by Thea Wood (theawood.com)
“What Size Pant Do You Wear?”
You probably can’t answer that definitively because clothing sizes and their corresponding measurements are not legally regulated in many countries. You may wear a size 6 in U.S. Brand A and a size 10 in U.S. Brand B, or a size 12 in a U.K. brand, or a 36 in an Italian brand. And that’s before you consider the pant design and your body shape. The insanity of it leaves millions of women crying in the dressing room.
“Disruption” is a hot buzzword for start-ups and the media right now. It’s based on a disruptive innovation that displaces and eventually replaces established markets, practices, and products. But disruption doesn’t mean overnight change. Entrepreneur Cricket Lee has spent over 15 years researching, testing, selling, researching, and testing again to create a standardized sizing system for pants that fit women no matter their shape or size. In 2016, her company Fitlogic launched a new initiative called the “Little Black Pant,” an e-commerce site for women to buy pants direct. Fitlogic has sold over 120,000 pairs of pants since the launch.
“Eighty-six percent of women say they can’t find clothes that fit,” says Cricket, 63, a native Texan who lives in Malibu, California. A scientific, patented system based on 60,000 women’s measurements, Fitlogic took time to scale and perfect. “It’s the only solution out there offering a perfect fit for 95% of women, with an online tool where a woman only has to answer 5 questions to identify her fit.”
There is a two-point sizing system expressing the size and the shape. For instance, if you’re a size 6 with a body shape 1, your size is 6.1. There are three shapes assigned to the pant. Shape 1 is straighter with smaller hips and slimmer thighs. Examples are Nicole Kidman, Yoko Ono, Heidi Klum, and Kathy Bates. Shape 2 is hourglass. These women usually gain fullness all over somewhat evenly. Examples are Sophia Vergara, Sara Jessica Parker, and Marilyn Monroe. Shape 3 is the booty girl who typically doesn’t gain much in the middle, but mostly in her thighs and lower bottom. Examples are Beyoncé, Rachel Ray, Oprah, Kirstie Alley.
The road hasn’t been easy with critics and naysayers from the start.
“Many people have told me it couldn’t be done because the industry is egocentric and would never change their fit. But every time women tried it or heard the concept, they loved it,” Cricket explained about her continued efforts in spite of industry attitudes.
Fitlogic now has hundreds of supporters (and growing), but it was hard to raise money because the industry didn’t adopt the system right away (Cricket tested the product via QVC, Nordstrom, and Macy’s). Details of her journey are in a Wall Street Journal article from 2008.
Cricket adds, “Other obstacles were that 5000 brands all said that they had the best fit. Or they thought they could just copy it (many tried but abandoned their initiatives because they didn’t know how I do it). My looks didn’t help either. How could a fat, aging woman from Texas tell the beautiful people in NYC what to do?”
Can Fitlogic solve a sizing predicament that’s been decades in the making?
In 1983, the Department of Commerce withdrew its commercial-sizing standard, leaving brands the opportunity to change measurements for a particular size at will. Marketing gurus now play upon women’s vanity and slap lower sizes on labels, the practice known as “vanity sizing.” Time Magazine reported that ASTM International’s findings determined that a size 8 in 2008 was the equivalent of a size 14 or 16 in 1958.
Fashion runways aren’t helping. Marilyn Monroe was 5’5 and size 12 in the 1960s—a size 6 by modern standards. According to LiveStrong.com, the modern woman is between 5’2 and 5’4 and weighs 146.4 pounds. Today’s runway model averages 5’9-5’11 and 115 pounds, per the British Association of Model Agents. This means garments are in need of alterations or simply aren’t designed for predominant proportions.
In 2017, Fitlogic will reach out to major brands and show how their direct-selling success proves that this standardized sizing system not only works but makes shopping a positive experience. The goal is to license the patented system to as many brands as possible for a universal “fit” from brand to brand.
Cricket’s daughter Natasha Lee, 24, recently joined the team and conceived the “Little Black Pant” campaign. She currently works on a millennial brand, social media marketing, and modeling.
“We are finishing up plus and petites now, and will start on jeans and tops next. Then dresses. It’s a step at a time. Our template that is patented could even apply to hats, gloves, shoes, and men’s clothing. Wouldn’t that be lovely with online growing so fast? We do reduce returns by about 80% once a woman has her fit,” says Cricket about upcoming plans.
That reduced return rate means Fitlogic is poised to disrupt the fashion industry, particularly e-commerce which experiences a 30% average return rate. Reducing that rate by 80% would be an industry phenomenon.
And it all started because a frustrated, middle-aged woman from Texas was told “it can’t be done.”