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The average woman has 103 things in her closet, but only wears 22 percent of them. Why? A new online fashion brand thinks it has the answer to what’s wrong with much of the other 78 percent: Poor fit. Especially when it comes to pants. No one loves to wear pants that pinch or sag or ride up your behind like you’re getting a non-stop wedgie. Measure & Made‘s efforts to help women find their perfect size is about more than just selling jeans. It’s a movement, the company says, with a battle cry of “Take back your closet.”
“In the past I’ve thought, Well, I have to sacrifice style for comfort,” says Measure & Made’s CEO Beatrice Purdy, who admits that she used to have up to 15 pairs of jeans in her closet but only wore two or three. “We’ve been able to figure out how to give people stylish classic pieces that actually fit and are comfortable.”
Using a sizing system called Fitlogic, which is based on 15 years of research, more than 60,000 scans of women’s bodies, and multiple fit trials, customers can take a simple quiz that determines their true fit. Two components determine fit: size and shape.
Why do you feel Measure & Made is needed in the fashion market?
I’ve spent 20 years in fashion and retail world. The reason the light bulb went off for me is that I knew we needed a better approach to sizing. The sizing standard in female apparel hasn’t been updated since the 1950s. The government first created standard sizing in the 1940s because so many women were placing orders through catalogs and a standard was needed. In the 50s, they did a whole revision on post-war women who were relatively fit. They all had kind of an hourglass shape. But that’s not really the average American woman. Still that’s what all clothing companies adopted and eventually it morphed into vanity sizing, which is why a size 12 in Calvin Klein doesn’t match a size 12 in, say, Michael Kors. It’s a mess.
When pants don’t fit, you think, There must be something wrong with me. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s not the woman’s fault. It’s the pants’ fault.
I was so tired of it myself. I’m a shape 1. I’m not a toothpick. I’m a size 14 on a good day. Sometimes 12, depends. What I related to is that feeling–back when we could go into dressing rooms–when you’re excited about the clothes and then you get disappointed. When it doesn’t fit, you think, There must be something wrong with me. As women we personalize that; we put that on ourselves. But I realize it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s not the woman’s fault. It’s the pants’ fault. It’s the company’s fault. Because they’ve been using these averages for years and using these ideal models that are representative of no one. I’m tired of that, tired of women having to feel bad.
Obviously the clothing is the crucial part of what we do, but it’s so much more than that. It’s also wanting to empower women. We really want to start a movement, change the way of thinking and then you can get some of these other retailers to think differently.
It’s amazing that you can get a good fit without even leaving home or taking measurements.
It’s so easy to take the quiz and get a perfect fit from the comfort of your home. You don’t need a fitting room; you don’t need to try them on. We’ve been able to figure it out in such a way that we know where a certain measurement will fall based on your answers to the quiz. We do have fit specialist who can help with measurement if necessary. Some women feel more comfortable calling in with their measurements. But we don’t want people to have to bring out the measuring tape and bother with all that.
When I did the quiz, it told me I’m a size smaller than I normally buy. Why is that?
Customers will ask, “Oh you must have vanity sizing because my size is smaller.” No, we don’t; we’re actually taking your shape into account. With your specific shape, you actually are that size. A lot of times you have to size up with other designs because you have to take your shape into account. To fit your thighs, the waist will be smaller. Or to fit your waist, the pants will be baggy around the rear.
What are the most common size and shape you sell?
Shape 1 is our best seller. A lot of people across the country, especially in the Midwest, haven’t had clothes that were made for them. My waist is definitely bigger than the rest of me. So it’s great to know that it fits and it’s comfortable.
Sizes 10 and 12 are our number one selling sizes. Standard apparel lines go up to 16 or maybe 18, and you have to go to a whole different sizing category if you’re bigger than that. But we go all the way up to size 28, so we cater to all women. The average size in America is a 14, now leaning to a 16. That’s where most of the country is, but standard apparel lines produce just up to that size, not the full range.
Who is your customer?
Our product is geared to 35 plus. As you get older, your body changes. Maybe you’ve have a baby. But we have customers all the way up to 75.
How are your pants being received?
We go all the way up to size 28, so we cater to all women.
We’ve sold more than 300,000 pants and our return rate is half the industry average. That’s one of the things that proves out our product.
Plus, we get such incredible comments from customers. This is one of my favorite quotes: “They are the best jeans I have ever owned. First pair that ever fit me. 52 years of horrible jeans. I cried when I tried them on.”
How has the pandemic impacted the company?
A lot of people think that comfortable clothing means leggings and pajamas; that’s what people are wearing at home. But if they knew how comfortable our pants are; it’s like I’m wearing leggings. I’m not sitting here right now in jeans that are cutting off my circulation; they’re made to accommodate a larger waist. They’re made for me and my shape, so they feel like part of my body the way leggings would.
What’s coming up in the future?
At the end of February, we’re launching a more casual type of pant, a jogger. It’s the first type of pant with an elastic waist, but it’s still geared to your shape. Everything is contoured to you, so don’t worry about bagging in the behind or a waist that’s too big.
Later on we may use the Fitlogic for dresses. Women have a lot of issues in that area as well. The sizes in dresses aren’t standard either. Ultimately we’ll try to figure out swim. But we started with pants because there’s a real issue that needs to be solved for. Plus, pants and jeans are your foundation; everything else is the icing on the cake.