Friday 101: Part 4 (changing rooms)

7 May

Addendum: First past the post politics burnt on the bonfire first, followed by today’s 101….

The thing i would like to toss on today’s metaphorical bonfire (with a generous lashing of gasolene)?

Changing rooms in clothes shops.

My top 3 worst things about these cubicles of horror:

a) curtains that are way too small
b) three-way mirrors
c) total inconsistency in what i look like

So let’s take them in turn as all warrant a severe dressing down (ha ha, did you see what i did there?!)

a) I call them curtains but they could more usefully be described as a midget’s hand towel. Certainly, the only place they could possibly serve as window dressing would be in a child’s dolls house.

It usually takes me at least 10 minutes to work out whether the right or left opening is best sacrificed to peeping toms and / or whether i can hold the thing shut with one hand while simultaneously standing on one leg and hopping about like an unbalanced pogo sticker trying to get one trouser leg on.

b) I know women are vain, but women are also daydreamers, fantasists, especially when it comes to their own body image. Why an earth do we need 3 mirrors, all placed at different angles so that we can see our bodies in all their 360 degrees of glory?

When did we say we wanted to see our bottoms straight on? Our wobbly arms from the full benefit of front, side AND rear view?

Why can’t you leave us with the one remaining fantasy we cling to that our rear view is actually okay? That in motion it doesn’t really wobble as much as it feels like it does?

And the worst thing about it is that they’re so carefully positioned that you can usually see the reflection of the reflection of the reflection of your bottom in each mirror. Why in god’s name would i choose to have my fat arse tesselated like a screensaver in tile mode?

c) If mirror=reflection, why do i look different in every mirror i see myself in? The real problem here is that i always seem to visit the shops with the thinny mirrors first. I get lulled into a false sense of security. Then each shop after this seems to offer a progressively fatter image of me.

My typical shopping trip goes something like this.

Mirror no.1) ” Wow, I actually look okay in this. Maybe i haven’t put on as much weight as i thought”

Mirror no. 2) “hmmm, that’s not so good, ok maybe this is just an unflattering mirror”

Mirror no. 3) Jesus Christ, ive really let myself go,…No, not the rear view, please not the rear (exit sharpish and head straight to Starbucks to console myself with a quadruple chocolate muffin).

Still, I expect it could be worse.

I remember the days when all changing rooms were communal. You had to put up with all those skinnies feigning disgust “Oh Juliette, i just look sooooo fat in this”.

I was young then, and i didn’t like it.

Thank goodness privacy won over, even if i do have to make do with a piece of kitchen towel to hide my modesty.

16 Responses to “Friday 101: Part 4 (changing rooms)”

  1. JulieB May 7, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    I’m so with you on this. However, you forgot another pet hate of mine – not only do they have mirrors that let you see every possible flaw in minute detail, but why is the lighting so fierce that it magnifies the effect? It is also that lovely flourescent stuff that makes me for one always look completely washed out and deathlike.

  2. jfb57 May 7, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    Oh you made me smile with the pictures you have painted here! I do hate trying on clothes even at home. My OH has real prblems in cubicles. He’s tall & bald & says the lights give him a sun tan as well as making him very hot!

  3. TheMadHouse May 7, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    I can not remeber the last time I tried an outfit on in a changing room!

  4. Deer Baby May 7, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    ‘Fat arse tesselated like a screensaver in tile mode’ – that’s hilarious.

    I hardly ever try anything on in shops anymore. It’s smash and grab. Take it back. I’ve always got the buggy with me (with the toddler in – not an empty buggy) and whilst she doesn’t mind shopping (takes after her mum) they’re never big enough to fit into. The last time I was in one, Eleanor (my two year old) was shouting Quiet Quiet and the lady in the next one thought she was shouting Buy it Buy It!

    The ones I hate most are the ones in Jigsaw and Kew which are those saloon doors and you have to actually come out to look in the communal mirror and let the sales assistants (always so glamorous) see you. Awful.

