Ex-Microsoft staffers invent algorithm for bra fitting

Sheryl Nadler
Shine On
May 31, 2012

The world of cheap, fancy bras in a myriad of trendy patterns and cuts can be tempting to impulse shoppers. But when your latest find leaves you sagging, many women drag themselves to get professionally fitted under unforgiving fluorescent lights by an eager lingerie company representative

Not your thing? A new online bra shop, True & Co, may be your solution. Founded by two ex-Microsoft staffers, Aarthi Ramamurthy and Michelle Lam have put their knowledge of code to good use by inventing what they claim is a computer algorithm that can accurately fit women for a bra, simply by answering a few questions, reports the New York Daily News. Clients are then offered a selection of bras from a variety of different brands to choose from — all offered at $45 each.

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If accurate, this could mean good news for women who don't love having their bits handled, measured and moved by a stranger in the tight confines of a department store dressing room.

But not everyone is convinced of the magical properties of computers. Tonilee Coordes, a Hamilton-based professional bra-maker and owner of Bliss Bras, says she's seen computer-generated programs and patternmakers come and go, as they just don't measure up to the personal experience.

"I think you still need the personal, hands-on feel," she says. "Some women like a more natural breast shape, some like a more rounded, youthful breast shape. Some like to be pushed together and I don't think that a computer can really do that, never mind the measuring."

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Coordes admits to meeting women who are shy about shedding their clothes in front of a stranger, but most don't have a problem with it, she says. In fact, she points out, women who require specialty bras seem to prefer the human touch.

"Women that need a custom bra because they've had a mastectomy, lumpectomy or birth defect can't find a ready-to-wear bra because they're two different sizes or the cup/band combination isn't available in ready-to-wear," explains Coordes. "They are more than willing to get undressed in front of you and have you measure them and suggest a style for them."

Not convinced of the importance of a properly fitted bra?

You're not alone, reports Canadian Living. Monika Sheldrake, a spokesperson for La Senza Lingerie, tells the magazine that 75 per cent of women are not wearing their proper bra size. Some of the tips offered include being measured by a pro and allowing yourself to accept new suggestions.

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