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Mirror, mirror, on the computer ...

Thirty percent of clothes bought online are returned, frustrating consumers and retailers alike. Sweaters, once they're tried on at home, don't hang properly; pants seem too long or too short; and one-size-fits-all clothes aren't.

In one online dressing room, however, the model is a figure with your name, your measurements, your hairstyle ... even the width of your hips, shoulders, and eyes. My Virtual Model, with the help of tech company Alias/Wavefront, has created a program that lets users build three-dimensional models of themselves, then "try on" outfits to get a personalized sense of fit.

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Several e-tailers, including www.lanebryant.com, www.landsend.com, and www.limitedtoo.com, have already launched the program on their websites. After a short series of questions, My Virtual Model presents your "virtual" likeness, warns you that fibs you tell about your own dimensions will translate into fibs about clothes' proper fit, and offers fashion advice to suit physical assets.

With a simple point and click, the model dons catalog selections; from there, purchasing clothes is just a keyboard stroke away.


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