One Size Fits All?

One Size Fits All?
By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD

Photo Credit: sporkist via Compfight cc

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.
Disclaimer: These sizes are estimated.

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.

 

More reading:

http://www.salon.com/2013/10/02/abercrombies_anti_bullying_shirts_dont_come_in_plus_sizes/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/darryl-roberts/abercrombie-and-fitch-discrimination_b_3319889.html

Tips to Communicate with Your Teens

Tips to Communicate with Your Teens
By Guest Blogger, Elyssa Ackerman, LCSW and Parent Coach

Photo Credit: Spencer Finnley via Compfight cc
Communicating with your teen can really test your patience.  One minute your teen is asking you for money or permission to go to a happening hang with friends, the next minute they slam the door and say “Get out!”  It is no wonder parents of teens find themselves commiserating, venting, or clenching their fists in frustration.  However, as teens work at their job of trying to figure out their identity, the parent’s job is to parent with a plan in place and avoid reacting to their teen’s moods (or their own).

 

Teens are irrational, and, according to Dr. Mike Bradley, “Adolescents are temporarily brain damaged.” The parts of their brains currently in development and responsible for the emotional control, impulse restraint, and rational decision making aren’t fully formed and connected.  What does this mean?  Teens are confrontational.  They are hormonal.  They are stressed out managing their social, physical, emotional, and intellectual lives.  Parents have to be the bigger people and act rationally.  Parents need to stay calm, reduce daily battles, and let the teen wrestle with his/her feelings in front of a wise, calm adult.  Do not hold grudges and be big enough to say “Sorry” when you lose it.  When teens are rude, disrespectful, and nasty, practice saying “ I will not speak to you when you are disrespectful, come to me when we can talk civilly.”  Sound like a big challenge? It is.
Photo Credit: Tetra Pak via Compfight cc
The truth is that teens still need us to think the world of them.  It is easy for us to highlight what teens do wrong, so try implementing two positives for every negative.  Refrain from advice-giving and moralizing, and listen, REALLY LISTEN.  Put down your phones, don’t text while they are talking to you, email can wait.  Even if you disagree, let them talk.  They need to vent.  If given the space to do so, they will come to TRUST you.  Ahhhh, trust, the magic word.  Because in the end, as teens experiment with life and all that awaits, the choices they will make are impacted by their relationship with you.  Heavy? You betcha.  You are the most important role model for your teen.  Educate them over and over again on sex, drugs, violence, and alcohol, and be honest and straightforward.  Yes, pot dispensaries abound, but smoking weed at this time in their life couldn’t happen at a worse time, as their brains are on fire finishing the job of developing into the adults that they are craving to be.

 

Communicate with your teen by setting clear and consistent limits.  Be matter of fact about his/her curfew, responsibilities in the home, and your drug and alcohol use (or no use) policy.  Enforce limits through incentives, not ultimatums, and encourage them to act responsibly, and they will attain the freedom they so desire by demonstrating their willingness to do their part.  Discipline without violence, try not to yell, and let them negotiate.  Negotiating is a useful skill that they need practice while at home.  If rules get broken, let them play a part in deciding upon the consequences. Short-term consequences work best.

 

Cut your teens and yourself some slack.  Keep trying to reach them, invite them to dinner or a horror movie, or make them a cup of tea at night without asking anything in return.  If they see that you are still there for them and are trying to maintain a connection, the payoffs are priceless.  One day they will venture out on their own, succeed in their aspirations, and have the tools that they need to be successful adults (and maybe, eventually, parents).