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Lands' End Brings Custom-Made Pants Online

The clothing retailer has added a new feature to its site, letting customers order custom-made chinos online.
For all those business-casual addicts who've been chagrined by chinos that never fit quite right: Your darkest days may be behind you. Make sure you have Internet access, though. The reason: Clothing retailer Lands' End has added a new feature to its site, letting customers order custom-made chinos online.

The pants--which may be joined by custom-made jeans and suits in coming months--can currently be ordered only online, not over the phone or in Lands' End retail stores. That's because it's more efficient to take custom orders online and more appealing for customers who value privacy, says Lands' End spokeswoman Andrea Stephenson. A female customer may not be too thrilled about describing her shape to a male Lands' End representative. Lands' End wanted the ordering process to be easy for customers, so most questions aren't about specific measurements, but general descriptions of hip shape, thigh shape, etc.

Few retailers offer such custom clothing options online. While Levi Strauss has offered custom clothing for years, shoppers still can't place their orders online. A form on Levi's Web site has all the questions required for custom orders but suggests that customers print out the form and phone in their information or bring it to a Levi store.

Archetype Solutions pitched the custom-ordering system to Lands' End a year ago. The retailer decided the idea was a good fit, particularly because the top reason for Lands' End returns is clothing that doesn't fit properly. Plus, the system will potentially let the company carry less inventory. Before launching the service, Lands' End tested it with 1,500 of its most-frequent chinos buyers. The vast majority of those shoppers said they preferred the $54 custom chinos, compared with Lands' End's standard-size pants priced between $30 and $40. Hundreds of Lands' End employees tested the system too, including the company CEO and his wife.

The service comes in time for the holidays, so shoppers can give family and friends a gift certificate for custom pants. That's precisely what Stephenson plans to do for her father: "This man cannot pick out pants."