When it comes to apparel sizing, female consumers are likely to be hard pressed to name a category more complex and nonsensical to navigate than jeans. Each brand follows its own sizing standards, while the cut, fiber content and recovery of a pair of jeans can drastically alter how it fits. In an effort to streamline sizing, a number of brands are rolling out jeans that fit multiple sizes. Denim purists, however, have their doubts on this one-size-fits-all approach to jeans.
Aware of these challenges, Beatrice Purdy, an apparel retail veteran with more than two decades of experience, embarked on the road to help consumers find their perfect size. Purdy and her female-led team landed on Fitlogic, a patented sizing system that not only considers the wearer’s size, but also their shape. Based on more than 60,000 body scans, Purdy came to determine that 94.8 percent of woman fall into one of three shapes: shape 1, a physique with a less-defined waist; shape 2, a classic hourglass shape, and; shape 3, a pear shape with a fuller lower bottom and thighs.
This sizing system has gone on to become the backbone to Measure & Made, a size-inclusive women’s jeans and bottoms brands. As founder and CEO, Purdy says launching the brand in 2019 was her way of debunking the myths about sizing that fashion has ingrained into women’s minds.
“I was just so tired of thinking that there was something wrong with me because jeans didn’t fit me, and you know what, it’s not my fault,” she said. “For too long so many brands out there have been using a sizing system that was developed in the 1950s by the government…it was basically designed by men who used a bunch of post-war women who were all essentially fit and had an hourglass shape.”
Though brands have tweaked and evolved this standard, Purdy points out that this is also why a size 10 in Calvin Klein jeans is not the same size 10 at American Eagle.
A more logical way to approach fit, she said, is through shape. “We’re just taking that away—we’re taking the guessing game away,” Purdy said. A quick questionnaire on Measure & Made’s website that covers height, typical pant size and where pants tend to feel too tight, helps shoppers identify their shape and size, resulting in sizes like 8.1. The first number is the waist size, while the second number denotes the body shape.
Offering a size range of 0-28 and three unique shapes, Purdy said there are over 100 possible size and shape combinations. “We have three times as much inventory to accommodate the shape system,” Purdy said. “And that’s how we give almost a custom-like fit.”
Each jean style in the collection is made according to the shapes, therefore Measure & Made has completely different specs for all three. And it may not necessarily be the same from size to size, Purdy noted. As sizing gets larger or smaller, those specs can change. The brand maintains these measurements across the entire range, which allows customers to confidently order new styles.
It’s an inventory load that would scare most execs, but Purdy reports that Measure & Made has a return rate that is half the industry average. “People want to carry less inventory so they can accommodate all their returns but if you don’t have all those returns, then you don’t have to worry about that happening,” she said.
The brand touts a 90 percent success rate of women finding their perfect pants. However, if customers need an exchange, they can work with a fit specialist to find the right size. After the first exchange, Purdy said only 2 percent of those people make a return afterwards.
Measure & Made’s No. 1 selling style is the dark-wash skinny jean, followed by a straight jean. The bootcut, however, is gaining momentum, Purdy said. The brand is also planning to debut a cropped jean and a jogger—its first pull-on pant style—this spring. Though loungewear items like joggers are having a moment in the current comfort-obsessed climate, Purdy is adamant about building a brighter future for denim.
“It’s important to let women know that jeans are comfortable when they fit,” she said. “One of the phrases that we use is ‘take back your closet.’ You don’t need to have 20 pairs of jeans that don’t fit—you just need one really good pair.”