I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, but lately I've been wondering if the fashion industry is plotting against me. It all started a few months ago. While cleaning my closet, I discovered a jacket I had purchased from H&M back in 2007. At first, I didn't think the jacket would fit me but when I put it on, it was perfect. "Awesome," I thought.
A few weeks later, while at H&M, I noticed a similar jacket in the same size and cut. I rushed to the change room with excitement and enthusiasm only to leave confused, discouraged and worst of all, suspicious. How a jacket could in the same cut and size purchased four years ago fit me well when the current version didn't? "Shouldn't it be the other way around?" I wondered. I guess you could say the next three instances really broke the camel's back.
1) Put in order at ASOS with my U.S. measurements and when the shipment arrived, the clothes were too big. Confusion starts.
2) Tried on a shirt at French Connection in my regular size and it was too snug. How is that possible? Depression began to sink in. Confusion grows.
3) Tried on a pair of pants at the Gap and they were too loose. Flattered, but profoundly confused and frustrated.
I'm not being dramatic. I swear. The experience of taking clothes into a tiny room with horrible lighting, and sometimes with curtains as the only barrier between you and the outside world, naturally lends itself to two possible scenarios. One in which leaves a woman elated and feeling on top of the world. The other leaves a woman depressed, defeated and insulted. If you've never experienced the intimidation of a change room, read on.
It's a winter day. We look like the Michelin Man in our puffy coats that shield us from the cold. We've been hunting and gathering the perfect pieces of clothing -- like our ancestors. We've grabbed enough clothes in a number of sizes to satisfy our daily weight lifting regimen. We're hungry, thirsty and exhausted. (If we could hit people over the head, we would). We enter the change room where our coat takes up half the space. The hooks on the walls can't handle the volume. The floor is too dusty to put our bag down. But we manage. We take our clothes off and find ourselves naked in front of a 360-degree mirror. We stare blankly at ourselves for a minute or two, noticing things we had never seen before (or ignored). We're hot and cold, experiencing some form of anxiety or hot flashes, but like acrobats we manage to try on each piece of clothing with strategic manoeuvring. Of course, our elbows, arms, and legs get a beating, and the static gives our hair a nice electrified look. We wipe the fog off our glasses and finally look up to catch a glimpse of ourselves -- PAUSE -- this is when things can go well or horribly wrong. Of course, if it's the latter, it is beyond catastrophic. It's a punch in the stomach, especially if you've been subjecting yourself to stability ball push-ups, tire flipping or wearing ankle weights while vacuuming. Not to mention the detoxes and the diets to avoid the moment of sheer defeat in a change room. If you could read a woman's mind in that moment, you'd hear:
Anyway, I have a list of stores that have the worst -- absolute worst -- change rooms. So far, I'd say ZARA tops the list. Horrible lighting, horrible mirrors, horrible spacing, limited hooks, and a ridiculous curtain that never closes properly. By the way, I'm not exaggerating. There is an official name for what women experience in a change room. It is called CRR -- Changing Room Rage. Very interesting.
"58% of women claimed they felt disappointed and 48% said they were left feeling frustrated," News.sky.com reports. Due to the frustrations, I've noticed I avoid stores where I don't know what size I'd be (wait, was that their goal?). I stick to the stores that I know what size I am. This, of course, means limited choice when it comes to clothes. GRRR. Sure, body shapes change. Different cuts require different sizing. But should there be that much discrepancy between each store? These aren't specialty or designer stores. I'm not shopping for gowns. Just plain old regular pants, shirts, and jackets. Are retailers targeting a specific body shape? How can someone not be the same size across the board? Who regulates the retail industry? C'mon now.