The Brutality Of A Fitting Room.


There is nothing more brutal than a fitting room. I would gladly face monsters, ghosts, wild animals, and psychopathic serial killers as long as none of them made me try on clothes (especially pants) in a fitting room.  The last time I was in a fitting room it was like a self-esteem bloodbath. My confidence and sassiness got blown to hell by florescent lights, rude retail associates, and pants that I swear to Athena were sized incorrectly.

What fitting room could possibly cause such a gaping wound? The fitting room at Madewell. It was my first time in the store and I had gone there on the recommendation of several girls I know personally and thousands of bloggers. All of these trusted sources had sung the praises of Madewell jeans and I foolishly followed them right into the gator’s mouth as they say. I entered the store and was greeted by a size -1 who looked like a runway model and spoke like a valley girl. She was nice. She pointed me in the direction of the jeans I sought and left me to browse on my own. She was exactly what I like in a retail associate. She was polite but not overbearing. So far, I was a Madewell fan. I grabbed several different pairs and styles of jeans in my size, which is 8, and headed to the fitting room. I felt naively confident as I shut the curtain behind me and began to try on the jeans. The first pair felt more like a size 4 instead of an 8- I couldn’t get them buttoned. The fitting room had fired the first shots and I was wounded. Before I could try on the second pair of jeans, I had already decided that my skin was gross, my hair color was ugly, and that I needed to begin dieting immediately. Somehow, I managed to carry on and try on the second pair of jeans. These were even worse than the first pair. I couldn’t get them over my hips. At this point, I felt like complete and utter shit. Especially because I am always, always a size 8, except when I shop at Anthropologie where I am a size 6. So, it was entirely disheartening for me to not be able to fit in my “sure-thing” size.  After four more pairs of jeans with the same heart-stabbing results, I decided I couldn’t take any more and cried the proverbial “uncle”.  As I left the fitting room, the polite and pretty retail associate who had greeted me at the door asked if any of the jeans worked and I told her they hadn’t. Then she said this, “Yeah, we don’t really make jeans for women your size. The jeans you tried on are as large as we go.”  Bitch said what?! I couldn’t believe it. First of all, I hadn’t said they were too small, I just said they didn’t work, why did she have to assume they were too small. And second of all, how dare she try and body snark me!? I’m not even trying to shop at a store that tells me my healthy body weight is “too large” for their clothing.

Since the Madewell incident I’ve been on a fitting room boycott. And yes, I know not every store and retail associate will treat me that way but I’m also not going to put myself in the position of being treated that way again. So, instead, I buy several pairs of pants, take them home, try them on under my excellent lighting, and then return the ones that didn’t work out for me. Sure, it’s an extra trip but it’s made shopping for pants infinitely better. It’s going to be quite a while before I put myself back on the fitting room battlefield, for now, consider me a conscientious clothing objector.

44 thoughts on “The Brutality Of A Fitting Room.

  1. Oh, I can one-up you on that. When I first moved to Ireland, I discovered the horror that was open change rooms. As in, one big room of mirrors that people got to collectively strip down and try clothes on in. It was awful, I tell you. That said, I’d be writing a strong letter about that sales girl if I were you. (Actually, I wouldn’t. But I’d think about it.)

  2. I’ve never heard of Madewell. Not surprising as I’m stuck in Orlando and we’re pretty slow on the uptake for clothing stores that aren’t GAP and Old Navy.
    I can’t believe she said that! How awful. As if shopping for jeans isn’t bad enough!

  3. Oh, I’ve sooo been there (True Religion/Macy’s three years ago) – hows about I ninja chop the stick insect’s knees and Lillian force feeds it a giant piece of chocolate cake? ..Jill

  4. Wow that retail associate, what a bitch! If they don’t even have jeans size 8, I am wondering how many women can actually buy their jeans!
    But whatever the size, the fitting room really is a brutal experience… At least you got a good piece of writing out of it (-;

  5. That’s actually a really good idea for trying on pants! My only problem is that every store I go to, I’m a different size. I went shopping for pants recently and when the sales girl asked me what my size was, I replied “probably between a 28 and a… um… 30something…? I haven’t bought pants in a while” (which I think is between size 6 and… something above ten? And ‘a while’ = 8+ years, because I hate shopping for pants). The girl was surprisingly helpful, without being overly clingy, and didn’t laugh when I asked her “Did I put this shirt on backwards?” (answer: yes.). First pleasant shopping experience in a long while.


