Sometimes, shopping for a new outfit makes me do a happy dance.
And other times, I break out in hives.
If you are a woman, chances are there’s been at least one time (read: many times) in your life that you’ve dreaded trying on clothes. Whether it be because you’re not at your ideal weight, have struggled with an unruly body part (sadly, my hips don’t lie) or are prone to Cameron Diaz syndrome (flat chest and butt), changing rooms can be your enemy.
(Of course, one could avoid changing room wars with diet and fitness, but… do you know how delicious a Chipotle Burrito Bowl is? Seriously, it’s life defining.)
Before having children, I had about 10 years in what I now call my Changing Room Champion phase. Yup; I could try on any outfit with some assurance that it would fit – as long as it came in “XS” (oh, to be skinny again!). However, after producing a couple of boys in a couple of years, I’m now firmly in the “M” zone and have clothing considerations I previously didn’t have to worry about:
1) Remember those unruly hips? Out of control now. I need a good pair of Spanx to get them back in line.
2) Where on earth did this boobage come from? Forget strapless numbers – these knockers need the full support of two very sturdy bra straps. Pushing them up is like trying to lift the rock of Gibraltar.
3) It’s no coincidence that I’ve been nicknamed Kiki Kardashian. Yes, my butt makes its own entrance.
4) Mummy Tummy. You know; that little bit of excess skin that just didn’t tighten up after your belly stretched out about 30 inches during pregnancy. Gah.
Now, I’m not here to counsel you on diet and exercise; I hear Jenny Craig knows a little about that. What I do want to share with you today are my tips for owning the changing the room – how to feel better about yourself when trying on clothes, and those tips and tricks that make the process less painful.
1. Own Your Size, Shape and Shazam!
Changing room battles will be lost every time if you’re down about your size and shape. DO SOMETHING about it or learn to love your curves. Women have never come in one-size-fits-all; find pieces that complement your figure or enlist the help of someone who can. The world is full of flattering clothes for every body type – the first point of war is finding them!
2. Try on the Complete Outfit.
I’ll never forget the first time I shopped at BCBG Max Azria, because the salesgirl asked if I wanted to take some shoes into the changing room with me. It was like the heavens parted: of course an evening gown should be tried on with stilettos! How could I ever make a decision on the complete outfit – based on the tennis shoes I had walked in with? Hence, now I always tote along the shoes I intend to wear when trying on special occasion outfits. A woman’s posture when she stands in heels, combined with an extra few inches of height, does wonders for so many outfits you may otherwise count out.
3. A Little Makeup Makes all the Difference.
Chances are that you won’t be wearing your new pantsuit after you’ve rolled out of bed. Take a few minutes to add a touch of makeup and put a brush through your hair – the image staring back at you in the changing room mirror will be forever thankful. I frankly believe it’s impossible to make any sort of clothing decision if I can’t visualize the final “look”. My rule of thumb is: if you walk in looking like you should be wearing sweatpants, you’ll feel like you’re wearing sweatpants – regardless of what you try on.
However, steer clear of foundation and eye shadow when trying on clothes. You don’t wan’t to be that classless wanker who leaves a streak of MAC NC20 on the last gorgeous navy dress.
4. The Perfect Outfit is Always Found After Breakfast.
When clothes shopping, I only shop in the morning. I’m serious. You simply will not find me at the mall after noon on any given day. So why be the early bird?
a) You have more patience in the morning. Think about it – it’s a new day, and chances are you’re not pissed off with life yet. Your attitude about the clothes you try on will be vastly different than when trying on clothes at 7:00pm, after you’ve dealt with your kids/ boss/ meals/ traffic/ weather/ insert life-zapper here.
b) Salespeople have more patience in the morning – for the same reasons above, and the fact that they haven’t been standing for eight hours, often in footwear you can’t even fathom wearing for eight minutes.
c) Avoid the crowds. It’s a known fact that I don’t like brushing elbows with people; hence, I avoid crowds like Leann Rimes avoids doughnuts. If you can’t pop in on a weekday morning, consider hitting the mall first thing on a Saturday/ Sunday morning. You’ll have almost two hours to yourself before the masses make their way in.
d) You are thinnest in the morning. Honestly – don’t care what size you are, after a day of over 50 oz of fluid, sodium, carbs, Chipotle Burrito Bowls and more, your midsection will be less inspiring. Shop after your coffee and yogurt parfait, and the changing room will be much kinder to you.
5. Bring Along a Friend.
No, I’m not talking about a supportive girlfriend who gives you her honest opinion and cheers you on. I’m talking about Spanx, a girl’s best friend next to diamonds (although Bridget Jones will argue that the use of Spanx can lead to diamonds, and therefore, really does claim BFF status). If you’ve never tried Spanx, you’ll just have to suck it up (pun intended) and buy a pair. Not only do they smooth bumps and bulges; they eliminate panty lines and lift the butt. And since all’s fair in love and changing room wars, bringing in a little extra artillery is always a good idea.
