Fashion brands are notorious for idealizing one body type and pushing it as the norm for everyone. In American culture the ideal body type is thin, ranging from size zero to often a size six. In my personal experience once you go past a size eight it is extremely hard to find fashionable clothing that is affordable, and not only fits your body, but makes it look great.
Recently I was online shopping for a dress for my college graduation and I looked at fashion retailers like Lulu’s, Francesca’s, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Princess Polly. Not a single one of these retailers had women featured on their website that look like me, a size U.S. ten. While the average female’s dress size in America is a size 16-18, from my observation, only models that seem to be lower than a size four are ever pictured on fashion retailer websites. How are women like me supposed to know what a dress will look like on their body, if women with higher dress sizes are never featured.
On some of these websites like Lulu’s the dress sizes do not exceed a size ten. It makes no sense that the average dress size of a woman in America is a size 16-18 and popular clothing brands do not offer their size. The fashion industry is forcing plus size and mid-size women down a path of either paying outrageous prices to purchase clothing that fits, or it is denying them the option of wearing something fashionable.
Now I often look toward female influencers who are plus size or mid-size on Instagram and TikTok and shop the brands that they recommend. Remi Bader, an NYC curve model, does realistic clothing hauls on her TikTok account. Bader chooses brands that she personally is a fan of, brands that her followers recommend, and brands that sponsor her to try on multiple items and show her followers how they fit on a plus size body. She recently tried a brand called Youswim, a bathing suit brand with “one size fits all” swimsuits. The brand offers items that are advertised as seven sizes in one. The TikTok vlogger noted in her video that the material is very stretchy, and fit her body.
Bader also makes videos exposing brands that do not fit her body and are not size inclusive. In a recent TikTok she made a realistic Revolve haul, she pleaded to the brand to make more inclusive clothing. In her video she stresses “don’t you want to cater to more people, and make more money, it's very simple!”
I rely on vloggers like Bader to expose brands that are not size inclusive so that I do not waste my money on schemes like “one size fits all”. Recently, Brandy Melville has rebranded their stores to carry one size fits all clothing. The reality is that everybody is unique, and one size cannot fit every person that would like to shop at Brandy Melville, it's impossible. Bader spent $143 dollars doing a realistic clothing haul, to expose the brand to her followers. She stated in her TikTok that the brand has a no refund policy because the clothes are guaranteed to fit, ending the video with a “screw you” to Brandy Melville.
Clothing brands that push the narrative that one size fits all are scarring to a person’s mental health. Growing up I only saw models with a straight body and a small waist on runway shows, advertised in magazines, on retailer’s websites, and later on social media. Around 2017 we started to see brands like Aerie/ American Eagle photograph women with curvier bodies for their campaigns, but this is just a start. As I finished high school and am now finishing college, I thought that the fashion community would have made more progress to include all body types, but with retailer’s like Brandy Melville it is painfully obvious that there is still more work to do. If you are looking for more honest and realistic conversations about fashion, and plus size and mid size try on hauls follow @remibader, @taylormarieeblogg, @katiesturino, @skylerreese, @krisheredia .