How many times have you seen a beautiful dress in a shop window, and when tried it on, ouch! It was a big issue? This has happened to me, and probably to you too. Sometimes we are lean, tall, top-model style, but the problem is not us, it’s the fitting room, believe me.
A lot of brands still neglect the dressing rooms, that are often “hidden” in the store’s background. Maybe they have the expectation that the customer may buy clothes without trying them. Here in the United States it is simple to buy without testing, because in most companies we can return the product without any explanation, and getting the money back.
Going to the dressing room for a woman is a therapeutic ritual, that can make us very happy when we can purchase something wonderful, or make us very frustrated… Especially with white lights coming from the ceiling. This powerful light is always attenuating my defects such as cellulite, dark circles and pimples .
Why do we need high intensity light? What is the reason for such clarity? Are they recording a TV show? Hope not! Thankfully we do not have this bad light even at home. In fact, I would suggest that white light is good only for beauticians, dentists, doctors and kitchens; in real life, we do not need surgical light. We should have a smoother and harmonious vision of myself.
Thinking about it, I did a study here in New York on well-known stores. I went to two malls, Rego Center (61-35 Junction Blvd, Rego Park, NY 11374) on the first afternoon and the Queens Mall (90-15 Queens Blvd, Elmhurst, NY 11373) on the second afternoon. I visited several fitting rooms with my own outfit and photographed with my phone through the mirror. I did not made any correction in lighting or in my body, the result you can check bellow:
In the dressing room at Marshals’ I am definitely more beautiful among the three photos. At Sears’ my photo was overexposed and at Kohl’s dark circles appear on my face. Let’s see those problems with more details?
Marshalls – The fitting room was clean, without queues, good lighting – the light comes behind the mirror. It did not evidence cellulite! Inside of the cabin, they put a comfortable with the bench! The dressing room had an adequate size, with a good amount of hooks to put clothes, and three of them to separate the clothes. Marshalls had an outfitter to count the number of clothing that I have and to control customer entrance.
Sears – The dressing room was too old, it needed to be renovated … but it was clean! It had only a hook on the wall, which was bad for those who have many clothes. There was also a chair and a little shelf where I put my phone and my sunglasses. Lighting was on the ceiling and was the same in entire store! There was not a person to assist me in the fitting room, but it was organized! However, it was difficult to find the changing room, it was hidden and without signaling, I had to ask a clerk it was.
Kohl’s – It had several dressing room in the store and they were so cute! In front of the cabins had a hall with TV and bench to my companion wait. Inside of the fitting room It had a 3D mirror, that I could see the front and the sides of my body, – very cool. The bad point was the lighting (as always), which was the same throughout the store! The lighting created a big shadow on me. The changing room also had hooks for us to separate my clothes easily, like at Marshalls. Kohl’s didn’t have a person controlling the dressing room, by the way, I really like their system, because I could do everything by myself.
Continuing my research, the Century 21’s fitting room was tight, my clothes (both the ones that I would test and my own clothes) were bumping me. TJ Max had an acceptable changing room and Burlington had a huge dressing room, but totally without light!
Century 21 – At Century 21 I found one of the most inappropriate fitting rooms that I visited for my study. The cabin was small, narrow and uncomfortable! I am 5’11ft, so I was hitting myself in everything that I had inside. The lights were behind the mirror, it had a simple small stool and little space to hang the clothes. Changing my outfit was a challenge, so I did not try all my clothes; I gave up, too much work. I used the handle as clothes rack; the cabin did not have enough rack! I know the square feet in New York is super expensive, but the stores have to think on costumer comfort. The fitting room needed to be restored. At the entrance of the changing room a girl was checking my clothes.
TJ Max – The Changing room was great. TJ Max took care of place. It had a reasonable size and hangers are in good number. The lighting is next to the mirror! A woman checked my clothing, but she was friendly, the most friendly in all research, for example, she always makes a good comments about what I am buying or me. I am an old costumer from that store, so I know well the salesperson policy. The store also had a clean bathroom for customers, it’s a rarity in NY!
Burlington – A mess at the entrance of the dressing room! They had a woman to count the clothes, but she did not look at my face! Fitting room was archaic, full of clothing from the other customers. The cabin was big, equipped with a large bench. The worse defect in the cabin was that it did not have light! The light came from the passage.
Look how I gained weight and how I looked tired at Old Navy;s fitting room. My picture at JCPenny was extremely bright and at Express I’m a zombie, panda bear… I swear I’m not so ugly personally.:(
Old Navy – The changing room supposed to have a girl to check clothes, but she was not on her place when I arrived. It was chaos. People were trying to open the doors clothes were thrown everywhere. The cabins were apparently busy, because they were locked! When a customer came out from a dressing room, I got into. The place was very messy with clothes thrown on all over the place and trash on the floor. The lighting was on the ceiling and it was the same in every store, so it showed dark circles around my eyes and belly! The finish of the walls and doors was ridiculous, like wood for construction, it shouldn’t be in a clothing store!
