What Mama Says in the Fitting Room

Southern moms make entertaining—and opinionated—shopping partners.

Valerie Fraser Luesse
Mama and Daughter Drssing Shopping
SuperStock/Getty Images

Stand in a fitting room from Dallas to Charleston, and you can tell exactly which conversations are mother-daughter. There’s an unmistakable camaraderie about them—also honesty. And maybe occasional giggling.

As every Southern daughter knows, when you head to the mall with Mama, three things are going to happen: She’s going to tell you exactly what she thinks of every outfit; she’s going to buy you something; and she’s going to feed you. All in all, it’s a pretty good deal. If she thinks you’re being too hard on yourself, standing in front of that three-way mirror, she will reassure you: Why, you look just fine! I think your clothes always hang so pretty on you. On the other hand, if she thinks that dress you’re trying on is way too tight for church or the office, she’ll tell you straight up: “I believe you need to go up a size.”

Here are 15 more things we’ve heard Mama say as she and Baby Girl shared some retail therapy:

  1. If you walk out of here with that short skirt you just tried on, I’m going to sew a ruffle around the bottom when we get home.
  2. I have got to go on a diet.
  3. Is this too young for me?
  4. That’s way too matronly for you.
  5. I’ll buy us matching Christmas sweaters while they’re on sale!
  6. Pleated pants make me look as big as the side of the house.
  7. I’d love to know who thought puff sleeves were a good idea for a grown woman.
  8. Honey, you need some new lingerie—what if you were to get hit by a truck and they had to take you to the hospital in what you’ve got on?
  9. I think I could zip this if I had on a pair of Spanx—and wrapped myself in duct tape.
  10. Who on earth invented the three-way mirror and fluorescent lighting?
  11. Merciful heaven! These jeans look like I painted them on. Who does this store think I am—Madonna??
  12. I heard earth tones are in. Does that mean we’re stuck with brown till Easter?
  13. Listen, we’re leaving every bit of this in the trunk of the car if your daddy beats us home—by the time he figures out how much we bought, I’ll have the Visa card paid off.
  14. Do you have any sale coupons? Because I can give you some of mine.
  15. I think they should put a box of Kleenex in every single fitting room during bathing suit season. That way we’d all be prepared when the sobbing starts.