Shopping centers' 'Me-Ality' guides you to stores with clothes that fit - East Valley Tribune: Business

Shopping centers' 'Me-Ality' guides you to stores with clothes that fit

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Stacie Spring is a general assignment reporter for the East Valley Tribune. Contact her at (480) 898-5645 or sspring@evtrib.com

Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2012 10:00 am | Updated: 10:37 am, Wed Nov 28, 2012.

Once again, Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday and Cyber Monday are here to help us ring in the holiday shopping season.

And while that probably means a trip to the mall for a few things, one company called Me-Ality promises to help make that shopping experience a little easier—and it’s free.

The company, based out of Nova Scotia, Canada utilizes technology to scan more than 200 points on the human body and compare them to measurements of clothing brands found in the mall you’re in. (Sales associates cannot see your weight or measurements.)

“We really encourage people to share their shopping guide,” said Kathleen Funke, a Me-Ality spokeswoman. “Getting someone a gift, you don’t have worry about finding you can’t exchange it for the right size if it doesn’t fit.”

A couple weeks ago, my coworker, Lynne Gabrielson, and I headed over to Chandler Fashion Center to test Me-Ality.

Lynne, whose favorite style of jeans was recently discontinued, was in search of some new favorite jeans and I’m always up for a day of shopping.

It was fairly simple. The two of us each took turns standing inside the little room while a wand circled around us. Afterward, the location manager explained to us how to use the computer to print out our closet matches.

Despite our different body types, both of us were able to get lots of good matches from different stores. Some were from places that neither of us had been to before.

“We want people to find brands they’ve never heard of before,” said Funke. “I learned that one of my best looks is American Eagle. I’m a PR professional and haven’t shopped there since I was a teenager.”

The point, she said, was to try and cut down on the time people spend shopping and to point them to the best possible size.

“Brands have different sizes — vanity sizes. That’s why you’re a size 4 in one store and an 8 in another. It’s so frustrating sometimes. We want to get away from size and break that barrier for people.”

Our first stop was White House Black Market, where a pair of stretchy jeans was a really good match on the guide for Lynne. After trying them on, we both decided they did nothing for her figure, so we went to a different store.

At Buckle, we both tried on jeans that Me-Ality recommended. I liked the recommendation, but I don’t like a lot of stretch in my jeans. The salesman who helped us pointed me toward a pair with a similar fit, but made with a different material.

Lynne liked them so much she ended up buying them.

While the guide didn’t always match our personal tastes exactly, it did make shopping a lot easier. Additionally, it made me reconsider some stores that I normally wouldn’t go to. Lynne had never been to Buckle before and I hadn’t been there since high school.

However, in one case, the guide pointed us to a store that carries clothes for… older women. It might have been a good fit, but just looking at the style and wash of the jeans, Lynne and I decided that we were much too young to even consider buying them.

All in all, by using Me-Ality, I found a number of jeans that I definitely wouldn’t mind unwrapping on Christmas morning.

Going to Me-Ality was a simple experience. I’ll probably pass on my list to my family. It sure makes it a lot easier than trying to give sizes for different stores.

And it makes online shopping easy too, Funke said. By going online, even more options are available from stores that don’t have a physical presence at the nearest mall.

“Since we’ve been doing men’s clothing, we’ve been getting a lot of men who come into the mall to get scanned and then go online to buy clothes,” she said. “They know it’s going to be a good fit.”

Additionally, it has made back-to-school shopping easier for families, Funke added. One family with two teenagers was able to get all their shopping done in under an hour.

Me-Ality first started in the United States in Pennsylvania, and now offers 71 stations in 20 states.

“We want to be everywhere,” Funke said.

By the end of next year, they are hoping to raise that number to 300 stations.

To encourage people to try Me-Ality, all the locations offer $5 reward gift cards, Funke said.

For more information, visit me-ality.com or visit locations at Superstitions Springs Center in Mesa, Chandler Fashion Center or Scottsdale Fashion Square. Other locations in the Valley can be found at Paradise Valley Mall or Arrowhead Towne Center.

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