By Ryen Cinski ‘22
This past weekend I was doing some online shopping. As I scrolled through Brandy Melville, a popular women’s clothing brand known for its bold one-size-fits-all system, I saw a pair of pants that I liked. I clicked on the photo of them and went to add them to my cart, but was surprised to see that for this particular style, a size small was equal to a 24 inch waist. I myself am a size small and can usually fit into a pair of Brandy Melville pants, but only if they have an elastic waist. Still though—to market a size 24 as an equivalent to a small? That’s insane.
Revolve is a very popular site that sells shoes, clothes, accessories, and more, and is host to various popular, higher end brands. One of these brands is Levi’s, everyone’s favorite denim brand. I wanted to see how Brandy Melville’s small could compare to a Levi’s small in terms of inches. What I found made sense, and also made me sad, because of the expectations that Brandy Melville causes girls to have. For a pair of Levi’s jeans, a size small is equal to a 27/28 inch waist, and a 24 inch waist size is equal to an XXS. An XXS.
Just to be clear, I believe that every body is beautiful and perfect, whether it fits into a size 24, a 28, a 36, or anything else. There is no shame in being able to fit into a pair of Brandy’s pants, and there certainly isn’t shame in not being able to fit into them either. There is shame, though, in telling impressionable girls and women that the ideal, perfect size is an XXS.
At this point, I’m astounded, and I began to ask myself why I was about to try to squeeze myself into a pair of pants that was way too small instead of looking on a different site that is host to various, sensical sizes. I conclude that I am on the site because I want the brand name on the stupid pants, and at the end of the day, I want to be one of the girls that can wear Brandy Melville pants.
I know that this sounds really trivial, but I promise it’s not. Every woman (and person in general) is unique. When a person is told that they should fit some completely unrealistic standard set by a brand that markets solely to very thin individuals, that this is the only right way to be, the “one size for all,” it’s very damaging. The reality is that different sizes exist for a reason; not everyone can wear the exact same size because everyone is built differently, and all of these builds are perfect.
Brandy Melville is a brand that appeals to exclusivity. This means that if someone asks you where your shirt is from, and you say, “Oh, it’s Brandy,” there will actually be an acknowledgement in both your minds that you can, in fact, squeeze into this elusive one-size-fits-all. Wearing and purchasing Brandy Melville is in part about actually liking the clothes, but is also about wearing and purchasing them because you can.
At the end of the day, I like Brandy Melville. Do I take issue with the brand though? Yes. I think that it is extremely important to be good to yourself, to be accepting of yourself, and to cater to what you need. Should I be trying to squeeze myself into a pair of pants that are two sizes too small? No, I shouldn’t, and neither should anyone else. Again, if you can fit, no shame, and if you can’t, no shame.