In 7th grade my daughter went from wearing whatever I bought her (thank you, Target leggings and tees!) to suddenly caring about fashion. At first I was excited. FINALLY! We could go shopping together like gal pals. We could have lunch and try on dresses we would never really buy and giggle like girlfriends. And then she told me about this brand all the girls were wearing called Brandy Melville.
The first time we went to the store, I was sorting through a rack of skirts and saw “29” “33” written on the tags. I assumed they were European sizes so I asked for help. The girl working there told me those were prices in different currencies (DUH!) and that the skirts were one-size-fits-all.
EXCUSE ME???? One size fits ALL???????
“Um, that’s absurd,” I said to the sales girl.
She shrugged and said, “Well, that’s Brandy Melville.”
I picked up one of the teeny, tiny skirts and refused, on principle, to buy one. My daughter was devastated. How could I be so cruel? All the girls were wearing Brandy Melville!!!! I finally relented and let her get an oversized sweatshirt.
But I didn’t feel good about it. I didn’t want to support a brand that sells “one size fits all” to vulnerable young women. Girls who are just growing into their adult bodies and trying to navigate that stressful transition. Girls who are constantly bombarded with fake, posed, often-photoshopped images of “perfect” bodies on Instagram. Girls who often feel “fat” because society is pushing some sick version of what a woman should look like on them. But I didn’t want my daughter to be THE ONLY GIRL IN THE ENTIRE WORLD WITHOUT SOMETHING FROM BRANDY MELVILLE, so I handed over my credit card, grabbed the sweatshirt, and left.
Well, what mom refuses to do, grandma always comes through on. Nonna bought my daughter a Brandy Melville skirt for her birthday, because grandmas never say no. It was tiny and modeled after a Catholic school girl uniform. My daughter tried it on. She looked in the mirror, sucked in her stomach and said, “I’m so fat.”
And then I lost it.
My daughter is tiny. Skinny, skinny, skinny. She’s an athlete and healthy, but she’s small. She had failure-to-thrive as a baby, and the fact that she grew into a healthy young lady is one of my proudest parenting accomplishments. So to hear her call herself “fat” when trying on some stupid skirt freaked me out.
“Take it off!” I screamed.
“Take it off!” Nonna screamed.
We brought the skirt back to Brandy Melville. As I was standing in line, I started chatting with a mom next to me.
“I can’t believe I’m shopping here,” she said. “This store gives girls eating disorders.”
I nodded. “The one-size-fits-all is not healthy.”
“No! My daughter thinks she’s fat because she can’t fit into the skirts,” the woman confided.
“I hear you,” I said.
But there we were. In the store. Supporting it. She was buying an armful of clothing. I was exchanging the skirt for a t-shirt. WHAT WERE WE DOING? I guess we were trying to be good moms. Trying to make our teen girls happy. Which as all moms of teens know, isn’t easy.
I understand that teen girls want to fit in. They want to do and wear what everyone else is doing and wearing. So it’s up to us—the adults, the companies, the brands—to give them healthy options. To show them that one size NEVER fits all, and that bodies come in all different beautiful shapes and sizes. It is irresponsible for a brand like Brandy Melville to only offer one size in their stores. It’s damaging to girls at one of the most formative, vulnerable times in their lives. A time when they can either learn to love their strong, healthy bodies, or despise them for not being “one size fits all.”
So please, Brandy Melville, I beg you, stop the insanity. Stop selling ONE SIZE FITS ALL to young girls.
And parents, let’s stop supporting this nonsense.
And girls, remember, your body is healthy and beautiful and should never, ever fit into a skirt that every other body can fit into. Because it’s YOUR body. Your own unique, gorgeous, strong, healthy, amazing, kick-ass body. You should wear clothing that fits YOU. Beautiful YOU. Not that fits ALL.
Join me on Instagram. No fake, photoshopped pictures – guaranteed!