Brandy Melville's One Size Dilemma (2023)

Brandy Melville's One Size Dilemma (1)

Source: Brandy Melville

I have been confused about some reactions to this brand’s “essence”, yes they use skinny blondegirls as models and they don’t make large sizes, what’s new? Most models are skinny and that is not going to change: even wherethere is an increasing diversity in the body types you see in the media, including celebrities and all sorts of performers, fashion remains a skinny affair. While the limitsof what is “too skinny” are subjective and, some would argue that the Instagram famous Italian brand has regular sized models,there are definitely strong feelings on both sides of this argument and the brand seems to have as many lovers as haters.

when is brandy Melville going to realize 1 size doesn’t fit “most” ??

— jordan :)) (@jj_wills) August 16, 2015

if i could own every piece of clothing from Brandy Melville i would be one happy person ngl — Jos (@JosieGrimaldi) August 13, 2015

Is in ethical for a clothing brand to make only small sizes? What if they made only big sizes? Would that be unfair to thin people? We want to explore why it is not a corporation’s job to make girls feel better about themselves.

What are normal sizes?

Brandy Melvillemarkets to teenagers, so there is a natural size filter, and the tradition of some known fashion houses to only make certain sizes is well-known. Vanity sizing and extra large clothing sold in America has somehow changed the standard and now consumers expect bigger clothes, since a “small” garment can be actually a large in some stores. Also to be noted is the fact that the brand started in Italy, where women are generally thinner that in America:the United States tops global obesity rates, what is “normal” here is not in the rest of the wold.

Brandy Melville's One Size Dilemma (2)

Obesity among adults, 2012 or nearest year. Source: OECD Obesity update 2014

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Even when the clothes are meant to be worn byteenagers, the Italian label is under constant attack for offering one-size options that some people think are “too small”.

Being a teenager is tough

Articles on The Huffington Post, Slate, Refinery29 and Racked point to the effects this company’s sizing policy can have on teenagers’ perception of themselves, creating a standard that is unrealistic or unattainablefor some girls, which could lead to eating disorders and other behavioral issues. On the other side, are those who feel that they can actually find sizes that work for them, since clothes sold in America are bigger than what some skinny teens want to wear.

In an ideal world where body size, character, and worth were not conflated, perhaps a store like Brandy Melville could coexist with the department stores and plus size stores. But we do not live in that world, and girls above a certain size are already taught they’re not good enough. – Slate

Blaming a company’s clothing for teenagers’ self-esteem issues is missing the point. The fashion industry, in general, from high-end to fast fashion uses imagery that consumers want to identify with: happy people, attractive women and a comfortable lifestyle. Is it the fashion, TV or movie industry to blame for girls feeling fat? To some degree, of course, but what can have a bigger impact are family values and character building. Raising confident girls that don’t feel the need to use a lot of makeup or buy new clothes every week to feel good or accepted is a hard job when they are being bombarded with airbrushed photos, Instagram feeds and videos featuring“perfect” bodies and faces, butblaming private enterprise is not the solution to a crisis of values.

Why can’t those girls just say: “this doesn’t fit me” and move on? Why is it so important to wear what “everybody” is wearing? If you were even a teenager, you can understand why this is an issue and why today this might seem silly but not at all for a younger version of yourself. Seeking for acceptance is one of the biggest struggles growing up, but those struggles are there, with or without BM.

The body shaming game

There is a trend in the media and some feminist circles to somehow champions obesity and condemn skinniness as a female-oppressing world syndrome. A story posted on the 4th of July about a girl “standing up for herself”at Old Navy (a.k.a. the devil) by taking a selfiewith an XL tank top after overhearing an apparently hurtful comment. The story goes like this:

Brandy Melville's One Size Dilemma (3)

Woman takes a selfie at Old Navy after hearing apparently hurtful comments about extra large sizes. Source: CNN, photo by Rachel Taylor.

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Random kid grabs an extra large tank top (which wasn’t a great piece of fashion, by the way) and tells her mom: Look! Me and So-and-so can fit in this tank top!’ Her mom laughed and said, ‘Yeah, you could! That thing is huge!’ After which the woman in question said to go to her car and cry. Later, in an act of courage, she went back to the store, bought the top and posted a selfie she took in the dressing room on Gap’s Facebook page. The story got some coverage and went mini viral (helped by the fact that the top in question featured the American flag). The story was covered witha “you go, girl”tone to it, but nobody asked: why did a simple comment made her cry? Is being overweightwhat bothers her or just hearing it from someone else? Crying about an aspect of your life means there is something wrong with it or that you are unhappy about it. If you are sad because you are fat and it’s evident to the world, the solution is not to go and buy clothes. I’m glad she got over the apparently “hurtful” comment, but there is a big difference between acceptingyourself and being unhealthy and contentwith it. One of the headlines called the event “inspiring” and the expression “body-shaming” was frequently used in the articles mentioning the incident, even when there was no direct “shaming” or implications other that “this top is very big”.

