Web Sites Help Find Clothes That Fit

There was a time when Shelley Ducker of Bethesda, Md., adored shopping. That was before the birth of her daughter, Zara.

"It's just a lot harder with a toddler in tow because they have a way of escaping, and department stores tend to be quite cavernous," she told The Early Show correspondent Susan McGinnis.

She turned to online shopping, but soon encountered problems. Buying clothes on the Internet can be great if they fit once they arrive. But all too often, your idea of a 10 doesn't match the Web site's idea of a 10. Now some new companies are using technology and promising you clothes that fit.

"You have no idea how it's going to look on you," Ducker said. "You have no idea if it's going to be flattering. You have no idea if it's actually going to fit, even if it's your size."

Others agree: what you see isn't always what you get.

"Mostly it's fit," Karen Denver said. "I have no idea how things are going to look on me until I try them on."

"It looks great on screen and then you get it and it's like, 'This is not what it looks like,' " Judith Davis said.

And when it's not what it looks like, customers must face the hassle of returning. Last year, consumers bought an estimated $9.6 billion worth of apparel online and an estimated 30 percent to 40 percent of clothing was returned. That has new companies sprouting up to offer new ways to buy clothing online.

Louise Wannier is CEO of Myshape (www.myshape.com), a Web site that promises to be your own personal shopper. She said it takes the guess work out of shopping online.

"It is as if you could walk into a store and the only clothes hanging would be good choices for you," Wannier said.

Ducker tried it out. It took a lot of measuring before the shopping actually began.

Myshape isn't the only fitting room in cyberspace. Another site trying to be a good fit with Web shoppers is My Virtual Model (www.mvm.com). Enter your measurements and you get your own onscreen model. You can make her eyes, lips and hairdo similar to your own. She shows you just what the clothes you pick will look like.

But another newcomer to the scene looks more like the transporter from "Star Trek." Intellifit (www.intellifit.com) uses the virtual fitting room.

"The idea is, you register with Intellifit, you step into the booth and get measured," CEO Rob Webber said. "The wand circles you in 10 seconds and is able to take over 200 measurements."

The booths are located throughout the country and are 8 feet high and 7 feet wide. After the person is scanned and measured with radio waves, she receives a confidential computer printout with the brands and sizes that fit her best. The company's Web site partners with retailers such as Levis.

Back in Bethesda, Ducker's clothes arrived from Myshape and the results were mixed. Some fit and some clearly didn't. Some just weren't her.

"That's not what it looked like on the Web site," she said.

The big problem for Myshape is the cumbersome measuring process, but the company says it is working on simplifying the process. Even so, finding clothes you can count on online seems to be getting easier.

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