    I’d forgotten those communal ones. Especially in Topshop. I hated those with a vengeance.

  5. marketingtomilk May 7, 2010 at 6:23 pm #

    i took 12 things into the changing room recently, and they all looked awful. Consequently i would have a lot of return trips if i didn’t brave the cubicles. do yu also remember hennes 3 style lighting – daytime, evening, and “Beach” i think…..what a waste of money. they should have just gone with “dimmed, flattering lighting”.
    ps saloon doors. they can see you tripping over your own feet as you try to get trousers on. no thank you.
    And when you can’t get anything over your arse, oh the shame. as you exit you were always asked “did you not want to look at anything in the mirrror”. Um no, i was too fat for them. “do you want t try a new size”. Oh god please no, i’ll just have to say that doesn’t fit too….

  6. yummymummyno1 May 7, 2010 at 6:43 pm #

    Oh, I hate those three-way mirrors – just awful! I think I would rather just not know what I look like from every conceivable angle *shudder*
    But saying that, having been reminded of the horrors of the old Topshop communal changing rooms, maybe I can deal with the mirrors ; )

  7. Kristin May 7, 2010 at 9:03 pm #

    Oh the horrors of the communal dressing room!! I’m sure those stores sold much fewer clothes than ones with private rooms. At least to people like me. At least to me personally.

    And thanks for the flattery, but you know the first place I’m going to lose anything is in the chest, god dammit, not the thighs, why not the thighs? Alas.

  8. Rosemary May 7, 2010 at 9:19 pm #

    That’s why Mail Order comes in so handy and, even if the clothes have to be returned, a trip to the P.Office plus the queue takes far less time than an ego-deflating shopping trip. Just try them on at home and send them back if your bottom looks too big. At home, you can say to yourself – I must absolutely LOVE it or I’m sending it back and there’s no feeling of rush that you MUST take a purchase home when you’ve been shopping.

  9. scribblingmum May 8, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    Now I remember why I seem to do so much online shopping, or smash and grab a la Deer Baby. I always blame the kids but actually I just don’t like it and everything you mention hits the same note with me. In particular there is something about shopping for jeans that has always made me really annoyed, not sure why but there you go!

  10. Potty Mummy May 8, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    With you on ALL of those observations. I’ve put you up as BMB of the week, by the way. Best, PM

  11. reluctantmemsahib May 8, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    here via potty diaries. so so so with you on that rear view thing. why? why? why do they need to do that? imagine how much better sales would be if we didn’t have to have a resounding illuminating respose to our ‘does my bum look big in this’. one look and OMG, it so does. so you ditch the item and bolt from the shop.

  12. Itsamummyslife May 8, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

    With DB and Julie on this. Smash and grab, take it home and hope for the best. Never fails. Although I’m rubbish at returning things so have a cupboard full of stuff ‘I might one day fit into when I lose weight’ yeah right, like that’ll ever happen as I tuck into another bag of Butterkist.

    Great post

  13. suburbanmummyuk May 9, 2010 at 5:16 am #

    ugh I feel your pain. I like changing rooms with doors and walls.

  14. Simone May 9, 2010 at 6:06 am #

    Ahhh Henri. You are too funny. Loving this post. It made me smile. And TODAY, that took some doing.

  15. The Expatresse May 10, 2010 at 8:52 am #

    Victoria’s Secret has the best dressing rooms. Soft peach light and funhouse mirrors to make us all look slim . . . and get us to buy the stuff.

    Nothing is worse than swimsuit shopping. Nothing.

    • marketingtomilk May 10, 2010 at 9:15 am #

      Oh god. the absolute worst. I buy several from “” (don’t google that site, i made it up, i’m sure the real one is naughty) and try on in the dark. If my breasts are still in the top and my arse vaguely in the bottoms after running manically on the spot for one minute, they’ll do.

I'm all about the debate. Would love to hear what you think.

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