Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Survival of the Fitting Room

After having spent the morning sweeping for thrift store deals (more on that addiction another time), I thought I would pass on some tips to get through the dreaded store obstacle on the way to check-out... the fitting room.

First, I have to complain to the retailers, if any of you are reading. Do you realize that if you make us look good we'll buy more. Lighting is the worst offender. Some soft-light light bulbs would work wonders. It's usually fluorescent which makes everyone look like they need a long vacation or recently ate some bad seafood. The worst fitting room lighting I ever experienced was at Marks & Spencer somewhere in the UK (there are so many of them, I forgot where it was exactly). I looked green.... literally. I didn't even finish trying everything on, and I bought nothing.

Now for some tips...

1. Dress for comfort. Easy to remove clothes are a must. You don't want to get bogged down with a lot of buttons and zippers if multiple trips to the fitting room are required.

2. Wear slip-on shoes or sandals. This is important not only for speed, but for cleanliness. Some fitting room floors are dirtier than a barn and you don't want to be putting your feet down on them. With slip-on shoes, you slip a shoe off, put it through a pant leg and back into the shoe.

3. Prepare to sort. Ideally the room will have three hooks, but you can make do with two if you hang your purse on one and hang stuff from each side of the strap. One hook is for stuff that you need to try on, one hook for things you'll buy and one hook for back-to-the-rack.

4. DO NOT look at your near-naked self in those three way mirrors, unless you're prepared to run screaming from the store straight to a local Weight Watchers. Wait until you are fully clothed to check out the reflection, and then only a fleeting glance to the backside is all that's necessary to ensure good fit. Don't stand there twisting and turning for a better look.

5. Sit down while wearing your potential purchase. If there's no chair, do a squat, so you can feel if it's still comfortable. If you looked at your backside in the mirror too long, do three sets of ten squats.

6. Bend over and pretend to pick something off the floor and straighten back up. Did everything return to it's original position, or do you now have unsightly gaps or bulges that weren't there before? If you spent too long looking checking for gaps in back, do three set of ten bends.

7. Don't bring friends with you. If you do, don't ask for their opinion. If the potential purchase is uncomfortable on and they tell you that it looks great on you, you'll be more tempted to buy it anyway.

8. If you don't absolutely love it and it isn't unquestionably comfortable don't buy it. If you do, I can tell you that it will probably end up at the thrift store, and I might be trying it on next.

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