Dressing Rooms: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I’ve been in more than my fair share of dressing rooms this year, doing dressing room diaries for you, and shopping for myself. I’ve made a few discoveries I thought I’d share with you. Dressing rooms are frequently unpleasant and can be either brutal or overly flattering.

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life in a store dressing room


Gotta love those dressing rooms lights that make us look slightly jaundiced or pale with dark circles under our eyes. The culprit is direct overhead lights that throw shadows in all the wrong places.Jennifer Connolly in a dressing room with horrible lighting


Ever run into those “funny” mirrors some stores have? They’re either poor quality or may bend slightly through the center which makes us appear slimmer… at the store. Once we get home… our normal mirror shows us the truth. Mirrors that tip back at the top also make us look slimmer so be aware of that. This is seriously nasty and Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life in dressing room


Icky ones! I’ve been in changing rooms of very upscale stores that have grungy, dirty floors. I don’t know about you, but I need to take my shoes off to try on pants, etc. When the carpet or floor seems dirtier than the sidewalk outside, I tend to pass.Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life in the dressing room


Vanity sizing is when a brand shifts their metrics to make shoppers feel smaller. They decrease their tag size and inflate the garment measurements. In short…what is a size 2 in other stores is a size  6 in theirs. I don’t take the number on a size label personally but can’t help feeling a small thrill when I can zip a size 4 that would be a 10 in most other stores. This is intentional.

Online shopping prevents all that nonsense but I’m never sure what size to order. My solution? With stores that offer free shipping, I order multiple sizes so I can compare the fit. Stores that charge for shipping get less of my business unless I know the brand well and understand their sizing.

There are some sales I’m perusing online that might interest you this weekend.

Anthropologie is giving an extra 25% off sale and 20% off regular priced items.

Ann Taylor is giving an extra 40% off sale and 40% off new tops with the code TOPITOFF.

Lord & Taylor is offering up to 20% off with the code FALL.

Loft is offering up to 50% off fall favorites.


How about you? Are you winning the dressing room wars?

Thanks for reading and have a great day!


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  1. I so agree with you. I recently lost weight and am fitting into some clothes one size,two sizes or three sizes down. It is so frustrating that I don’ t know where to shop except Nordstrom or loft!!!
    Also, I just read your post about civility and I agree with you 100%. It may be jealousy ruling it’s nasty head but that is no excuse for being rude and mean. You look wonderful and your style is superb- haters gonna hate- unhappy people!

  2. Good post Jennifer. Thank you. Pet dislike for me is not having a chair or something that I can place my bag and clothes that I’m taking off.. Are you supposed to put them on the floor? And I walk out if their is a tissue on the floor – absolute cringe factor!

    1. I’m with you Clare! If there’s no place to put my purse, I’m out of there. I won’t put it on the floor

  3. I hated trying on clothes in the store dressing rooms for various reasons others have stated here. I now have a medical challenge that requires me to use a wheelchair if I’m in a store for a length of time. I will not shop at a store unless my daughter “who drives the wheelchair” is allowed to enter the fitting rooms with me. Of course, these are few and far between, but when we do happen upon such a facility, we always find them neat and tidy. It also helps that she can critic any clothing I try on.

    1. I’m sorry you’re struggling Katheryn. It must be very awkward to maneuver. It’s wonderful your daughter can help you and give a second opinion.

  4. I would love a master list of corporations that use skinny mirrors in their stores. I am convinced that Richmond’s new LL Bean store uses them. Visiting their dressing room is a delightful experience! I buy more T’s and sweaters there because I look so thin.

    1. I’d love to have that list too! Those mirrors are flat out deceptive.

  5. Jennifer – there is nothing I hate more than trying on clothes in store dressing rooms at my present weight! That is why I do so much online shopping. Like you, I look for online stores that offer free shipping and then order multiple sizes and styles all at once. Easy peasy to return all at once.

    Some store dressing rooms are just disgusting. How hard is it to keep the floor free of litter and cleaned at least once a day? And what’s the deal with the hooks for hangers – put at least 3 in every dressing room please!

    1. I totally agree! And while they’re at it they could supply a place to put our purse while trying on that’s larger than a postage stamp.

  6. Don’t forget the dusty mirrors!! Or is it my eye sight? 😉
    I’ve added on some weight so my dressing room experiences can be most unpleasant!
    Enjoy your weekend!

    Robin T

    1. Many are just plain filthy. It’s such bad business practice too. Happy Weekend Robin

  7. Jennifer, this is really enlightening and I share your opinion of some horrid dressing room experiences that shouldn’t be! Pins on or in the carpet is the worst. I really looked so bad once that I had a “911 moment”! Love a little jean jacket, with khakis or black dress! Happy Saturday from South Carolina.

  8. Eileen Ternullo says:

    P.S. makeup counters need to be closer to a good source of light.

    1. I agree! Putting them closest to an outdoor entrance would really help!

  9. Eileen Ternullo says:

    Boy are you right! Some of my issues, yellow overhead lighting making reds look orange, ( Macy’s) dark wood or dark painted walls so you can’t see well, ( Kohl’s) tiny dressing rooms (Zara), old wallpaper, no three way mirrors? No mirrors in store so you have to use dressing room ( Chico’s). I have a Saks off 5th with white lighting and large room and white walls that is great near me. I also was told at Nordstrom’s, we don’t carry all the sizes because people are buying online instead of in the store..

    1. That lighting and dark wall combo is nasty! I just don’t understand why stores would subject us to it. It cuts down on sales! I’ve got a Saks Off 5th near me. I think I’ll check it out. Thanks for the reminder Eileen.

  10. Cheryl Ann says:

    Jennifer, your hair looks great! Whatever you are doing is working…any hints would be appreciated. BTW I love my silk pillowcases. Thank you, so much! Cheryl Ann

    1. Thanks Cheryl Ann. I flipped my part to the opposite side I usually wear it on and am using dry shampoo at the roots to add volume. It really helps. If I get the nerve I’ll do a video on it.

  11. You are so right about how different they can be. There are some stores I love just for the dressing room. Soft Surroundings is one of those. I have a department store I have loved for the dressing rooms, but lately they are always full of clothing and not properly cleaned out…I think they have cut back on personnel. I have left stores because dressing rooms were not cleaned after someone leaves. But, I still prefer going to the store to try on garments over ordering online without testing it first. I save money and have fewer mistakes that way.
    Good observations, Jennifer!

    1. We don’t have a Soft Surroundungs near us but I can imagine how nice they are!

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