By Mary Beard, Katlyn Moncada, Heather Riske and Catherine Rolwes
Everyone knows that finding pants in the right size is no small feat. Since clothing manufacturers aren’t restricted to uniform sizing standards, some of us have tons of different sizes hanging in our closet, depending on the brand. So, when we heard about the Me-Ality Size Matching Station, we figured it must be too good to be true. A machine that can tell you what size you wear in dozens of different brands and stores in just 10 seconds? No way! Our curiosities got the best of us, though, and we decided to put this machine to the test. After all, who doesn’t mind taking an afternoon out of the office to try on clothes at the mall? All in the name of science, of course.
Size Me Up
The Me-Ality Size Matching Station is a 3D body imaging machine that consists of almost 200 tiny antennas and a wand that rotates around your body to record more than 200,000 measurements. Fully clothed, we each stepped into the machine—which looks like something out of a science-fiction novel—to get our measurements. Essentially, it feels like an airport security scan, minus all the awkward probing from surly guards. You must stand completely still inside the machine, so as not to mess up the measurements. After 10-15 seconds of stillness, you select which type of clothing you’re looking for (dress pants or jeans), and then which styles you prefer (skinny, bootcut, straight and so on). You can also choose certain stores or brands, including J.Crew, Gap, J Brand and Levi’s. Once you sign up with your email address, Me-Ality will send you a full personal profile that you can use in stores all over the country. They’ll also send you updates as new brands are added to the system.
The system, however, is not without its imperfections. Though she stood completely frozen inside the machine—on three separate occasions—Me-Ality wasn’t able to help Katlyn find her fit. Apparently, the machine is extremely sensitive, and the type of clothing a person wears can render the entire process null and void. Even carrying a penny in your pocket can upset the machine’s work. So, instead of finding her own size, Katlyn followed the other interns for moral support on their quest for the perfect pants.
Put On Your Fancy Pants
The three of us were each given recommendations for dress pants at Banana Republic, so we made that our first stop on the journey. Although we were a little skeptical of the numbers the machine provided us, we decided to play along and see how they fit. We grabbed a few pairs of the Sloan, Martin and Logan fits and headed to the dressing room to see what would unfold. As expected, each of our pairs of pants were at least two sizes too big. We had a good laugh with the sales attendants and headed in search of some jeans.
Blue Jeans Blues
We then made our way to J. Crew, where Catherine had a recommendation for Matchstick jeans. Their fit was perhaps best summed up by the sales attendant who walked through the dressing room and declared, “Oh, honey! Those are WAY too big!” We were beginning to sense a pattern…
Next, we headed to Nordstrom, where we each had a recommendation for J. Brand jeans. Surely, we believed, a pair of $200 jeans would fit us like a glove. A dutiful Nordstrom employee asked us which sizes we were looking for so she could help pull them out. “Are you sure?” she asked when we listed our given sizes. “There’s no way you need jeans that big!” She gave Catherine a quick once-over and recommended a different size. With both suggestions from Me-Ality and the Nordstrom clerk in tow, we headed into the fitting room. The jeans on Heather weren’t as huge around the waist, but were so long in the legs that they looked more like footy pajamas. Not quite the look she was going for. Catherine tried on the two different sizes to find that the size the clerk had recommended fit her almost perfectly. Humans: 1, Me-Ality: 0.
Our last stop was Macy’s, where we were each instructed to try on a pair of Levi’s. Once again, our recommended sizes were much too big for each of us. However, just as we were ruling out all possibilities of Me-Ality’s authenticity, Mary found one pair of Levi’s jeans that actually fit her quite nicely. With the rest of the day’s results, though, we had to rule a conclusion that Me-Ality was not, in fact, the fit of the future. For now, we’ll stick to our tried-and-true method of simply trying on tons of different sizes until we find the right one—or asking a clerk.