Fitting System™ of the week

Posted by Kathleen Fasanella on Mar 20, 2006 at 12:50 pm / Fit and Sizing / Trackback

If you keep a blog, you get mail from people marketing themselves or their companies. I prefer press releases or direct honesty but I usually don’t get those. Nope, I get faked up emails from people who insinuate that they’re a regular visitor to the site but when you read their spiel, you know it couldn’t possibly be true. Take for example the email I got last week. Yes, it was for yet another Fitting System™.

Dear Kathleen,
I just read your entry from March 13th (I’m a bit slow, I know). I thought an email was more appropriate than commenting online.

Like so many women, I’m frustrated with the range of sizing, vanity sizing and all the confusion. I also hate to try on clothes, oh – the frustration and depression! In an effort to reduce the confusion and frustration, we building a new company, an online retail store that matches great clothing to women, based on their body shapes, measurements, and preferences. Sizes will no longer matter! Fit and Flatter are the key words. At myShape.com you have a personal shop offering you distinctive clothing…


Now, had Sarah actually read the post she mentions, she’d know I’d probably be the last person on earth to whom she should pitch her new-fangled, handy dandy Fitting System™. But no, Sarah just googled fitting issues, landed here and sent off her pitch without bothering to read the post. That was a boo-boo for sure. She also gets bonus points for having a patent pending! So here’s the traffic you wanted Sarah. Enjoy. Still, I think you’re going to lose a lot of people before they ever get near the third (yes, third!) measurements screen.

I can’t imagine how they plan to make money. I don’t know how to get through people’s heads that style is the first thing that draws people. Yes, sizing is extremely important but it doesn’t matter how well the stuff fits, if it’s ugly, they won’t wear it. That’s why Fitting Systems™ are doomed to fail unless they’ve got style and design to lead the interest. Again, these ladies (and one gent) have nada, zip, zero styles displayed on site.

And another thought, how is it that these systems are sprouting like warts? Is this a sign that we have become reconciled to burgeoning waistlines to the extent that handy-dandy patented Fitting Systems™ have become the diet plan equivalent of the 00’s?

I almost feel I should start collecting each new fitting system as it comes along. It’s as tho they’ll become artifacts or something.

7 Responses to “Fitting System™ of the week”

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Alison Cummins
March 20th, 2006
2:12 PM

I think it’s for online purchasing. If brands subscribe to a fitting system, then customers who know about the fitting system will be able to tell if something will fit without trying it on. We didn’t need this back in the day… we tried the darn thing on before buying it, not after.

Gigi
March 20th, 2006
3:58 PM

I went and checked it out. They lost me after the first ten measurements. People will first have to go out and buy a tape measure (trust me, most people don’t own anything other than a metal one) and have someone help with the measurements – I can’t see many people having the patience to do that.

Jeff
March 20th, 2006
5:04 PM

Sara and Holly are both listed as “shape M.” (see about us) From their headshot photographs, they sure don’t appear to be the same shape to me. Holly looks like her weight is about 109, Sara, more like….two something. What if I am a “shape M” and 5’4″ and you are the same at 5’11?” Now what? Yes, you may attempt to “style” me but you will never be able to “fit” me. This is my opinion- it’s not a fitting system.

Plus, they merchandise styles from, among others, Ralph Lauren, Ann Klein, etc. Are they licensed resellers of these companies? Is Ralph and Ann on board? I may be a guy but I still buy clothing for my gals and, at the very least, I am confused by it, would avoid it categorically.

To my gal: “OK honey, we found out you are a “shape J”, now go and try on that size 8, see if it fits.” Helloo? It’s not a fitting system.

Battlepanda
March 21st, 2006
7:33 AM

I think the reason that there are a plethora of those doubious “fitting system” sites out there is because there is a real demand from consumers who are very frustrated by having non-standard body shapes.

I have this friend who is young, cute and fashion conscious. Unfortunately, she is also short in the legs and wide in the ribcage, with small breasts. Her shape is so far from the “standard” sizing system that she buy capris to wear as actual pants and have never found a bra that fits her all the way around without being too big in the cup. Buying formalwear, in particular, is misery. She always have to pay for expensive alterations after buying the dress.

The problem is, she would not be caught dead in anything myshape has to offer. She would rather spend miserable hour upon hour searching in vain for something that fits at the mall than go out in the street looking like she was attacked by large yardages of chiffon on the bias.

For her sake, I hope that one day a reasonable alternative for women like her…we’re not uniformly graded up and down like a garment pattern.

Julie
March 21st, 2006
9:08 AM

At least they bothered to pretend they were reading your blog! Most of my spammers don’t even have that basic deceny. So, Almost Girl, you have a great blog, would you host a poll for us on crappy denim brands?

I am still really confused by the site. I kept getting redirected towards giving my information when really I just wanted to see their shapes.

I however still remained confused, did they sell clothing, are they testing out clothing for us and then redirecting us, what the heck is the business model?

Not to mention the pictures didn’t aid at all in helping me figure out what shape I was. It took me scrolling through all of them to determine I was probably an S. Which hey I knew I was that body type beforehand.

Sherry
March 22nd, 2006
7:58 AM

The poor fitting complaint comes from people of all shapes and sizes. (Not just those with burgeoning waistlines.) It’s like the home sewing patterns. They were designed for a statistical average (that the pattern companies felt it would be convenient to style for) — which is not any “particular” body.

This is the problem with “mass marketing.” Companies claim they can be all things to all people, and the reality is that they can only serve a statistical few, while everyone else feels that there is something wrong with them individually.

While working for a fashion showroom, I once heard a customer talking about how she was considering plastic surgery to fit into clothes. (She was thin, by the way.) She was trying on an expensive designer line. Um . . . you cut the fabric, not the flesh, lady! She was willing to pay at least ten times what any average person could or would pay for (you guessed it) “premium” denim. She was old enough to know better (approaching middle age), and she was the customer. She could have afforded custom made jeans by an individual tailor/seamstress at least for the same price.

My point is that there is a huge need for clothing that fits and flatters. It affects people of all shapes and sizes, and a lot of people are waking up to the fact that most clothes simply don’t fit, and therefore can’t flatter.

The second step is to accept that there is no such thing as “mass customization” and that people will have to get past the “disposable” mentality. When more people realize the work, resources and time involved in creating clothing that fits them as individuals, they may start to realize that quality and style are important and worth paying for at more than Wal-mart prices. They will have to sacrifice “fashionability,” instant gratification, and disposability in order to have great fit and individual style which actually enhances the image they want to present to the world.

Thomas Bailey
March 29th, 2006
4:18 PM

The British Standards Institute is using actual measurements on its BodyDim labels. This is now only rarely used, possibly because the numbers are alarmingly large. This should clear up when people get used to their measurements in centimeters, as I have for 23 years. I have no problems being a size 105, which I would be if the industry were to make the switch now.

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