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August 27, 2013

The Fit Fitting Room – Part 2; Color Counts

by Marge Laney

On a recent shopping trip to a well-known fast fashion retailer I decided to try-on a few things.  Since fitting rooms are my thing I always approach the fitting room area with great anticipation.  I have a mental checklist that I work through as I proceed through the fitting room process.

Upon entering the fitting room area I was pleased to be greeted by a smiling attendant. The area was large so it was easy to maneuver around other customers on the way to an open fitting room.  Unfortunately that was pretty much the end of my good experience.

Upon entering my fitting room I was blinded by a glaring overhead light and even though there was a lot of light, I could barely see.  As I hung my clothes up I realized that the fitting room was painted jet black!  I found that pretty peculiar, but not until I tried on the first outfit did I realize how bad an idea it really was.

I’m not a designer, an artist, or anyone who understands color, but I can tell you that a black fitting room does nothing to help me, a customer, look good.  It seemed to absorb the light and made it hard to see myself in the mirror and what I did see wasn’t good!  It created shadows that made me look sallow and it was impossible to see what the outfits really looked like.  My buying decisions were; no, no, and no.  When I left the fitting room I noticed other shoppers making the same decision and piling their rejected items on the table in front of the smiling fitting room attendant.

The sad thing about it is that some designer thought that painting the entire fitting room area black was a really great idea!  The fitting room color was edgy, hip, and cool, but it didn’t make their customers look edgy, hip, and cool.  It made me look scary, weird, and very uncool.  And there’s the problem, the customer is often left out of the decision process when it comes to fitting room design.

Professional designers do know the ins and outs of color and how it makes people look and feel.  Shame on them for choosing fitting room colors that don’t keep the customer and their experience at the front of the design process.  Funky and edgy colors may make your fitting rooms look fabulous, but make sure they make your customers look fabulous while they’re making their buying decisions. Ultimately, the customers do get the final say when they reject the retailers offering because of how it makes them look.  But is the fitting room experience ever rightfully blamed by the retailer or other experts?  I don’t think so.


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