The One Size Only Enigma

Clothing brands are constantly being criticized for their quality, labor conditions for workers, pricing and style. An often overlooked issue is the sizing. Most brands are reputable for providing many sizes for those of different body types and sometimes providing plus sizes. Yet people, especially teenage girls, are starting to notice and see many brands, in varying popularity and style, use the “one size fits all” sizing protocol. An obvious observation is that one size will never fit all, so why is this system being used and what is the point of it?

Basically the one size fits all system is when a brand provides only one size for all of their clothing. Many brands use the slogan “one size fits all,” making it seem more open towards many different body types. One of the reasons it is used is because it makes the process of creating the clothes and supplying them to stores much easier because they don’t need to make a multitude of sizes and there is only one size that is constantly in demand. But although it may be simple, it’s a huge problem. These one size clothes will never fit every body type and they cater towards a small amount of people. The process is discriminatory and praises and rewards only those of a certain size and body type.

Yet another problem with it is that it makes the brand completely exclusive. It displays that the particular brand only wants that size of people to be wearing their clothes. The one size makes the clothes wearable for a select amount of people. In some ways all brands do this. They may not include above a size 22 or below a size 2 but usually they then are providing clothes for a larger range of people. With the availability of clothes for people of different body types. Brands also make their products exclusive in different ways particularly through pricing. Forever 21 and Chanel are going to be targeting different people when marketing their merchandise through their prices. A broke college student probably isn’t going to be dropping $4,000 on a brand new Chanel bag, as opposed to a person who makes a good salary and wants to splurge on a little something nice for themselves. But deciding your customers based on body size and making a product available to only those of a specific size is a form of discrimination.

Many brands use their models and their clothes to make the brand exclusive to only one body type. They target it towards certain people and this makes it so those people of one body are who represent their brand. Their models often depict who they want to wear their clothes. For example, Brandy Melville is a mostly one size clothing brand popular with teenage girls and is very trendy. Yet their models are almost all tall, skinny, white girls. That displays who they want buying their clothes. By showing only one body type and one race, brands put the message across that those are the people that provide the best image for their clothes and brand. This store also lists the waist size of their models. Although this is a common procedure for sizing, typically if you don’t fit one of the waist sizes you would simply choose another. But by only providing one size for a smaller waist size it sets a boundary of the one waist size who will fit in their clothes, and explicitly shows who can and cannot fit into their brand.

Yet although lots of brands do this (Brandy Melville being only one of many) they often have different goals for their brand. While brands like Target may want to have lots of people be able to buy their clothes at an affordable price, Brandy Melville has all their clothes made in the U.S. and the clothes are reasonably priced. Some brands choose to place their brand values in different areas.

I personally believe that one size only is wrong. It sends a message that they only want this body type to be wearing their clothes. That they might not want girls who are curvier, taller, shorter, bigger or even skinnier to be wearing their clothes. Even people who are healthy, who exercise, eat clean and don’t have any problems with their bodies may still not fit their clothes. It glorifies the “healthy skinny” body but only caters for those who have a certain waist size. I think it is wrong morally by discriminating those of other body types. Yet it is rewarded by being a popular brand, and people continue to be discriminated and excluded. I think this sizing protocol is flawed in more ways than it is functional.

One size only is a blatant form of body discrimination. Especially when the clothing brand is very popular, trendy and distinctive but only meant for one size. In our society the “healthy and skinny” body type has become so desirable and still unattainable for many people. One size only clothing brands simply enforce the glorification and the praise for being skinny. They refuse to accept and adapt to the simple idea that people are always going to be different sizes and that is often utterly unchangeable. One size only has become acceptable for all the wrong reasons, and it continues a cycle of oppression towards body types which do not conform to the traditionally praised body type- skinny.