The Me-Ality Machine

Me-Ality Body Scanner. Photo credit:

Me-Ality Body Scanner. Photo credit:

My city has the only Me-Ality machine in Canada. It’s a body scanner that tells you what clothes sizes fit you best. You make an appointment for a scan, and the attendant matches your specs against a database of retailers that they partner with. I had to wait about two months for a free scan, and I was super-curious as to how it would turn out.

These body scanners are installed at some US malls and used to have the brand name IntelliFit.

Of course, I had lots of questions. Was I exposing myself to X-rays for the sake of shopping? No, it is a millimetre wave scanner, which uses non-ionizing radiation – like the scanners in smaller airports – the ones that are NOT being removed. Would I be selling out my personal details for perpetuity? Maybe – I had to provide my name and email address, and create an account on their website. Would there be intense sales pressure? There wasn’t – the office actually had nothing to sell.

I stepped into the machine and the wand circled around me in both directions. It reminded me of being in a touchless car wash 🙂  It literally only took about 15 seconds. Then the attendant verified my email address and set me up an account. She walked me through how to view clothes on the website and find out my sizes.

Interestingly, you don’t get a body scan photo or a print-out of your measurements. So the company has that data about you, but you don’t see it. The point is that you don’t need it because they do the size matching for you, and you don’t have to compare your own measurements to a chart. With all of your personal data humming in the background, it can show you a page of (for example) the top 10 jeans that will fit you best from among their partner retailers.

I have a particular interest in jeans at the moment. I finished up a lengthy weight-loss program since I last did serious jeans shopping in 2008! Needless to say, the styles, washes and fits have changed since then. So my first “project” was to see if their jeans recommendations would work for me. I limited my list to the brands I could find in local stores. I printed them off and set out for the mall (which is strange in itself because I rarely go mall shopping)!

Jeans that purportedly fit me

Jeans that purportedly fit me

Weirdly enough, even though I don’t shop much, I tend to have good luck when trying on pants – I think I have a realistic sense of what will fit me and I don’t get sidetracked by wishful thinking! I don’t shop at stores that are super-trendy or youthful, like garage or boathouse (cough, cough). I have a pear-shaped figure and my usual problems with jeans are gapping at the waist or buying too large. I can wear super-low-rise though, should I want to (??)

I was very annoyed when I brought the first pair into the fitting room and I could barely get them on. One of my reasons for doing the body scan is that I wanted to avoid “feeling fat” and being discouraged in the changing room because “nothing fits me.” So I was off to a bad start. I quickly realized that the sizes I was given were based on my exact body measurements, with no allowance for getting them on and off, or being able to move. Silly! Going up one size gave me enough of a margin to function, and going up two sizes gave me more of the roomy fit I am used to. So, no Old Navy size 6s for me – as if! The size 8s were breathable and the size 10s comfortable.

The same pattern reoccurred in each store. I tried on Silver/Suki jeans at Bootlegger, Guess Daredevil Bootcuts at The Bay, and Eddie Bauer Curvy jeans. In each case, I could squeeze into the recommended size, but would never, ever wear clothes that tight. I would have when I was 14, though. So maybe the sizing algorithm was designed for teens?

Finally I tried on the 1969 Curvy jeans at The Gap and they fit just right. I had to laugh, because of all the styles I tried, they were exactly the same kind of “Mom jeans” I would have bought anyway!

It was an eye-opening experience. The trend now is for skinnies, straight-legs and boot cut jeans, or at best a little flare. My legs are not built for any of those. Despite being at a good weight, my legs are curvy at every point, and I have chubby knees 🙂 I did learn which of the brands made jeans in those styles that I could actually get into. I just don’t…want to.

My current jeans: Jacob Connexion Stretch 2004!

My current jeans #1: Jacob Connexion Stretch 2004!

My current jeans #2: Levis Curvy Cut 2008 (low rise) Note the baggy knees :)

My current jeans #2: Levis Curvy Cut 2008 (low rise) Note baggy knees 🙂

I did learn that I should always look for the curvy fit and not bother trying on the straight cut jeans unless I want to go many sizes larger.

When I got home, I measured myself with a tape measure and compared my actual measurements to the online jeans size charts at The Gap, Old Navy and Eddie Bauer. This process was much more accurate and pointed me to the sizes that I felt comfortable wearing. Low tech trumped!

