IQ News: Men’s Health to Launch Online Style Guide

Got a first date tonight? A job interview tomorrow? For the man who hasn’t a thing to wear, next week the Web site for Men’s Health magazine is expected to unveil a free, interactive fashion guide featuring apparel and accessories made by 33 of the magazine’s major advertisers.
Called Style Finder, the service is scheduled to launch Aug. 7 in conjunction with Men’s Health’s annual fall style issue and will be a revamped version of the magazine’s first attempt at creating an online fashion resource. That first Style Finder, which appeared in March with the magazine’s spring style issue, allowed users to shop for products in four categories: first date, casual workplace, job interview and fitness.
Next week’s version will add a weekend wear category as well as the ability to peruse products by type of garment. Even more importantly, though, the updated finder will incorporate products from twice as many advertisers as the first version, said Leslie Gesser, special projects director for Men’s Health.
What the site doesn’t do, however, is enable users to buy apparel directly from the Men’s Health site. Instead, clicking on a specific product will link a user to that manufacturer’s Web page for either an e-tail option or a store locator list.
But, said Ed Fones, vp and worldwide publishing director for Men’s Health, a day of fashion e-tail may one day come to the Emmaus, Pa.-based, Rodale magazine. “It is our intention that as we develop the back-end technology to have one central area that they can do that,” he said.
For now, though, Gesser and her staff have been working to build out the site, which will include products from designers such as DKNY, Ralph Lauren and Kenneth Cole.
To figure out what fashion may work best for them, Style Finder users are asked to chose their style, height, weight and grooming ranges to generate three complete outfits, explained Gesser, while also noting that “we’re mixing and matching our advertisers because that’s the way guys dress.”
To fill Style Finder, items were chosen from those submitted by advertisers in Men’s Health’s style issue. Generally, said Gesser, for each page purchased, advertisers could submit about five items. Inclusion on Style Finder is free to the issue’s advertisers, she said.
Fones said Style Finder fits with Men’s Health’s online strategy, which calls for providing both utility and service to readers and generated $3 million last year with sales of books, subs and archived stories. “It’s not just about number of visitors,” he said, “but the quality and the actions these guys are taking when they’re coming to the site.”