The dreaded change room meltdown. This is something that has happened to me time and time again – you go to the mall feeling good, happy and excited to buy a new outfit… but you leave empty handed sad and feeling like a whale. Fortunately over the last few years I have been able to avoid this nasty feeling by following the list of tips that I have put together for you below! Hopefully they help you realize your full change room potential and make your shopping experience a happy one!

1. Try, Try, Try!

The Problem: You walk into a store, pick out the first few things that you absolutely love, you go into the change room and come out feeling terrible because nothing fit, or they fit but looked hideous. This is followed by you giving up and going straight home to sulk.

The Solution: I cannot stress enough the need to try on as much as possible. I have so many women comment on my blog photos saying that I look amazing in everything, which is so far from the truth. I try on at least 10 outfits before I find one that looks amazing. If you are looking for a new dress, bring 10 or more dresses in the change room with you. Everything looks different hanging on the racks and you are not going to know which one looks best on you until you try them all on. So don’t just try on the ones that catch your eye, you may be very surprised in the end when you end up loving and buying a dress that you wouldn’t have looked twice at.

3. Size Obsession

The Problem: You are too focused on a number, just because you are a size 16 doesn’t necessarily mean you are always a size 16!

The Solution: Once you realize that sizing isn’t standard you will be able to let this one go. So many women are very stubborn about their dress size, so much so that they will buy things that are too tight just so they can maintain that number. But the number on a tag is really just a mythical thing these days.

Retailers buy their clothing from many different manufacturers around the world. This means that every cut, size and style will be different. Countless times I have left a store having purchased items in all different sizes, a size 18 top, a size 16 dress, a size 22 jean, a size 18 jean, a 4X blouse. Yes, a 4X blouse, and I should only be a 2X… but you know what? The 4X fit way better, so I bought it. I don’t let my size define me and neither should you! Your main focus should be looking good and feeling good, so use your size as a general guide and go from there!

4. Junior Plus Size

The Problem: You walk into Forever 21+ and you try on a dress in 1X, 2X and 3X and none of them fit…

The Solution: There are two types of plus sizes out there, Woman’s Plus Size and Junior Plus Size, and not many women realize this. Junior Plus was created for plus size teens and young women who could not find fashionable and trendy options, but as this segment continued to grow I find that the lines between Woman’s Plus and Junior Plus have become blurred.

Understanding is the key. Most major retailers sell standard plus size clothing. But many trendier fashion lines, smaller boutiques and online shops sell Junior Plus, and most of these places state that they do. Here is a great article that you should read by my friend The Curvy Fashionista explaining the difference between Woman’s Plus and Junior Plus (Before You Shop: Woman’s Plus Size vs. Junior Plus Size). So don’t be freaked out if you go to try something on at a Forever21+ and you are a size 3X when you usually wear a 1X, sizing for Junior Plus is very different, the key is to realize the difference and not to let it get you down.

5. Don’t Be Shy!

The Problem: I remember being to shy to ask the sales person for help.

The Solution: Victoria, the owner of plus size boutique Gussied Up, says not to be afraid to ask the sales person for help. They are there to help you, not judge you. Have some fun with them, let them choose items for you that you never thought to try on, and don’t be shy to ask for a larger size! They have seen it all and if they are passionate about their job they will more than excited to help you.

6. Go In Prepared! 

The Problem: You are looking for a pretty dress for a special event but when you try it on it doesn’t hang right and you have curves in all the wrong places.

The Solution: Come prepared! You will not look the same in an outfit in a change room as you will on the day you wear it. Come wearing proper fitting undergarments, shapewear, hosiery and heels! It will make a world of difference when you look in the mirror.

6. Mirror Mirror On The Wall…

The Problem: The dressing room mirror…

The Solution: This is the part where you need to do your own inner therapy. The lighting and the mirror are all culprits of your own visual deception. Personally, I am convinced that the lighting in dressing rooms is the most terrible lighting in the word. It hits you straight from above, creates shadows where there shouldn’t be any and brings out every flaw imaginable. Remember, this light is not desirable or natural!

We are our own worst enemy when faced naked in front of that dressing room mirror, jiggling around trying to fit into an outfit. I used to not even be able to look at the mirror until I had all of my clothes on, now I really don’t care… actually I will dance around and shake my booty while waiting for the sales girl to get me a different size haha… so don’t be so hard on yourself and have a little fun!

7. Feeling A Bit Claustrophobic!

The Problem: Small fitting rooms!!!

The Solution: Well this one isn’t as easily controlled by us directly, we really have to rely on our retailers to serve us well here. Larger fitting rooms are a must, and chairs too! Recently stores like Addition Elle have added soft benches and… here is the amazing feature… FANS! Yes, they have ceiling fans that you can control! I couldn’t have been happier when they added this feature earlier this year. It can get so hot and overwhelming when trying things on, so the more that retailers can do to help us plus size girls have a better change room experience the better!

5. Online Shopping

The Problem: When all else fails and you have given up all hope…

The Solution: This was where I was about 8 years ago. I could not find anything that I ever dreamed of wearing in my size, and going from store to store to try things on seemed like a hopeless and never ending nightmare… that was until I discovered online shopping. Shopping for clothes online changed my life… literally. Suddenly, I could find everything that I wanted to wear with the click of a mouse and my bedroom became my change-room, which is a more pleasant experience. Yes, it can be just as hard shopping online since you do not get to try it on before you buy it. But when it comes to simple styles and dresses I have found that shopping online is a breeze. Remember to be true to your size, order according to the websites measurements to avoid disappointment. Also, look for online retailers that offer free shipping and great return policies!

I hope these tips help! Do you have any of your own tips or ideas? Or a change room horror story? Comment below!

xo Karyn

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