Retailers Are Letting Shoppers Virtually Measure Their Sizes Online

online shopping

Photo: Keith Williamson

Online clothes shoppers will be told exactly what size is best for them using new software which combines with their webcam or smart phone to form a “3D tape measure”.Scientists from Surrey University and design experts from the London College of Fashion are developing a programme which can take precise waist, hip, chest and other measurements from camera images.

Using the person’s height as a starting point, the software will be able to build up a 3D image and estimate their size at various different points on the body, based on their overall proportions.

The result will be a more accurate sizing guide than systems based on waist size or a “small/medium/large” scale, which rely on limited measurements and the buyer’s perception of their own body size.

Shoppers and retailers who choose to sign up for the project could save millions of pounds a year in postage costs by eliminating the need to order multiple sizes of the same garment and send back ill-fitting clothes, researchers claimed.

Prof Adrian Hilton of Surrey University said: “It’s unrealistic to expect online clothes shoppers to have the time or inclination to take a series of highly accurate body measurements of themselves. The new system makes it all very easy.”

The project, sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), is expected to be brought to market within two years.

After choosing an item, the shopper will activate the software and enter their height, before in front of their webcam or smartphone in their underwear and taking a photograph.

The software will not store or transmit the image to the internet, but will use it to judge the person’s dimensions at various points on their body.

Because label sizes vary between manufacturers, the programme will use the exact measurements of each individual garment to predict which size will be the best fit.

Philip Delamore of the London College of Fashion said: “The potential benefits for the fashion industry and for shoppers are huge. Currently, it’s common for online shoppers to order two or three different sizes of the same item of clothing at the same time, as they’re unsure which one will fit best.”

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