The Devil Designed Fitting Rooms…

By Fran Lazner, Guest Freelance Writer

It’s Friday 2pm, party season. My husband has just phoned to inform me that his work Xmas party is on tonight! Yes he’s known about it for months. No he didn’t have time to inform me earlier.

As I frantically attack my wardrobe, pulling items off the hangers and tossing them onto the bed, I can’t help but notice the disturbingly large number of items that still have tags on them. When did I buy that? Did I really buy that? I pause.

The items all come from my favourite store, which makes me wonder why I consider it my favourite store. Well, because I’m a larger woman, and it’s one of the few stores that cater for such apparently rare creatures. To judge by the other stores at my local shopping centre, large woman don’t really exist, and if they do, well the camping and leisure store on level 2A should serve them well enough to get by… But I digress.

Why has this shop yielded so many un-worn pieces? It’s not the clothes themselves, they are beautiful and well made. It’s not me. I buy Marie Claire. I know what’s in fashion. Gingerly, as if it might bite me, I touch one of the tops. It’s a chocolate brown Grecian number.  I loved it in the store and I love it now, but still I’ve never worn it. Why? Because it makes my breasts look like large coconuts and my stomach look like I’m in the middle of my third trimester. It simply doesn’t suit my shape. When I bought it, I was so oblivious to these facts that I actually bought two, in different colours.  Damn!!

It’s now 2.45pm. If I ignore all the road rules, I can pick up the kids and get to the store before it closes. As I drive, I ponder the mystery of my un-worn wardrobe, and I realise that I know the cause. It’s the fitting rooms. Those tiny cubicles of illusion and ultimately despair. If Satan exists, then he surely had a hand in their creation.

The cubicles themselves are designed with one purpose, to get you changed and out into the common area between them as quick as inhumanly possible. Each cubicle is smaller than a mini bar fridge and just as cold, and where once, it might have shielded me from embarrassment, with its sturdy latched door, there are now, impressively heavy, yet deceptively breezy curtains that are, for some reason, just a few inches narrower than the doorway they enclose. Such that if I pull them across to guard against exposing my minimiser-bra-enclosed breasts from one side, I find my control-brief covered bottom, exposed to the world on the other.

As intended, I enter the cubicle, get the dress on, and then stumble out into the significantly more spacious but also more populated common space. I call this the ante-cubicle, and it seems to have devilishly insinuated its way into modern-day fitting room design, even alas, in my favourite store.

The ante-cubicle is a sight to behold. Lush and elegant, there are no plastic chairs for arthritic mothers here. Instead it is populated by brightly patterned ottomans, lights (lots of lights), and of course, an enormous mirror that covers every inch of available wall. Gone are the days where fitting rooms were simple, functional and private. Where the assistant could discreetly see your fitting and give you advice. Instead, the ante-cubicle encourages group participation and I find complete strangers giving me fashion tips and testing out their sales skills.

The first thing I see as I exit cautiously into the ante-cubicle is … myself, reflected gloriously back at me in the endless mirror and, surprisingly, the new dress looks well…fantastic. I look slim! Is it the dress or the fact that there are two miles of mirror on either side of me? Let’s face it; a hippo would look petite in a space the size of ten football fields.

“Wow!” The shop assistant arrives on cue and adds her voice to my already distorted impression. “That dress makes you look soooo slim,” she says with a predatory smile (she smells an easy kill), and two random shoppers nod their heads. Right there – I’m hooked. How can I not be? The mirror and assistant have hit me with my all-time favourite word combination – you, look and slim. Their exuberance suppresses the questions I should ask, “Doesn’t it make my calves look fat? Does the fabric cling too much?” Instead a smile spreads across my face.  “That was easy,” I think.

Then in my post-selection glow (almost the same as post-coital glow but more satisfying) the assistant, having ascertained that the dress is for a party that begins in three hours, brightly tells me that I will need a jacket and possibly one of their gorgeous new belts, which by a happy coincidence arrived only this morning, and I gratefully pull out my credit card.

It never enters my mind that when I try the same dress at home, my human sized mirror and husband will both point out, in the smaller confines of my bedroom, that my calves do look fat and the fabric shows every ripple of cellulite on my thighs, which by the way, I couldn’t see in the bright glare of the ante-cubicle lights.

While I climb dejectedly back into last year’s outfit, I give myself some stern advice for my next shopping trip: 1) take an honest friend along with me.  Someone who isn’t afraid to say, “That doesn’t suit you,” 2) find the largest bulldog clips I can and clip the sides of the curtain to the walls, and then stay in the cubicle for as long as possible (and just ignore the assistant’s threats to call security) and 3) never ever buy anything on the day of an important function.


