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How to survive the fitting room

2013-06-10 14:26:35

Published on 2013-06-10 14:26:35

Store changing rooms are strange things. Their physical set up can send your confidence levels plummeting: poor lighting, three way mirrors, and at best indifferent fitting room attendants. Emotionally many women find the experience of trying on clothes harrowing, blaming their bodies when their regular size doesn’t fit or the style of a garment isn’t flattering. Research has shown that only 25% of women shopping for clothes buy items that they take into the changing room, compared with 65% of men.

Many women avoid shopping completely because they can’t face trying clothing on. Yet the best way to find clothes that fit correctly and flatter your shape is to try them. When faced with the demons of the fitting room, how can you make your experience one that leaves your confidence and self esteem intact?

Try these tips to make clothes shopping a joy and not an ordeal: 

Focus on the fit, not the garment size

Ignore the numbers - don’t use them as a benchmark against which you judge yourself. Sizing is inconsistent between retailers, so it is likely that your size will differ depending on the retailer. You are so much more than a number. Focus on the fit of the garment. Something that fits you well will be more comfortable, will look better and make you feel more confident. Remember, the only numbers that should concern you are on the price tag!

The clothes are the issue, not you

If something doesn’t fit or look good, direct any negativity at the garment not at you. Laugh at how ridiculous the item or the sizing is. Women come in all different shapes and sizes, so you can’t expect every item you pick up to be right for you. See every item of clothing that doesn’t look good as one more style that you can rule out while you work towards finding those cuts that DO work for you. Learning what flatters your shape takes some effort, so persevere – keep trying items until you find what works.

If you need some help to dress for your shape, read: How to make the most of your shape.


Woman in fitting room

Ignore the mirrors and lighting

Lighting in fitting rooms is notoriously harsh and unflattering so don’t take much notice of what you see under the glare of a hideous fluorescent light. As if the lighting isn’t bad enough, the mirrors generally allow you to see yourself at angles you aren’t accustomed to. If you find yourself criticising your body when seen from a new perspective, remember that it’s your unfamiliarity with the view that’s the real issue. I don’t know of a single woman who has ever liked looking at herself in a fitting room mirror, so try to laugh it off.  

If you find looking at your reflection in general uncomfortable, you may find my blog article: What do you see in the mirror? helpful.

Trust your judgement, not that of the shop assistant

Don’t let a pushy shop assistant tell you what you should or should not wear. Wear what you like; what suits you and your personality. Trust your instincts – only wear what feels comfortable and makes you feel good. Remember that if a garment doesn’t meet those criteria, the clothing is the problem, not you!

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