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Using technology to find the perfect pair of jeans

A Bodymetrics machine.

Kai Ryssdal: At the risk of sounding somewhat inappropriate, this next story is more for the female listeners out there but informative all the same for men. It is difficult, I'm told, for women to find jeans that look right. A near-universal problem.

So Bloomingdales is turning to technology. Their store in Palo Alto, Calif., has teamed up with an English company called Bodymetrics. Customers step into a booth, get a body scan and voila -- the perfect size is suggested.

Marketplace's Queena Kim checked it out.


Queena Kim: There’s no way to start this story but with a little TMI. I’ve got no butt -- it’s flat as a pancake -- and no hips. And this has always made finding the right pair of jeans impossible.

Tania Fauvel: Jeans are the hardest garment to fit; it's because shape is more important than size.

Tania Fauvel is with Biometrics, the company that made the booth.

Fauvel: So it’s about matching your shape to the body shape.

And that leads us to the Biometrics booth. It’s transluscent blue and in the jeans section of Bloomie's.

Fauvel: This is the body scan, and essentially what you do is put your two feet on the footprints.

And you have to strip down to your underwear, which I did, and press a button.

Biometrics machine: Please be still.

It only takes about a few seconds, and when I got out, Tanya pulled out her iPad and there was a 3D image of my body.

Fauvel: Here, we would say your waist is subtly defined. 

Kim: Well I have no hips.

Fauvel: Exactly. Your best attribute are your legs.

With this information, Tania suggests skinny jeans, but I ask for boot cuts because I can never find a pair that makes my butt look good. Back in the fitting room, I try on the boot cuts.

Kim: This is going to be the test. They’re Citizen of Humanity jeans; I don’t know that I’ve ever tried these. I have to say I’m actually quite impressed, and I’ll open up the door here.

Fauvel: It still keeps a nice line on your figure.

Kim: And it actually makes me look like I've got a butt.

Fauvel: Exactly.

Kim: Um, how much are these jeans?

Fauvel: $158. But it’s worth it.

Kim: Maybe I can expense it, but don’t tell.

Fauvel: I won’t tell.

I’m Queena Kim for Marketplace.

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.

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