Calling Bulls**t on 'One Size Fits All'


Thus far on this blog, I've mostly avoided posts complaining about stuff. I feel like there's enough negativity in the world right now without me adding to it, so I try and keep this little corner of the internet a largely happy place to laugh at stuff and gawk at nice clothes/food. However, something vexed me while shopping the other day and I feel it deserves a little of yours and my attention. 

Bear with me while I give you the back story: Recently I, somewhat late to the party, discovered US clothing brand Brandy Melville. Immediately I knew that their simple, laid back style was totally up my street and did a little fist pump when I discovered their prices were really reasonable too.  

While browsing their website and wishing I owned all the pretty things, I noticed that the vast majority of their garments are advertised 'one size fits all'. No biggie, until this point I'd never had any issues buying 'one size fits all' clothing and was fairly sure it would all be a size big enough to fit someone like me. Shortly after, I noticed this banging pair of trousers and figured I should probably head to their King's Road store to try 'em - in my head I'd basically handed over my debit card before I'd even left the house. 

Fast forward to me excitedly clutching said trousers in the direction of the BM fitting rooms, only to find that I cannot get these 'one size fits all' beauties past my effing hips. 

I'm the first to admit I'm not the skinniest girl ever - my thighs and bum are pretty shapely and if I'm going to carry weight anywhere on my body after a few too many Franco Manca pizzas it's always there. But, even at my heaviest weight I've never been bigger than a UK size 10. In fact, by and large (lol) I'm a pretty solid 8 and sometimes buy size 10 bottoms if I fancy having a bit more room to breath after a heavy meal.

So why the hell is Brandy Melville, like many other fashion brands, manufacturing clothing that is basically alienating 80% of its customer base? 
In the UK, 45% of women are a size 16 or above, and the average dress size in the US is equivalent to a UK 12. Regardless of the debate on whether being a size 16 or above is a healthy lifestyle choice (and one which I won't comment on), from a business point of view, why eliminate such a huge proportion of women that want to buy your clothing and save it for the lucky few that have slender thighs and narrow hips? Intentionally or unintentionally, this strategy flirts dangerously close with the elitist views of former Abercrombie and Fitch boss Mike Jeffries, that their clothes are reserved only for the 'thin and beautiful'. 

Which brings me to my next point - is this 'one size fits all' design instilling a damaging idea in women and girls that if you don't fit into their clothes, you're abnormal, fat and don't deserve to wear the same nice stuff as the skinny girls? 
I'm thanking my lucky stars I didn't first discover Brandy Melville as an impressionable, clothes-obsessed 14-year-old, as it's only now I can rationalise that just because I don't fit into BM's trousers, that doesn't make me fat and disgusting. 
The same can't be said for thousands of young girls browsing the shelves right now though, and I believe Brandy Melville and other brands like them have a responsibility to cater for and look after the girls they market to.

Ultimately, the idea that 'one size fits all' is complete rubbish and outdated. Our society is becoming increasingly positive about celebrating our bodies in all their different shapes and sizes, so clothing made in mind to fit every woman has got to be a step backwards. In my opinion, it implies the kind of lazy designing and cheap-labour mass production we should all want to steer clear of anyway!

I would be interested to hear if anyone else has had the same problem with 'one size' and/or Brandy Melville. Alternatively, maybe I'm just in denial and need to lay off the chocolate hob nobs ;-) let me know in the comments!

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