BY: JESSICA BAKER, PhD
DATE: October 16, 2105
This blog began with my being home sick earlier this week for a couple of days with my 14-month-old son. We were playing on the living room floor and the television was on in the background. Dr. Oz came on and he launched into a story about a new fashion “trend.” Now I don’t usually get my fashion advice from Dr. Oz, but this piqued my interest. He was talking about the latest trend for designers to make clothes sizes “one size fits all.” I heard this and thought “huh?” as I can’t tell you the last time I saw a one size fits all clothing size. Well, the story went on to show 4-5 women, all of different shapes and sizes, trying on several of these one size fits all items including a jeans skirt and a crop top, among other items. Now you’re probably having the same reaction I did. How can a jeans skirt and a crop top possibly be made into a one-size fits all size? Well as this segment revealed, they clearly can’t. Neither item fit any of the women who were willing to try these items on a national television show—regardless of their shape and size! Since I had not heard of this new trend until seeing this segment on Dr. Oz, I decided to do some investigating.
Apparently this hot new trend started with a newer brand, Brandy Melville, targeted at teens and young adults. This brand believes that having a one size fits most size, versus multiple sizes, makes shopping easier. You are either part of this most group and the garment fits you or it doesn’t. Apparently it’s that easy. A news article written earlier this summer about this trend described that, if you compared the waist measurements for the skirts Brandy Melville sells to the sizing charts of other brands, well their one size fits most is actually a size zero. Buzzfeed.com did an article similar to the Dr. Oz segment I described above—having several women of all different shapes and sizes trying on these one size fits most garments. As you can see from the pictures and the women’s reactions, these items really didn’t fit or look as they were intended to on the majority of women.
So now it seems the fashion industry is telling us we need to and should fit into this one size fits most scheme. Whereas the fashion companies engaging in the latest trend seem to firmly believe their clothes are all encompassing, this new approach is actually excludes who don’t fit into their mold. If you don’t fit into these most or all sizes it sends a message that you’re not normal, whether the clothes are too big or too small, even though the goldilocks women—who the clothes fit just right—will be in the minority. Rather than making shopping easier, this approach has the potential to lead to even greater body dissatisfaction than standard sizing. And body dissatisfaction is a known risk factor for low self-esteem and eating disorders. Why would we even want to live in a world where one size fits most? How absolutely boring would that be if everyone were the same and fit into the same mold? Imagine walking down the street and everyone you see is the same size and shape, wearing the same clothes, and looking exactly the same. It’s our differences that make life exciting and interesting. Let’s embrace our uniqueness, and encourage the fashion industry to do so too!