5 Ways Retail Companies Make It Unnecessarily Painful For Women To Shop
It's that dreaded moment in the fitting room when nothing fits.
The black skinny jeans are too tight in a size 8.
The size small plaid "boyfriend" shirt could give both you and a friend some shelter.
To top it all off, the only size left in the grey boots you want is a 7.
We've all been there.
Shopping for clothes should be fun, not an experience that leaves us feeling insecure.
Guys can easily find their sizes and walk out of a store, so why can't we?
It's time for retail to give us more options, bring diversity to store-front mannequins and make us feel good about our bodies in clothing.
Here are five issues I have with the current state of the retail industry for women:
1. Window Displays
The visual arrangement at a store is like looking into an altered reality.
Among the bright lights and artsy posters are chic mannequins. Although they are gorgeously styled, they are also not realistic.
Could you imagine a human being with a hard chest, a perfectly cinched waistline, a perky butt and knobby peg legs?
It's not possible.
Instead of showing this model for women, stores should give the paper-thin mannequins some curves.
Then, we all can appreciate our bodies and see them in fabulous clothing without feeling any different.
2. “We only carry sizes 1, 3 and 5.”
Cue Regina George in "Mean Girls," who is on the cusp of a breakdown because she can’t squeeze into her Spring Fling dress.
When did clothing sizes actually kill the joy of shopping?
It kind of sucks walking into a store and not knowing what will fit you, especially if it’s in European sizes or just one size fits all.
Women are forced to fit into unrealistic clothing proportions because a lot of stores don’t consider size variety.
Although some stores create “tall," “petite” or “plus” sections, we still can’t easily find the right fit. It’s like we need to carry a size chart for every store we visit.
3. The Fitting Room
Trying on clothing isn’t always a good time. It often involves us bringing in a ton of items and only buying two.
On top of the pile of clothes in the fitting room, the damn mirror tops it off.
Because of the awkward shape of the mirror, nine times out of 10, our reflection notices all the little bloating or uncomfortable zones of our bodies.
In addition to the funhouse mirror, bad customer service could just be the icing on the cake.
If you need a different size, you are often calling for the MIA sales associate or awkwardly walking out half-naked to get what you need, only to only find out your size is so popular that it sold out.
4. Company Branding
Once we leave the store and wear new garments, we essentially become part of a clothing company’s image.
Advertising can either help or hinder retail for women.
Stores such as Aerie have launched anti-airbrushing campaigns to give positive vibes to female shoppers.
Although some progress has been made, the fashion industry could still improve retail for women.
By eliminating fake messages and empowering the real beauty of women, clothing companies can continue to take steps toward improving retail for us.
5. The Silent Consumer
Yes, retail needs to change for women, but it doesn’t have to always start in the corporate space.
As consumers, we often don't speak up enough about our shopping experiences.
Ironically, we have the most power to stand up for our styles and bodies because without us, fashion companies wouldn’t be successful.
With this in mind, we can make small changes.
Start a conversation at your next girls' night. Tweet your favorite store if you have a suggestion for improvement.
Finally, don’t let sh*tty retail experiences get the best of you.
So when you rock a signature outfit, remember all the ghostly mannequins, outrageous sizes, endless fitting rooms and distorted billboards that were defeated in the process.