Stunning fitting room lighting is possible and it’s one of the most important factors for your retail store’s success. Further, it’s also important to consider the relationship between lighting and mirrors in your own home.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that store dressing rooms are every woman and every man’s worst nightmare. Too hot—I’ll take my sauna without a side of does-this-make-my-butt-look-good, please. Too cramped—how can I get a 360° view when I’m trapped in a 2×2 box? And too communal—as Cheryl Wischhover of Racked.com recently opined.
But the number one complaint voiced by women and men everywhere is that the lighting is harsh, glaring and reminiscent of the dentist’s chair or perhaps a police interrogation room (“No, officer, I did not realize that pairing Converse with Versace was a crime against fashion”).
So what is it about dressing room lighting that’s just godawful?
Lucky for us, Buzzfeed writer Kristin Chirico did a highly illuminating rundown of fitting room lighting, visiting 20 different stores to get the lowdown on the good, bad, and ugly (Of lighting. Not you. You look great). Although she doesn’t include any pictures of the lighting fixtures themselves, it’s easy to read between the lines for the lighting principles at work. A close reading of Chirico’s post reveals the following facts:
Fact #1 – Overhead lighting is the worst
Apparently, many stores throw up a few ceiling mounted or pendant fixtures and call it a day. Bad idea. Very bad. Ceiling mounted lighting inevitably creates unflattering shadows on the face and body, highlighting your worst flaws.
Fact #2 – Fluorescent lighting is the worst
You look green around the gills. Perhaps you’ve contracted dengue fever? Never mind, it’s the lighting in this dressing room. It’s flickering and making your face look green.
Fact #3 – Fluorescent lighting from overhead is the absolute worst
This combination would make Angelina Jolie look terrible. Too bad it’s so common in a retail setting.
Fact #4 – Think true-to-color with a hint of warmth
From Chirico’s post, I surmise that the best dressing room lighting is a lot like Goldilocks’ taste in porridge: Not too cool, not too warm, but just right—not as blue as daylight, but not too home-and-hearth either. Offenders have the obvious, low CRI fluorescent or halogen lighting. The fitting room lighting that looks the closest to daylight is not necessarily the most flattering. Conclusion: make sure the lighting has a high CRI and the color temperature is not too blue, not too yellow. It should have a 90+ CRI and be warm with a pinkish hue.
Fact #5 – Linear LED fixtures mounted to either side of the mirror are like a magical elixir for your face
This makes so much sense now: shine some high CRI LED strip fixtures directly from the sides of the dressing room mirror. This will fill in any unflattering shadows and offer soft, even lighting, making you look like the You who gets 8 hours of sleep a day and listens to NPR on the regular.
So there it is. Hopefully, clothing retail stores (looking at you Forever 21) will take the hint and switch to high quality, mirror-mounted LED lighting. In the meantime, happy shopping, and don’t let the Other get you down.
The main writer for Alcon Lighting’s blog.
The Chicago Department of Buildings recently announced that energy design requirements for building projects in Chicago have been updated as part of the city’s multi-phase code modernization process. For permit applications started on or after June 1, 2019, the Chicago Energy Conservation Code (Title 14N of the Municipal Code), based on the 2018 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code, published by International Code Council, Inc., will now apply.
This is the first post in a new series about essential commercial and architectural lighting terms. The terms, which will be presented in sets of five terms per post, are curated. The terms in this post: CRI (Color Rendering Index), Color Temperature, Bluetooth Mesh, Architectural Lighting and UL Vs. ETL Listing.
Talieh Ghane researches the interaction between light and health at the California Lighting Technology Center. We talked about the biological vs. visual system of light, how to synchronize your circadian clock for better health, how light is like a drug, and why you shouldn’t be on your phone right before bed (guilty).
Our relation to light as humans is complex. Though many of the effects of light on our biology are still unknown, there are several we know and understand. Light also plays a major role in regulating human biological responses, including our internal body clock or circadian rhythm.
The term Architectural Lighting encompasses three main factors. The first is the building’s aesthetic, which is crucial for any commercial, especially retail, environment. The second consideration is ergonomic or functional — any aspect which improves one’s ability to live, work, function, relax or play — to make the space easier to use. The third aspect involves the efficiency of energy, ensuring that light is properly, which is to say economically or optimally, used and distributed.