Bloomingdale’s body scan


Sizing has long been inconsistent across brands and t in the jeans department, where there is a need for a more precise fit, the inconsistencies are particularly aggravating.

Enter Me-Ality, a self-billed “digital sizing station” recently installed in five Bloomingdales locations: the 59th Street flagship in Manhattan, Roosevelt Field Mall (N.Y.), Chevy Chase (Md.), Santa Monica Place (Calif.) and South Coast Plaza (Calif.). The stations take 10- to 15-second body scans of shoppers, matching their measurements against those of in-store and online merchandise to recommend brands, styles and sizes likely to fit and flatter them best.

Completing a scan will deliver a print-out and an online profile that shoppers can reference to find recommended sizes and styles for present and future purchases. Only brands that have provided sizing information to Me-Ality will be included in the list of recommendations, a roster that includes, in the denim category, J Brand, 7 For All Mankind, True Religion, Hudson and Citizens of Humanity.

Me-Ality isn’t, of course, the only company tackling the fit problem. Startups like TrueFit, which works with Macy’s and Oscar de la Renta, and Clothes Horse, which works with Bonobos and Nicole Miller, have developed algorithmic tools that help shoppers choose sizes based on how clothing from multiple other brands fits them. (If you wear a size S sweater at J. Crew and a size M at Banana Republic, for example, it might recommend you purchase a size M sweater at Bonobos.)

Me-Ality has already been set up in 30 malls nationwide, but this is the first time the scanners have appeared in a department store environment, according to a statement from Bloomingdales. Thus far, the spread of systems like Me-ality’s has been impeded by brand integration and the cost of the scanners themselves, though the latter has fallen in recent years, enabling piloting programs like Bloomingdales’.

Last year,  Bloomingdale’s had announced a partnership with Bodymetrics, a London-based bodymapping technology company. Bodymetrics has a well established scanning system that digitally measures the customer’s body and can accurately predict the fit of specific garments, advising people on what size to opt for. Its
latest development is a system based on Kinect for Windows technology.

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