Calling my NYC area female readers, sizes 12 and up… how would you like to help make a difference in how clothes are sized for plus-sized women?
Body Labs, a company which “collects, digitizes and organizes all of the data and information related to human body shape, pose and motion… upon and around which goods and services can be designed, produced, bought and sold”, is conducting a sizing study.
According to Project Manager, Jessica Purmot, the study is “with women who typically wear a size 12 or larger because this group often has a great deal of trouble finding clothing that properly fits their body… and they are underrepresented in other sizing studies.” Although the company is not currently working with a plus-size clothing designer or manufacturer, “there has definitely been interest in the results”.
I wanted a body like mine to be represented so I signed up. At Body Labs’ East 18th Street office, Jessica and Operations Associate, Tashneen Bakht, made me feel welcome before starting me on a survey. Some questions were about which brands fit or don’t fit well and others asked about shape, size and posture. One question asked me to describe my body and “please keep it positive”. I answered as you can see in the photo on the left then told Jessica that my response WAS positive because I’ve embraced a word which no longer has the power to hurt me. Somehow I missed the words “or phrase” otherwise my response would have likely been “fat and fabulous”. I couldn’t help but wonder how other study subjects answered that question.
Once the survey was complete, I was asked to strip down to my underwear for the 3D body scan. For accuracy, subjects are asked to wear an unpadded bra and panties or other comfortable, but snug, underwear.
I was first scanned in my own bra then measured (height, bust, waist, hips, etc) and weighed. The results were recorded in centimeters and kilograms. I wondered if it’s so subjects, more familiar with inches and pounds, wouldn’t know the results and thus continue the scans comfortably. Jessica confirmed my hunch was correct.
I was then asked to change into a sports bra and scanned again. Lastly, I was scanned in a string bikini top so my breasts hung as naturally as possible without being nude.
(I just had to take a picture of myself in the string bikini top because of how it looked. Next summer’s swim top with a high-waisted bottom… hmmm?)
After getting dressed, I was curious to see how my body looked in 3D. There I am in all my beautiful, big-bellied glory… almost like an ancient fertility goddess. Overall, it was a very comfortable, positive experience and I’m glad I took part in it. I will also admit that the $25 compensation wasn’t bad for an hour of my time.
I hope that other subjects look at their scans and see how gorgeous and awesome their bodies are. I hope more women sign up to participate. Most importantly, I hope designers will use this information so clothes fit better on a body like mine.