One size does not fit all

November 12, 2019

Walk into a Brandy Melville store and you’ll see that most of the clothing sizes are labelled “small” or “one size.” Around the store, there are signs displaying the message “One size fits most.” But, if you do indeed look at the clothing itself, it will become apparent that one size does not fit all. 

The “one size” advertised by Brandy Melville is actually just a size zero at other stores. For example, skirts are listed with 12” to 14” waists (stretchable up to 25”) while the popular James Tank has a 35” bust or 34A in bra sizes according to The Observer. While one might question how the store can make a profit when they only cater to such a narrow range of body types, the truth is that Brandy Melville is actually quite popular among teens. As such, other retail stores, such as American Eagle and Urban Outfitters, have started to experiment with one size clothing lines. 

Look at the Brandy’s Instagram account and you will see tall, skinny, and long-legged models. According to The Observer, the average model for Brandy is “at least 5’7″ with [a] waist no larger than 25″.” In contrast, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2012, the average 16-year-old American girl has a 31” waist and stands at 5’3”. Despite the demographics of the American public, Brandy has stood fast with their sizing and refuses to change.

The reason why Brandy Melville only offers one size is actually quite unclear. According to Popsugar, a lifestyle media outlet, Brandy Melville’s executive Jessi Longo once stated that the reason why they offer only one size is: “We can satisfy almost everybody, but not everybody … The one-size-fits-most clothing might turn off somebody if they don’t walk into the store, but if you walk in you’ll find something even if it’s a bag”, which is a quite a murky and unclear explanation.  However, this size discrimination against other body types is quite damaging to the self-esteem of the other customers who cannot fit into the popular clothing offered by the store. “The message that ‘one size fits all’ is sending to girls is that in order to be beautiful, they must be a certain size — and this ‘certain size’ is a size zero,” according to the Odyssey

Despite the popularity of Brandy Melville, other popular brands are taking a stance in promoting body inclusivity. Aerie, a popular lingerie brand, has recently gained coverage due to their “#AerieReal” campaign to support body positivity through showcasing untouched photos of their models with more relatable body figures and offering a wide range of sizes. It is time for Brandy Melville and other brands who only offer one size to learn from the likes of Aerie.

Tiffany Qian
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