The WeFitMe Story: A Rodeo and a Pair of Jeans
It all started with a rodeo and a pair of jeans. And really, how could that not be the beginning of an adventure? Because before the jeans can be part of the story, you first have to find them. This was going to be a problem. Ladies, you know the struggle, drama, and emotions involved with finding jeans that fit, right? I’m talking tummy-cursing, thigh-disowning, butt-hating drama played out solo in a poorly-lit fitting room. [Isn’t it strange that we curse ourselves instead of the jeans when we go shopping? But I digress…].
Back to my story…I was going to my first big rodeo back in 2012 and I needed a pair of rodeo-appropriate jeans (no gardening jeans or trouser jeans, or god forbid, mom jeans!). On this particular jeans hunt I went with my good friend, Valerie, who hated jeans shopping as much as I did. And for all the same reasons. We had resolved to start our quest for jeans that fit and flatter together. My friend Val was (and still is) a much better shopper than I will ever be. She knew exactly where we had to start our day; at a bar for a stiff drink. You know, to take the jeans-shopping edge off.
Relaxed by our cocktails, we set off to the mall to a denim store called Buckle. After we ran through our requirements with the associate (darker wash, no bling on the butt, no super low-rise), she loaded us into adjacent fitting room stalls and we started the grim task of trying them on.
This is the part where things usually start to go off the rails, right? We started comparing notes on each pair, throwing them over the wall to each other as we went, with a shout like, “Try this one” or, “don’t bother with these because the rise is too low”, or even, “ the pockets on these make my butt look awful, but they might work on you”. And so I tried them. They weren’t bad. And suddenly the task wasn’t as grim.
I actually had fun shopping for jeans.
That’s how the hunt went, and for the first time ever I had fun shopping for jeans. I was not alone with my grumbling about how if the butt fits, the waist gaps. I was with someone who had the same issue and we both found jeans that day. If this is beginning to sound like a fairy tale, (and it was to me) it gets even better.
The next week, buoyed by my success and still in need of another pair of jeans (you must have more than one pair for a big multi-day rodeo), I set out alone. The only other store in the mall we hadn’t tried was Lucky Brand. And I ended up being lucky there too. I found a pair I liked so well that I bought the same pair for Val in the regular length (I always take the short). I took the jeans to my friend that weekend and they fit her! She just wrote me a check for the jeans and she never had to set foot in the fitting room.
Val and I were the same basic body shape and size. Even though there were noticeable differences between our bodies, our recommendations for each other were good enough to eliminate the “hell no!” pairs and point us toward the “hell yes!” pairs.
That’s how this WeFitMe thing began. I wanted to find out if I could make shopping for clothes better for other women too. Thinking about how I could do it sent me down a path of voracious reading and going to meetups in technology, startups and fashion. I’ve studied the latest trends in apparel retail and I have learned a lot, but mostly I've been talking to other women. Lots of them. And there are common themes you should know about, because it's not just you. It's really not. We're all struggling with this situation.
This blog is where I’m going to share what I’ve learned and raise our issues to industry if they will join us, their customers, in a conversation.
What questions do you have? I’ll try to track down the answers for you.
Clarissa Cooper of Portland OR is the founder of WeFiTMe, an online community of like-bodied women helping each other find clothes that fit. Clarissa has over 30 years of experience in the women’s apparel industry as a CONSUMER, as well as a background in finance in the energy industry. This is Clarissa's first blog, but it’s not her first rodeo.
Image: Getty Images, iStock, by Ersler