One Size Fits All?

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This weekend I went into one of Brandy Melville’s Canadian locations and was surprised by the one size standard.

I’d been in the shop before, only having purchased a soft/loose-fitting hoodie, but never really realized how each of their items conformed to the one size system.

American Apparel has come under criticism in the past for its O/S items, being accused of not differentiating between women and viewing them as a faceless mass free of differences and unique attributes. While I understand how these conclusions may have come to be (especially when considering their advertising) their O/S items are typically baggy-fit, over-sized shirts. Shirts are obviously much easier to fit than pants and the O/S for these larger items does fit a range of body types while maintaining the aesthetic ‘look’ of the design.

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Brandy Melville has not been exempt from these criticisms, but it seems strange that they can even claim their clothing fits “most”. It would be one thing if their easier production of one size items translated into savings but, from what I can tell, their quality of materials and price range is no different than stores like American Eagle or Dynamite – not ‘expensive’ but for the most part not justifiable. Some items are really reasonably priced but then you pick up a sheer sweater and it’s $50.

The store was teeming with teeny boppers and anyone who even gets close to a size 6 is relegated to the sweater selection. Even ‘small’ girls have a rough time fitting into their skirts and dresses.

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On the one hand I guess it offers the company some control over who is wearing their clothes. They may be trying to maintain control over the ‘look’ they’re putting out there. While I agree with the idea that all styles are not suited to all figures, I take issue with how their sizes (or lack thereof) eliminate any choice in the matter and put women in a box. A teeny tiny one.

It seems like it would be easy for them to offer different sized items and avoid alienating customers and feeding into a culture that not only defines the parameters of what the female body should look like but polices how it is displayed.

I tried to look into the company to see who owns it and if (like most clothing stores) they have connections with other stores. Strangely, they do not have a Wikipedia page. From their website I discovered that they’re an Italian company, get ready to laugh, “inspired by L.A. lifestyle, Brandy Melville gained its fame among Hollywood celebrities, including The Kardashians, Ashley Benson, Audrina Patridge, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Karlie Kloss and many others. In a world where fashion can often come across as ordinary and simple, Brandy Melville charmingly sneaks upon its potential ‘Brandy Girl’. Her classic character stands out in the crowd, she is refined and fashionable yet relaxed.

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Clearly the company is concerned with who wears their clothing and, more importantly, what these ‘Brandy Girls’ look like. Despite putting forward that, “Women of every age can find something at Brandy Melville to fit their style, closet and budget” the demographic shopping in stores (at least at the Canadian locations) speaks otherwise.

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