    I am also a firm believer that men prefer women sized anywhere from 2-8, depending on height. Too thin implies infertility, malnutrition, and general bitchiness (due to lack of food).

    You should have told her “I may not be able to wear your pants, but at least I’ve got men lining up to hop into mine, sucker.”

  7. Wow, brutal! What’s wrong with being a size 8?
    I have always hated clothes shopping, and the changing room experience (H&M comes to mind) is just part of the misery. So when I still worked at an office and had to look the part, I’d order large amounts from mail-order companies, try it all on in the comfort of my home and send back whatever wasn’t right.
    Nowadays I largely boycott clothes shopping and only bite the bullet when I absolutely have to. I often buy one and the same pair of jeans in two different colours when I find one that I like and that fits me.

    • H&M is definitely in my top 5 most brutal fitting rooms. I like the idead of ordering through mail or online- that’s definitely better than having to survive a fitting room disaster.

  8. Errr… I guess I missed the memo that stated a size 8 is large? Shame on you for actually have a figure! The skinny bitch is probably just angry at you because you don’t vomit up all your meals after eating them. 😉 And fitting rooms are self-esteem murderers/cry machines for me – they can all burn in hell. I might start taking your approach by avoiding the fitting rooms all together.

  9. What a bitch. She should be fired.

    Some stores are really varied in their sizing for some reason. I’m short, so when I try on jeans at AE I still have to tailor the length on their Short styles. I wear AE’s 0 (I’m not skinny for my height – I’ve got pretty meaty legs actually, I’m just proportionally smaller because I’m so short) but when I try on jeans at Hollister or Abercrombie, I can’t even get the size 5 past my calves. Why do they feel the need to change the sizes so drastically?

    I haven’t figured out the translation from 0/2/4/6 and 1/3/5/7 to the 20’s pants sizes. But a size 4 in one store should be pretty much the same as a 4 in another, right? Why should pants ever be 5 sizes off?!

    • Ugh. Trying on pants in different stores is totally brutal because they are all sized differently. I’m not sure why but I feel like we can blame this on men for some reason… 😉

  10. I like that you mentioned that your size is a “healthy body weight.” No shame in a size 8, Lady! I’m still trying to work my way back to size 8 after marriage and baby have catapulted me to 14 at one point (I’m almost back to a 10 now). I can’t stand when skinny girls make people with healthy body weights feel like elephants. I remember a friend of mine who weighed 105 soaking wet pulling her skin and saying how fat she was. Really??? Really??? Can’t imagine what she thought of my (at the time) size 8. Some people have such warped perspectives.

    • It’s been a long road for me not to let others warped body perceptions infect my opinion of my own body- sometimes it’s still a struggle but when I look back at pictures of me when I was a size 0 all I can think is how skeletal I looked and how much better I look now at size 8.

      Good on you for working towards your size goal! I’m sure you’re smokin hot no matter what size you are though. 🙂

      • Well, my husband seems to think so. 😉

        Size 8 has got to look healthier than size 0! I think we were all scarred by Ally McBeal and the sudden shrinkage of arms among the women on Friends… “Why aren’t my arms that skinny?” we thought after the initial shock (a correct reaction, I think). I probably just completely dated myself. Ha. My main point would be that we have such unrealistic expectations for our bodies based on unhealthy media images, many of whom are seriously distorted before going to print! I have to remind myself that those chicks are airbrushed.

