Shopping for the perfect pair of jeans is about as much fun as putting together IKEA furniture or having peas for dessert. Before finding your Prince of Pants, you're stuck in a terribly lit dressing room with piles of frogs: jeans that either give you a muffin top or a saggy butt or are cut so low that one tiny bend at the waist could put you in Crack City.
But now, fellow shoppers, it appears that we have entered the future. Me-Ality is a body-scanning machine that takes your measurements and offers you a list of the best-fitting brands, styles and sizes for your individual shape. It sounds a bit TSA-esque, but its mission is to change the way you shop for clothes—no more guesswork, frustration and battles with the mirror.
I was hesitant to try it, mostly because I am four-and-a-half months pregnant and clothing is not really my friend right now. But I sucked it up (and in) and headed to the second floor of Santa Ana's Westfield MainPlace Mall, one of seven malls in Southern California to offer the free service. There, I met Maritza Williams, a cheery "size-matching specialist" who was giddy to share how well the thing works. "We just had a girl come back and give us a hug because she found a pair of jeans that fit!" she said.
The Me-Ality station looks like a high-tech phone booth. When a person steps in (fully clothed, thank God), a rotating wand sends and receives low-power radio signals that bounce off the skin, allowing the machine to collect 200,000 points of measurement. It only takes about 10 seconds.
I took off my metal jewelry, then walked in and raised my arms to my side, airport-pat-down style, as I was told. I then lowered my arms to my hips, stared at the dot in front of me and heard the door shut. The scanner rotated around me twice, and that was it. About a minute later, Williams printed my personalized shopping guide and pointed out my results. I was matched with 11 specific denim styles from various brands. Apparently, I'm a size 4 in Kut From the Kloth jeans, a 28 in J.Brand and a 29 in True Religion.
Armed with this news I can use, I decided to test the accuracy of the scanner. I went easy on myself and tried on a pair of size 6 low-rise jeggings at American Eagle Outfitters, a style listed in my guide. And what do you know? They fit! Kind of. They were snug at the waist, but at least they buttoned. Not bad, Me-Ality.
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The company recently added tops and will soon expand into dresses and even intimate apparel. No more having to be felt up by ladies with tape measures in the bra section? Count me in!
This column appeared in print as "I Dream of Jean-ie."