An inch is an inch- right? In theory, yes. But in practice, we all know that a pair of pants measured “size 28″ in one brand may very well be much larger than the other brand’s jeans labeled “size 30.” It can be hard to find clothes that fit well and flatter your figure- and even for someone like me who enjoys shopping, the process can get a little tiring sometimes.
Though the lack of standardization in clothing size may be annoying for consumers, it’s great inspiration for entrepreneurs. On a recent trip to southern California, I stumbled across a machine called Me-Ality. Me-Ality functions like one of those scanners at the airport: you step in, put your arms to the side, and it collects data from points of reference across many parts of your body. The machine’s computer then spits out a list of brands and sizes that should fit you best, based on your specific body type. The machine I used was at a Bloomingdales and was configured to only share results about denim brands sold at that specific store, but Me-Ality’s website claims that their machines can also help with other types of clothing and a really large list of brands.
Once I exited the machine, the Bloomingdales saleswoman asked which cuts of jeans I prefer (skinny, bootcut, etc.) and then took me through a list of about 15 styles that the Me-Ality machine had tagged as best for my body. The list was very specific: it included brand, fit and leg style. I didn’t actually get to go try the jeans on that day due to time constraints, but I’ll definitely head to a different Bloomingdales another day to see just how fitting the suggestions were (pun intended).
The results would obviously be quite different at a different store, depending on that store’s particular range of merchandise. Since my machine was at a Bloomingdales, my results were all at a higher price point. But it looks like machines are sometimes installed in a mall’s common areas, which would probably mean a greater range of clothing pieces and brands. I don’t think I’d step into one of these machines every time I needed to shop- after all, so much of the fun of shopping comes browsing without any true purpose or plan. But when it comes to things like basic t’s or jeans, I definitely could see the merit of getting a little help from technology.