Friday, 21 October 2011

Changing Room Rage - it's all the rage!

In the days where there's a name for everything, I should have known there was a term for what I experience every time I stupidly try to try on a pair of jeans, as Sky News reported earlier this year

Most Women Suffer 'Changing Room Rage'

5:20pm UK, Sunday April 17, 2011

Three-quarters of women suffer from 'changing room rage' when they are shopping, according to a new study.

Woman shopping
Women often become frustrated when clothes shopping

I hasten to add that the woman above is not me. She looks far too relaxed. If that is a woman who is feeling frustrated with her retail experience then I guess I must be in some sort of hellish opposite to Zen. Perhaps she's on her phone to her retail therapist asking why she's looking at a mish-mash of pyjamas. Let's give the article a chance: 

Cramped, cluttered and exposed fitting rooms can make trying on clothes such a traumatic experience that it manifests itself in feelings of anger, disappointment and bouts of bad temper. The condition - dubbed CRR - can cometimes lead to shoppers snapping at retail assistants, storming out of stores and even losing self-confidence, according to the study of more than 1,200 women for

Around 75% of shoppers questioned said they had stopped trying on clothes due to the state of changing rooms and half said they waited to try clothes on at home. 'If the shopping experience itself is negative, the whole event can be utterly destructive.' Adult behaviour psychologist Susan Quilliam
I only wish that my frustration and rage could be attributed to bad curtains and cluttered fitting rooms. What planet are these women being surveyed on? Or are they being dishonest? I mean, yes, it's bloody annoying when a door that you shut behind you takes up such an enormous amount of space in the changing room that you can't get yourself in without standing on the tiny chair or bench that they put in there for relatives or girlfriends to perch on. But it's what happens after the door shuts and the clothes come out which is what gets me swearing like a trooper.
Recently this has been because I've been trying - and failing miserably - to find a pair of jeans that will fit me correctly. Or even closely - I'm not fussy. As I have reached middle age I have seen the unwelcome appearance of the muffin top everyone talks about in magazines (usually women who look like they have never eaten a muffin in their life). How do you fit this into jeans nowadays? The low-waisted types cut in under the muffin top, making your body look like it's having a major baking disaster. Higher-waisted styles encompass the bulge but instead of muffin top, you get a cupcake base. Tasty? I fear not.
And this all depends on whether I can get the blasted jeans up my calves in the first place. I did lots of sports when I was younger (failing joints now make this tricky) and I find that designers must expect women to have drainpipe legs. So I steer clear of the skinny, ultra-skinny, fitted, and straight legs and try bootleg and boyfriend styles. These, if I can get them past my thighs (the next level of problematic cushioning) are normally cut close to the crotch making me feel like I am walking like a sidewinder. And the bit at the back gapes.
By this point, no amount of flattering lighting or plush curtains can assuage my despair and rage. Who makes jeans? Men? The same men who might the fitting room doors too big so you have to squash yourself against a wall and kick the door shut with your foot to get inside? The same design is evident on ladies' loo cubicles. Perhaps this is a ploy to get us all to hurry up.
Back to the article.
Adult behaviour psychologist Susan Quilliam said: "Beautiful clothes will always make a woman feel more beautiful and therefore more positive about her appearance, more confident in herself and more optimistic in general. But if the shopping experience itself is negative, the whole event can be utterly destructive. Instead of boosting our self-esteem, it saps it; instead of making us feel good about ourselves and our lives, it brings up frustration, irritation and anger."
The thing is, I don't really care about the state of the changing room. As Susan Quilliam points out - it's the beautiful clothes that make women feel beautiful. Do we want posh surroundings that only make us feel even more ashamed in our ill-fitting clothes? Like a lick of a very dark, moreish cake that is then taken away from us because we're too fat to indulge in it? Temptation and then denial - so cruel.
The worst changing room I went into was one in town where it looked like a prison cell from a war zone. Walls kicked in, paint scuffed, graffiti on the wall. I could only look better than my surroundings, surely? The jeans in there fit me the best out of all I had previously tried on. Maybe they put their money into designing clothes for us muffineers rather than into plush changing rooms.
Even though I didn't buy the jeans, I walked out of there feeling happier that they at least sat where they were supposed to. No walking like a scarecrow, robot or sidewinder either. Since then I have decided to stick at what I wear best and avoid denim like the plague. Though I expect in another six months or so I will have a go - glutton for punishment that I am. And then I can storm out the shop, ranting about fashions that don't celebrate the way women were meant to be built. Ruben's women didn't wear jeans, did they? Yes, OK, they didn't wear much else but if they can do without denim then so can I. Lycra leggings it is...

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