If The Clothes Fit, Buy ‘Em

Aug 13, 2004

By George Anderson

Like many others in her age group, Jamie Anderson (disclaimer: this is not this reporter’s wife despite having the same name — there’s no need for this reporter to be banished to sleeping on the couch) has found the combination of body changes brought about by birthing children and the passage of time has made it difficult for her to walk into a store and simply buy clothes off-the-rack.

Ms. Anderson is not alone when it comes to finding clothes that fit. A study conducted by Kurt Salmon Associates (KSA) a number of years ago found half of all women and 62 percent of men report problems in finding a good fit.

Catalog and online retailers consistently report poor fit as being the number one reason behind clothing returns.

Store-based retailers, primarily those in the department and specialty store sectors, have attempted to address this consumer problem by offering fitting and tailoring services on-premises. Others have offered odd sizes to clothe hard-to-fit consumers. L.L. Bean, for example, sells its Double L Jeans for men with waist sizes in even and odd measurements.

Although custom-fit services are generally associated with more upscale retail establishments, at least one discounter has also gotten into the act.

Target.com’s “Target to a T” service offers to “custom craft” garments to fit shoppers. The service is limited, however, with custom fitting offered on Merona men’s shirts, Mossimo women’s jeans and Cherokee men’s chinos.

Target’s charges for custom-made garments are higher than those bought off-the-rack. The Merona men’s shirts, which regularly retail between $19.99 and $21.99, sell for $44.99 when made to order. Women’s Mossimo jeans sell on Target.com for $24.99 to $26.99 and the “Target to a T” price is $34.99.

The Target custom clothing site advises customers to allow 3-4 weeks for delivery of their clothing.

Moderator’s Comment: Do the combination of factors,
such as consumer need and technological advancements, suggest that customization
will become more widespread in the future? Is the market for customized products
large enough to support operating services such as “Target to a T”?

Calls to Target for comment on its custom-fit clothing
service were not returned as of press time.

George Anderson – Moderator

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1 Comment on "If The Clothes Fit, Buy ‘Em"

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Sam Meeks
Sam Meeks
16 years 6 months ago

Custom fitting apparel does have players providing this service besides Target and Lands’ End. Have a look at http://www.bivolino.com doing custom shirts and http://www.tailormade-jeanswear.com doing custom jeans. I’m sure there are others getting into the prosumerism business, a badly needed counter to the poor fitting consumer goods suppliers.