It would make buying clothes so much easier.

By Elizabeth Sile
Updated October 25, 2017
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I buy most things online. My fiancé and I often order our groceries on FreshDirect. I prefer my makeup brand’s website to Sephora. I usually know exactly what I want to buy for everyone for Christmas, so I turn to Google. Don’t get me wrong: I do still love going to stores. I only buy my books in bookstores. And I adore poking around a beautiful gift shop. But in my day-to-day life, I like the convenience of buying everything online.

Almost everything.

When it comes to buying clothes online, I’m a frequent returner. It usually goes something like this: I get an email about a sale on something I’ve had my eye on. I know I’ll be too tired to go to that store after work to try it on. I stare at the item for a long time, convinced that the shape, the fabric, the length will be perfect—this time. I do one final check of the size chart against my measurements. But inevitably, the dress arrives and the waist falls three inches below my own. The knee-length skirt is far too long for my 5’4” frame. The blouse is inappropriate, even though I sized up. The pants feel tighter than Spanx on my thighs, but are gaping at the waistband.

The most frustrating thing about shopping online when you are neither the height nor shape of a model is that there is no way to safely predict anything will actually look good on you. I’m what some people call an in-betweener—too small for plus sizes, too large for straight sizes. I rarely see myself in the models wearing the clothes I’m buying. So I gravitate more and more toward websites that let women add photos to their reviews. It’s nice to see brands like Aerie, ASOS, and Modcloth employ models who wear sizes other than 0. I tried to think of more to add to that list, but came up short because the pickings are so slim.

Recently, I was browsing Everlane’s new line of denim. I hadn’t had much success with Everlane in the past. Sheaths and box-cut sweaters are just never going to work on me. As I was about to say, “Better not risk it,” I noticed a new box on the page I hadn’t seen before. See how these fit on other sizes. The drop-down allowed me to see the jeans on women who were sized 0, 2, 6, and 10. Finally I could see these jeans on a woman whose legs looked somewhat similar my own. I could see that, yes, these jeans could work on me.

I haven’t seen this feature anywhere else on Everlane or on any other websites. It wasn’t a tool without its flaws either. The women who were modeling Everlane’s jeans were either 5’6” or 5’8” (the average American woman is 5’3”, according to the CDC). But I can say that I bought those jeans and have been wearing them happily since, because I was able to actually see how they fit a woman with hips like mine. I could actually picture them on me.

At this point—when it’s rare to see a size 6 model, let alone a size 16, on a product page—modeling jeans on four different bodies is a step in the right direction. I hope a feature like this—with far more sizes and shapes—will soon be the norm.