(Snickering because you’re so skinny you don’t need ’em? Consider this: Kristen Stewart does not wear Spanx. Kim Kardashian does. Ask 10 guys which body they’d like to do the horizontal tango with. Uh huh.)
I hope these tips help you on your next trip to the changing room. And, if you’ve waged war against store mirrors, let me know how you cope! Would love to hear your experiences and suggestions.
I hate clothes shopping. I almost never try things on at the store and I almost always return the items. Thank you for these wonderful tips!
You’re very welcome! I have a love-hate relationship with clothes shopping, which is what prompted me to write the post!
What a great post! Thanks for helping to boost my confidence! I will be trying these the next time I brave the fitting room!
So awesome to hear! Please do – and if you only try one, remember to go shopping in the morning!
Great tips! I find the lighting in changing rooms is horrendous too! If I ever love a clothing item in a dressing room, I know it’s a keeper! (and yes, everything always looks better at home ;)
It’s SO true. They cast all sorts of unflattering shadows!
Thanks, lots of good common sense ideas and reminders to succeed in the change room. It can be challenging some times. I do the void thing but if planned can be fast easy and successful.
Great tips and funny post. Kiki Kardashian! You are too funny Lena!
Hahaha my friend Robin won’t let up – she is convinced that I am the eighth (ninth? tenth?) member of that family :)
HIlarious post, and great tips! You’re such a talent, Lena!
Aw, thanks Carlee!
I’m dying over here!! So funny, but you really do give great tips!!! Never thought about shopping in the morning but it makes so much sense.
It really makes a difference Kendra!
I know I hate the ones with the ugly yellow lights, and the double mirrors to see front and back, yikes
LOL but seeing front and back is a GOOD thing, Emilia – let’s you know if the outfit is for you!
great post – a lot of great tips because I for one, HATE trying on clothes in the fitting room for so many reasons – I just like to go in the store and come out. you had a lot of great advice here though! Maybe this will save me from always having to come back and exchange/return something that didn’t end up fitting/looking right because I didn’t try it in the first place.
Thanks so much Jenny! I collected the ideas after consistently making the wrong choices in the fitting room – or shying away from choices that I should have really gone for!
YOU’RE TOO FUNNY LENA!! GREAT TIPS THANKS…
WANNA GO SHOPPING :)
Thanks Allie! Love to go shopping with you – I think we’d have a ball!
Hadn’t thought of tip 2 before, smart!
Awesome post Lena! Thanks for the great tips and yes, you are so talented!
Thanks Marissa! You’re too kind!
These tips make so much sense!! I always always ask for a pair of heels to pair with the outfit I’m trying on, unless the salesperson brings me a pair first, when she/he sees me walking out of the change room barefoot, walking on my tiptoes!
Happy to see that you follow the “rules” and know how to make the most of your changing room experience, Victoria!
Clothes shopping is a nightmare. If the sizes at all stores were UNIFORM so to speak, would save a lot hassle. I recently bought a 2x blouse from Walmart, was in a rush. Tried it on didn’t fit, another return *sigh*. But, then I ordered a blouse online from Sears 2X and fits perfectly. New Year resolution doesn’t start in January but in September – a new beginning and a new shape. Would love to enjoy shopping for clothes, hey anything is possible. To stray from the norm, would be nice.
Ah, the difference in sizing. I totally hear you!! And I love that you’re not waiting until January to start a new beginning. One of the benefits of a new shape is lots of clothes shopping!
I have never ever tried on an outfit with high heels on! I can’t believe I’ve never done that lol Great tips!
Thanks Anne! It’s a golden rule, especially when trying on skirts or dresses!
Thanks for the tips! I Think Tip #4 is the one I will try first! I will switch out groceries in the AM for clothes shopping when needed! Then do Groceries after lunch! :-)
Was out shopping today with my daughter. Tried on 7 tops, to only buy 1!
Hey, 1 out of 7 actually isn’t that bad!! I’ve been known to try on dozens before settling ;)
Haha, loved this post!
I hate changing rooms!!
Sometimes, me too :) Hopefully the tips will make the experience a little better for you!
Always hate clothes shopping, thanks for the tips.
You’re welcome! Hope they help!
I never do like shopping for clothes especially pants. I will be happy if I stay the same size. I cry if I have to go up instead of down…
I think we all do, hahaha!
There’s almost always a rack for unwanted items, and that’s what I use. I hate it when people leave their unwanted clothes in the changing room–there’s never any room on the pegs or the shelves for the stuff I’m trying on!
That is a HUGE pet peeve of mine too! Can absolutely do without it!
