Fitting Room Faux Pas: To take or not to take your unwanted clothing

Q: I recently tried on an purchased clothing at a retail store. As I left the fitting room, I left some tried-on and rejected clothing in the room. The sales associate on the floor questioned me about it and indicated with a wave of her hand that I should bring the clothes out and place them on the rack for her to re-shelve them.

I was stunned at her non-verbal request and immediately complied, though not happily. If it had been a polite request with a ‘please’ I might have been more sanguine. But I was under the impression that clearing the fitting room and removing rejected clothing for re-stocking was part of her job, and not a part of mine, as I am a customer and not an employee.

What is the Emily Post Institute’s opinion on clothing left in fitting rooms? Is it rude for the customer to leave the clothing behind?

A: Yes, what you take in, you should also take out. There are not enough employees in most stores to restore a fitting room after every customer and it is not thoughtful to leave your discarded clothing lying on the floor, on a bench, or even hanging back on their hangers, for this means the person who enters after you has to deal with your rejects before trying on her own clothing.


  1. Jody

    What was rude was the salesclerk waving her hand rather than asking you to bring the clothing out. As EPI says, it’s polite to take your unwanted clothing with you when leaving a changing room. Many stores have racks near the entrance to the changing rooms where you can put unwanted items.

  2. Meagan

    As an employee at a high-end retail store, I absolutely agree with the EPI and the person who commented before me. We are happy to assist you in any way we can, but when you do not even remove the items you aren’t interested in, it’s disrespectful to us. Our job is to assist you in purchasing clothes and to sell you the clothes that work best for you, not to clean up after you. You certainly don’t have to take your items back to the floor, but taking an extra 30 seconds to pick up after yourself is polite and common courtesy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *