Trying to find a pair of jeans that fits just right is a lot like trying to find the perfect man: It's doubtful that such a thing exists, but hopeful women just keep searching anyway.
And nowadays, with more and more denim brands popping up on the shopping scene, the hunt for a great-fitting pair of jeans has suddenly gotten even more complicated.
Levi's Jeans, the oldest brand out there, has found a way to help take some of the guesswork out of buying jeans - at least their jeans.
Using a new technological tool called Intellifit, Levi's is changing the way shoppers may buy jeans in the future. No more trying on 30 sub-par pairs just to find one that works (hopefully). The Intellifit system narrows choices to about a half-dozen styles of Levi's that have been picked exclusively for your body.
It works this way:
Fed-up customer steps into Levi's Intellifit body scanner, an 8-foot-by-8-foot glass booth and waits 10 to 15 seconds.
In that short period, the machine captures the customer's exact body measurements, using low-power radio waves (one-one-thousandth of the power of your cell phone).
It spits out a printout, telling the customer exactly which sizes will best fit. A trained stylist then steps in to match the printout with various styles of Levi's jeans.
Boot cut? Low-rise? Relaxed fit? Straight leg? Not every look is good for every person, but some combination will work for you, no matter your shape or size, Levi's officials say.
"There's hundreds of denim brands on the market today," says Chris LeMaster, tour manager and lead stylist. "Levi's, the inventor of the jean, is always trying to go to great lengths, to help people find the best-fitting jeans."
Tracie Bays of Bel Air was casually shopping at White Marsh Mall this week when she decided to try out the Intellifit system - which is here until 6 p.m. today as part of a 12-city introductory tour.
On the first try after she left the booth, stylists fitted Bays - a slim and young-looking mom - with a pair of Levi's 518s, super-low, boot-cut, with a little stretch and a lot of snug.
"I've always wanted to know what type of jeans look best on me, and this was perfect," an incredible-looking Bays says, modeling her tiny jeans.
Nine times out of 10, that's the kind of reaction the Intellifit system earns, says Bob Schiers, a spokesman for Levi's.
"The response has been overwhelmingly positive," says Schiers, "particularly by women, who seem to get really excited by it. Men don't seem as outwardly excited, but they seem really satisfied."
Take Dan Matthai, who was browsing at White Marsh this week and stopped at the Levi's booth just to see - in typical man-style - what this big gadget-thing was in the middle of the mall.
"I thought it was amazing, the technology," Matthai, a retired Marine from Baltimore, says when he stepped out, nodding his head, impressed. "It was right on the money."
The machine found Matthai's size right away, and with a little help from LeMaster, Matthai found a pair of 527s - a pair of jeans that would be more flattering on his sturdy, muscular body.
"He was sort of a plain guy [in terms of the jeans he wore]," LeMaster says. "He didn't like anything too baggy or too tight. We found him an in-between jean that gives him a little definition in the seat."
Hmmm. A manly man, who likes to shop, with a little definition in his seat?
Sounds like the Intellifit system has, in this case, gone a long way toward finding the elusive perfect jean - and the perfect man, too.
What: Levi's Fit Experience, a tryout of the Intellifit System, which uses radiowaves to determine the best-fitting jeans for your body
Where: White Marsh Mall, first floor, near Macy's
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. today
Details: The Intellifit system will be launched in Levi's stores nationwide by Nov. 30. Other retailers that carry Levi's may also install a booth in the future.