Fat is Wack

In spite of many people saying that being fat doesn’t mean someone is unhealthy, the evidence proves the contrary. According to the OECD:severely

– obese people die 8 to 10 years sooner than those of normal weight, similar to smokers

– every 15 extra kilograms increase risk of early death by approximately 30%

– obesity is estimated to be responsible for 1% to 3% of total health expenditure in most countries and 5% to 10% in the United States

Using an adjective, fat, is not body shaming, specially when it wasn’t directed specifically to you andthere weren’t any negative qualities attached to it. Saying somebody is fat is NOT body shaming, specially when they are, in fact, obese. The OECD defines obesity as follows:

Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or more. The BMI is a single number that evaluates an individual’s weight status in relation to height (weight/height2), with weight in kilograms and height in metres)

Thus, there aremeasurable ways to categorize someone as fat or obese and there could be different measurement methods, but the takeaway is that “fat” is just a word to refer to your body mass index. Social perception of obesity is a different concept, according to research at the University of Alberta shows that when a thin person is seen lying down watching television, people assume they’re resting, but when people see an overweight person relaxing, it’s automatically assumed they’re lazy and unmotivated. Whether those social perceptions are fair or realistic is not for me to assess, but the fact that the word “fat” has negative connotations does not erase the fact that it is just a word and not an insult, as some media outlets imply. If obesity is such a negative condition, why does the media seem to sympathize more and more with the idea that being overweightis good?

Who wearsBrandy Melville?

Anyone who can. Brandy Melville’s style is relaxed, casual, generic enough and girly but yet timeless and versatile. They do follow some big picture trends, but for the most part, clothes have basic lines and colors that can be worn from school to the beach to the mall to a party (a BM girl’s go-to spots). The California girl theme seems to be present in most promotional photos and lookbooks, and girls everywhere seem to love the brand. Recently, fashion blogger Rumi Neely wore a one-size BM dress and she’s been seen wearing multiple BM clothes on her blog, she is 32.

???????? A photo posted by Rumi Neely (@rumineely) on

(Video) Brandy Melville Product Presentation

I have to be honest, if most of their clothes were not made of cheap polyester, I would own more Brandy Melville garments. I said it, I like their clothes (or some of them, anyway). The fact that they are made in Italy is a plus in my book, since I tend to be cautions of buying clothes made in countries with a history of poor working conditions such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, China and others. Also, it turns out that I’m one of those people who has a hard time finding fitting clothes because of my size and proportions; I can wear from a size 0 to a 4, depending on the item, and I have to say that finding a size zero in most “chain” stores is harder than you would imagine. The price point? VERY cheap, which only helps the brand’s popularity with teenagers.


The moralistic tone in which certain articles have talked about the company is concerning, not only because private companies can do basically whatever they want in terms of product and marketing, but because what they imply that fashion should adapt to itsentire demographic if they want to be “politically correct”.

A store has the right to sell to whomever it pleases, and Brandy Melville certainly has the right to only make clothes for the select few to whom every other store in the country already caters. But in the words of my mother and probably yours, “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.”–Slate

To their credit, the brand does offer loose clothes that can be worn by girls sizes other than zero, like hoodies, sweaters, t-shirts and slip dresses, so criticisms leave out a good collection of items that fits more diverse body types. Also,it is true that there is a lack of “diversity” or other ethic groups on their website and Instagram, but this is a condition observed in the entire fashion industry, again, not that it’s acceptable, but this brand is not an outlier in this aspect, they are just a reflection of the establishment.

Weather you like the brand or not, is is a reflection of where the fashion industry is going and what teenagers consider “fashion”.

I hate Brandy Melville and their one size fits “all” policy. Sizes 1-4? Lol. Good thing your clothes are mediocre anyways.

— mango (@rauhlinghood) August 16, 2015

brandy melville has some good clothes but the whole “one size fits all” thing is pretty problematic, not everyone is 5’10” and skinny af??? — lily (@lilyventurino) August 11, 2015

I ?? Brandy Melville

— char (@charcoombes) August 10, 2015

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Somehow made it to the Brandy Melville Instagram and now I feel bad about myself and want new clothes. — kaitlyn ? (@CastawayKaitlyn) August 7, 2015

why doesn’t brandy melville have african american models?????

— Keanu Balani (@keanubalani) August 7, 2015

when your brandy melville shopping cart is over $400 ???????? — hales (@haleyybrynnn) August 7, 2015

I cut the tags off of every Brandy Melville item I have bc they’re itchy but mostly bc they say Brandy Melville

— Lenaa BB (@Lenaa_bb) August 7, 2015

It makes me so mad that Brandy Melville is only one size.. it’s limiting so that you can only shop there if you’re skinny. It’s demoralizing — Victoria (@theVwinsor) August 6, 2015

A girl came up to me and told me I look like a Brandy Melville model. My entire life is made.

