September 13, 2011, 4:36 PM

Charming Direct introduces a sizing and personalization tool

FashionGenius.com lets plus-size women find apparel that fits and matches their styles.

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One of the hardest tasks when it comes to shopping for apparel online is finding items that fit right and, with all the choices available, match a consumer’s particular style, said Bill Bass, president of Charming Direct, today at the 2011 Shop.org Annual Summit in Boston.

Charming Shoppes Inc. is No. 132 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

To address those issues, the company last Friday launched FashionGenius.com, a site that features three surveys, each three minutes long, that plus-sized women shoppers can complete to find the tops, bottoms and bras that work best for them. What’s different about FashionGenius, Bass said, is that consumers need no measuring tape. The retailer gathered more than 70 million data points and measured more than 10,000 consumers to develop the survey questionnaire, which adapts from question to question based on the previous answer. One question, for example, asks whether a shopper’s jeans typically gap at the waistline and shows photos demonstrating a yes, no or sometimes answer.

“FashionGenius.com is a way to come up with a simple way to find clothes that will fit their body and match their style,” Bass said. “The point is to keep the questions really simple and not have them measure themselves.”

When the survey is done, consumers are assigned a persona style, such as “comfortably casual” or “stylishly savvy.” With that, consumers who then shop at any Charming Direct web site, such as LaneBryant.com, Catherines.com or FashionBug.com, see products that follow that designation. Products that fit the shopper’s personal style and fit preferences are merchandised with a plus icon (+).

Bass said that although FashionGenius had only a soft launch last Friday and its official debut yesterday, more than 60,000 consumers have created FashionGenius.com profiles to help them shop.

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