Bottom Line: Might appeal to the more fashion-conscious child, but in-app purchases and links to Twitter, Facebook, and App Store mean it needs to be supervised.
DressApp, a new app from ICON, reminds me of classic paper dolls. The Paris doll is free, and an in-app purchase for $1.99 unlocks New York, Tokyo, and Milan. After dressing the dolls, there are two levels in a pattern game. Instead of AABAAB, think purse-purse-necklace-purse-purse-necklace. The goal in these two levels is to finish 10 patterns as fast as possible without making any mistakes.
Each model has eight different clothing pieces/accessories that can be mixed and matched. With 4-7 different choices per article of clothing, the options are plentiful for new styles. It did reveal some of my fashion ineptitude, as there were more than a few pieces I didn’t feel matched anything! The styles are varied and colorful, though, and choosing an orange skirt to match a red shirt will probably appeal to more than one child. (Editor's Note: Seriously...does that not match?)
Each model opens with “Thank you” in the corresponding language and a scene from each city is in the background. It may be that the styles featured on each model correspond to fashion more popular in that country, but that exceeds my fashion knowledge! Additional information available about each city would be nice—an info tab with a real picture, description, and maybe even fashion information would up the educational value of this app.
The models, though depicting different skin tones and hair colors, are all very similar in body type. Pictures of outfits can be saved to the camera or emailed, and the sound and music can both be turned off.
In therapy, DressApp worked well for following directions (choose the black pants, then the red shirt), for expressive vocabulary in describing (tell me two details about the shirt), and for practicing speech sounds to tell about each outfit (She is wearing a red shirt and black shoes.) The biggest difficulty was getting each student to make a choice out of the many options available!
While the pattern game with clothing is a creative way to practice pattern skills, it is easy to avoid, is limited in functionality, and almost an after-thought. In order to reach the game, the child has to tap the arrow in the top right corner of each model’s page, and then select Stage 1 or Stage 2. An option requiring play of the matching game every few minutes of fashion play would make a nice addition.
On the game selection screen, there is also a direct link to the App Store to the NxtApp 4 Kids (another app from ICON) purchase page, and a teaser for a new level coming in the next update.
The in-app purchases are are very easily accessed. On the main page, all four models are visible, with a lock in the corner of three. When you tap one of the models for the in-app purchase, it immediately asks to confirm your in-app purchase. When you tap the key above the models, it also goes to the confirm screen. Even in the instructions, the first page says nothing about how to play the game, choosing the message “Tap on the key to unlock all models” instead.
It is the prominence of in-app purchases and connections to Facebook, Twitter and the App Store that dampen my enthusiasm for this app. Tapping the very visible Facebook link on the bottom of the home page opens directly to Facebook on Safari, complete with ads on the side. Twitter also opens to the DressApp Twitter page in Safari.
The colorful clothing and the creative pattern matching make this app worth consideration if you have a child who is more into fashion than fighting and the free trial does provide one model. But be careful that you monitor the use, as the in-app purchases and easy connections to social media leave it a little too accessible for young children.
If you would like to download DressApp please support smartappsforkids.com by using the links provided. Thanks for your support!
Heather Hetler is currently wearing jeans, a purple shirt, and purple socks. None of these items bear any resemblance to fashion, but they do match.Heather works as an elementary school SLP and is a full-time graduate student in Speech-Language Pathology. ICON is an advertiser at smartappsforkids.com.