Scrolling through the Brandy Melville Instagram feed, one could grasp a pretty clear image of what constitutes the ideal “Brandy” girl. She’s cool, hip, chic, equipped with a modelesque size, usually white, and thin. The Brandy girl effortlessly fits into the brand’s signature crop tops, cut-off shorts, printed pants all equipped with the no-frills label of “One Size”. The reality is: the Brandy girl does not exist. She is the epitome of society’s beauty standards, boiled down to one size for girls to measure themselves up to. Real women do not come in one size, they are thin, curvy, plus-size, athletic, tall, short and everything in-between. So is Brandy Melville saying women who don’t fit into their clothes are not worthy enough to represent the image of a Brandy girl, an image they have worked so hard to create around such narrow, unrealistic standards?
Image via Pinterest
I am no stranger to Brandy, I’ve worn their clothes since high school and find their styles very cute. I was shopping in one of their stores with a friend that had never been there and as we walked through she said, “Are these clothes made for kids?”. While I found her commentary funny, it made me realize that Brandy’s clothes are made in ridiculously small sizes, usually meant for sizes XS-S. I realized how elitist it was of them to only make clothes for a certain size, even I can’t fit into some of their clothes. This practice can be dangerous, especially with a brand as popular as Brandy, as young girl’s might feel discouraged if they don’t fit into the clothes and may develop unhealthy conceptions of body image, body dysmorphic disorder, and even eating disorders.
Other brands like Abercrombie & Fitch have come under fire for not catering to larger sizes, in an industry trend called “vanity sizing” where brands will label their clothes with a smaller size than it really is to sell to consumers. For example, a woman who is usually a size 6 in one brand will feel good about herself when she fits into a 4. This can also work conversely for women’s self-esteem when all of a sudden they stop fitting into their traditional size due to unregulated sizing standards. There is a certain level of creative license a brand is allowed when cultivating a desired “brand image”, but when you only make clothes for size 0’s there is a point where upholding a brand image becomes just plain discriminatory. I can’t say for sure if Brandy Melville is guilty of vanity sizing, but they are definitely guilty of catering to unhealthy industry standards that define One Size as the right size when in reality One Size fits no one.
Image via Pinterest
In a time where popular brands like Aerie, with the campaign #AerieReal, and shoe brand Jeffrey Campbell, now producing a size inclusive shoe-line, are making changes to adapt to a more body-positive age, why is Brandy Melville still so behind? There is beauty in curves just like there is in a traditionally thin body, the idiosyncrasies in women’s bodies shouldn’t be a burden for clothing brands, but a standard. Hopefully, Brandy Melville realizes the misstep in their “One Size” and makes changes to include all bodies and races.