face in the real world, but in the virtual world of PoupeeGirl the risk is minimal and might help build your decision making skills as to what to keep and what to get rid of.
  6. You learn how much hair style and color can change your look. Users can often be pleased or frustrated by how changing hair color or style of their Poupee dolls can affect how they arrange outfits. The same can be said of real life where a little change to your hair can change the entire appearance of an outfit.
  7. You learn how important the little details are. For example, different mascara styles or that ring on your Poupee doll’s finger may seem irrelevant unless you zoom in to +200%, but from the normal view you may be able to see that there’s an extra little sparkle that makes the look just seem right. This can be an invaluable styling skill in the real world.

These are some of the things that I think are important to building a well-developed and well-thought out wardrobe, which I also think you can learn from playing this game. I also view the game as a low-risk, low-impact way of exploring fashion and style. If it’s interesting to anyone, you can check out the site here; don’t worry, it comes in English now! ( ^ _ ~ )

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