If you've never heard of Brandy Melville, we'll hazard a guess that you're over the age of — oh, let's say 25. But, chances are your 16-year-old cousin is absolutely obsessed.
A Racked article dives into the "secret world" of this teen-focused retailer, and it's a weird place to be. The Italy-based brand doesn't advertise, is media-shy, and with only an e-shop and 18 stores in the U.S., has managed to build a fanatical following of teen girls via social media. A quick look look at its follower stats — 63,000 on Twitter and over 2 million on Instagram — sure puts our triple digits to shame. The pics have a casually sexy, magic-hour vibe featuring lanky, frequently blonde teens sporting the brand's distressed denim, halter crop tops, and dresses that come in two lengths: super-short, and "you're not wearing that out of the house, missy" short. It's sort of like Nasty Gal's slightly less edgy little sister. And, crucially, the brand is teen-priced, with most items topping out around $35. The heady aesthetic and affordability are a recipe for Melville-mania.
Of course, there's another reason you may not have heard about Brandy Melville yet. Many of the brand's pieces come in only one size, reports Racked. Well, technically, there's "extra small," "small," or "one size," but it is almost always teeny-tiny. While a scant few items we found online were listed as "small/medium," that's not the majority — and we could find no mention of that dreaded word, "large." Many teens lament their inability to fit into these clothes, posting op-eds in college papers and on Tumblr.
So, while many a young career girl (or, ahem, certain fashion editors) consider American Eagle Outfitters or Forever 21 to be their secret weapon for cute basics, we are sadly locked out of Brandy Melville's sun-kissed aesthetic. Too bad, because this dress was kind of made for us. Except, you know, it's not.
Click over to Racked for more behind-the-scenes at Brandy Melville, including the tale of its retail associates-turned Instagram superstars. If nothing else, it'll give you and your cousin Kaylee something to talk about at the next family dinner. (Racked)