Whether you use Polyvore, Shopstyle, or good ol' Google, most shopping search engines offer a pretty similar experience. Search for "miniskirt," sort by color and price, wear out your scrolling finger until you find a winner — all told, it's a pretty Web 1.0 situation. But what if there was a shopping site that incorporated feedback from the social web to help you find the best stuff? Turns out, Wantering already thought of that. The new site lets you search items from 150 retailers by style, print, special occasion, or celeb influence. Where it differs from other search engines is it also tracks each item's social activity on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Polyvore, and uses that data to assign items a two-part "Popularity" score. Popularity is determined by Mentions (the total number of an item's social activity over time, including Likes, Pins, and Polyvore sets), and Hotness — a score that tells you, on a scale of one to 10, how much of that activity is happening right now. You know, so you don't end up buying last year's must-have jeans. Searching for "summer dresses under $200," and sorting by popularity gets you a Pinterest-like list of cute options:
Clicking into one of the dresses gives you a link to buy, a well-curated "shop similar" section, and a right rail that shows you a timeline of the dress' social love. So if you want to see how Polyvore users styled it in a set, you can do that. If you want to follow all the Tumblrs that posted it, you can do that too.
"Hearting" an item on Wantering automatically signs you up for a price alert in case your item goes on sale. You can also create different "collections" — shopping lists based on your upcoming events, like a beach vacation or your wedding. We did find some glitches — sorting dresses by price "low to high" gives you a tantalizing selection of Margiela dresses that appear to be on sale for one to two dollars. But before you start IMing your friends, turns out Wantering simply left out the rest of the actual, 4-digit price: Womp. Overall, it's a pretty sophisticated set of features that deliver you a real-time look at what's trending, and help you find your closet's next all-stars. Hell, this writer is currently on a shopping detox and found it pretty interesting — from a purely anthropological point of view, of course. Who said fashion wasn't a popularity contest?