I ALWAYS try clothes on before I buy them, otherwise they inevitably join the mountain of other clothes waiting patiently to be returned.

And, I am pleased to say, that I think shops have come on leaps and bounds as far as space and privacy is concerned in their changing rooms.

Some charity shops only have space for a cubicle where you are separated from shoppers by a flimsy curtain.

But, some “posh” shops also still seem to think this is OK.

And, some assistants think nothing of tearing the curtain open to “see how we’re doing?”

Number one it’s not “we” who are standing there in our ill-fitting bra and baggy pants and, number two, I KNOW how “we” are doing thank you very much.

My sister tried on a pair of trousers in one of these curtained changing rooms.

She managed to get the trousers to just above her knees when she realised they were going no further. Unfortunately, she lost her balance and crashed through the curtain, taking it with her, into the path of the shoppers.

She laid there floundering in her flowery, ‘comfy’ pants.

Why do these things never happen when you’re in your ‘best’ undies?

When I was going through my spotty, embarrassed, shy – hard to believe I know – adolescence, we had communal changing rooms.

No! They were my nightmare.

A large(ish) room surrounded by mirrors, where females of all shapes, sizes and ages were found struggling into jeans, and, more embarrassingly, out of them – dragging their grey-white pants down with them.

There were some trying to hide in a corner or trying on clothes under clothes.

Some girls fashionstrutted around the room, “this size 8 is a bit big is there a 6?”

Older ladies ignored everyone else, angry to be faced with the indignity of it all.

And me, I just prayed the size I had chosen would fit.

I longed to be like the 20+ year olds with amazing figures, who had no worries at all.

They whipped their tops off to reveal no bras and climbed into jeans with only a thong to hide their modesty – and everything else.

I squirmed, embarrassed, trying to look anywhere but in their direction – difficult when everywhere you looked was a mirror image of everyone in the room. Mmmm.

My nightmare was complete one day when I had finally struggled into a dress and zipped it up at the side – I hate side zips to this day, what are they for?

The zip broke and I was trapped.

I couldn’t get the dress over my head and eventually had to call an assistant to help.

She delighted in telling me, loudly, that I would have to buy the dress as I had obviously taken in one that wasn’t my size.

Ooh, my stomach still churns when I remember that moment.

As all the other girls in the room looked on, chuckling, one of the braless 20+ year olds waded in for me.

She told the assistant, in no uncertain terms, that I wouldn’t be paying for it and she should be apologising to me.

I thanked her profusely, while trying desperately to divert my eyes from her near naked body.

She dragged the offending garment over my head, ripping it completely, handed it to the assistant and said “their sizes are ridiculously small in here, I always go one up.”

I wonder if that girl ever realised that her kindness would still make me smile all these years later?

So now, I delight in having my own cubicle, with a lock and a door and my own mirror. Perfect.

Now, I’ve just got to learn what to say when a small child pops their head under the door and says, “Ooh Mummy, that ladies got really big knickers on”.

Mmmmm oh well...