Women Changing in Dressing Rooms It's time to give dressing room drama the boot.

by guest blogger Shannon McLaughlin

How was my latest attempt at finding a swimsuit, you ask? Epic fail. And when I say epic, I mean E-P-I-C in all capital letters. You may be curious as to why I am so frustrated with my ability, or lack thereof, to find the perfect swimsuit. I am not a demanding person. I don’t expect a swimsuit to perform miracles. Although that doesn't mean I don’t wish for a cellulite-reducing suit that gives me a perfectly flat stomach. I’m happy with a decent fit with ample coverage, age-appropriate and yes, perhaps a little extra squeeze here and there to help hold everything in place. Not too much to ask, right? And yet, my in-store experience was so very deflating.

I enter my local swimsuit boutique with high hopes. I see endless rows of brightly colored suits. Then, like a teenager ready to pounce on a One Direction band member, a young sales associate approaches asking if I need assistance.

I think to myself, “Me? Need shopping assistance? Who are we kidding?” I am ready at all times to shop. I know me. I know my body. I know what I can and can’t fit into. I reply politely, “No, thank you. I am just looking for a new swimsuit.” Unfortunately, my new sidekick doesn’t take the hint. Performing her job with unabashed enthusiasm, she directs me to their new line of suits that are flashy, revealing and have so many strings that I am not sure if they are meant to tie things up, down or around. I’ll just say … So. Not. Me.

I continue to wander around with my new sales girl friend in tow. She selects a few bikinis and “holds onto them for me.” I pick a few modest one-piece numbers mostly in black, which is more so a reflection of my deteriorating mood … and a departure from the colorful palate I planned to try.

Eventually, I think I find my solace – the fitting room. I toss aside the suggestions from my sales girl. I grab a disposable panty liner (which are usually about as comfortable as sandpaper) and try on swimsuit number one. It’s not a bad option except the peek-a-boo opening on the sides that appear to allow my love handles a bit too much daylight. Just as I remove selection one, I hear a voice through the door. My sales associate is back asking “How are things going? Can I take anything away? Can I get you another size?” Because yes, having a conversation with a stranger while naked in a sandpaper panty liner isn’t awkward at all?! I grab my shirt, hold it up to my chest and shove all of her picks back to her. “Uh. These didn’t work. Not really my style.” Her reply is a cheerful “Okay. What about the others? DO YOU NEED ANOTHER SIZE?” Suddenly, it feels as though the world has gone silent. Everyone else in the dressing room and the store is waiting to hear my answer. Do I dare to share my size? Loudly, I say sweetly. “Yes. This is way too big. I really think I should try a size 2.” As I open the door to a confused  sales girl, I quietly whisper, “Just kidding. I don’t need anything else.” Leaving on a high note and a laugh, I decide not to try on anything more and end my in-store swimsuit shopping.

I find that the best place for shopping is within the privacy of my own home. The internet is non-judgmental. There are no crowded fitting rooms. I find a much better shopping experience with Hapari.com, a boutique swimsuit site made for people like me. I quickly find five bright, well-designed one-piece suits and tankini tops that fit my style perfectly.

Choosing a swimsuit is an intimate business. And the thought of being able to consider my decision on my own time is a peaceful one. With Hapari’s accommodating return policy – if the item is unused, unworn, unwashed and within 30 days of purchase – I know I will find exactly what I am looking for without the help of a well-meaning but often pushy sales girl.

I place my order for a variety of swimsuits and a couple different sizes to try — no “helpful” sales associate needed. I can’t wait for my order to arrive.

Trust me. You simply can’t beat privacy and a great return policy!

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