It’s a topic that has been rarely far from conversation over the last few months; why are fitting rooms so evil? They strike fear into the hearts of courageous women all over the world for one reason and one reason only, they breed discontent and push their self doubt creepers into the hearts of the most wonderful girls. But why? What is it about fitting rooms that makes us want to drop our bags and run to the nearest bakery to gorge on cream cakes and cry? Orsomething.
The common changing room is a place of uncertainty. No fitting room is ever the same as the last from store to store, and the variations can prove catastrophic. For example, if you make it through H&M without crying (a size 10 girl becomes at least a 14 down to their interesting sizing) and into the changing rooms with a bounty of things to try, you will find yourself plunged into a room with horrendous mirrors not dissimilar to those in the House of Mirrors at the fun fair, and lighting that make the lumpiest of bumps seem more pronounced. This particular shop has been the first and last on a shopping trip on many occasions due to friends deciding that they resemble the Hunchback of Notre dame far too much.
Other fitting rooms are more like the mirror from Snow White; telling you you are the fairest of them all in that lurid yellow jumpsuit; with flattering lighting and clever angles to make you feel like that outfit just HAS TO be bought. Until you get it home and proudly model it to your sister who, upon picking herself up off the floor, remarks that you look like Big Bird and did you keep the receipt?
There is no happy medium, and the lottery of whether you get a Snow White or a House of Horrors experience is enough to push the most rational of ladies off the cliff face of fashion, until they reach the bottom. Which is, of course, jogging bottoms. Or TK Maxx. This is made significantly worse if you are shopping for bikinis. The light is the most important faux pas, and if you are a little on the pale side and the lighting is wrong you can start to look like an undercooked sausage, especially if you chose a new two piece in any colour on the neon spectrum. I tried on what I thought to be a cute white lace bra yesterday, thinking it would be perfect for under a dress that gives a particularly difficult bra conundrum. Sadly, with boobs the size of mine it looked horrendous, and I only realised that I had been talking to myself out loud when I exited the changing rooms to find Emma and the male shop assistant looking confused. “what about a prostitute?” she said. Never mind.
A friend of mine has a great way of getting round this conundrum. She simply orders online to her heart’s content and then tries the clothes on in the comfort of her own home. This too provides disastrous consequences, as she often wastes a whole hour in Topshop or Urban Outfitters retiring a whole heap of clothes that she felt were unsightly or that the fabric was wrong etc. To her, it’s the lesser of two evils.
The sizing game is another fun way of spending a shopping trip. One of the girls at work recently sent round a really clever sizing guide where you pick a shop and your size (e.g. 12 in New Look) and it shows you on a graph all the shops and all the sizes that you will be. It then shows you US sizes too, shoes and waist measurements in different stores, designed to make shopping fun again! I know slightly unhinged girls who have gone as far as to buy the right sized outfit from the shops and then cut out smaller sized labels and stitch them into the garments. This way, every time they look at their clothes they don’t feel the sinking doom that they had to buy their jeans in a size 20 despite the fact that they are a 12 thanks to the mean minded sizer in that particular store…. the Lord of the Big Bum Complex.
Or you could just do what I do. When trying on clothes in a store in California yesterday, my friend asked why I always look like I’m drowning in tshirts. My response? After spending twenty minutes dancing around on one leg trying to take off some skinny jeans suitable for people with the most skeletal of legs, there is nothing worse than having to ask the sweet as sugar sales assistant to fetch you another pair. “What size would you like?” she will ask. And you will have to reply with something about 6 sizes larger that the ones that you are handing back to her, because you don’t have a clue about american sizes and just held it up near you and professed that these might be the right size. Better to go for something that you think is too large and not have the sales assistant think you are delusional if you think you are that size, when really you are 3x that!