It happens to me every time I go to the Gap. I go into the dressing room and I’m trying on jeans, and there it is! CELLULITE! My thighs are just big mountains of cellulite oh my God I HATE MY LIFE! This is why I started changing with my back to mirrors in dressing rooms. Because I know that it’s not MY body, it’s the horrible, crappy, florescent, harsh, overhead lighting. So today we’re going to talk about WHY we look fat in dressing room mirrors, which stores got it right, and the Seinfeld episode where Elaine buys the hideous dress because the store had “Skinny mirrors.”
I am aging myself by talking about the show Seinfeld. For those of you who are too young to know the 90s sitcom, it’s a show about nothing. Literally, nothing. Just the lives of four friends, three male and one female. Elaine, the token neurotic, guy-like female, comes home with a dress that looks like a tent on her. A big tent with awkward cut-outs in the sleeves. She goes to Jerry’s place and the guys ask why in the world she’d buy something so obviously UGLY. “I looked FABULOUS!” she says. “FABULOUS!” She takes a few moments to think, then says, “Wait a minute! I know what’s going on here! They have skinny mirrors! SKINNY MIRRORS!” The next time she goes shopping, she tries on an expensive dress then wears it outside to look at herself in store windows, and that, of course, goes badly. Welcome to Seinfeld, which is basically snapshots of my life.
So why do you look so horrible in most dressing rooms? It’s a simple answer: harsh overhead lighting direction. When light falls parallel to your body, skimming across your skin, every flaw shows because those little wrinkles or tiny craters of cellulite, or stretch marks are in shadow thanks to the harsh light and how it’s falling down your body. However, at awesome stores who actually CARE about dressing room lighting, such as Victoria’s Secret, they have this magic lighting that encircles the mirror and falls softly and evenly on your body. Such great light that even I turn this way and that saying, “Wow, this really DOES look good!” Expensive stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Barney’s, Hermes, Channel, etc all have the soft, even light, because they UNDERSTAND that if you’re going to purchase something, it had better look darn good in the dressing room.
Now that the mystery has been solved, if you are in harsh light, turn your back to the mirror while you change to save your self-esteem. Or do all your shopping at Bloomingdale’s and Barney’s. Your choice! Happy shopping!