Solving the multitude of problems women face with finding clothes that fit is no easy task. When we began designing DIFMB, we started with 7 foundational principles to shape our app:
1) Women have a fundamentally different problem than men
We believe that women should have all the same rights and opportunities as men, but we recognize that the fashion industry has created a situation where men and women face very different challenges when it comes to finding clothes that fit. The curvature of the female anatomy presents unique challenges men do not face, which makes finding clothes that fit far more difficult for women. Chief among these anatomical differences are breasts, which themselves has such variety as to demand their own specialized garment in the way of bras. Men do not have to deal with bras.
Additionally, women in western cultures have a far more diverse set of garments to choose from than do men. The most obvious of these are dresses and skirts, but also included are blouses, camisoles, leggings, rompers, and sarongs. Furthermore, women have far more variations of garments worn by both men and women. The combined effect of additional garment types and variations results in women having a potentially overwhelming plethora of clothing choices when compared to men, each of which present their own challenges when it comes to fit.
2) Sizing should be based on inches
For reasons that are difficult to fathom, men’s clothing is based largely on inches, where women are forced to decrypt “Sizes”. “Sizes” are arbitrary numbers assigned to women’s clothing, and are useless for determining fit. The situation created by sizes is now so out of control that it has sparked controversy over “plus sizes” (a pejorative among fashion designers), and has led to the practice of “vanity sizing” to trick consumers into looking at garments they would not have otherwise.
There are many companies attempting to determine size using a wide array of technological approaches ranging from the inconvenient to the ridiculous. We believe in a method used for hundreds of years: the measuring tape. Arguably the most expensive garments, with the most tailored fit, subject to the most scrutiny when it comes to style are wedding dresses. Wedding dresses are fit with nothing more than a measuring tape. Convoluted technologies are not necessary when trying to determine (for example) if a pair of jeans will fit your butt: five measurements (waist, hips, rise, thigh, and inseam) taken in under a minute will do the job. Just about every home has a measuring tape, and anyone can learn how to take their own measurements in seconds.
3) Style comes second to fit
There is a lot of focus on style when it comes to clothing, which we believe is caused by fashion designers focusing on how their clothes look on a runway model rather than how they would fit the average woman. While we believe that style is important, we believe that clothes must first fit before style is considered.
4) The best model is someone with your measurements
We believe that the fashion industry’s obsession with thin and tall clothing models when marketing to the average woman is insane. Fashion designers have collectively decided that their clothes are best represented on these rare body types, but seem oblivious to the negative effect their choice have on how women (and girls!) view their own body. Aside from the obvious psychological damage this practice brings, it also does not help market the clothing, as woman have no idea how garments worn by a tall and thin model would look on them. We therefore reject the idea that clothes should be modeled by tall, thin women; and that they instead should be modeled by women with body measurements like that of the woman doing the shopping.
5) The human eye and brain working together is far more powerful than an algorithm
Many fashion retailers have decided that computer algorithms are best suited to match women with clothes. We believe this to be false, as the problem is poorly suited for even advanced deep-learning algorithms trained on a vast array of data. Instead, we believe that both fit and style are subjective to the individual, and it is the individual who must make the determination if a garment fits and looks good on them. The challenge is presenting this information visually to allow the human brain to subconsciously process the vast array of information presented in a photograph, while also processing how similar or different the woman in in the photograph is from them. We believe when given the combination of a picture and body measurement comparison, the human eye and brain will always do a superior job when compared to an algorithm in answering the questions of “Will this garment fit me?” and “Will this garment look good on me?”
6) Finding clothes that fit should be stress free
Modern life is stressful, and finding clothes that fit is one of life’s most stressful experiences. A seemingly innocuous task of “Find a dress for the party this weekend” can cause a woman to break into a cold sweat. We think this is entirely avoidable. We thought about all the aspects of shopping that are stressful, and designed the DIFMB mobile app to address each one of them:
First, women can reduce the outfit stream to only include outfits that would fit them, by adjusting their tolerance for body measurement differences between them and the women who found the outfit. This is a completely novel approach, and we are the first app to every offer this feature.
Second, we offer the swipe-browsing of outfit photos that works similarly to apps like Tinder. This allows you to quickly browse hundreds of outfits, favoriting or viewing the details of outfits you want to investigate more closely. You can do this casually with you thumb when you have a few minutes to kill. Overlaid on every photo you will also see a visualization of how your body measurements compare to the woman in the photo, allowing you to interpret how those clothes would fit you. When viewing an outfit’s details, we enable you to view a photo gallery which shows the outfit from different angles. You can view each high-resolution outfit photo full screen, and can zoom and pan around the photo to look at fine details like stitching.
Third, you can get information on how much each garments price range, when it was found, and generally where it was found. Combined with the high-resolution photos, this gives you a good idea of if you want find the garment for yourself. If you do, you pay $0.99 to find out the specific details of the garments, and it is up to you to track it down. If the item was found online, you can search for the item on the retailer’s website. If the item was found in a store, you can check the store’s website, or call the store to see if the item can be put on hold or shipped to you. $0.50 is earned by the woman who found the garment, which gives her an incentive to continue finding clothes for you and others with your measurements.
Fourth, if you don’t even want to browse for outfits, you can setup as many “Outfit Searches” as you want that will notify you if garments matching your criteria are uploaded. When a woman publishes an outfit matching your search, you will get a notification on your phone. This allows you to only look at an outfit when you know it is something you are looking for. Outfit searches also allows you to specify your tolerance for measurement differences with the woman who found the outfit, which allows you to be very precise in only receiving notifications for the exact garments you are looking for.
7) Shopping in stores is a dreaded last resort, but can and should be fun
Brick-and-mortar clothing retailers are seeing their foot-traffic fall month-over-month, and have decided that it is women’s preference for buying online that is to blame. We instead believe that the preference for buying online is because the in-store shopping experience is so negative. This negatively is based largely on the extreme difficulty in finding clothes that fit and that are also stylish. At least one study has indicated that all things being equal, a woman would prefer to shop in stores, but all things are not equal. When shopping online, a woman is spared the inconvenience of driving to a store only to find that nothing that she would like to buy fits. When the clothing arrives at her doorstep, the clothes still may not fit, but at least she did not waste her time finding that out.
We believe the trend of women not wanting to shop in stores can be reversed by focusing on the fun aspect of finding new clothes that fit you. Inventory will always make shopping a hit-or-miss experience, but that experience is ripe for gamification in the form of Scavenger Hunts. A Scavenger Hunt makes the experience of finding things that are difficult to find fun, and we believe that it is a perfect solution to turning the in-store shopping experience from a dreaded chore to a source of entertainment. When combined with the real-life social aspect of women gathering together to do something fun, as well as the fun that friendly competition brings, we believe that shopping stores can become arenas for competitive shopping.
If you are a woman who struggles to find clothes that fit, we invite you to try our app, which is available on the app store. You can learn more about how the app works on our homepage, and many questions you may have are answered in our FAQ.