Fantastic Fitting Rooms

My mom sent me this interesting article from WSJ on how some stores are spending some bucks to upgrade their fitting rooms in hopes that it will spur more sales. Well…..DUH.  There is nothing worse than having a handful of purchases you are psyched to try on and get into a dirty, dingy, poorly lit fitting room with an annoying attendant who constantly knocks and asks if you need anything. *Side note- recently at one very high end department store I had a sales girl stand outside my room and talk on her phone to her friend about how LONG I was taking in there. Cue “Bitchy Erin”, in which I stopped trying stuff on, opened the door and said “so sorry to be keeping you” and thrust my goods into her hands. LOST SALE. But I digress….

Give me lighting that makes me look J-Lo glowy. Give me a slightly skinny mirror (but not so skinny that when I get home and look in a regular mirror I gasp in horror at the reality). Give me a place to put my purse and sit down to put on shoes. Give me enough space to move around and finagle my way into snug jeans without smashing limbs on the walls. But above all, give me LOTS OF PLACES TO HANG STUFF! It baffles me as a designer when I get in a fitting room and there is one lousy hook to put 10 pairs of pants on. Huh? Am I being filmed for some scientific study on how humans function without proper tools?

Ann Taylor has revamped not only their look, but their fitting rooms as well. Love the ottomans and the chandelier.

Have always loved Anthro’s rooms (although small)- the mismatched doors are super cute.

I am that annoying person that strips down to tank top in the middle of the store to just pop stuff on in order to avoid fitting rooms.  Bloomie’s added these cool little pods for that reason! YAY!

And so did Old Navy (the #1 place for the “in aisle try on”). Brills.

But why not make these spaces like little jewel boxes and add some real wallpaper inside like they did at Lilly Puliter and Trink Turk?

Someday I’ll have a store, and when I do the fitting rooms would be hooked up like THIS:

Nina Campbell Wallpaper mixed with zebra carpeting, an Oly studio leather bench, decorative mirror, vintage sputnik light fixture and lucite hanging rods (done in brass, not chrome as shown). And the best part? The Maya Romanoff Bedazzled glass bead wallpaper on the ceiling to reflect dazzling light!


  1. Hi Erin!

    Just wanted to let you know how much I love and appreciate reading your blog every day. I only wish you lived in DC so that you could blog about all the wonderful stores and finds that it has to offer! I do not have a blog myself (tried it a couple times and it just didn’t stick) but I enjoy so much finding blogs like yours that match my style, perspective, and sense of humour so perfectly that it is as if I am reading an entry in my own real paper journal (which I DO keep). Keep up the good work! xoxo


  2. Couldn’t agree more. The only thing worse about fitting rooms with no hooks in the US, is not enough or even no fitting rooms at all in Europe, complete with salespeople that will look at you in surprise when you ask to try things on.

  3. I would add a space for the purse-carrying husbands to play Angry Birds on their cell phones…then you are really meeting everyones needs.

  4. Ok get ready for a rant… ;) You know who has the worst fitting rooms (and I hate to say it because I love shopping there)? Nordstrom. The main complaint I have is with the awful dim fluorescent lighting they use, and it’s not just one store. I travel and every Nordies I go in has the same issue! I get so depressed trying on clothes because it highlights every single bump, lump, and bit of cellulite. I mean, I’m all about getting realistic view, but their lighting actually makes me look worse (and gives me a complex). The rest of the changing room is ok (there is a stool and several hooks, but the ambiance could always be improved) but they reeeeaaaaaally need to get some good LED lights in there and I would love them forever.

  5. Great post! I couldn’t agree more – my biggest pet peeve (besides a gross, stinky room) is not having ample room to hang clothes. I want a hook for each item!!

    And Nordstrom does have the worst lighting! What are they thinking?

  6. Great post and I couldn’t agree more!!! Nordstrom always locks their rooms and then they have no place to hang the clothes when you are finished and I just hate to leave stuff in the room. I loathe unisex changing rooms like Banana, Gap and Old Navy. Macy’s dressing rooms are dirty and dinghy. I want a three way mirror so I can see behind me. Anthro rooms are great, but not always a lot of light in them.

  7. I read that article -it’s so true, how could people in the business of selling clothes overlook the importance of the fitting room. Well, my daughter is convinced that some companies use concave mirrors to make you look thinner but I don’t know that to be true- but certainly possible, right? My biggest pet peeve is blaring music- drives me out quickly! Your potential fitting room is lovely :)

  8. I thought I was the only one that was obsessed with dressing rooms! Awesome post and I haven’t seen those quick change pods in Old Navy. Must be on the lookout for next time because that is brilliant.

  9. So true! A designer definitely needs to be involved… who are they consulting with here??? The lack of hooks is the most perplexing part. Are they trying to encourage you to try less on? I’m usually the girl trying on clothes in the aisle too, so the pods are awesome.

  10. I HATE trying clothes on. I’d rather go back and return it or exchange it than take my clothes off in a dressing room. BUT in yours, I’d gladly try on the entire store.

