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.