One Size Fits All?
By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD
Bodies come in all shapes and sizes; therefore, don’t you think clothes should too? This may seem logical to us, yet many clothing companies cater to one size only. Parents and friends, please beware; there is a new line of clothing by Brandy Melville. Her clothing line carries mostly “one size fits all,” but this one size is equivalent to a small. So while MDIO loves the idea of clothes to fit everybody’s bodies, this smaller size may not be appropriate for all tweens and teens.
Brandy Melville’s clothing line is a cheaper alternative for younger girls to find the cool clothes that all their friends are wearing. These less costly items do come at a price, however, because they do not run large enough to fit the average American teenage girl who wants to shop there. Jeans at Brandy Melville run mainly in size 00, yet I believe this is vanity- sized and thus equal to a size 2, which fits a girl with a 26” waist. However, the average 16-year-old girl has a 31” waist and therefore, would have a much harder time finding clothing at this trendy store. With a desire to be cool and wear these more easily affordable clothes, many young girls may go to extremes to fit into these extra small sizes!
Ultimately, size should not matter when it comes to clothes, but as a woman, a mother and a professional in the world of eating disorders, I know that the size of clothes can be connected to superficial self-worth. As parents, we need to think about whether we want our children to shop and support these stores/brands and also how we should talk to our daughters and sons about such numbers.
When talking to your teens and tweens about clothing sizes, please remember:
- Numbers are just information.
- Sizes vary from store to store and brand to brand for each article of clothing. (See our chart below.)
- Size does not reflect health.
- Size does not reflect self-worth.
- Find clothing and brands to accentuate your body type.
- Wear sizes that fit your body properly—and expect that the sizes will vary from item to item.
- Wear clothes that represent the “real” you.
- Think about how a particular article of clothing makes you feel when you’re wearing it rather than the size designation on the tag.
Many stores vary so greatly in their sizes that a shopper can buy a size 4 at one place and a size 6 or 8 at another with all items fitting well. There is little standardization for clothing sizes in the United States and retailers often change clothing sizes without any one of us even realizing it. As parents, please keep in mind that a healthy shopping environment for young girls and boys is a necessity. Many stores and brands bombard youngsters with toxic images as it is. Fostering size expectations is not good for the shoppers nor the companies creating these clothes; nobody wins. Unfortunately, there are no standards or government regulations concerning clothing sizes. So, parents must think about the store’s overall image and message before deciding if the store is a place they want their children to shop.
Kudos to people like Cali Linstrom and Daryl Roberts for taking a stand against Abercrombie and Fitch!
Have you taken a stand? If you have, Mom Dishes It Out wants your story. Tell us about a brand you think fits well and sends a positive message to kids, teens and/or adults.