Hahaha, I laughed about the Kristen Stewart comment.
My husband took me shopping the other day, and normally I feel bad about how much time I take while he stands around, but he was super patient. And I spent lovely hours shopping and bought one of everything. It was a perfect shopping day.
My big weakness is New York Fries the works. I love them.
Makeup and clothes…deodorant on clothes…nasty.
That sounds like a dream, Nicole! Congrats on scoring outfits! And yeah, fries = good. Stains on clothes… no thanks!
Wow! Now this is what I needed to read. Definitely going to take use of your tips. Thanks so much.
You’re very welcome Laurie! Good luck!
I thought this was a funny post…I hate shopping! I have lost 30lbs since January so shopping is starting look a little more interesting to me :)
FABULOUS! Shopping will look a LOT more interesting Teresa – congrats!
Good tips. I hate trying on clothes.
This is a fabulous post. Thank you from a “plus-size” woman!
Thank you Jennifer and Tanya!
I don’t have a lot of issues with trying clothes on except bathing suits. Few things make me more self-concious than a bathing suit.
You and EVERY woman Kaitlin! LOL
You are so real! It’s great to hear someone else feels the same way! My body has definitely changed after having 2 little ones as well!
Thanks Aman! Oh, I definitely feel those changes!
I loved this post. I agree with all of your comments and tips! I feel like if I followed these, I’d have a much better experience. My biggest pet peeve is dressing rooms that don’t have a mirror inside the room. For self-conscious people this is a nightmare. If I wanted help or the salesperson’s opinion, I would have asked for it.
I hear you. I think the reasoning behind it is so that the sales professionals – or stylists, as they like to be thought of – can see your outfit and give you suggestions. Problem is, often they’re chatting at the other side of the room, or too thrillingly complimentary cause they want to make a sale!
Great tips! I hate shopping for clothes, maybe this will make it a bit more enjoyable
Thanks Valerie – good luck!
Another consideration, especially after having kids, is to disregard the size/number and look to see what fits the best. I have a friend that still thinks she is a size 2 or XS, and will SQUEEZE into it or she won’t buy it. She really doesn’t need to tell anyone that she is actually a 4 or 6 or 16, but she would look so much better if she just bought clothes that FIT her! Too small clothes make you look bigger than you are. And when you look good, you feel good!
Great tip Janice – you’re absolutely spot on!!!
This is a great post. Super helpful tips! :)
Thanks Natasha :)
I have to remember to wear one of my ‘good’ bras when i clothes shop or nothing will fit right!
Great tip! A properly fitting bra can make a world of difference Tiffany!
I hear you on #2 – I’ve completely turned down outfits because my shoes/socks just ruined the look & I couldn’t picture the outfit with something else on my feet (especially is stores that don’t sell shoes)
It’s true, Patricia! Sometimes the only way to picture the final look is to bring the right accessories with us.
This makes me feel so much better about myself now
:) You should feel great about yourself, regardless of your dress size!
Thanks for making me smile and spanx you for the great tips lol
Hahaha, spanx you for the laugh!
I sadly have no gone clothes shopping for myself in a looong time..I mostly have clothes that I’ve had for the past 5 years (I even have clothes from just after I graduated high school and I’m not 26)…OR hand me downs from my friends (yes they take pity on me and let me scrounge three their unwanted clothes..but I love it). But these are all great tips and I agree with all of them..especially wearing heels while trying on dresses and wearing makeup makes a huge difference on how you feel about an outfit.
Thanks Mandy – and, time for you to go shopping, my dear!
This tips are so wonderful. Thanks for sharing.
That was rich! I could SO see myself…especially the after 7pm (after work..) Grr get out of my way | just want a new top! And the worse by far, is when you have to buy new bras. It makes the dentist look good..but then I’m usually asleep for him!! Thanks for the tips!
You’re very welcome – happy you enjoyed them!
Oh I love this post! You made me laugh out loud a few times because I can so identify with this. I love the tip about shopping in the morning. That makes so much sense and something that I’ve never done before. I usually shop late afternoon so I can have dinner out. My next shopping trip is going to be in the morning. Thank you for this awesome post!
You’re very welcome Lee – hope “morning shopping” brings you luck!
great post & tips Lena. It’s true I LOL-ed a few times too!!
:) Thanks Angie!
Great tips! I always go into a clothing shopping trip all happy and excited. But always lose my patience within the first snooty sales girl encounter lol this will help me focus on my own needs and learn to help myself.
Ah, the snooty sales girl. Been there!
Thanks for the good read. :D
Thanks for the great tips and advice.
