On Thursday, my dear Chelsea and myself explored the lovely world of women's lingerie. There could be men's lingerie for all I know, and I don't discriminate. Anyway, we visited Macy's, so that Chelsea could fully understand the floor plan of the department store at Crossgates, Aerie, Victoria's Secret and Frederick's. I only tried on garments at the last two locations, but they, mainly Victoria's Secret inspired this post. Trying on clothes, or any form of garment for that matter, is best performed in a dressing room where you can fully observe the fit with a proper view. Basically a fitting room has a way to close you off from the rest of the store and a mirror.
The above requirement is the bare minimum, and unfortunately for many stores, the minimum is the standard. I'm sure you are all aware of the retailing products available at Victoria's Secret and Frederick's. They are cute, provocative, sexy and revealing to say the least. In the past I have purchased several items from there including underwear and body items, however, I had never tried their swimwear line.
We expect a decent dressing room from an establishment whose products force you to be face to face with 85% of yourself and the remaining portion adorned in lace and ties. Lingerie can be a certain source of vulnerability for some. Simply, the average consumer expects some comfort from Victoria's Secret and Frederick's. What caused me to have unexpectedly pleasant visit this trip was not the lingerie, however, it was the swimwear.
There is only one thing that is on the same level as shopping for a bikini for me, and that is jean shopping.
Being scantily clad in lingerie in a dressing room is easier for me to swallow since I can subsequently control the number of people who see me in it. Bikinis strip you of both covering and control. Once you're on a beach or at a pool and the shirt comes off, there's no stepping back. You're there, bare and you'd better be able to muster up some pride. Being such a nerve-wracking experience for many, you'd think there would be measures set up to ease the process to select such a daring garment.
Instead, there are oddly angled mirrors, fluorescent lighting, and not a sales attendant in sight. In the past few years I have purchased swimwear from Zumiez and now Victoria's Secret that wasn't for a lap lane purpose. Target, bless your heart, I love you so much with your low prices and agreeable quality, however, I cannot buy a bikini from you.
Every time I try, and believe me it's to the process of a dog running into a wall over and over, desperately trying to wag it's tail with some form of hope. I've tried different cuts, colors and all sorts of suits. It's not the suits. I like most of them even on a hanger. I cannot stand the dressing rooms. I do not appreciate staring at myself in fluorescent lighting. Fluorescents are a plague upon female kind. If I actually wanted to see how pale I was, well I'd look down. If I wanted to see the cellulite on the back of my thighs and denier, well I'm not sure what I would do, but I am pretty sure that I wouldn't.
Unsightly dressing rooms only cause potential customers to be unnerved and beaten down. Who wants to buy something after wearing it has caused almost every drop of self-esteem has been flushed out of your body? Victoria's secret had soft, yet visible and realistic, lighting. There was enough space to move around without being forced to confront a wall. Body flaws were still visible, there is only so much you can do after all, but it did not matter. The suit I tried on, in the setting I tried on, made me smile. I could do this, I could work it, and hell I even looked pretty damn good. All it took was the right setting. The right background to give emphasis to a gorgeous foreground. A lot of retailers would do well to refresh their painting basics.