Big Busts Don't Lie: How Will New Technology Help Women Who Wear D Cups and Up Order the Proper Size Online?
The greatest challenge in shopping online is getting the right fit. I'm not going to advertise that buying a Campbell & Kate shirt online is easy, but I'm proud to say that the longer we're in business, the more we find that our customers are getting their sizes right on the first try. It helps that we actually offer shirts made specifically to fit a large bust and slim waist.
Companies like True Fit, described in this Wall Street Journal article, are trying to streamline the process. Unfortunately, they have replaced the tape measure with other complicated questions, like "Where does your tummy sit on your belly--high, medium or low?"
I'm not convinced that they've made the process simpler, but I agree that even a tape measure can be subjective. I ran into an example of this last week. One of my favorite customers has been waiting for over a year for Campbell & Kate to offer size 2. When I emailed to ask for her measurements, here's what she sent me:
According to those numbers, she should be a size 8S, but even a 4L was too large in her shoulders. Fortunately, she hasn't gained any weight, and I still had her measurements from the last time we met:
waist: 26" waist
A size 2S should fit her perfectly, but I'll also send her a 2M to try as backup.
The WSJ article says that researchers have found that "Even when shopping for themselves, people lie about their measurements." With a statement like that, I would assume that people would be fudging the numbers to make themselves seem smaller, but my customer's numbers made her 3 sizes larger!
TrueFit customers enter clothing brands and styles that have fit them in the past. The TrueFit algorithm then calculates the proper size for the new style that the customer is considering purchasing. It also recommends styles and sizes based on past purchases. A woman who wears a D cup and up may not have many past successful purchases to enter, but it would be fascinating to see what results from the entries she is able to make.
Another interesting development in the area of online fit is Fits.me. When I first heard of them in 2010, I was skeptical because their technology only applied to men's clothing, but last year they expanded it to women's. Their website states that it "took a little longer to implement than the male versions . . . mainly because of the diversity of shape and size of the female body."
I was very excited when I read that their "robots can conform to over 85% of the female individuals that shop online today," so when I saw that Hawes & Curtis uses Fits.me, I had to play with it. My own measurements came up as "out of range" on the Hawes & Curtis site, so I plugged in the numbers of a woman who would wear an 8M in a Campbell & Kate shirt:
The Hawes & Curtis Fits.me application put this woman in a size 14 semi-fitted shirt. If this were British sizing and the 14 were really a US 10, I'd be pretty impressed. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. According to the semi-fitted size chart, I see that my imaginary woman has had to size up in the waist by over 6 inches in order to fit her bust.
As you would suspect, the image that Hawes & Curtis provided of my imaginary woman in a size 14 shirt was not very flattering. The shirt looked baggy, which turned it from sharp to frumpy, an issue that we who wear a D cup and up are only too familiar with.
But the great thing is that the Fits.me technology worked! It showed what was available on this particular website and how the product would look on this particular customer. I would love to see Fits.me offered on other websites where there is a better chance of finding something to fit. For instance, wouldn't you love to be able to use this robot to try a sheath dress?
Fits.me simply needs to be applied to more online retailers, and I'd be happy to volunteer for it to be tested here at Campbell & Kate!