Bad Lighting, Lying Mirrors and Butt-Cams: How to Approach Dressing Rooms Without Fear

It's really not the chamber of body image horrors you've been told

Do you have dressing room fear? You're not alone. It has become something of an epidemic, between Glamour and The Frisky both sharing about dressing room crying fits and Jezebel reporting on the bizarre new trend of "butt cams" in dressing rooms, to give you the rear view you never wanted.

But I've been wracking my brian and I can't remember ever crying in a dressing room. And not just because I have the good sense to steer clear of butt cameras. I actually -- dare I say it?! -- really like dressing rooms. And I realize I may be the only woman in America who feels this way, so I thought I'd better explain why.

For starters, dressing rooms usually have a place to sit down. And if you've been ninja shopping all day -- that's when you zoom in and out of stores on mission to find a certain whatever to fill a specific fashion void in your life -- your feet probably hurt and you need to take a load off for a minute. Sometimes I also like to drink some water, eat a granola bar and just regroup. This is essential for pacing yourself on a full-fledged day o' shopping.

I also really like that the salesperson can't come in to the dressing room with you. Sure, she can knock on the door and ask how things are going, but she can't do the super aggressive sales pitch thing if she can't see what you're wearing. (Obviously, this is not true in those super mean stores that stick the mirrors outside of dressing rooms. To them I say: I'm on to you.)

In most decent stores, the salesperson can fetch new sizes or colors, which is handy and saves your stamina. See above re: Ninja shopping and the importance of pacing. 

But the number one reason I love dressing rooms? You can take a friend in with you. Some of my best conversations with friends have come while we're working our way through the clearance rack at Banana Republic or Anthropologie. Having a supportive, honest-yet-tactful friend on hand is essential if you're shopping for a bikini or some other stakes-are-high wardrobe item. (If you're shopping for your wedding dress, bring as many friends as you can cram in that little room.) Friends will help you withstand pushy salespeople, avoid buying something you really don't need, but also understand when you do need to buy yet another gray cardigan or sundress because this one is totally different from the nineteen other gray cardigans or sundresses already in your closet. 

Most critically, your friend will tell you that your butt looks completely great and also you totally can pull off strapless dresses or whatever else you don't let yourself wear because you think you can't rock it. You're wrong and she knows it.

If you really hate dressing rooms, then by all means, stick to online shopping and try things on in the privacy of your own home. The lighting is better and nobody will try to film your butt. But definitely ask a friend to come over while you do it. Because I've found the times I've come closest to a dressing room crying fit were when I was in there all by myself -- and didn't have anyone to balance out the crazy voices in my head.


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