I Can’t Shop at Brandy Melville – the Problem With “One Size Fits All” Stores


On the last day of school sophomore year, all my friends and I went into Boston for lunch to celebrate the start of summer. We ate at California Pizza Kitchen at the Prudential Center, then walked around Newbury Street. My friends were excited to go into a Brandy Melville, and having never shopped there before, I was excited to see what made it so popular. As we entered the store, I was met with walls covered in clothes that I would probably only wear on a family trip to Nantucket. Even though the majority of the clothes were not my style, I found a few pieces that I would actually wear. However, upon looking for the right size, I came across dozens of tags that simply said, “ONE SIZE”.

Not a “ONE SIZE FITS ALL”. Just one size. One body type… and certainly not mine.

While my friends entered dressing rooms with armfuls of dresses and shirts to try on, I waited outside. The only size this store had in stock for any given item would have been too small to even fit over my head. In general, I’d say I’m pretty body-positive and self-confident, but the clothes hung on those racks taunted me and had me comparing myself with my shorter, skinnier friends.

I work at American Eagle, and I’ve seen plenty of “one size fits all” items sold there, but they’re always flowy pants or big sweaters that are truly meant to fit every person who tries them on. At Brandy, the one-sized pieces consist of tight shirts and size 00 pants, and every item in the store is either this faux “one size fits all” or is only stocked in a size small.

On their website, Brandy Melville lists their average skirt and pant waist size as 26” for most products, and their only option for shirt size is “Fits X-small/small”. However, in many stores there are signs that read “one size fits most”. Either Brandy can’t make up their mind about whether they want to exclude a large percentage of teenage girls, or they don’t understand the idea that not all girls can squeeze into a size small.

“When Brandy Melville means when they say ‘One size fits all’ is ‘One size is welcome in our store’ ” – Kit Steinkellner

Brandy’s “one size fits all” policy uses size discrimination to target their clothes at a certain demographic. This brand wants skinny girls wearing their products. This creates a certain image that ties into the preppy aesthetic they are trying to achieve. The company itself would see an increase in revenue if they expanded the number of sizes they carry, but they refuse to alter their brand by allowing girls who wear size 6 jeans to buy their clothes.

My hope is that girls of all body types will recognize that while Brandy Melville is making clothes for women, they are not pro-woman. I encourage young girls to become conscious consumers who choose to support clothing brands that are inclusive of all types of people and that recognize the value of promoting body-positivity. If you’re going to spend $50 on a tube top, it might as well be from a company that celebrates diversity among women.