Fitting rooms are not fun. Nope. Every movie or TV show that has ever portrayed a fitting room as a makeshift pageant or runway show has lied to you. In fact, I strongly believe there is a very special circle of Hell that strongly resembles Forever 21 fitting rooms—tweens, their moms and all.
So, you decide to remedy these woes by online shopping.
A few clicks and eager tracking-number check-ups later, and you are slicing open a cardboard box with the hope and voracity of Charlie Bucket with a Wonka Bar in his hand. Gingerly, you slip on the clothes you ordered—the ones you thought might just complete your winter wardrobe (and, by transitive property, you), but alas! Nothing fits. Not in the way you wanted it to, anyway.
Every online apparel shopper’s tribulation with fit is very real. It is an issue many sites like True Fit, Virtusize and Clothes Horse have been aiming to resolve through complex algorithms and user-submitted body measurements.
But the newest answer to the right fit might just be found in an iOS app and the power of selfies. Users of online lingerie retailer ThirdLove utilize the mobile application to snap two quick photos to achieve the perfect fit for intimates.
As an avid enthusiast of apparel, technology and selfies, I was immediately eager to give ThirdLove’s innovative blend of the three a try. ThirdLove’s app seeks to gain information about your body through analyzing each photo down to the pixel.
Sensors on the iPhone capture 3-D data through the two 2-D images of the user in what ThirdLove calls a “virtual measuring tape”. The iOS app, launched on November 7, opens up with an instructional video of how to accurately execute the photo procedure.
Users stand in front of a mirror dressed in a tank top or bra, with their iPhone camera in tow. The app instructs users to bring the phone down to their navel. Computer-vision algorithms, leveraging sensors in the app, will audibly and visually alert if the phone is not completely parallel with the mirror.
Once the phone is perfectly aligned to the mirror, the picture is taken. A few measurements are then completed by the user—dragging a box over the size of the iPhone in the image, sizing a line to the bust’s widest length, and sizing a line underneath the bust.
This process is repeated for the second photo, but with the user’s left profile facing the mirror. The phone is once again brought down to the navel, and lengths are measured accordingly.
What is produced from these measurements is a ThirdLove-specific bra size, one that co-founder Heidi Zak and head of design Ra’el Cohen assert will be the right fit.
The usual A to D cup, four-sizes-to-fit-all mantra of many lingerie retailers often does not provide the perfect fit for the millions of variances in bodies. ThirdLove operates on a half-size system, and believes that this guarantees a better-fitting bra.
In what many might see as a terrifying future where your bust size shooting up into the cloud to be stored forever, ThirdLove’s collection of your personalized size and body measurements also means a quick one-stop-shopping experience. Users can return time and again to order from the app's selection of garments, all in their perfect size.
ThirdLove captures the personalized mobile experience, nixing all need for another lingerie salesperson with a measuring tape to trail you into the dressing room ever again.
And as a longtime occupant of said lingerie dressing room myself, I approached my own ThirdLove trial with excitement and a healthy dose of skepticism. When the garment finally reached my front door, I was met with that familiar online shopping adrenaline rush, the gnawing hope mixed with preparations for the worst. But this time, with what may be argued as one of the most difficult garments to fit with accuracy—the piece fit like a glove. A comfy, lace glove.
If digital visualizations of the body are the next step in apparel fit, tools like the Kinect with 3-D body scanning technology may be on its way to disrupt the fashion industry. Soon, you could be playing dress-up doll with your very own miniature version of yourself.