Since When Does All-American Style Mean One Size Fits All?

Photo: Courtesy of Brandy Melville.
We deemed it “This Generation’s Abercrombie & Fitch,” but while A&F has seen its fair share of controversy, Brandy Melville perpetuated a contentious concept Abercrombie has not: one-size-fits-all clothing. With almost 50 stores worldwide and a booming e-commerce site, the Italian-based retailer has popularized the “Brandy Girl” image. She’s the high-school popular girl with long hair and even longer legs, and she's attended Coachella for the last five years. She is also, it seems, probably between a size 00 and 2. At last, BuzzFeed decided to call the all-American retailer on its narrow definition of "all."
The website had five women, ranging from 5 feet 3 inches to 5 feet 11 inches and sizes 0 to 18, try on popular Brandy items and see how they fit. The classic “Layla” hoodie was by far the most successful fit among the group, but crop tops and miniskirts were predictably problematic, as the ladies remarked in their hilarious commentary. Yet, while several jokes were made, the women also drew more serious conclusions. “‘One size fits all’ sends a message that if you don’t fit into the clothing, whether it’s too big or too small, you’re not ‘normal’ and leads to all sorts of body dissatisfaction,” said Allison, a 5-foot-3-inch and size-0 woman.
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The industry has fought body dysmorphia battles for decades, and Brandy Melville is one of many brands that’s received flak for a lack of diversity. With cutesy plaques decorating their stores, affordable price points, and their undeniably soft cotton, it’s no wonder the store has become a teen sensation, with its Instagram account — the only real form of advertising the brand engages in — garnering more than 2 million followers. Obviously, there's no legal obligation for a retailer to assume an inclusive approach in its marketing, but we'd argue that there might be an ethical responsibility to. And, that goes double when your target demographic consists of teenagers — as brands like Aerie acknowledge with their body-diverse and Photoshop-free ads.
Kudos to BuzzFeed for calling bull on the concept of "one size fits all." We hope Brandy Melville's paying attention for its own sake. After all, a size policy that means most women can't buy anything other than a hoodie cannot be a good thing for its bottom line. (BuzzFeed)
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