  11. Great post Erin! The dressing rooms at Banana Republic drive me nuts. I like the soft lighting, but the lights make the rooms so HOT. I feel like I am in a sauna and by the time I have tried two things on, I have to run out and escape from the heat, and don’t get to everything. I really am glad that more places are spending more time on their fitting rooms- forget the staff, its the dressing rooms that really make or break the sale.

  12. Do you remember the short lived Forth and Towne (part of the Gap brand)? Now they had some nice dressing rooms! I think Ann Taylor (and Loft) has some of the nicer ones. Clean, well-lit, carpeted, several hooks, bench seat. My needs are simple.

  13. I love that they’re becoming little lounges because you spend as much or more time in the dressing room as you do on the sales floor. You want a place that is welcoming and that you will want to visit. Because, if you go back there into this little world, you are surely more likely to try on that shirt that you don’t need but kinda want.

  14. My pet peeve is at BCBG they don’t put mirrors in each fitting room, so you are forced to come out to see/show yourself in the one mirror provided in the main space and parade in front of anyone who is there. In addition to being cumbersome to do so, what an invasion of privacy! On the other hand, I do love the boho style decor in the fitting rooms at Free People.

  15. J’adore your dressing room idea! That bench is love.

    I really love small spaces, like dressing rooms, or public washrooms, that go all out like this. Such tiny quarters are the perfect opportunity to go big, bold and fabulous.

  16. Erin,
    you should check out the White House|Black Market in the Pru mall. Their fitting rooms are a little over the top for me, but pretty close to your dream dressing room.

  17. I definitely relate to this post! Agree with so many above who says Nordstroms’ dressing room are the worst…talk about giving you a complex from that bad lighting. I am that person that tries on clothes in the middle of the store, because I just don’t like dressing rooms and don’t have the patience to walk over to them, haha yea I guess it’s lazy but also has to do with the lousy dressing rooms you usually find in stores too. Those dressing room pods-genius! I am glad stores are tackling these dressing room issues and getting the hint!

  18. So refreshing to see some fabulous changing rooms! My biggest gripe is lighting and space, most lighting in changing rooms makes me recoil in horror and want to run screaming from the shop waving my arms in the air! I actually stopped trying clothes on all together and now most of my wardrobe consists of ill-fitting jeans and oversized jumpers. But alas, there is hope!

  19. I so agree. So many times it makes the difference between whether I purchase something or not — if the lighting is so harsh that I am depressed by my appearance, why would I buy the clothes? It is amazing that this detail is not paid more attention to – thanks for pointing it out!

  20. The fitting rooms are such an important component of the over all shopping experience..its a pity most retailers choose to ignore it completely..such a relevant post..i love it! thanks for sharing, Erin..have a lovely visit my blog when you have a moment! xx meenal

  21. Love YOUR fitting room. I used to work at Nordies in Via C and the rooms were so dark I couldn’t imagine how anyone bought things without seeing them. I guess I was always an honest sales person. Love the YELLOW in Trina Turks.

  22. Well add my voice to the chorus of Nordstrom disdain. Dirty looking thanks to the dingy lighting. Seriously they need to get their act together. If TJ Maxx can retro fit their dressing rooms…serious! Mine has a tuft, great lighting & cute hooks with phrases like Maybe, Love It.
    Clients want their entire experience to feel as if they’re treasured. Lousy dressing rooms & crappy washrooms. A true urn off.

  23. I have always been so amazed when dressing rooms are so unfortunate. Isn’t the point to get women to try the cloths on and love them?? Love that finally retailers are catching on…now if they would all offer tailoring services, life would be perfect!

  24. Anthro gets extra points for always having the best lighting in the world. I always leave feeling a little better about myself (but I little broker as well.)

  25. I definitely agree with you! Especially your point about hangers…Amen to that!

    And your dream dressing room looks amazing!

  26. Oh my gosh, I love this post! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been psyched to try stuff on and then been let down when trying stuff on in dingy dirty fitting rooms. I also think upgrading dressing rooms gives the shopping experience an air of luxury which is nice for us regular folks who don’t spend enough to warrant a VIP room. I also love your “girl cave” picks, especially that lighting fixture!

  27. as both a retail merchandiser and a hardcore shopper I completely agree! Fitting rooms should be inviting and make you feel like you’re in your own “mini home” and not like they are trying to get you out as quickly as possible. also, attendants should always be curtious and make shoppers feel welcome. let me tell you, if I ever found out that one of my associates acted like that, they’d be gone so fast their head would spin! that’s disgusting!

  28. I have never understood how fitting rooms were designed either. At one Banana Republic store in Boston the rooms are so small that the doors hit the ottoman and you have to turn sideways to get in! And thanks, ladies for validating my thoughts about Nordstrom’s fitting rooms/lighting. I once left there in tears after trying on dresses for a wedding. My boyfriend thought something really awful happened in there. If I hate a stores fitting rooms I will often take the clothes home and try them on in front of my “magic” mirror that makes me look 5 pounds lighter and 2 inches taller (but alas, not tanned). I can only think most fitting rooms were designed by men…

Comments are closed.