Over the past few years, teen fashion has seen a rise in the number of stores that only carry “one size fits all” clothing. The most notable example is Brandy Melville, the retail store that started the one size only trend. However, ever since Brandy Melville has topped the charts, brands like Urban Outfitters and American Eagle have joined this movement and started making “one size fits all” clothing. At first glance, you might think that this is a great idea — you can walk into these stores and not worry about what size you are in this shirt or those pants; you can just grab what you like and go. However, “one size fits all” clothing only makes the shopping process easier if that one size is your size.
The main problem with these “one size fits all” clothes is that one size does not fit all — or most, or even many — girls. The one size that is offered from these clothes is a size that restricts itself to small-chested and small-waisted girls. This means that the only girls who actually fit into the “one size fits all” category are girls who are a size zero. This is extremely problematic because a majority of girls in America are not a size zero. In fact, the average American woman is a size 12-14. We are already living in a skinny-girl world, so why do we need more retail stores to sell clothes that are only one size and cater to the skinniest of girls, which puts even more pressure on girls and young women to try and starve themselves just to fit into one specific shirt or dress? The answer is simply that we don’t.
The message that “one size fits all” is sending to girls is that in order to be beautiful, they must be a certain size — and this “certain size” is a size zero. Nobody, especially not retail stores, should have the power to tell girls what they should look like — and girls shouldn’t believe that they have to fit into these clothes to feel beautiful. No matter what, size is just a number. Your size does not define you — it shouldn’t matter what size your shirts, pants, or even shoes are, because you are so much more than those numbers.
“One size fits all” clothing puts so much pressure on young women to be this “certain size” and stay this “certain size,” which ultimately leads to girls developing eating disorders, whether it be anorexia, bulimia or binge eating. Even for those who aren’t diagnosed with eating disorders, most girls still struggle with their love-hate relationship with food.
I bet that most girls have experienced something similar before. After eating one meal, you think to yourself, “Ugh, I ate way too much,” and you hate yourself afterwards. This self-hatred leads you to start obsessively counting the calories in everything you eat. You might even keep track of your daily intake of calories on some dumb app that you downloaded on your phone. You go to the gym and you make sure that you exercise just enough to burn off all the calories you ate that day. At every meal, you hold yourself back and you don’t reach for that extra slice of pizza or that extra chicken tender. You look in the mirror and you can see all the food you eat going straight to your stomach and thighs. You ultimately feel yourself getting fatter and fatter with every bite of food you take. Whether it’s as extreme as an eating disorder or as simple as depriving yourself of that last bite of dessert, girls have struggled with their relationships with food for ages.
We are surrounded by the idea that we have to be skinny to fit in (socially and literally in our own shirts and pants), and “one size fits all” clothing just enhances this notion. You don’t have to be a psychologist to see that stores that only sell clothing in one size are truly damaging the minds of girls and young women. Creating clothes that only fit the skinniest girls in the world is not embracing the beauty of the various shapes of girls’ bodies, which is something that definitely needs to be done. Body positivity is extremely powerful.
But overall, in this whole discussion, it’s extremely important to remember to shy away from skinny-shaming. For those girls who do fit into the “one size fits all” clothing, you and your bodies are not the problem. And no one should treat them as if they are. Every body is a beautiful body, so instead of working to fit into our clothing, how about we only buy clothing that fits us? One size does not fit all, and it definitely should stay that way.