Advice On Finding Elements For Online Fashion

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The final frontier for online shopping: Fashion that fits

Photo of Dianne Buckner (CBC) Dianne Buckner has reported on entrepreneurs for two decades. She hosts Dragons' Den on CBC Television and is part of the business news team at CBC News Network. (Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.) As more consumers embrace the convenience of online shopping for books, music, electronics and all manner of merchandise, one category is not growing as fast as the others: clothing. Many shoppers believe there's just too big a risk that the garment won't fit or won't look good on them. That's the case for Amit Sood, who recently spoke to CBC while strolling through a Toronto mall. "I'm more comfortable visiting the shop because you can try the clothes and see if it fits you well," says Sood. Shopper Hilary Doyle says she's had some success buying fashion online, but it's hit or miss. "It works out well except when it's not the right size, in which case it's such a hassle to return," she complains. Unwanted items bought online typically have to be repackaged and shipped back. Social media sites feature plenty of photo evidence of fashion fails related to online shopping. (Valnet) Fit is a massive challenge for e-commerce, and there's a belief in the industry that if the problem could be solved, the profits would roll in.

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Retail chain The Gap recently introduced an app called Dressing Room. Choose a body shape and an item of clothing, and an image of the combination shows up right in your home, via augmented reality. (The Gap) "For the retailer it's more economical, you're not dealing with fixed stores. For the shopper they don't have to leave their home, they love this whole idea of shopping online. But for clothing, for shoes, for dresses, pants, shirts — fit is everything." Why don't we use our phones to buy stuff? The challenge is confounding though, given that there is no universal sizing standard. A size from one brand that fits you perfectly may be too big or too small from a different brand. Then the cut and fabric come into play. Add in the virtual nature of website shopping and a satisfying solution seems like mission impossible. "It may look good in a picture, but it's really when it's on you that it counts," says Gray.

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