How to Find the Perfect Size When Shopping Online, the First Time.

Returning online purchases sucks. 

As years have passed, online shopping has become increasingly popular and is always finding more ways to replace bricks-and-mortar stores for convenient shopping whilst adding an abundance of choices which could never be matched. There is of course, a downside. You cannot physically see a product until it arrives at your door. Sure, there's 3D photos and "return what you don't want" schemes but none will ever be able to present you with what you're buying before your very eyes before the sale is complete.

  • According to CNBC, online clothing return rates can be up to 40%, that's 10% higher than the average for all online purchases                                

40% is an insanely high number, especially given that some merchants don't allow returns and other make it a nightmare of a process to complete that it simply isn't worth pursuing at times. The main reason clothing is returned? Problems with sizing.

Merchants all across the globe have tried a lot of ways to combat this, whether its adding a sizing chart on every product page, a virtual diagram of how to measure yourself before making a purchase, or most commonly, a tool that lets you enter your height & weight in order to receive a size recommendation. 

Of course, this serves the same problem a BMI measurement can; there's a possibility it means absolutely nothing. Imagine two men, both 5'9 (175cm) and 190 lbs (86kg). One of them however, is overweight, whilst the other is in peak physical condition. Why? There is no way to specify whether that weight comes from muscle or fat and therefore where in the body is distributed. If the majority of your weight is in muscle mass, you may have larger arms, a bigger chest and more muscular legs. Though this would impact how a size M shirt looks on you, it would not be necessary for you to move up to a size XL. However, if you have a higher body fat percentage, you're likely to have smaller legs but a larger stomach and neck area. This is when moving up a size would be necessary in order to avoid a suffocating fit. 

Both individuals are the same height and weight yet they could be 2 sizes apart. A tool where you simply enter your height and weight is therefore, not enough, thus explaining the large rate of returns.

Another factor is age. Yes, age could mean a lot when it comes to sizing. The way your fat is distributed changes as you grow, to the extent where it can be distinguished by an entire clothing size. However, most tools aren't able to solve this problem either. FASHIONOPOLITAN however, has managed to complete this. 

Whereas the average rate of return is 40% for clothing, FASHIONOPOLITAN has been able to slice that number down to 5% through their "Virtual Fitting Room". There, customers can enter their height, weight, age and interactively make parts of the body larger or smaller to create a visualization of themselves in order to receive a size recommendation. 

Step 1: Enter your height, weight and age

Step 2: Adjust your body

Step 3: Explore the fits

      What size may be best for you can vary depending on the fit you're after. Here we see a size M is perfect if the individual wanted a tighter, more natural fit. 

However, if the individual wanted to use the shirt as a jacket alternative on not-too-cold days, a size L could do the job.

Sometimes its not a matter of if an item fits on your body or not but instead, how an item fits. A tight winter coat is the perfect example of this. Though it theoretically can get on your body, it either won't layer correctly or work with the style you're going for. Exploring different sizes before buying an item is a MUST.

Step 1

Enter your height, weight and age

Step 2

Adjust your body proportions in our visualization step

Step 3

Explore the fits. Select your favorite option

"Machine learning is evil and dumb!"

If for whatever reason, you're unsure of how tall you are but you know how big your chest is, you can also compare sizes through our measurement charts. If you tap the "Tape Measure" button, you can print and cut our tape too!

Sara Phillipps

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