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The trials and tribulations of the ladies' fitting room

The trials and tribulations of the ladies’ fitting rooms
8th April 2019 Sarah Gray

All girls love to shop. Right?

Wrong! And who dared to start that rumour anyway?


Why don’t we all love shopping? Mostly because we hate the fitting rooms. Here’s an example of how it used to go for me;

It’s Friday evening, I’ve been at work and I am on the tube home. I am half dozing – that’s what a visit to the wine bar straight from the office does to me – I’m half thinking about the weekend ahead when it suddenly dawns on me that I have a family get together to attend on Saturday, the very next day. Oh heck, what on earth am I going to wear? 2 sisters, 1 sister-in-law all of whom will look glam and then there’s me. Me – who actually loves clothes however, hates the thought of trawling through stores looking for new ones for myself. It’s going to have to be a trip into town first thing tomorrow morning. Joy.

“Oh, come on, don’t you know how to park?” I hear myself muttering as I wait impatiently in the car park for a fellow shopper to conduct a 52 point turn into a huge parking space. I am already cross and in a childish strop at the thought of shopping at 9am on a Saturday morning!

Right, where first? Coffee. Obviously.

Slightly wired, I drag myself to the nearest department store – always a good bet. I haven’t really thought about what it is I’d like to wear so not sure if I’m looking for a dress or a top for jeans. The first 30 minutes is spent feeling completely disheartened at the skimpy dresses on offer, all of which are totally inappropriate for my age.

Ooh, I know, I read that mustard was the latest colour to be seen in – lets find some of that.

Another 30 minutes of searching, well, more like impatient scanning, reveals a few items I’m remotely interested in so I’ve grabbed them all. With my 8 items off I go to the fitting rooms. Can only take in 6? What is that about? I wanted to see what all the tops looked like with all the trousers – now i need to decide which to leave out.

The queue is building behind me – a few tuts and huffs can be heard. No smile on the face of the 16 year old fitting room attendant. I’m starting to get flustered. With 6 random items, I enter cubicle 4. Brilliant. The hooks are broken, so I have to precariously balance all 6 onto 1 hook. My coat gets thrown on the floor as there’s no where to hang it. Why are changing rooms at 90 degree heat? Or is it me just being flustered?

First item; trousers. Almost impossible to remove the jeans I am wearing in such a tiny space. Elbows everywhere, clothes to try on are now on the floor collecting dust.

Trousers are on. First top – it’s not the mustard I was after, instead a sort of dirty shade of yellow. Feeling that this will be the best looking outfit I’ve found, I straighten up and look longingly into the mirror. Good Grief, who is that? She’s not slept in a while! Cripes, it’s me!! Well, I look dreadful – Is this really how I look? Or is it the outfit making me look like that?

The trousers are frumpy. The top, well it’s hideous. All off. Where’s the hanger gone?

Next on is a lovely knit dress? No. Next on is a knit dress which looks fab on the hanger however, looks a complete bag of marbles on me. I hate this mirror.

3rd time lucky. Oh, yes, I like this mustard cardigan with the navy top under it. Great with jeans – could even double up for work on a dress down day, with navy tailored trousers. A definite maybe.

One final dress to try – oh, it looked a gorgeous shade of emerald green out on the shop floor. Now it looks like the shade of a bright green highlighter pen – the light in here is terrible, I’ve no idea if this dress suits me or not. Better not get that just in case.

Oh crikey, just checked the time and my car park ticket runs out in 15 mins, gotta make a decision quick. It’ll have to be the cardigan and top and they’ll look fab with my dark denim jeans and some heels.

A speedy exit from the changing rooms and a nail biting wait in the checkout queue as car park time is ticking away and I’m finally on my way home. I feel as if I have run a marathon – I’m exhausted physically and mentally and I am still perspiring from the heat in that fitting room.

Once home, I pop upstairs to hang up my lovely new purchases. On opening my wardrobe I select an available hanger and hang both items neatly and place into the wardrobe right…. next …. to…. the…. mustard ….cardigan ….. I …. brought …. two … weeks …. ago ……AAARrrrgggggghhhhhh. What a wasted morning.

You see, what I really needed was a plan. A plan which was carefully compiled before heading to the stores. One which gave me confidence to know exactly what I was looking for and avoided repetition in my wardrobe. Is it really possible to shop in such a way?