by Taylor Wallace ‘21
Image is one of the most concerning factors in a teenager’s life. Will people like me? Will others accept me? What clothes will make me seem cool? These questions haunt the minds of many teenagers every day. In a society built on expectations and beauty standards, it is really easy for one to fall into the trap of critical self-judgment. Day after day, teens go out of their way in order to feel accepted. Body issues do not discriminate, making it possible for anyone to be overtaken by them. Every day, teens around the world are constantly shamed for being too big or too small to the point where it’s nearly impossible for one to be confident in their own body.
Popular clothing brand Brandy Melville is known for its “one-size-fits-all” policy. If you go to select an item on its website, you will be offered very slim options when it comes to size. Most items are labeled with a ‘fits size x-small/small’ or the occasional ‘fits size small/medium’. Brandy Melville is one of the only mainstream brands that has this policy. A common justification is that they chose to adopt said policy in order to follow with the ‘aesthetic’ of the brand: the ideal skinny, typically white, long-haired girl. To those who do not match that description, the ‘aesthetic’ can seem like more of a form of discrimination than a sales strategy. It makes one wonder why a whole clothing line would exclude such a significant part of the population from being able to enjoy Brandy Melville products. On top of not having sizes available for those who do not wear a size two, their variance in model choice is very homogeneous in comparison to other brands similar to them. It is 2019 and the company has yet to stray from having a nearly all white and skinny model line, which is further proof of Brandy’s toxic environment.
‘One size fits all’ policies are a huge contributor to body issues amongst teens. Imagine not being able to buy clothes from a store because you are not 120 pounds and a size two. There is no legitimate benefit to policies like these because all they do is discriminate and feed into societal beauty standards. Everyone is different and everyone wears clothes. Therefore, it would only make sense for clothing brands to make their products accessible to all, no matter your body type. A brand like Brandy Melville suggests that if you are skinny, you are someone who is worthy of wearing clothes of their level. But if you are not, you have no choice but to shop somewhere else.
No person should have to sacrifice their love of clothes for a brand that has an outdated vision regarding beauty. Brandy Melville is a very successful clothing line and does have an excellent selection of vintage and modern clothes. In order to create a more inclusive and open brand, they should make products more accessible to a larger group of people so that everyone can exercise their right to wear clothes that make them feel beautiful.