One Size Fits Who?

Featured Image by Ralph Aichinger on Flickr

Anger. Frustration. Depression.

This is what some teens feel when they walk into a store only to find that the store doesn’t carry their size. Some (including myself) even start thinking that it is our own fault there aren’t enough clothing options.

After experiencing this feeling dozens of times I have become very uncomfortable going shopping at stores like Aeropostale, Abercrombie and Rue 21. You always have to try the clothes on to make sure they fit even if it does say your size because they often run small.

This is a huge problem by itself but imagine if everyone had to try and fit into one size.

One thing a person immediately notices about society is that people aren’t the same.

Everyone is very different for many reasons, whether it be personality, style, or clothing size. Like me, most people realize this concept and embrace differences because a world where the population thinks, talks, or looks the same would be very boring.

Some clothing companies seem to be emphasizing the opposite. A recent trend is selling clothes that are “one size fits all”. This term means they claim to fit all body types.

For some people finding clothing is already stressful, so why try to make it harder by not having a variety of sizes? This article from people magazine illustrates the outrage many feel about this trend.

Laura Bradly, author of “The Very Popular Store That Only Sells Clothes For Skinny Girls” shares many of my opinions on this subject. I really like that she includes statements from teenage girls who are not happy with stores like this. She also writes examples of these stores such as Abercrombie and Brandy Melville.

Many stores don’t bother carrying above a size 18 (and that’s being generous) despite the fact the average American woman wears a size 14. In other words, women up to seven sizes below average can find clothing, but women more than two sizes above are told to, ‘eat less‘.

-Laura Bradly, author of The Very Popular Store That Only Sells Clothes For Skinny Girls

Having only one size of clothing can be beneficial to that company because they can focus on a wide variety of styles. Many shoppers feel that this is wrong however, as one piece of clothing can’t really fit all body types.

This article on Wikipedia writes some very good points about one size clothing being beneficial in some instances and and disadvantageous in most others. Although hats marked “one size fits all” don’t fit everyone. I especially like the statement they make specifically about “one size fits all” womens’ clothing.

In women’s clothing, a flexible or open garment can be labeled as one-size-fits-all; however, the size is typically a medium size (able to expand), rather than actually fitting petite or extra-large (XL) sizes.

– One Size Fits All, Wikipedia

If Only It Were True

On top of it all, I’m too fat for Brandy Melville 🙁 🙁 🙁

— Dianna Xing (@DIANNAsaurian)

The concept itself does appeal to people. Who wouldn’t love just being able to walk into a store and grab something you like? You don’t even have to visit the dressing room because it should fit everyone.

The stores that are including one size fits all items benefit because they don’t have to carry so many sizes of the same clothing. They are able to increase the variety of their clothing to please more personalities.

For a select few these clothes fit just fine, but not all. The problem is that people like clothes that feel like they were made for them (or at least fit), so having a variety of sizes is the best way to attract a range of customers. This article also shares my opinion that one size clothing doesn’t work. I like how the author shares her experience at a one size clothing store.

Walking into Pacific Beach’s Brandy Melville last spring, I was intrigued by their on trend styles of basic t-shirts, skirts, and sweaters. However, I was baffled as I started looking for my size. One size fits all on a sweater, then a shirt, and even a skirt?

-Megan Ewbank, “One Size Fits None”

There are also some items that may be considered one size such as scarves, necklaces, or even adjustable hats. These items work for everyone because they often can be adjusted, but how do you adjust a shirt or a pair of jeans?


Image by Micky Aldridge on Flickr

Psychological Effects

Having only one size of clothing would be nice if they were to actually fit everyone, but that is almost impossible. In reality they fit only a small percentage of the population. This can make people feel dejected if the clothes that claim to fit everyone don’t work for them.

The term “one size fits all” means everyone, right?


When the designers of such garments say ‘all,’ they mean ‘this garment contains enough elastic that it will fit everybody except about 85 percent of the women in America, but let’s all just pretend those people don’t exist, OK?’

– The Gloss, “This Cat In A Bra Top Proves The Concept Of ‘One Size Fits All’ Clothing Is Baloney”

This can cause people to feel insecure about themselves, and make the shopping experience horrible if the clothing doesn’t fit them, especially because it says everyone. I experienced this feeling and know it’s not something I want other people to feel about themselves.

Use of this term makes me think clothing companies are setting a standard, and if a person doesn’t conform to the standard they aren’t “normal”, and don’t deserve to shop at their store. Normal is just a word, and shouldn’t be one that is used to describe a person because there is no normal.

Many societies are trying to make people feel they have to be like everyone else.

Differences are a good thing.

I feel the worst part of this problem is that young girls can already be a bit self-conscious (I know I am) and if they feel that they must conform to a company’s standards it might cause them to feel defective. For some girls these insecurities may not go away, but only get worse as they mature.

I felt like this a lot when I was younger, and still somewhat even now. I hope writing about this issue will bring other people to the realization that clothing companies that think this is acceptable are stupid. You need to ignore those places that make you feel like you don’t belong because the truth is that everyone is built differently, and differences are a good thing.

The companies that aren’t willing to provide options for you don’t deserve your business.

Check out this video by Buzzfeed. I like how it shows this is a problem. They put emphasis on being positive about your body instead of letting problems like this make you feel depressed.

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