  11. The only fitting room mirrors I’ve ever liked were from H&M because they have skinny mirrors, even the stores in Europe, but the jeans are awful. I think when I told the girl I was a size 8 (ish) she said I should try a 42 which just made me go eat something fried. God. Maybe online shopping is the way to go. So much less stressful.

  12. I hear ya sista!
    My friends make fun of me for buying a truckload of clothes without trying them on first. I’d much rather be in the comfort of my own home and make a second trip if necessary.

  13. 1. I would have knocked her out
    2. What company doesn’t make jeans bigger than a size 8?? I’m a size 12 and have never had to shop at a big girls store (also, don’t think I qualify as a big girl – I just have the trunk to back up my attitude)
    3. I had some nightmarish fitting room experiences when I got to Oz. Why the HELL didn’t someone tell me that the sizes are different here!! a 12 here is a US 10 at best, meaning sometimes its an 8. ONE of my thighs would fit in an 8.

    Oy. I hate fitting rooms.

    • 1. I think I was too shocked to do anything but shuffle out of the store and think of a million awesome things to say hours later.

      2. Apparently Madewell doesn’t. Although a look at their online store reveals they do have size higher than an 8, it seems they go to a 14 or a waist size 34. So, that retail associate was not just a bitch but a lying bitch.

      3. Good to know, you just saved me lots of frustration shopping in Oz. 🙂

  14. Wow. For a clothing store as expensive as Madewell, I would expect quality customer service. I think I would have just dropped the jeans on the nearest display and walked out the door.

  15. I hate stores that cater to only O,2, 4’s but theres no way of knowing until you are forced to ask & then you’re treated like a cow. & I honestly think companies purposely make sure their sizing is different to fustrate us into buying crap that we dont really want just so we can go home…..

  16. ok, we don’t know what madewell is as we are british, and I can also only presume size one is tiny tiny tiny, but communal changing rooms are HELL ON EARTH… I always end up with something too small stuck on my head, hopping around the changing room (dying inside), eventually pulling it off and breaking a zip or some faux pas equal to this. Read more about the benefits of consumer culture
    great blogs girls! xxx

  17. I always tell people, there are no such thing as standardized american sizes. I don’t know if any country does this or not. But we sure don’t. It is extremely frustrating. To find pants that fit, i.e. jeans, I go to a small boutique specializing in premium denim (e.g. Hot Mama) who sell a variety of brands and give better one on one attention than department stores. Usually these places are not very crowded, know the brands they sell, and I’ve had good customer service. But I hate making return trips to stores, so I’d rather hop around in a dressing room in poor lighting than cart things back to a store on the train.

  18. I’m so happy I was a waitress and had to learn how to deal with complaints…and now I know how to complaint-not stay shocked and silent, I would ask to talk to manager of that fecking bitch and write the letter to company stating how I was treated, how humiliating it was and how I will not only never shop at their store again but also tell my friend and blog about it, I think the bosses don’t want bad press even from one customer/blogger, WRITE TO THEM, honestly, now when you’re back home and free from horror, tell them!

  19. Ahahah what a tiny little shit! People can be so incredibly rude sometimes, I just thank myself I’m not like that to other people. I buy all my clothes second hand, and, even though the primary reason is for money, I end up buying things which are never ‘skin tight’ or ‘figure hugging’ because, hey, you can’t really go back to a hippy market in the country and demand for a refund. It also makes me feel better when they don’t fit; the sizing is whacky with second hand clothes and I don’t even know what size I am now; I just find the clothes with the most ridiculous colour and fuzziest material and then everything pee’s sunshine.

  20. Reblogged this on Grace's a-Musings and commented:
    Amen. As those of you who read my post about the search for an appropriate dress will realize, I have been forced to spend some time in a small death chamber….excuse me, fitting room. Full length mirrors shouldn’t be allowed to exist. End of story. Also, how come I always end up next to the broad who announces, in a loud voice I might add, that she needs a size ZERO because that enormous tent of a size Two just won’t work?

  21. Pingback: Fitting Room Mirrors : Fabulous & Not So Fabulous | The Skinny MirrorThe Skinny Mirror

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