My app named Harry

September 2020

It has been quite a while since I shopped for winter clothing. Beyond the retirement purge that happened over 4 years ago, the last few years we have spent most of the colder months in the sunny and warm south. My selection in wardrobe, therefore, was more focused on shorts, golf attire and flip flops. In the wake of spending winter here at home, I have been scouring my closet inventory for the cold weather. Anything I have right now looks like it predates 90s chic; shoulder pads and all. (Don’t laugh, they’re making a comeback.)

Now you may have first-hand experience on the web with an app that allegedly supports your online shopping searches by providing similar suggestions for your consideration. This is apparently titled the “Recommendation App” and I’ve named mine Harry.

Look up sweater and you automatically get links to a hundred or more sites. I have even received advertisements for wool. Harry obviously doesn’t know how I have massacred more than one simple scarf.

I have taken some amusement in seeing what “Harry” believes a 60-plus woman will be wearing this winter “in”.

This is perhaps where even the best artificial intelligence cannot match a woman’s specific taste in apparel or, more importantly, overall look. Each suggestion “recommended just for you” has the personality of a measuring tape and is very low on the accuracy scale. Interestingly my size chart begins at size 10 (I wish) and goes to infinity and beyond.
I am not certain why most of Harry’s suggestions are about as form-fitting as a tent, with pre-requisite giant pockets sporting the front. Why is the material pastel coloured and all the pants come with a comfort waistband? Okay, I admit that I’m a closet stretch wearer and I have nothing against light colours, however anyone who really knows me also knows I don’t adorn pastels.

While I appreciate the ease with which I can make a selection by and through the digital domain, I kind of resent that Harry has decided I’m old. Too old in fact to wear cute skirts, dresses and high heels. The fact that I pulled a muscle, that I now affectionally call the “party injury”, while wearing moderate heels for a whole day, may reinforce what Harry thinks, but he shouldn’t make it so blatant that a better choice may be slippers and oversized sweatpants.

At any rate I am certain that my “Recommendation App” or Harry, means well. For who is the question. Okay I know he’s not real and that he gets paid by the promoters and not me.

And I must admit that I have ordered within the “recommendation” parameter when I feel it is appropriate. But, isn’t it strange, or annoying, that something you don’t understand is supposed to think like you and feels comfortable enough to recommend a size 10?

Admittedly this is the only time when Harry and I are friends.

Have a wonderful fall everyone.

Sue Prodaniuk is a marketing, advertising and communications consultant. She can be reached at

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