NANCY UPTON, an actress, entered an online contest to find an XL fashion model with shots of herself bathing in creamy salad dressing and covering her crotch with a large cherry pie. American Apparel, the clothes shop sponsoring the contest, snootily rejected her. She won a storm of publicity and a shamefaced invitation to the firm’s headquarters. It is a small sign of a growing trend: clothesmakers are paying attention to customers with ample proportions.
For such people, shopping for clothes can be tiresome, or even traumatic. First, there is the problem of trying on clothes in front of irritatingly svelte young shop assistants—an ordeal many plus-sized shoppers would rather not endure. Then there is the difficulty of finding clothes that fit.
To paraphrase Tolstoy, whereas thin people are all (roughly) alike, fat people are all fat after their own fashion. Body weight is distributed in many different ways, and clothing sizes are unreliable guides. Some 80% of women surveyed by Charming Shoppes, America’s leading retailer of clothes for larger women, said their bras didn’t fit properly. This is one reason why, although more than a third of American women are obese, the plus-size market accounts for less than a fifth of American clothing sales, according to Marshal Cohen of NPD, a market-research firm.
就像托尔斯泰（俄国小说家）所写的那样，瘦人的身材大致相似，而胖人的身材却各有不同。体重分布都是呈不均匀分布的，所以说凭衣服的尺寸来挑选大多是不靠谱的。据美国领先的大号女士衣服零售商Charming Shoppes调查，80%的受访女性觉得她们的胸罩不合适。这也就是为什么美国妇女三分之一以上是肥胖的，而加大号衣服的销售量连美国服装销售总额的1/5的都不到的原因之一，这是根据Marshal Cohen of NPD（一家市场研究公司）的调查结果。
On the web people can shop without embarrassment, but finding the right fit is even harder. Online, plus-size sales are a mere 11% of the total. However, when plus-size customers find clothes they like, says Sucharita Mulpuru of Forrester Research, they spend up to twice as much as other people. Clearly, there is an opportunity.
Charming Shoppes has just launched an online tool called Fashion Genius, which it modestly calls the “plus-size fashion breakthrough of the century!” Built by Zafu, a site that helps women find better-fitting jeans, Fashion Genius poses a deceptively simple questionnaire based on data crunched from over 1m online surveys and 10,000 fittings. It asks women about their figures (hourglass, rectangular, circular, etc), how their existing clothes fit them (Loose at the waist? Rides up at the back?) and what kind of clothes and even handbags they like. It then gives them a profile (“Fearlessly confident…Dramatic and trendy”) and dressing tips, and can recommend matches from a database of up to 300 brands.
Charming Shoppes公司推出了所谓的时尚天才（Fashion Genius）在线工具，被称为“本世纪加大号时尚衣服的突破”。Zafu网站创建了这个在线工具，一个供女士们挑选合适自己牛仔裤的网站，Fashion Genius会从100万份网上调查和一万项匹配结果的数据库中随机弹出一个调查问卷。调查问卷会问到她们自身的数据（偏瘦，正常，偏胖等），现有衣服合不合身（腰带太松？衣服太过紧身？），喜欢哪种衣服和手提包。随后Fashion Genius会给出一个大概的轮廓和穿衣的方法，也能给你推荐多达300个搭配品牌。
The response, says Bill Bass of Charming Shoppes, has been enthusiastic, though whether customers keep the clothes they buy will be the ultimate test. But there is plenty of room for more innovations. In the regular-size world, customisation of clothes is beginning to take off. Mr Bass thinks that clothes-shopping on tablet devices will be the next big thing. Let your fingers do the tailoring?
Charming Shoppes的比尔•巴斯说，Fashion Genius面世之后，消费者对此很是狂热，尽管消费者最终是否买下已收藏的衣服有待最终的测试，当然这还有很大的创新空间。常规尺码衣服的定做量开始增长。巴斯先生认为下一步将在平板电脑上主打网上销售。干脆挥动你的手指，让我们量体裁衣吧？