Ask today’s shoppers about the perils of fashion and you’ll find that it’s not staying abreast of the trends, or finding affordable clothes that keep them up at night. Today’s fashion headache is fit.
According to NPD Group, a market research company, the number one complaint of women shoppers is inconsistency of fit. When my own closet holds an extra-small shirt that’s several sizes too big (I blame online shopping), and a size large dress from a popular chain that’s downright snug, something’s amiss.
No two stores seem to share the same system of measurement, and the savvy marketers who invented vanity sizing know that the smaller the size on the tag, the more apt we are to plunk down the Visa card, fit be damned. The result is mass confusion, and more time than ever spent hunting for fashion gold in the fitting room.
The solution that could navigate us out of ill-fitting waistbands and into jeans that hug our curves could be a new size-matching service called MyBestFit that takes a three-dimensional scan of the body at 200,000 individual measuring points. The 10-second scan uses low-powered radio waves (no radiation risk involved) to record your personal body measurements, then cross-matches them with a database of hundreds of jean and pant styles. The result is a personal list—printed on the spot—of size-matched clothing.
It could be your treasure map to the perfect-fitting booty for your body.
“Our technology is special because it uses millimeter radio waves that detect moisture and heat to find the exact circumference of the body,” says Jungeun Park, kiosk operator at the first and only MyBestFit location at the King of Prussia mall in the Philadelphia suburbs. More than a dozen additional kiosks will be open before the end of 2011, in areas around Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles. Tanya Shaw, President & CEO of MyBestFit, expects 400 locations by the end of 2013.
In the meantime, shoppers aren’t waiting to take advantage of this futuristic (and free) service. Aryn Doll, another kiosk operator, says that the King of Prussia MyBestFit location has been a destination for shoppers vacationing from states as far away as California and Florida. And others have been willing to drive for hours for a few seconds in the scanner.
“On Sunday, one woman drove from the Bronx just to get here,” a trek of over 100 miles. But one trip is all it takes. After MyBestFit records your body scan, you’ll log in to your mybestfit.com account that stores and updates your size-matched results.
Milada Reydler, a Bucks County, PA resident, made her second visit to MyBestFit to check her progress on a new weight loss regimen. She left pleased with the latest results, downloaded straight to her phone, and set out to shop for her new silhouette. A few days later she reported, “I tried on a few pants and they fit great, just as MyBestFit suggested.”
My own results were mixed. The jean recommendations that I tested at stores geared at a younger crowd like Hollister and American Eagle were too tight for my liking. But my picks from brands like Gap and Paige were spot-on. Overall I loved how much time MyBestFit shaved off of a typically arduous jean shopping experience. With my printout, I could conquer a wall of jeans by pulling out the single pair suited to my body.
Terri Shoemake, who checked out MyBestFit with a group of friends, pointed out that MyBestFit’s recommendations also exposed her to a handful of new brands. “This list gives me a lot of options that I don’t always look at.” The expanding catalogue of brands, from Express to DKNY Jeans to Brooks Brothers, currently includes women’s jeans and pants, and men’s jeans. Shaw confirmed that skirts, tops, dresses, suits and intimate apparel matching are in development. (Could MyBestFit also be the secret to seamless bra shopping in the years ahead?)
So while most of us will have to wait a little longer for this innovation to reach our local mall, there’s hope that someday soon we’ll find our best fit without a dozen trips to the fitting room. With a little luck, we’ll all be looking great in our jeans by 2013.
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