Words by Aisling Ettarh
May 10th, 2017
How techy are you? Chances are, you answered “very” or “pretty good”. It’s not bragging, simply a condition of modern life. Between smartphones, smart TVs, smart cars, and millions of apps, of course we’re getting more tech-savvy. It would be weird if we weren’t. Think of all the parts of our lives we add technology to in order to make things easier, quicker, or cheaper. Fitness: You know exactly how many calories you can burn with a squat. Finances: You can’t remember the last time you actually received a paper statement. Friends: All hail the group chat. Technology is so ingrained in our lives, we barely even think of it anymore as something we’ve added in, it’s just the way things get done.
I’m fully aware that I spend far more time staring at my phone screen than I do the contents of my wardrobe, or the art around my house – all those nice things I bought based on how they look. Now, I’m not deluded enough to think I have spare hours to spend gazing at paintings in the dining room (I don’t), or naïve enough to believe I’d be in any way organised without my phone and its apps (I wouldn’t). I need technology because I’ve set my life up to allow technology help me get things done – as have many of us. So we’re not going to ditch the technology but instead maybe think carefully about what it is we’re staring at for all those hours. We spend so much time looking at interfaces, swiping through screens, shouldn’t we try to find ones worth looking at? I think about design when I choose my clothes and decorate my home, so why should I forget about the apps I download or the gadgets I buy? With sleek design in mind, I went on the hunt for chic apps and technology accessories, which prove to have both style and substance.
Usually, we engage with technology for practical reasons – organising everyday errands, special events on the calendar, and the most dreaded, setting your alarm to ring each morning. Thankfully, Rise offers beautiful colour gradient backdrops for that 6 am wake-up call. Add that to the slightly more sophisticated sound options (gentle fade into bird song anyone?), and you’ve got a very civilised start to the day.
For anyone with a jam-packed calendar, Timepage – Calendar by Moleskin is a game changer. The only thing worse than knowing you have a crazy day is your crazy day looking completely bonkers on the calendar. Enter the clever people at Moleskin, who have brought the simple elegance of their beloved notebooks to this app. Complete with weather and traffic updates for your locations of the day, this is the calendar of the cool, calm, and collected.
Travelling for business? A weekend city break? If, like me, you’re a notorious over-packer, PackPoint is here to help. It will make a list of things to pack based on where you’re headed, for how long, and what you plan to do. And the pretty little icons make it far nicer to follow than a hastily scribbled list.
Stylebook is the smartphone version of Cher Horowitz’s wardrobe. I’ll admit, I’ve used this along with PackPoint to plan for trips, and it is addictive. If you have a hectic schedule or early mornings, don’t waste time standing in front of the wardrobe pulling pieces together – let Stylebook do it for you. Plan a whole month’s outfits in advance, based on pictures of the clothes you own. Yes, initially it will take some time to snap photos of your clothes, but that’s what lazy Sundays are for. But after that the fun begins – I’ve pulled looks together sitting in airports, on the train home, and even used it to show someone exactly what clothes I need them to grab from my place if I’m not there to, eh…supervise.
Of course, some of the best-looking apps out there are the ones aimed at design lovers. And with Instagram exploding as the social visual platform, it seems only right that there are so many photo-editing apps available. Some with particularly appealing interfaces include Litely, a subtle photo filter app, and Color Thief, which allows you to steal tones from one picture and apply them to another.
If the news is more your thing, you can curate your very own editorial. With Flipboard, you choose the links to articles you want to read, and the app will arrange them in your very own homepage. For the Editor-In-Chief in all of us.
It seems if we’re not staring into technology, we’re wearing it. But I’m not a fan of the slightly robotic look that some gadgets can have. I’d rather something that is primarily beautiful, with smart features as an added bonus. Luckily, the world of wearable tech is a vast landscape, with plenty of options – more of which we’re seeing with a strong focus on design.
With sitting being considered the “new smoking”, we’re focusing on health and fitness not just during our workouts, but all day, every day. The wearable fitness tracker is nothing new, and its evolution to more than a wrist computer has led to some pretty pieces that you won’t mind wearing even after your workout.
The Tory Burch x Fitbit range has turned the tracker into a piece of classic jewellery. And a wide range of finishes means we’re no longer limited to the rubber band strap of so many calorie counters. Leaf Urban by Bellabeat also boasts a beautiful alternative to the square-screened devices, disguising itself as a chic leaf pattern bangle.
Another health issue we’re urged to think about more is sun safety, and the June by Netatmo is a stylish way to monitor your UV exposure. The bracelet measures UV levels and then notifies you by phone when to apply sunscreen, what SPF, and when you should pop on some shades to protect your eyes. With sun damage a leading cause of premature ageing of the skin, this is the type of technology we can get behind. Clever indeed.
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