“Does My Bum Look Big in These Jeans?”
and the best response ever…
“Does my bum look big in these jeans?” is the most dangerous and frequently asked question in women’s fashion. It is echoed by millions of women all over the world, and always will be.
So why the obsession with finding the answer? Women just want to look and feel good in clothing and receive validation on their fashion selections.
I am a 53yo man who ran two national award-winning women’s fashion stores for 16 years. I have employed (and listened to) hundreds of sales staff who valiantly tried to give open and honest answers to every customer who entered our stores. The common thread between our sales team was they all squirmed when they were asked the ‘butt’ question.
One bubbly and enigmatic staff member named Lizzi stood out when she once responded to a customer outside a fitting room seeking feedback on her denim draped derrière. Her response was jaw-droppingly honest
“Yes, it does look big”
My heart instantly stopped when this ‘truth-bomb’ was dropped and I was ready to call a performance review meeting with her. The customer’s eyes widened, her nostrils flared and her head snapped around to eyeball Lizzi. She could not believe what she had just heard, and neither could I. What Lizzi did next was one of the most amazing things I have seen in retail.
Lizzi followed up her brutally frank comment by looking the lady in the eye, gently placing her hand on her shoulder and declared “This style of jean makes me look big also, and I am not going to let you walk out of this store until you look & feel fantastic! Wait right there I know exactly what style to get for you.”
This was music to the customer’s ears. She had finally found a true friend, someone with a similar body shape giving her 100% honest advice. More importantly the next pair of jeans the customer tried on fit her like a glove. This was crucial as the customer’s entire confidence hinged upon this.
What made this retail moment so special was that Lizzi had her complete trust and simply ‘had her back’(side).
Lizzi raced around the store and pulled out many flattering styles that hugged her cheeks and created a fabulous silhouette. The customer loved the result and together they shopped in store like a couple of old friends. Once Lizzi had established the correct style, size and fit they continued having fun creating outfits by mixing and matching colours.
The customer purchased 4 pairs of jeans that day and shared how grateful she was for the fantastic service. The customer had a special event to attend to that evening and was looking forward to showing off her new jeans.
Lizzi was ‘in the moment’ when she asked “what shoes are you going to wear with the jeans?” The customer panicked and said “I have no idea?” Lizzi handed her the wrapped jeans in a bag, grabbed her by the arm and said “Come with me, I’ve seen a great pair of heels in a shoe shop window that will look fabulous on you.”
They walked out of the store ‘arm in arm’ and purchased the shoes. Not surprisingly I received a lovely letter about the amazing time the customer had with Lizzi in (and out of)our store.
I obviously praised Lizzi for providing an above-expectation experience and chose to turn a ‘blind eye’ to the fact she walked out of our store and helped buy the shoes elsewhere in the shopping centre.
Gold class retail at it’s best. Bravo!
Brett Partington -writes authentic stories that resonate. A relatable storyteller who makes you feel like you are right there on the journey with him. A born ‘trouble magnet’ with a unique & positive view on the world.
Never boring as he is a public speaker, carer, tour guide, drummer, ex fashion retailer, b&b host, father & avid people watcher.