Image courtesy of Wacoal.
In the U.S., you can get bathing suits and sunglasses from vending machines, along with your usual Twix and cheese crackers, but the machines seem to exist mostly to prey on drunk clubgoers. The bathing suits are at Le Bain, the Standard Hotel’s roof club featuring a small pool, and the sunglasses are in Williamsburg, Brooklyn clubs, a test of Monocle Order’s theory that partiers want to wear shades at night. (And that their impaired judgment will encourage them to make arguably unnecessary $200 to $400 purchases after dark.)
As usual, Japan is way ahead, having just introduced a bra-dispensing vending machine. Functional and salesperson free, with an adjacent size chart, Wacoal’s machine lets shy shoppers pick up correctly sized underwear without having to talk to anyone. It’s a far cry from buying lingerie in Paris, but the stock is only about $30.
The first of Wacoal’s machines is in a women’s clothing store that already sells underthings the usual way, making it seem like a gimmick rather than a clever convenience. More so than bathing suits on rooftops and sunglasses in clubs, however, this has a logical future home. Million dollar idea for Wacoal: put the machine in hotel gift shops for female travelers dealing with lost luggage. We’d actually use that the next time our checked bags evaporate.