Mirror, mirror... Do I really look that fat?

Marie Carberry

One of my worst sartorial moments involved getting into a fist fight with a Lycra dress in a dressing room in H&M. The dress was a stretchy, knee-length little number in a size 14 but had as much material as a cushion cover.

Nevertheless, hanger in hand, I made for the changing rooms where the assistant, a stick insect with eyelashes like oily tarantulas, showed me to a dressing room that seemed to have been designed for a midget. I eventually managed to get my jeans and shirt off, only once banging my hip on the handle of the door. As I pulled the dress down over my head, the dressing room seemed to shrink even further and a sense of panic enveloped me.

Struggling to get it over my nose, I fell backwards and almost pole axed myself on the hanger on the back of the door. Eventually, I got the dress over my chin and was able to swing it round my neck like a Mexican poncho before punching my fists into the sleeves and slowly unrolling the dress down my torso.

Hyperventilating like a pig who'd wandered into a pork butcher, I then put the sharp bit of the hanger through my legs, latched it on to the hem of the dress and yanked it over my bum.

I took a glance at myself in the mirror. Standing before me was a red-faced, middle-aged 'lardy' mummified in Lycra. In the end, I handed the offending garment back to the stick insect, declaring it was "too big".

Trauma in the dressing room may soon be at an end as the UK's biggest department store, John Lewis, gets ready to install mirrors that have a computer screen with built-in sensors and cameras.

These 'Reveal' mirrors will scan your dimensions and then super impose garments of your choice onto your reflection. What this means is that you will no longer have to spend hours trying on clothes. Instead, the mirror will 'reveal' what you would look like if you had bothered to try them on.

We all know the mirror doesn't lie but stores are in the business of making money so it will be interesting to see if the Reveal mirror will flatter to deceive or show us as we are -- warts and all.

Still, if it stops me getting pole axed it can only be a good thing.