Can you find your fit when shopping for tall clothing online? I don’t really think so. Why? That’s simply my own experience which is shared by many tall people I know. I published the results of my impromptu experiment/shopping experience last summer here and, sadly, concluded that there is no way to really find your fit online.
This may be about to change – or at least there is an effort towards working in that direction. I was recently contacted by a website trying to address the issue of finding clothes that fit. They are the High Street Fit Finder. Before you read on to learn about them, please to have a quick read through the interview they did with me recently!
So, today I am speaking to their founder Jo Caley, trying to understand if she can help us, tall people, find clothes that fit: which does feel like a pretty much impossible task!
First of all, do you want to introduce your website to my readers? The majority of them would be tall, but my blog is also being read by many people of regular height, so anyone could potentially be interested in your fit finder.
Hello! My name is Jo and I’m the founder of highstreetfitfinder.com; a shopping comparison website that helps you to find your perfect fit and to buy the right size first time! Three years ago, I ripped my jeans and needed a new pair, but being short I knew it would take me hours to find a pair that fit. I thought I would look online for a website that would help me and there wasn’t one, so I set about creating my own. I taught myself to code and collected all the retailer’s size guides. Amazingly, the concept worked; that being you enter your main body measurements into the Fit Finder and your style criteria, we match the two against the size guides and product data and return just those results that fit you. I want it to take the leg work out of shopping for clothes and save us some precious time and money.
Tall Fashion On The High Street Fit Finder?
As my blog does focus on tall fashion, and there is just one specialised tall fashion retailer on your website, do you see potential in developing the “tall” section on your site?
Definitely! There are approximately 1.2 million tall ladies in the UK (source: Tall Persons Club) and with only 2.2% of all the jeans on the High Street available for tall ladies – you are very under-represented in the clothing department. My blog post on tall collections on the high street is the second most popular on the site, and the jeans by inseam post isn’t far behind. So I can see how tall ladies are looking for more information online about where to buy clothes that fit. In fact, I’ve recently been asked to advise someone who is setting up a clothing line of blazers and shirts for tall women. Being 6’1” herself, she’s sick of sleeves never being the right length! So there’s definitely hope!
Why High Street?
Currently, the brands appearing in your search results are high street or chain stores only (as can be seen from your brand directory). How do you choose your partners?
The site is called High Street Fit Finder as it’s all about shopping on the High Street. If we lose this local place to shop, shopping for clothes will be so much more difficult! Plus, our community will be a lot worse off for it! I started with the ladies’ fashion retailers who have multiple locations nationwide, as they give me their size and product information for free, and they are both accessible and affordable to the average UK consumer. The qualifying criterion is that they publish a size guide with at least waist and inseam measurements.
There are many tall clothing manufacturers and brands out there. However, they are independent retailers addressing a real market niche, i.e. not chain stores. Is there a chance they could join you as partners?
The plan for the future is to include all High Street stores – boutiques, independents, specialist retailers for plus-size, tall and petite people, even charity shops, but with a team of one (just me) I am unable to collate this data at present. I would like to partner with bira (the British Independent Retailer’s Association) once I’ve got a good customer base, and they’ve been very supportive of the idea so far.
Plans for Expansion
Have you got any plans to expand the selection of clothing and brands available on your fit finder? If yes, how do you go about doing that?
Yes, most definitely! I’m aware that not everyone likes, or wears, jeans! Once the Fit Finder is optimised and I have built the team up, I would begin adding other items such as trousers, tops and coats. Theoretically, any item of clothing produced to a size guide would be suitable.
Accuracy Of Search Results
Being the nosy cow that I am, I ran a search for my own size and was surprised to see just one brand, New Look, whose jeans are not even 36″. This surprised me, as Long Tall Sally are also on your list of partners. I am sure that you work hard on getting accurate fit matches, but the limited/incorrect search results could potentially put people off using the fit finder again. What would you say to encourage them to pop back?
You may have just found a new store to shop in – New Look Tall jeans are 36” inseam as standard and even do a few pairs in 38” leg! The Fit Finder may not have suggested Long Tall Sally products as your waist/hip measurements fall between their sizes. New Look would be your closest match by measurements and then style criteria. I understand how easy it is to be put off using the Fit Finder when we suggest shopping in stores you wouldn’t have considered previously, but I am finding that customers love this aspect of it, as it increases choice and opens up the High Street for them.
The one very important bit of advice I would give though is to make sure you measure yourself accurately before using the Fit Finder. I see people measuring themselves in the wrong place all the time and it means the Fit Finder then insults them with incorrect sizes – that doesn’t make any of us happy. Measuring yourself is fundamental to buying clothes that fit, whether you use the Fit Finder or not, so get to know yourself.
How does the search work, does it match up a general description given to you by the clothing manufacturer, or does it simply link to their products available online at the time of running the search?
It’s quite complicated, but basically we match your body measurements against the retailer’s size guides and then match your style criteria (style, colour, cost) against the product’s themselves. We then link to the product so that you can buy the item directly from the retailer. Some of these links are affiliated, which means we get a small commission from the retailer for sending you their way. The great thing about the site though is that it will help to update size guides. The original size guide was developed in 1957 using a very small census of ladies. Our society’s shape has changed greatly since then – we’ve got wider, curvier and taller! But the size guides are still using this out-of-date data to make clothes. By collecting people’s measurements (with permission) we can inform retailers on how to update their size charts to reflect their customer – YOU!