A. Does One Size Really Fit All?
At first glance, the term “one size fits all” seems to eliminate the assumptions of online shopping: you don’t have to ask yourself if you are medium or tall when a piece of clothing is suitable for everyone. For most women, however, the idea of unity just doesn’t work.
1. The true story about one-size-fits-all clothing
Nobody knows when the first one-size-fits-all outfit hit the shelves, but the idea was well established when Frank Zappa’s One Size Fits All was released in 1975. The popularity of brands like Brandy Melville and American Eagle has increased dramatically, offering many items from one size that can attract young buyers. Another popular brand of one-size clothing is Nikibiki, which offers standard and plus size versions of one-size clothing.
2. How big is the one size?
Most of the one-size-fits-all offers from these popular brands are made of stretch fabrics. Other items feature elastic waistbands. Anyone who has tried on a pair of very small leggings can tell that there is a limit to how far something can stretch.
The table below shows the measurements of the average American woman compared to the measurements of one-size-fits-all clothing or the styles they wear in Brandy Melville and American Eagle.
Size can affect fit, shape and weight. A shirt cut on one woman may not cover another woman’s chest, and long pants on one girl become capris on another.
3. Testing it out
It is one thing to compare the measurements of the average woman with the measurements of the clothes, but in fact, it is quite another to see the clothes of women of different sizes. Five brave BuzzFeed employees tried on several Brandy Melvillie outfits to test the “one size fits all” error.
Women ranged in size from 0 to 18 and tried on tops, shirts, dresses, skirts and shorts. None of the clothes fit all the women on the panel. In fact, each piece would fit a maximum of one or two women. The tops were too short. The sleeves were very tight. The dresses received a positive X rating.
Even more revealing than the ill-fitting clothes were women’s impressions of their appearance. They used words like “uncomfortable”, “terrible”, “sad”, “angry” and “shameful”. Even though they knew they were testing the clothes, they described feeling bad about not being able to wear clothes that “should fit everyone”.
4. Exceptions – when a size works
While buying “one-size-fits-all” clothing doesn’t work for most women, there are a few points that can be exceptions:
Wrap robes – If the garment has no shoulder seam or a defined waist, it can fit women of many different sizes. By overlapping the front and tying it with a belt, women of all sizes can create their own fit.
Open kimono tops – if you don’t want to worry about a specific fit, open kimono tops at the front can be used as one size fits all. They have no shoulder seams or front zips, so they fit in a wide range of sizes.
It is important to remember that, despite these exceptions, you may not get the ideal fit for one-size-fits-all items. Uniform clothes can do, but that doesn’t mean they’re flattering.
5. All shapes and sizes
In most cases, uniform clothes don’t really fit everyone. This can send the painful message that fitting problems are more the user’s fault than reduced size clothing. Beautiful women come in all different shapes and sizes, and it may not be unreasonable to expect a single piece of clothing to suit everyone.
B. These ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ Clothes Are Actually Size Zeroes
American Eagle joined Brandy Melville in the one-size-fits-all trend.
The notorious “one size fits all” clause is still a major point of contention in the fashion world, as it infiltrates the labels of more and more brands. The trend itself began to take shape with Brandy Melville, the popular Italian brand that recently achieved cult status in the United States.
The clothing – casual European haute couture with Coachella clothing and socially acceptable pajamas – must be accessible to a population of girls and young people aged 15 to 25. They have deprived stores like Abercrombie & Fitch and Delia of their popularity and prestige in the teen market since they arrived in Westwood, LA in 2009, but it is questionable what exactly makes cognac special. Most believe this is a one-size-fits-all scheme – what the store calls a “one-size-fits-all” joke. Dedicated salespeople and customers will say this is a good thing, as it makes shopping “easy”. An item looks good or not. History end.
The problem here, as several angry women have pointed out, is that one size does not fit all – or most, or even many. The only size available at Brandy Melville is a size restricted only to girls with a small chest and smaller waist.
The vast majority of skirts available on the Brandy website list a waist measurement from 12 “to 14” (which can stretch up to approximately 25 “). Compare this to the Urban Outfitters size chart and you will see a piece of clothing that is referred to in its size for size 0. Brandy’s extremely popular James Tank, which is available in more than 11 different colors and prints, is 19 “long with an 11” chest. These fabrics are thin with a stretch limit impressive, but they are 35 inches by themselves. for Victoria’s Secret, a one-inch breast is just the same as a 34A bra size.
Almost all models depicted in their glory with narrow hips on the site are at least 5 to 7 inches tall and have a waistline of at most 25 inches. In 2012, the CDC reported that a typical 16-year-old American is about 5 to 3 inches tall and has a waist of 31 inches. This means that the girl Brandy has so successfully promoted herself to is diminished in size by the store’s long-legged models. The waist is way beyond the size of most clothing items in the store. Although the lack of variety in sizes means that clothes tend to be loose and unstructured in a variety of body shapes, this only applies if these body shapes are smaller on the sides.
In an attempt to compete with the monopoly, cognac appears to have been based on retail for young adults, other brands have tried to embrace the LA girl, who keeps cognac in its relaxed and chic aesthetic, and it often means adopting the one size fits all all . The best known example is the pop-up American Eagle Outfitters, which recently opened its doors for summer on Broadway in SoHo and is called “Don’t Ask Why”. Visibly similar to the line available at one of two Brandy SoHo stores on the same street, the outfit “effortlessly combines the street style of New York, LA and Milan with a festival-inspired flair,” according to its American Eagle website. Each piece is only available in one size.
Perhaps the transition to one-size-fits-all retailing is a way to survive in a market that appears to have outgrown the once important clothing available at stores like Abercrombie, Wet Seal and Aeropostale. American Eagle also struggled to attract the interest of the generation of pre-teenagers and teenagers obsessed with Instagram, who mostly bought worn-out denim tops and shorts. In January 2014, AE CEO Robert Hanson was dismissed abruptly with a few words from the company, and AE president Jay Schottenstein took over as interim CEO.
In 2013, under the supervision of Mr Schottenstein, the company launched its Made In Italy line, which was very similar to the brandy aesthetic. According to a 2014 press release, after the launch of the new line, AE found that net sales increased steadily over the year. “[American Eagle] achieved higher margins and adjusted profit growth of 16% year after year in an extremely challenging and competitive market,” commented Schottenstein in the document. AE found a way to stay relevant.
Don’t ask why, in all its one-size-fits-all glory, it continues on its Broadway location until August 2015 as a great addition to the Made In Italy collection. American Eagle global brand president Chad Kessler felt that the pop-up location was a way to test the collection to see which products were worth including in global AE manufacturing.
“The line is a very easy and uncomplicated way to give our girls’ wardrobe a bolder, more modern and cooler update”, commented an intern on AE’s blog. The collection is the offshoot of the urban kid, somewhat cooler than the American Eagle classics. According to Kessler, AE will consider opening a permanent location that does not ask why the business continues to thrive.
This means that not one, but two major labels for young adults are tirelessly defending the unified mindset in SoHo. “If we do it with a size, we can see a style, adjust it once and go straight to production. This allows us to bring ideas from festivals or the street to stores faster than going through American Eagle’s more complex customization process, ”Kessler told Racked New York.
As the Brandy Girls made clear, the strategy benefits buyers by simplifying the process. But of course it’s only easy when the only size available is yours. The successful establishment of its new pop-up means that American Eagle can maintain the teen and young adult population, but at the price it costs to create clothes that exactly fit women of all sizes.