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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at West Chester chapter.

“One size fits most” is a phrase used to describe the kind of clothing Brandy Melville stocks in their stores. For many people, including myself, this is not the case when it comes to their fashion selections. Controversy has long since surrounded the brand for their sizing and racial bias rumors when it comes to either hiring employees or representation in photoshoots on their website. While they may offer trendy items that catch your eye, be aware of these issues before making a purchase.

Brandy Melville’s audience is young girls, teenagers, and others in their 20s- so long as they can fit into their clothes. The size range is extra small, small, or “one size.” That’s it. There is nothing above a small besides their tactically “oversized” t-shirts that are still geared towards thinner girls. While these sizes benefit thin girls, part of the problem lies in the fact that they don’t have any larger sizes. As a popular brand, it creates the notion that you must look a certain way to be deemed “good enough” to wear their clothes. Trying on these new trends and realizing you can’t fit into them can be debilitating for a young woman’s self-image.

women with different body types
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Every few months, I treat myself to buying new clothes by going to my local mall or ordering online. Despite the lack of luck I’ve had when going into places like Pacsun, I still peek in there, knowing full well a Brandy Melville display crosses an entire wall. Pants with an elastic band that claim to stretch and tiny crop tops dangle from the hangers. A particular personal experience has stuck with me even a few years later. I tried on a cropped shirt and skirt combo and trust me when I say it was really cute, but it didn’t fit. Even though it was a small, it would’ve have fit with a slight adjustment at the waist, but there was no way to adjust to make it an inch or two bigger, it only went smaller. Although this might not seem like a big deal, it messed up how I viewed my body. I felt bad for not being able to fit into these clothes like most of the other girls shopping around the store. If my 18–19-year-old self felt this way, how would younger girls feel?

Besides the problem of sizing, the appearance of racial biases must be pointed out. An article by Newsweek presented TikToker “CallieJeanxo” who had previously worked at Brandy Melville and who stated the racist and fatphobic tendencies at her store location. She revealed that she was hired simply because an employee thought she had pretty eyes, but when another girl came in with her resume later, her boss asked what race the girl was. When Callie told her that the girl was Asian, she claims her boss said “No, tell her we’re not hiring.” Their website seems to exclusively caters to white women with the occasional black model among the rows of pale skin.

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Photo by Hannah Morgan from Unsplash

Another issue she mentioned was that an employee who was bigger than the others was told to remain behind the cash register at all times “so no one could see her body.” These are teenagers who are working here, young girls who are impressionable and these are the kinds of comments they hear and deal with.

No one, no matter their size, race, or otherwise should be made to feel inadequate because they don’t fit into a single brand’s clothing. Brandy Melville would benefit by expanding their range of sizes and working to become more diverse, but they haven’t done that yet. The sheer audacity to implement these ideals and get away with it only adds to the problem. Nothing gets fixed and it becomes a cycle. While Brandy Melville offers chic clothes to a certain array of customers, there are many underlying claims that should prevent you from buying from them.

Leah Mikulich

West Chester '21

Leah Mikulich is a senior at West Chester studying for her degree in English on the writings track with a French minor. As well as being an intern for Her Campus, she is the President of Daedalus Literary Magazine. When she's not finishing hours of schoolwork, she enjoys reading, baking for her friends, collecting too many journals, and writing short stories. Although working for a publishing company is one of her job goals, she'd also like to publish her own book one day.
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