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 Post subject: One Size Fits Nobody: Seeking a Steady 4 or a 10
PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 1:13 pm 
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Would you find something like this helpful in recovery when you are clothes shopping? Personally, I'd love something like this because at any weight my size has varied tremendously, both between brands and even within brands. I don't find sizing based on shape, like the Fitlogic described, helpful because I honestly cannot look in a mirror and figure out what shape I am or how big I am. Am I straight, or round? Hourglass? Same with the Levi "Curve ID" system: just how curvy IS my ass? And if it's "bold", is that a good thing? Or should I feel bad about that? Or "supreme"? Is curvy good? I just get emotionally numbed out when I try to wrap my mind around stuff like that.

Quote:
One Size Fits Nobody: Seeking a Steady 4 or a 10
By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD
April 24, 2011

In one store, you’re a Size 4, in another a Size 8, and in another a Size 10 — all without gaining an ounce.

It’s a familiar problem for many women, as standard sizing has never been very standard, ever since custom clothing gave way to ready-to-wear.

So, baffled women carry armfuls of the same garment in different sizes into the dressing room. They order several sizes of the same shirt online, just to get the right fit.

Now, a handful of companies are tackling the problem of sizes that are unreliable. Some are pushing more informative labels. Some are designing multiple versions of a garment to fit different body shapes. And one is offering full-body scans at shopping malls, telling a shopper what sizes she should try among the various brands.

“For the consumer to go out and navigate which one do I match with is a huge challenge, and causes frustration and returns,” said Tanya Shaw, an entrepreneur working on a fit system. “So many women tie their self-esteem to the size on the tag.”

As the American population has grown more diverse, sizes have become even less reliable. Over the years, many brands have changed measurements so that a woman who previously wore a 12 can now wear a 10 or an 8, a practice known as “vanity sizing.”

In men’s clothes, the dimensions are usually stated in inches; women’s clothing involves more guesswork.

Take a woman with a 27-inch waist. In Marc Jacobs’s high-end line, she is between an 8 and a 10. At Chico’s, she is a triple 0. And that does not consider whether the garment fits in the hips and bust. (Let’s not get into length; there is a reason most neighborhood dry cleaners also offer tailoring.)

Ms. Shaw, the entrepreneur, is chief executive of a company called MyBestFit that addresses the problem. It is setting up kiosks in malls to offer a free 20-second full-body scan — a lot like the airport, minus the pat-down alternative that T.S.A. agents offer.

Lauren VanBrackle, 20, a student in Philadelphia, tried MyBestFit when she was shopping last weekend.

“I can be anywhere from a 0 at Ann Taylor to a 6 at American Eagle,” she said. “It obviously makes it difficult to shop.” This time, the scanner suggested that at American Eagle, she should try a 4 in one style and a 6 in another. Ms. VanBrackle said she tried the jeans on and was impressed: “That machine, in a 30-second scan, it tells you what to do.”

The customer steps into a circular booth, fully dressed. A wand rotates around her, emitting low-power radio waves that record about 200,000 body measurements, figuring out things like thigh circumference.

Next, the system matches the customer’s measurements to clothes in its database. MyBestFit currently measures clothes from about 50 stores, including Old Navy, Eddie Bauer and Talbots.

Customers then receive a printout of the sizes at each store that ought to fit the customer best. The retailers pay a fee when they appear in the results, but they cannot pay to be included in the results; the rankings are based solely on fit. (The company saves the data, with ID numbers but not names, and may give aggregate information to retailers as feedback.)

Don Thomas, who manages the Eddie Bauer store at the King of Prussia Mall outside Philadelphia, said the system was helpful to shoppers. “Nine times out of 10, if left on their own, they will choose the wrong size pant,” he said. With a printout, “if it says they’re a 4 or a 6, they’re a 4 or a 6, generally. So it’s really good for the customer who’s time-starved, which we all are.”

Ms. Shaw says there are plans for 13 more scanning machines in malls along the East Coast and in California by the end of the year.

The sizing variations are a big contributor to $194 billion in clothing purchases returned in 2010, or more than 8 percent of all clothing purchases, according to the National Retail Federation.

The scanners are a modern solution to an old problem. Studying dress sizes in Vogue advertisements from 1922 on, Alaina Zulli, a designer focusing on costume history, found clothing sizes have been irregular for decades.

A woman with a 32-inch bust would have worn a Size 14 in Sears’s 1937 catalog. By 1967, she would have worn an 8, Ms. Zulli found.

Today, she would wear a zero.

Plenty of people have tried to address these arbitrary sizes. Advocating a labeling system called Fitlogic over the last few years, an entrepreneur, Cricket Lee, discovered just how difficult it is to change manufacturers’ approach to size.

Her labeling system divides women’s bodies into three shapes, straight, hourglass or bottom-heavy, and a Fitlogic label carries both the standard size and the shape.

Ms. Lee did tests in the mid-2000s with manufacturers like Jones Apparel and retailers like Nordstrom. But retailers said consumers had trouble grasping the concept. “The manufacturers were so afraid of producing more than one fit in the very beginning,” she said.

Still, she said, she will soon try to sell the sizing system again.

Some brands are taking their own approaches to make the fitting room less demoralizing. Mary Alderete, vice president for women’s global marketing at Levi’s, said, “When we try on 10 pairs of jeans to buy one, the reason you feel bad is because you think something’s wrong with you.”

Last fall, the company introduced Curve ID, a line that offers three styles, depending on how rounded a woman’s backside is — slight, demi and bold. (Levi’s is now testing a fourth style, called supreme curve.) Each of the three styles includes about 29 fits and colors, and dozens of sizes. Ms. Alderete said the company had sold more than one million pairs of the Curve jeans.

Marie-Eve Faust, the program director of fashion merchandising at Philadelphia University, called the Levi’s effort “a good start.”

“The next step is to have the major players sit together, manufacturers, retailers, brands, and say ‘This type of label should be appropriate for all of us. Let’s standardize,’ ” she said.

Dr. Faust said she had been discussing a new kind of label that takes into account the wearer’s shape, but expected retailers to bristle.

Still, Dr. Faust said, change is needed.

“It would be nice just to take the pant, look at the label and say, ‘That should fit me,’ ” she said.

New York Times

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 Post subject: Re: One Size Fits Nobody: Seeking a Steady 4 or a 10
PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 3:28 pm 
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I like the idea of a machine that tells you what size you'll be at certain stores, because we've all been in that situation where you really have no idea what size to grab, unless you've shopped at the store before.

Although, it really shouldn't be necessary. Ideally, women's clothing would be measured in inches, and you'd know how many inches you were, and therefore, what size you are.

My biggest frustration shopping is that companies seem to assume anyone with large hips also has large breasts, so when I find a dress that fits in the hips, the chest just puffs out, and it isn't flattering. Chest is the most difficult part of a garment to alter, so I often have to opt for what i call "parachute" dresses. Also, because I'm tall(ish), most shirts and dresses are too short for me. It's fucking frustrating!

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 Post subject: Re: One Size Fits Nobody: Seeking a Steady 4 or a 10
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:23 am 
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I would LOVE this!! After my shopping trip this weekend I left feeling very confused. I went up 2 pant sizes at one store, yet at another store I remained the same size. The article was right - taking 10 pairs of pants into a dressing room knowing that only a third of them will fit you is demoralizing and leads you to wonder what's wrong with you!

Having a piece of paper spit out your sizes at different places would make it so much easier... It's like a shoe size - you are what you are. at this store you are a 4, at that store a 7. Great! takes the guess work and comparisons out of it.

When are these scanners coming to Canada!?


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