My girl Erin writes a blog called The Fierce Beagle.I have to be careful about sneaking peeks at her posts at work, because they inevitably make me snort with laughter, causing my boss to peek her head out of her office to ask if I’m OK. In addition to being wickedly funny, she is compassionate, insightful, kind, and incredibly gorgeous. But hands off, ladies, she’s also happily married.
When Erin told me she had some words of wisdom for all those about to shop, I jumped at the chance to share those wise words with all of you! Here she goes:
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Last week I had an hour to kill at the mall, so I decided to shop around for an Easter dress. At one point—I think it was about 40 minutes in, while I was contorting my way out of a slightly-too-small side-zip dress—I realized my main problem (in addition to boobs that were way too big for that particular sheath) was lack of strategy.
What kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t invite you into my ill-lit dressing room to point, laugh, and benefit from my bad experience? So I came up with a dressing-room strategy that I think everyone can use. Incidentally, it also works for first dates.
Wear comfortable and attractive but not-too-sexy underthings. I’ve accepted that trying on garments is a must. Wearing cute, comfortable undies with decent coverage makes the process less cringeworthy and annoying: Getting in and out of the clothes is enough trouble without having to pop a boob or butt cheek back in every two minutes.
Loosen up. Guys, I’ve pulled muscles trying on clothes. I mean, the whole point is trying to find something that fits, so you should be prepared for something that doesn’t. Before you start trying on clothes, do a few light stretches—and, if you’re up to it, some high kicks and fist pumps. If you think you have a potential winner in a garment, try moving around the way you would when you’re wearing it in the real world. Trying on a blazer for work? Raise your arm like you’re gesturing to that rad infographic in your upcoming presentation.
Predetermine an exit strategy. Before you jump right into an unfamiliar piece of clothing, figure out not only how to get it on (Over the head? Step in? Raise your arms and shimmy?) but also how to take it off. I’m thinking specifically of that dress with the sticky side zip that nearly defeated me. Jeans and t-shirts are easy, but fitted and/or fancier garments—delicate fabrics, unusual wraps, semicomplex closures—tend to be tricky. And in my experience, it’s best not to have to leave the dressing room half-naked with a pricey frock stuck around your forehead.
Have a buddy check in with you. I prefer to shop alone, but there have been low moments when I’ve been plastered to the dressing room wall trying to dislocate my shoulder and wrestle my way out of a garment whose most marked quality is a Chinese-finger-trap-like fit. Knowing there’s a kindred soul nearby—someone unafraid of seeing you in your skivvies—will save you from the kind of desperation that leads to asking a stranger to help you disrobe. Plus, a friend can provide some much-needed mid-session encouragement.
Don’t starve yourself beforehand. Face it: a two-hour crash diet isn’t going to make the flab and bulges disappear. Before you shop, fuel up on something nutritious that will provide some good energy so you don’t run out of steam (and, in my case, all hope of success and belief in the goodness of humanity) with four untried items to go.
Maintain an attitude of cautious optimism. Don’t go into the dressing room cursing everything you dislike about yourself, believing there’s nothing off-the-rack that will ever work for you. Try to be realistic: Not everything will work for you, but finding just one item that makes you look and feel like yourself is worth the effort.
Any other dressing-room advice out there?
Image courtesy alles banane.