TORONTO -- While malls and clothing stores are open, not all boutiques have opened their fitting rooms, making shopping for clothes difficult when people can’t always try them on.

Fashion expert Alexis Honce told CTV's Your Morning that COVID-19 guidelines require a store to remove an item from the store floor for a certain length of time after a customer tries it on.

"Once you try stuff on, they have to quarantine the item so a lot of stores don't want to open their fitting rooms," Honce explained in an interview on Monday.

However, she says some fitting rooms are open for use.

If the store has a curtain closure on the fitting rooms, she said those are likely closed as the curtain can't be properly sanitized. However, if the store has actual doors on the fitting rooms, those can be open to customers because the doors can be properly cleaned between try-ons.

"If you can think back to your favourite stores, think what kind of change rooms they have, that will give you a little bit of a heads up but a lot of them are staying closed," she warned.

Despite some change rooms being open, Honce said customers may not yet feel comfortable trying on clothes in a public fitting room amid the pandemic.

Additionally, with long lineups just to enter a store, and fewer cashiers available due to physical distancing, Honce said shoppers don’t want to take the time to go back to the mall to exchange clothing for a different size.

"If you take it home and it doesn't fit the last thing you want to do is go back to the store because shopping now with lineups to get into the stores and also at the tills… it takes two to three times longer to shop these days," she said.

Honce said shoppers can do their research ahead of a trip to the mall by looking up the store's size guide online, but she also has some in-store tips for people to ensure they select the right size without using a fitting room.


While shopping for jeans, Honce said a person can tell if the pants will fit by doing a neck test.

"Grab a pair of jeans when you get in the store, and then I want you to make sure the buttons done up and everything, you're just going whip it around your neck. If the two ends lightly touch, that means that it's going to fit," Honce said.

If the two ends barely touch, the jeans will be tight Honce said and if they go past the neck, they will fit loose.

"If there is a gap, like let's say a two inch gap, it's going to be way too tight. There's no way you're going to do them up, and if it overlaps, it means it's going to be too big. So if they just lightly touch, they're going to fit you, I promise," she said.

Honce admits that jean shopping can be stressful for some, even more so now that fitting rooms may not be open.

"I find that people love to shop online but for jeans they need to see it in person and really feel the jeans and see their stretch," she said.

However, by doing the neck test and at least seeing the jeans in person, Honce said this will help shoppers purchase a well-fitting pair of jeans.


While every store sizes differently, Honce said shoppers can use their pant size to determine their top sizes in each store.

"When you think of a fast fashion store like H&M, you know that they're going to fit really small because they're trend-based, so you're going to have to upsize but if it's a staple store and has great basics like The Gap, it's going to have more generous sizing," Honce explained.

She suggests shoppers do the neck test with a pair of pants in store and also take note of the details on the tag.

"A lot of the stores now actually are doing double sizing so while the jean might say 27 it's also going to say it's a size six. That way you know when you're in that store, you're a size six in all their tops, their jackets, their sweaters," Honce said.

"It's a really easy way to know your size in each store."


If a shopper is still worried that the clothes won’t fit, Honce suggests using a measuring tape.

She said shoppers can measure themselves and some of their favourite pieces from their own closets before going to the mall, then compare those measurements to garments in the store. She said all measurements should be recorded in inches.

"Definitely get to know your body so the three main measurements you need are your chest, your waist and your hip measurement. Keep that in your phone for easy reference, but I really want you to get to know those pieces in your closet that you absolutely love, fit you all the time and are your go-to’s and actually measure the garment," Honce said.

Honce also suggests measuring the garment’s length and use clothing that has no stretch to ensure the best fit possible.

"You're actually going to measure from where the shoulder seam meets the neck seam and you're going to measure that down the back and observe it to find out the length," Honce said, adding that this tip also works for online shopping if the garment lists its length.