Large mirror, confined space and that pressure to get in and get out, because of the queue of waiting women, that you feel, are huffing and puffing at you to hurry as though there is only one cubicle and you happen to be in it! Yes this is the Horror of the Changing Rooms! Now admittedly, I never really took much stock as to how good or bad a changing room was, until you come across a luxurious or crappy one.
The crappiest one by far was Reiss in Westfield. It was tiny, dark, cramped and smelt of damp, considering the shop itself is really nicely laid out. The best was Victoria Secrets, it was like a boudoir of my dreams, I was quite happy to prance around in my underwear in front of that mirror.
So what constitutes a great changing room? Well in my opinion there are quite a lot of factors!
1) Lighting: Dark or moody lighting doesn't help you to see the garment in its true 'light'. I mean it might make you look good/bad there however when you go outside thats a totally different matter. Lighting needs to be flattering and show you as though you are outside (in my opinion). I mean how many times have you bought something that looked one way in the changing room and when you went out or got home it looked different and nearly unwearable
2) Space: We need space! We need space to walk up and down, twirl, stop, pose and repeat. How is that ever possible in a cubicle. Because lets face it not everyone feels comfortable coming out and doing that in the communal area!
3) Hooks: Now if you're as pedantic as me you need to have what I call decision hooks! The "definitely I'm buying that hook", the "I'm not sure" hook and the "No way Jose" hook. And thats just one side, then on the other I need separate hooks for my tops, bottoms, dresses and outerwear. If I have all these I can make a much more detailed decision as I can see it all. And I reckon if cubicles had them labeled people would make quicker choices. I'm just saying!
4) Helpful Staff: This is one of my pet peeves. Staff who hate being on fitting room duty and see it as punishment, in turn they are just as unhelpful. I loved being in the fitting room when I worked for RI, this was my moment to help everyone feel great! I'd get shoes and accessories for them to complete outfits and also have back up in case the things they picked up didn't look right. I handled that area with pride giving my full 100% attention to every woman that walked in. I'm no different as a stylist, having the best experience is important to me!
5) Doors: Now I don't know about you, but I prefer doors! Some curtains are long and heavy and because they've been tied back so often they have a kink. As well as it being hard to drag the 10ft tall curtain closed the kink means people can still see you get undressed. Thats stressful. Doors swing open and close easily! However, I must confess doors that lock you in like you are in a room can be rather claustrophobic, I like the doors that have a gap at both the top and bottom to allow me to breath.