Brandy Melville- a one-size-fits-small, body-shaming brand


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Brandy Melville’s “One-Size Fits Small” clothing brand has received criticisms failing to hire non-white employees and for body-shaming.

Brandy Melville, initially a European Brand that moved to the United States in 2009, advertises a one-size-fits-all clothing brand.  Their contemporary apparel follows the latest trends on Instagram, so their selection is always in style, cool, and most importantly, affordable. Now that we are in high school we all have to know about the infamous Brandy Melville, because of its staple in teen American girl wardrobe.

Brandy’s advertisement consists of posting on Instagram and word of mouth. They chose photos of the “prettiest, skinniest, long-legged, thin waisted, white, blonde” girls to post on their platform. Conveniently setting a standard for their desired target audience. 

In 7th grade, I finally graduated from tight skinny khaki pants to the khaki skirt that you would roll once on your waist, just enough to get away with a skirt above your fingertips. I started wearing polos and stopped wearing my uncle’s Doctor Who jacket. Instead, I wore the same Frank Black Middle School crewneck that everyone else wore. But finally, I was accepted into the cool girl group. Mind you- I didn’t know this at the time- the cool girl group consisted of white skinny blonde girls who already wore faces painted with makeup every day to school. Obviously, I needed to get to work on my mascara abilities, or actually look into buying mascara. They all sat around me at lunch, and I was surrounded with the same small tight cropped ribbed tank tops with a tiny bow in the middle of the neckline in a variety of 5 different neutral tones. I needed to own one of these tops.

Blissfully, I walked into a store named Brandy Melville, I loved every single top in sight and handed as many as I could to my mom. They were all in style and exactly what I should be wearing to stay in the cool-girl club. Lots of spaghetti straps, cropped tanks, flower patterns, butterflies, baggy jeans… exactly what I needed to fit in. My mom, being a mom, checked the sizes to make sure I was picking the right ones. “These all say ONE SIZE,” she said. This meant that I had to be the same size as my friends or smaller, but I didn’t want to be able to compare my body to my friends, knowing that they all fit in these tops and I might not.

No way on Earth I was trying anything on. I was humiliated. I ignored my mom, walking out of the store while she followed behind me. Once I was safe and sound inside of the tinted car, I started bawling. The biggest size is a small? How were the girls in there so tiny? Even the older workers fit into those doll-size clothes.

Picture of two models wearing the brand’s clothes    Photo courtesy of Brandy Melville’s Instagram

After a good 10 minutes of crying, my mom wiped the sticky tears off my cheeks, and peeled my booger-filled hair off my chin. We left. We were done with that store. 

Sizing is limited to one size and so are their employees. The only people allowed to work in their store must fit the perfect American girl doll standard. An employee named Callie explains her experience there to the entire internet exposing the inner racism instilled through the brand.

She turned in a resume from a candidate that wanted to try out for a job at the store. She brought the resume to her employer. After a couple of glances, he looked up and asked for her race. “Asian,” Callie said. With no further inspection she was turned down and told to look for a new job. 

Since middle school, I have returned to the store and bought a couple of items. Sad to say, I have never seen an employee of any other race than white. The shirts that I unfortunately bought all had a stretchy waist but the cuffs on the arms were made for a 2-year-old. I literally had to rip mine a little bit to comfortably wear them. So I would recommend getting a top with spaghetti straps, so you don’t lose circulation in your arms. 

Picture of a model wearing the brand’s clothes                                                        Photo courtesy of Brandy Melville’s Instagram

Their pants are a different story; you either fit or you don’t. There is no stretch. The length of the legs are also made for shorter people so if you’re over 5’6 then most of their pants will stop above your ankles. 

Walking into a store with unrealistic expectations to fit into a basic t-shirt made for a 6-year-old as an 18-year-old, is an impossible standard for anyone barely over a size 4. I am sad to say that I have bought 4 clothing items from them when I was in a haze of “oh my gosh I’m small enough for this store I need to buy it all.” But now I am proud to say I will never support a racist and body-shaming company. Honestly, the best thing you could get from the store are the free stickers!