JcPenny – Fitting room didn’t have someone to control it, as a result it was so disorganized, full of clothes spread to all over the cabin. I was afraid to lose my own clothes in that confusion. The lighting was on the ceiling. It was the same in the entire store. It had two racks, and a chair that was already occupied with other clients clothes! How could I sit to take out my shoes? Another annoying detail it the fact that the smallest jeans size was four, I looked at teen-age section and I did not find any small jeans! And some people say that fat ladies suffer bias, I don’t think so, they can at least buy pants, being tall and skinny is terrible to buy clothes.
Express – I went to the fitting room and there was no one there. All the doors were closed, so I had to wait. I waited, waited … until a seller come to open the door. The dressing room had dirt on the floor. The size was good. Modern, great number of racks and large bench! The problem was the surgical lighting. I was like a zombie in the picture, how evidenced was these dark circles around my eyes. Without doubt the worst lighting all!
TThen I went to the Pink (the younger Victoria’s Secret’s sister), the dressing room needed some repairs and furnishings. In Bebe I got a good result and Victoria’s Secret I was so red!
Pink – I hit to the dressing room and no one was there. The doors were closed! I went twice to the dressing room, and in both times I waited about 5 minutes until someone comes over and open the door for me. The fitting room had some racks broken; I sat on the floor to put the shoes! Lighting was in a chandelier in the middle of the dressing room, but the idea was better than strong light coming from the ceiling, as I saw in most stores. It really needs an urgent maintenance!
Bebe – The seller was behind me and take my clothes to the fitting room! That bothers me a little; because I did not feel comfortable, I just wanted leave the store sooner as possible. I did not have a chance to check all the collection, and when the sales representative started to assist me, I just wanted to run over of the annoying situation. The fitting room was large, but with curtain, which let me a little worry. I am afraid that someone can open the curtain while naked, or even worse, when I am fighting to fit in a skinny pair of jeans. The lighting was beside the mirror, so I was illuminated equally, which gave me a more delicate appearance.
Victoria’s Secret – The store was packed everyone loves VS. Many people was in the dressing room at the same time, but a girl quickly solved the problem!It was a charming dressing room, with half-light! The smooth clarity gave me a sweeter look. It showed some lines on my stomach, not emphasizing the my fat. The mirror had two light spots on both sides, but one was burnt, so the picture was somewhat dark. The vendor accompanied me until my dressing room.
Continuing my survey visiting New York’s fitting rooms, I went to Macy’s, it was so old. In Aerie (or American Eagle) the yellow light behind the mirror gave me a slight appearance, my cheeks were up roses and I had waist. And in Aépostale I met into the most beautiful wall of this journey, great to do ‘selfies’.
Macy’s – The dressing room was hidden and with a difficulty access, because it had a rack full of clothes at the entrance. All right, the square meter in NY is expensive, but do not overdo it. Besides, it needs reform, very old, like an office in 80’s. The lighting was on the ceiling, the same as the rest of the store. A woman helped to find a vacant cabin. The floor was dirty. It didn’t have pants for tall and thin women, the smaller size was 4!
American Eagle – Aerie – The fitting room’s queue was huge, but walking fast! The place was so cool, I felt in a bang-bang movie. The lighting was yellow and is behind the mirror, resulting in a harmonious picture. There was a button to call the seller if I wanted assistance to change the size of my clothing, for example. By the way, the seller asks my name and put it on the door, along with the number of pieces that i had! It was the first time I saw a kind of bikini Brazilian here in America!
Aéropostale – Very few fitting rooms for the size of the store. Consequently, I had to wait on a long line! The worse thing about this dressing room was that, a curtain, which took off my privacy, closed it. While I was changing my clothes, a sales clerk opened it suddenly. The cabin had a very cool decoration, a reasonable number of racks but the lighting was on the ceiling.
Forever 21 was another store where they have a strong light on the ceiling; it gave me belly and showed dark circles around my eyes. H & M had light in the mirror and an indirect light on the ceiling. Where did I look better?
Forever 21 – It had a long queue to use the dressing room. I could not try the bikini that I chose, it was prohibited! Really, do I have to buy it blindly? The fitting room was very small and uncomfortable. There was not a chair inside. I did not try the pants that I was carrying, because I would have to sit on the floor to take out my sneakers and as I am tall, would hit the other cabin with his legs. The light was too powerful and on the ceiling, the worse combination because showed all defects. There was a woman barring people, checking clothing and pointing out the available cabin.
H&M – Another store with a long line to use the fitting room. The girl who checked the clothes was hysterical, fighting with all costumers on queue. The cabin was tiny; I think it was the smallest in my research. It was so small that I had difficult to take a full body photo. It had a curtain, and the fitting room was unisex.😮 Inside of the cabin, it had a small bench, and tow mirrors, so I could see the front and the back of my outfit. The light came from the mirror and had a light spot on the ceiling.
In conclusion, fitting rooms with lights next to the mirror in yellow shades created better images, because it didn’t over expose the costumer, showing the defects or creating new imperfections. Dressing rooms with strong white lights on ceiling make the client fatter, create eye shadow (dark circles) show pimples, cellulite, stretch marks and it is a nightmare for any woman.
The doors of the changing room must to be heavy enough to give a sense of privacy. Cabins with curtains or doors that does not close well, make the person to change the clothes very quickly, because they are afraid that someone can open the door at the wrong time, as happened to me at Aéropostale. Therefore, I suggest that brands should invest more in this sector because it is very important to purchase.