I love this piece and wanted to share it with all the curvy ladies who can relate!

Love your shape!

Janine x



Your invitation to have your say…

As you know I’ve always been passionate about “Real” talk when it comes to plus-size issues.  I love pushing the boundaries, networking and collecting resources to share with you all to make life a little simpler and more deserving for us girls with curves. But I also acknowledge that YOU, have great ideas and resources too, so here’s your chance to join me.

It’s time to have your say, have your voice heard.  I’m opening up my blog to YOU, consider this your invitation to write a guest post for my blog.

All submissions will be considered, so please get your thinking caps on, write something down, add some pictures, photos whatever to illustrate the piece and send it to me here – it’s time that Australia heard your views and suggestions – straight from you.

Here’s some ideas to get you started:

  • My favourite outfit is…
  • I feel amazing when…
  • My biggest frustration when shopping for clothes…
  • If I could design my own clothes I would design a…
  • I’m not curvy because I overeat, I’m curvy because…
  • I’m a great role model for my children/peers/students because…
  • How I see the world, by me a curvy girl…

Or maybe you have a question you’ve been wanting answered, and I could help? Brainstorm, or maybe there’s been something you’ve been wanting to share for ages and just haven’t had the forum to do it, now’s your chance!

(Please note: This is NOT an advertising opportunity, this is about sharing our thoughts and resources, so if you are a business, please do feel free to submit, but please make it educational and informational rather than just advertising).

Go for it! I look forward to receiving your submissions.

Love your shape!

Janine x

Specialist Mastectomy Fitting Services for Women size 8-28+

With the recent news of my beautiful mum Dianne being diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer, our world was sent into a tail spin of panic, grief, coping and of course a huge learning curve! She is a third of the way down the path of a 24 week treatment cycle. We’ve had some good and bad news, and are taking each day as it comes.

Mum & I during one of her chemo sessions – she’s so brave!

There is alot of information out there to help women in this situation, but I was curious what help there was for women my size, size 20.

Lisa, owner & operator of Lisa’s Lacies agrees and has just opened a new service specialising in mastectomy services for women size 8-28+.

Plus-size lingerie can be just as sexy as the regular variety, and Lisa’s Lacies  has proven this time and time again over the past 19 years as a market leader of larger cup bra fittings providing gorgeous lingerie for women size 8-28+.

But imagine if you were one of the eight Australian women who will hear your doctor say those terrifying words – “You have breast cancer”.  The process of diagnosis to treatment is incredibly difficult, however the emotions associated with learning to feel feminine after a mastectomy or lumpectomy is incredibly challenging.

Utilising her extensive expertise in fitting a curvy figure, Lisa has developed a custom made service specialising in custom prosthetic breast forms and specialist bra fittings for women size 8-28+ offering an extra level of understanding to breast cancer survivors.  Lisa sourced two high quality prosthetic brands, Amoena and TruLife to meet the needs of her customers and their varying body shapes.  Her team has  dedicated Breast Care Consultants trained to marry the breast forms with a beautiful selection of the extensive range of over 174 options of bras to meet the needs of every figure size 8-28+ .

“It’s important to note that the brands I’ve chosen offer a wide range of breast forms and partial shapers that will meet the needs of any woman who has had breast surgery according to her body shape.  I recognise that a woman’s body image and self-esteem is paramount at all times, and most especially at a time such as this”, Lisa says “From recovery care to everyday to fashion bras, we can help”.

The process is simple, ring and ask for the Breast Care Consultant on (03) 9782-5955 to book your appointment at the store in Seaford, Victoria.  At the appointment the patient receives expert fitting advice in a beautiful custom built room providing a comfortable, nurturing and supportive environment.  The consultant will explain and demonstrate the huge range of breast forms and bras available and the patient is fitted in complete privacy.  The appointment takes approximately 1 hour.

One of Lisa’s Lacies Breast Care Consultants is a cancer survivor herself and understands first hand the sensitive care required.

The beautifully appointed specialist fitting room at Lisa’s Lacies in Seaford, Vic

This service is one of a kind in Australia offering expert fitting for all women, but specialising in plus-size, giving this service that extra level of understanding the patient is seeking. This expert service is available now. Please pass on this information to anyone who it could benefit and tell Lisa I sent you.

Love your shape!

Janine x