True Fit, thy cup runneth over. The tech provider for the apparel and footwear industry went from digital fitting to personalization and customer data analysis. Now it’s taking on one of the most challenging areas of remote fitting: bra sizing for online shoppers.
The feature, which is rolling out through the company’s True Confidence fit and style recommendation engine, is not the company’s first foray into intimates. Last September, True Fit partnered with plus-size women’s apparel brand Lane Bryant for its Cacique Bra Finder.
“It was a custom-built solution that’s live on their site today, and then we took some of the learning we got from that and leveraged it to make fit recommendations available through our [True] Confidence product to any retailer who is using Confidence today for clothing and footwear,” Amory Wakefield, True Fit’s director of product, told WWD. “They can now expand that into women’s intimates, including two dimensional.”
This “2-D” term has nothing to do with tech lingo, as in 2-D or 3-D imagery. “I think we chose that because walking around, talking about band and cup sizes, was a little uncomfortable for some of our sales folks,” Wakefield explained, laughing.
But it’s a necessary conversation in the world of intimates. Band and cup sizing is “a complex geometric problem,” she added. “Because when you change the band size, the cup size is impacted by that…in lingerie terms, that’s ‘sister sizing.’” Indeed, if a customer gains weight, both sets of dimensions may need to be adjusted.
That could go a long way in explaining why 80 percent of women wear the wrong size, according to a 2008 survey by bra brand Triumph. The company reported the figure, explaining that the overwhelming majority of women wear wrong-sized bras, and published its findings in the journal “Chiropractic & Osteopathy.” Last year, a Victoria’s Secret survey held up the same statistic.
True Fit sees it as a big problem to tackle, and it’s glad it has experience to lean on. “We worked with Lane Bryant, as an expert in plus-size bras, to really understand how they do a fitting in a store, where they trained experts to do it, and how to mimic that experience as closely as possible online,” Wakefield said. So naturally, the new service also works for a range of sizes, including plus, and covers U.S., European and Australian sizing systems.
The process combines data — some from brands, such as product information, and some from customers, including preferences and feedback on the fit of specific styles — to drive recommendations. That’s no minor matter, especially for bras, whose sizes can vary a lot from one brand, or even one collection, to another.
It takes a lot of data to drill into such complex areas. But that’s True Fit’s specialty. Its algorithm-driven approach leans heavily on artificial intelligence, as well as a trove of data from years of modeling women’s unique shapes. Its tech runs on as many as 250 global retail sites spanning 17,000 brands. This “Fashion Genome,” as the company calls it, just hit a new milestone in March, reaching 100 million registered users.
Now, with bra-fitting under its umbrella, True Fit is preparing for new categories. The global lingerie market is projected to exceed $59 billion by 2024. The company could also wade into other areas where cup and band sizes matter, such as bathing suits, a growing sector in the Instagram era. As tricky categories to fit, they’ll put True Fit’s tech to the test.