I am in the market for a pair of dark wash, non-skinny jeans that I can wear to work. Apparently the proper name for this profile is “trouser leg jeans.”

So, armed with my new knowledge, I am going to take my almost-50-year-old self back to Reitman’s and Mark’s where I always shop, and buy nice-fitting jeans for a grown-up!

Jeans I would actually wear from Reitmans - let's see if they fit! Photo:

Jeans I would actually wear from Reitmans – let’s see if they fit! Photo:


  1. Tina Lemna

    I’ve never heard of such a thing! I was wondering since you have been successful at losing weight if you would mind sharing a couple of tips that have helped you. Thank you.

    • I can post about that some time, but the short version is: it feels like work and it takes a while! I used the DietPower software – you can get a free trial, and the full version costs about $50. If I were starting over I would use the MyFitnessPal app or website which is completely free – I just tried it out and it works great!

  2. Pat Poulsen

    Hi Dar, you look fantastic! I wear the Contrast Comfort Jeans from Reitmans . They are so comfy,
    Just enough stretch, wash like a rag….the only drawback, you have to keep pulling them up, they tend
    To slide down!!! Love ya, Aunt Pat

  3. I’ve never heard of a scanner like that e either. I fear it would just lead to heartbreak for me. My best fit for pants has always come from Marks Work Wearhouse too.

  4. Fiona

    Intriguing…it would be great if this kind of technology was the way of the future. It would save so much time and foot-work with shopping. Oh – and the jeans look great!

  5. It seems very futuristic! Looking forward to seeing how you get on buying new jeans!

  6. Holy Moly! I seriously thought this was a joke at first. My brain is having a hard time processing the idea of body scans for the sake of jeans fittings… of course, I haven’t been in an airport for 20 years either, so I’m sure that would be a totally mind-blowing experience at this point!

    To be honest, I have purchased exactly ONE pair of new jeans in my entire adult lifetime – and I only bought them because I was at an emotional low point and felt the need to “treat” myself. The fact that they were a size 2 and I could actually squeeze into them was a much-needed morale booster at the time. Of course, they looked like they belonged on a 14 year old (which they did) and weren’t terribly comfortable, so I gave them away years ago.

    I actually have great luck finding jeans at the thrift store – there are so many styles to choose from! Plus, I just can’t bring myself to spend the kind of money they want for new jeans. Anything over $5 is pushing it as far as I’m concerned! 🙂

    Good luck with it… I hope you find the perfect pair!

  7. Count me too as another person who had never heard of such a machine (one learns so much reading blogs!). My only “go to” place for pants these days is the Goodwill. I love that the pants at the GW are already washed multiple times and so I know that if they fit me in the store, they will still fit me after being washed (which often doesn’t happen when you take new jeans home and wash them). p.s. we are the same size (ie: 6=suffocating, 8=great fit, 10=oh so comfy)!

    • I haven’t had luck at thrift stores for jeans (everybody has the same idea so the racks are picked over) but I do well for shirts, sweaters and jackets there. Definitely will not be buying any suffocating jeans 🙂

  8. Oh, I laughed at this post – I feel like we’re similar in a lot of respects, but this is one post where our age difference was evident! That being said, I’m not exactly a huge fan of skin tight – but two sizes bigger would probably be too much for me. I hate baggy jeans! Still, a fun experiment, and well worth a try.

    • Ha ha, I am at a funny age – I don’t want my jeans to fit like “slacks” as my mom would say, but I don’t want to look like I’m wearing a 14-year-old’s jeans either. Always looking for that happy medium!

      • I hear you – like the funny age between being a child, and being a teenager, and everything is either babyish or too mature/sexy.

  9. I have never head of anything like this 🙂 And I had to laugh at them making no allowance for going on and off. I usually buy my jeans from op shops, but do occasionally splash out on new ones if I can’t find the sort I’m looking for. I like them fitted, but not so tight I can’t get into them!

    • I thought it was funny, too, that they advertise “finding your perfect fit” and then you can’t get into the clothes! More weirdly still, the machines were originally designed for pattern making. I am sure that clothing designers would know to add an allowance for dressing and for movement.

  10. Gemma Ptolemy

    I’ll have to look for one of those things in the US. Do they give you measurements for shirts as well? That’s what I really need. I’m very short so things are either too long or too short for me.

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