— … (@SweetPlacidity_) August 17, 2015

every girl in Brandy Melville is already wearing clothes from Brandy Melville — kBlaze (@kblazew) August 17, 2015

A photo posted by Brandy Melville (@brandymelvilleusa) on

(Video) Integrating Brandy Melville | try on haul

Tagged with: slow fashion, women


Why is Brandy Melville One size fits? ›

Brandy Melville markets their clothes as “one size fits all” to prevent criticism of their products being size-inclusive. Size inclusivity is a way of body shaming. Their clothes being one size sends the message that one can fit all sizes. In reality, the clothing does not fit all sizes.

Does Brandy Melville only have one size? ›

Firstly, the clothes only come in one size, the equivalent of an XS/S, which definitely isn't "one size fits most." Employees at Brandy Melville retail outposts are required to send full-body selfies to the brand's executives on a daily basis. Some of them are as young as 14.

Did Brandy Melville change their sizing? ›

According to Her Campus, Brandy Melville has indeed changed their sizing. Most of their items are now labelled as XS-S while some are labelled as “oversized”. Additionally, some of their bottoms now go up to a medium size and the largest waist measurement is 29 inches.

What's the biggest size at Brandy Melville? ›

We Are Too. It's been five years since this "news" made the rounds and sparked a minor outrage, but clothing retailer Brandy Melville is still selling "one size fits most" clothes. The majority of its clothes — with a handful of exceptions — only come in one size. What's the reasoning behind this?

How many inches is a size 0? ›

Clothing Size Guide- Numeric
US Size-Numeric000

What age group is Brandy Melville for? ›

Founders Rachel Thebault and Neda Talebian Funk are moms, and are all too familiar with the hot teen brands of the moment. That includes the aforementioned Brandy Melville, which exclusively caters to girls sizes 0-2 and specializes in crop tops.

Why is Brandy Melville Cancelled? ›

The well-known fashion brand Brandy Melville has been under fire starting in June of 2020 due to the CEO and top executives' racist and sexist behavior toward their employees and target audience. Brandy Melville is an Italian fashion brand that was established in 1970.

What waist size are Brandy Melville jeans? ›

These jeans have a 26 inch (66 centimeter) waist, a full 6.6 inches smaller than the national average waist size for teenage girls at 32.6 inches.

Are Brandy Melville workers rude? ›

The staff there aren't the sharpest tools in the shed and are extremely rude,” said Marie Khoury about the Soho location on Broadway. Despite review upon review of customers having trouble with staff, Brandy Melville has made no change in the way they pick their employees.

What is Brandy Melville style called? ›

Those new to the brand may be asking, what is Brandy Melville's style like? We call it California cool. It's young and fresh but takes inspiration from retro '90s style. The lines we've chosen for this list incorporate this style into their collections—some more than others.

Who is the CEO of Brandy Melville? ›

Brandy Melville CEO Stephan Marsan doesn't want Black customers, ex-store owner Franco Sorgi said. Sorgi said Marsan thought Black or overweight people wearing Brandy Melville would hurt the brand. An Insider investigation revealed widespread allegations of discrimination against Black people.

Is Brandy Melville still popular? ›

Since the 2010s, Brandy Melville has served as one of the most popular clothing brands for pre-teen and teenage girls alike. Infamous for its trendy tops and cozy sweatshirts, the Italian brand quickly blew up on social media and became the “must-wear” brand for teens.

What size is one fit most? ›

In women's clothing, a flexible or open garment can be labeled as one size fits all; however, the size is typically a medium size (able to expand), rather than actually fitting petite or extra-large (XL) sizes. A neck chain could be designed to be worn by a person of any size.

What is a size 34? ›

For example: If you have a 32 inch waist, your size is a US-Size M or Euro-Size 42.
Waist (Inch)Hips (Inch)US Size / Internat.
31 - 3240 - 41M
33 - 3441 - 42L
35 - 3743 - 44L
38 - 3944 - 45XL
12 more rows

What is one size fits all approach? ›

or one-size-fits-all (wʌn saɪz fɪtz ɔːl ) adjective. relating to policies or approaches that are standard and not tailored to individual needs. I see the one-size-fits-all monetary policy as a disadvantage. a one-size-fits-all approach.

What is the meaning of one size fits all? ›

adjective. (of clothing) designed to fit people of a wide range of sizes. Informal. acceptable or used for a wide variety of purposes or circumstances; appealing or suitable to a variety of tastes.

What size is one fit most? ›

In women's clothing, a flexible or open garment can be labeled as one size fits all; however, the size is typically a medium size (able to expand), rather than actually fitting petite or extra-large (XL) sizes. A neck chain could be designed to be worn by a person of any size.

What is the meaning of one size? ›

one-size in British English

(ˈwʌnsaɪz ) adjective. available in one size only that is designed to fit most people. one-size tights. a one-size T-shirt.

What is one size fits all approach? ›

or one-size-fits-all (wʌn saɪz fɪtz ɔːl ) adjective. relating to policies or approaches that are standard and not tailored to individual needs. I see the one-size-fits-all monetary policy as a disadvantage. a one-size-fits-all approach.


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