Lighting is Everything

Well, maybe not everything, but boy oh boy, lighting matters ALOT.  I almost did not buy this denim skirt because of horrible lighting…here’s what happened…


It was the day before vacation, popped into Nordstrom’s hoping to find a denim skirt. (Recently had one by AG that I sold at Revolve, never fit me right.) In the second floor department where they carry casual wear (Free People, denim, etc) I immediately saw a skirt I liked; Hudson brand and not too short.  Into the dressing room I go…off come the shoes…off come my pants. A glance to the mirror. OMG. OMG. WHAT THE HELL! My legs – my ass – the lumps and bumps and sagging skin! Horrible! What has happened to me? How can I possibly be wearing a bathing suit in public??? Ok, Candy, calm down and just try on the skirt. Breathe. Stay focused.  Skirt fits – but I look 6 months pregnant.  Did I age and gain weight overnight?  No, I tell myself – this skirt is a size two.  Maybe it’s just bad lighting?  Since Nordstrom’s has a lenient return policy, I decide to buy the skirt and try it at home. THANK GOODNESS – much better in my bedroom.




When I shared my experience with Peter, he said he has noticed how bad he looks in Nordstrom’s dressing rooms, but thought that was just “how we really look”.  Happy to report, NOT TRUE.  Apparently I am not the only one to have had this experience, another Nordstrom’s shopper had a post online a few years back that went viral! You would think department stores would install softer lights so we look better and would spend more! Lighting makes a HUGE difference.  According to Bentley Meeker, an artist and lighting specialist from New York, overhead fluorescent/LED lighting is the most unflattering on human skin. Touche! Natural light, halogen lights, lights facing the subject (not over), are all more flattering.

What does this all mean?

    • Awareness should make you feel better. Don’t fret if you look like a ball of cellulite in the dressing room. It’s not you. Even the most fit bodies can look like hell.
    • Control the lighting when you can.  Use softer lights at home, avoid overhead LEDS.
    • If you are having a wedding or other special event, consider hiring professional lighting  – you will glow and your photos will come out much better.
Rag and Bone tee, Louis Vuitton crossbody bag

Crisis averted.  Love the skirt. Maybe next time I’ll leave the sunglasses on in the dressing room…

Would love to hear about any similar experiences you have had!

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  • Love the skirt! I want it;) And yes…now that you mention it I always seem to look terrible when trying on clothes in Nordstrom dressing rooms!

  • Omigosh, I thought I was the only one who looked like a blob of mush in the Nordstrom dressing rooms! It’s amazing they sell anything with such unflattering lighting. I love Nordstrom, but that’s a problem they should fix.


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