My pleasure Amy!
the only way i make it through clothes shopping successfully is to try on LOTS. even stuff you really aren’t sure are for you. if i have a mission, say – “get 2 pairs of not quite pre-pregnancy size pants”,I went in the change room several times with lots of different options. I’ll even take a few salesperson suggestions in. why not? i always used to shun the help, and now, I’m happy to humour anyone who wants to try, lol. if it takes trying 30 pairs to find one that is PERFECT, that’s good enough for me!
That’s amazing advice Jen, thanks so much for sharing!
ooo I don’t really enjoy the changing rooms very much lol but they are a necessary evil! Honestly though, your tips are very sensible and I love the suggestion of the Spanx the most! Thanks
You’re welcome Anne! Yes, Spanx is our friend!
I hate clothes shopping with a passion
:( Oh no! Hopefully you found some of these tips helpful Debbie.
great tips! i will keep the makeup tip in mind. i dread shopping and don’t put any effort in to getting ready before i go. i don’t get ready to wash the dishes or do laundry so why get ready to go shopping? i feel about as happy to do household chores as I do about shopping. maybe if i spent a little time on myself before going shopping the changeroom experience would be a little less depressing.
I really think you should try it Heidi. It can’t hurt, and you’ll feel better about yourself!
Thank you for your wonderfully humourous, uplifting reminder that none of us are ‘perfect’ no matter how much we wish we were, there is always something ‘wrong’ with our body no matter what size or shape we are. Accepting myself for the way I am or how my body is currently, is something that I struggle with daily. Yes, I am working to change the way I look, but in the meantime I still have to realize it won’t happen overnight, so in the meantime I have to be kind to myself.
Absolutely right Karen! We all come in different shapes and sizes, and there is a “look” for all of us!
My mom made us 4 children, try on everything, before she would consider buying it. Keeping the tradition alive, I made my daughters try it on, and give me a look see what i9t looks like (which means leaving the dressing room and come out and show me.. My daughters are now following in my footsteps (yes I know…I am a grandma of 5 at 55). But myself, I just try on shoes…lol..though i can hear my mom saying “Try Them On”.
:) Thank you so much for sharing your story with us!
Great tips! I think all women can relate. I find trying on clothes exhausting but I’d rather leave the store with the right size than have to come back later. Long live Spanx!
Hahaha indeed! Long live spanx :)
Chandra Christine O'Connor
I hate trying on clothes, if its a top I usually throw it on top of what I am wearing and if it fits over that top then I buy it. I get to depressed when I think I look a certain way but the size of my clothes tells me something different and not in a good way.
:( I still believe that there are amazing clothes for every size… you just have to be comfortable in them.
I feel like The Grimace (with no makeup) when I try stuff on…and that’s at Walmart, not BCBG Max Azaria. No more trying stuff on for me unless it’s a wicked amount of self esteem with hang tags. Dove ain’t gonna help either.
:) Self-esteem is a critical component to clothes shopping.
I’m one of those who hates buying clothes and trying them on in the store. Thanks for the tips
You’re welcome Robyn!
Everything I try on in a change room Never looks the same at home :/ blast you department store change rooms!
Ah, skinny mirrors! I hate them too!
Judy C (Cowan)
Thanks for the tips, I am not a big fan of clothes shopping but we all have to do it.
So true – hopefully my tips will help!
Dressing rooms are not my friend right now since I just had a baby.
Give it time :) You looked gorgeous when I saw you!
This was refreshing to read. I really detest clothes shopping (especially with my post children body) Glad to see I am not the only one! :)
You’re definitely not alone Melissa!
I appreciate the helpful tip :) I do hate trying clothes on ! Well done!!
Thanks for,these great tips..I’m so not a fan of the change room…I’d rather take it home and every time it never fits right .
Truly agree the number on the size doesn’t matter it is your body your comfort level! xs to 4xl we are all beautiful! I often give up after one piece of the outfit doesn’t fit I will now try out the entire outfit Thanks for the great tip
Ah, so much great advice, and giggles :).. thank you Lena :). Though my weight issue isn’t due to too much, I hate changing rooms. I look like a starving child in them. ..I’ve become one of those “buy it now return it later” gal’s for that reason lol.
My one issue with changing rooms is that they aren’t big enough – and the little ledges don’t quite cut it if I have to sit down. Would love them to have a second mirror on the door so that I could see what the rear view looks like without having to be a contortionist to see it ;)
Great tips – never thought about the shoes before :)
Love your tips Lena! I am reading back through some of the fav posts. As it is new years and I have put on 17 lbs in the last few months, I have no choice but to own it! I will try to do something about it, but there is not point but to accept it until it changes!
Love your post, I myself hate shopping for clothes, but I do put the blame on myself as I am overweight, so everything I try on just looks like shit, plus I am tall too, so everything is to small and to short ugh my life
Debbie White Beattie
Lena, this is a great post and you should consider reposting it because I like most women hate trying on clothes but you’ve got great advice and tips here