Why you should care

Because in-store bra shopping is always kind of … awkward. Thanks to ThirdLove, it just got easy.

Not too long ago, I closed my office door and did one of the most ill-advised things a girl can do with a smartphone (besides putting it in your back pocket and heading for the bathroom): I took a selfie of my boobs.

The tank top I was wearing didn’t make me feel any less creepy about deliberately pointing my camera phone at my chest. But I wasn’t sending the image to Tiger Woods — don’t think he’d be all that impressed, to be honest. I was uploading it to an iPhone app called ThirdLove, a tech-driven lingerie brand launched in November by ex-Googler Heidi Zak and her husband, Dave Spector, who left Silicon Valley venture firm Sequoia Capital to start a new kind of Victoria’s Secret.

Using technology developed by a team that includes computer vision scientists, the app purports to measure a woman’s bust size and suggest an assortment of perfect-fit bras, using two quick iPhone shots. No dressing room rigmarole required.

“It’s more accurate than a human being with a measuring tape,” says Zak.

The app purports to measure a woman’s bust size and suggest bras, using two quick iPhone shots.

Using what Zak describes as a kind of virtual measuring tape, the app uses an algorithm that calculates a woman’s size based on the relationship of her body’s dimensions as captured in the images to the size of the iPhone itself. Sounds weird, but apparently it works. Body type is also a consideration.

“There are several different shapes you can be, and it really drives how you carry your chest and what type of bra is going to be best on you,” says Ra’el Cohen, ThirdLove’s head of design.

After following in-app instructions — complete with verbal cues for taking a front- and side-view image of my torso (instructions I admit had me fumbling), I was shown a selection of bras made specifically for my size and body shape.

ThirdLove offers no cup sizes or band lengths to confirm or deny what you have heretofore considered your bra size to be. Instead, everything you see is supposedly the right fit based on your measurements — as determined by the app, not an overly perfumed saleswoman.

How amazing would it be to have a reliable alternative to the fitting-room feel-ups of yore?

“Even the models we shoot relate to that specific body type,” says Zak.

The company’s current collection ($39 to $64) includes a microfiber T-shirt bra with pleated straps, a plunge-front style with natural push-up and lace trim, a lace balconet and a mesh demi-cup bra designed especially for larger sizes. One perk is that shoppers can choose to add lace trim in a color of their choice to certain styles. Foam-padded closures, tagless bands and four hooks instead of the industry-standard three are others.

Soon after placing my order on my phone, a box containing the mesh plunge-front style — a best-seller that’s designed in a fine-gauge fabric that’s both everyday- and date-worthy — arrived on my doorstep. I stared at the box for a while, realizing how much I really wanted the app to work. How amazing would it be to have a reliable alternative to the fitting-room feel-ups of yore?

I opened the box and was … relieved. Then excited. The bra fit! It was super comfortable and looked nice. And all I had to do was secretly snap a picture of myself using a smartphone app in the confines of my office. In fact, the bra fits so well, I’ve worn it three days in a row. (TMI?)

Now, if only I had an app that did laundry.

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