They say the mirror never lies. Well according to The Cushion Plumper (my Ma), when she was in the rag trade in the 1940s, the mirrors were somehow ‘tilted’ to make the customers look slimmer. How sneaky.
All the sales ladies back then worked on a very small wage plus commission on sales, so they had to sell, sell, sell.
It was a bit like the TV sitcom Are You Being Served? Each sales lady would be called forward (their sales book in hand) by name.
‘Miss James, serve that lady, she’s looking for a day dress.’
She would then have to stay with the customer until she made a sale.
Some sales ladies didn’t have too many scruples about how they did it. The story goes that one, if she couldn’t offer the correct size, say size 12, would find a size 14 and simply cut the size label out.
Then, as the customer was viewing herself in the mirror, as the sales lady zipped her up, she’d hold the excess fabric in her hand.
Another dress shop Ma worked in, the sales staff were told ‘no customer is to leave without purchasing a frock.’
If the customer was dithering about a dress costing £2/10 shillings, the sales lady was sent off round all the local dress shops to find out what they were selling that dress for.
On her return, if the lowest price was £2/9 shillings, the shop owner would sell it for £2/8shillings and 6d.
It was absolutely cutthroat in those days.
A lot of us girls hate changing rooms and getting hot and bothered trying clothes on.
Well now John Lewis thinks it’s come up with the answer - a ‘magic mirror’.
It scans your body shape and then shows you how the outfit you’ve selected will look on you.
Yeah, right. But will it show how slinky fabrics will cling to my lumps and bumps?
Or how it creases when I sit down? And if it’s got Lycra in it, I could have a smaller size.
Nah, forget it. I’d rather stick to the old-fashioned way and try it on.