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Brandy Melville from a teen's and a mom's perspective

Brandy Melville from a teen's and a mom's perspective

Mom's Perspective-

I have to be honest, I knew nothing about Brandy Melville until my tween started talking non-stop about it and asked me to take her there because she was "dying" to shop there like her friends do.  I, of course, listened to endless chatter about how cool it was and how the nearest one was in San Diego --which is an hour away from us--(she Googled it so she could locate it). So, I did what most tween moms would do. I said, "Sure, let's take a weekend trip and check it out." 

We called the cousins to join us for our little shopping trip to the south and set out on our adventure with four eager teens in tow (ranging from fifteen to twelve).  My nieces are all beautiful young women ranging in age, style, and personality; all of them had heard about this shop and were also eager to go scope it out with us for the first time too. My daughter had mentioned in her many chats that it was an O/S or "one size" shop, but I wasn't honestly grasping that and thought maybe she was misunderstanding the sizing or the concept she had heard, but after about five minutes of walking into the store, I realized she was spot on.  

At first glance, the shop seemed cute and like any other fast fashion tween/teen retailer with fun music playing, cute salesgirls and loads of other mamas and their eager tweens. The tweens roaming around giggling and holding up shirts while heading off to the dressing rooms in hopes to find some new clothes. I quickly realized this wasn't your average shop. Brandy Melville clearly caters to a very small range of tweens and teens (who, in my best guess, would have to be under a size 4 to fit into their clothing comfortably, let alone at all)! 

My beautiful daughter is only 12. She's about 5'4" and over 100 lbs now with a budding (not yet bust). She's slim with strong legs from dancing and your average-sized 12-year-old girl. It was hard-pressed to find much that I would deem wearable for her or much that would actually fit her outside of the "oversized" sweats and a handful of tees.  She didn't even try a pair of their button pants or jeans because she said "they wouldn't fit" and I have to agree with her on that. She did find a few tops that were stretchy and cropped (not my favorite) but, I agreed to let her purchase the handful of items she found.  My other two nieces (who are twins) are completely different. One isn't really into fashion. She would rather buy Legos and games with her money than clothing any day. The other is very petite and the clothing, while it did fit her, was a little too revealing in most styles for her liking so she settled on only three items. Which included a pair of sweats, a tee, and a cardigan.  That left my 15 year old niece who's 5'4" and wears a size medium.  

We chatted together about how ridiculous the store was to only offer O/S and how even the oversized stuff wasn't all that oversized. So, it's still not a true one size fits most which was pretty upsetting, especially to a tween and teen girl. I put myself in their shoes at that age. I wouldn't have been able to wear much of anything in that shop at all, was I overweight as a teen? No, but I was surely not a 0-2 and rail-thin like Kate Moss back in the day.  

I can't help but be disgusted by a shop that offers such small, limited, and very specific sizes that are not inclusive of today's young girls. It truly makes me wonder if this isn't causing a new wave of tween and teen eating disorders to fill those "Brandy" versions they so desire to fit into? Thankfully my nieces are very body positive as is my own daughter and they laughed off the small sizes at lunch while we ate local burritos followed by The Baked Bear ice cream sandwiches. Because, hello, we were in Pacific Beach and burritos and ice cream are a must. Regardless, my mama heart still couldn't let it go. While on the drive back, I chatted with my eldest niece and asked her for her true thoughts on how the shop made her feel.  

Below is her contribution to this blog and I'm so very proud of her for coming into the office and helping me with this post. 

Teen's Perspective-

Brandy Melville has set the trend for the "ideal" teen body, but just how ideal is it really. Brandy only caters to one type of body that would have to be between a size 0-2 and have about a 24-inch waist. For me, I go into Brandy Melville and have to laugh at the sizes. Most of them look like they could fit a doll, but I know for some girls it isn't that easy.

Sierra Schultzzie did a video  about Brandy Melville and the size comparison between a size 2 and a size 12.

 

It was very eye-opening into the world of Brandy Melville and just how one size it really is. Looking back on my middle school-self, I know that this store would have really gotten to me. The brand is targeting girls at their most vulnerable and insecure state, ensuring that they will have to buy their clothes to "fit in". Brandy has set an unrealistic body type to imagine and it's scary that girls think that is how they are supposed to look. I feel that this store is pushing eating disorders, because how else are you supposed to realistically fit into the clothes? It is definitely aggravating walking in there and seeing that only 10% of the clothes could fit me. I can't even begin to imagine how the girls who can't fit into any of it feel. The clothes at Brandy don't take into account that we have bones, we eat, and we are living human beings. Although I am very body positive and I don't really care what size I am, it is definitely disheartening to not be able to fit into their clothes because, after all, I am a teenager. All of my friends wear Brandy and regardless of what I say, I do want to fit in. Obviously, size is just a number and it does not define you, but sometimes it feels like it does. What is very upsetting is the fact that the top question asked about Brandy Melville on Google is, "Can I fit into Brandy Melville?" It is truly sad to see that this is what society thinks a teenager should be. No girl should ever feel like she can't fit in because of her size or what she looks like. Society's beauty standards are unrealistic, sick, and twisted. I feel bad for girls walking in there, like myself. I wear a medium in juniors, and that's the average size of a teenage girl. Walking into stores like Brandy Melville makes us feel bad about ourselves like we aren't thin enough or pretty enough. As a young girl, it is definitely hard to feel confident when stores like these exist. Personally, I don't let it get to me too much because after all if my friends don't want me for me then I don't want those friends. For others though, it is hard to let stuff like that go, as a young woman it can feel very lonely and I understand that feeling. The last thing you want to do is be different from anyone else.

With that said, a size is just a number and it does not define you no matter what others say. Personality and kindness will be what shines about you.

Comments

Allie

Oh, please. does EVERYTHING have to get ruined by the social justice warriers? My daughter found stylish clothes that fit her and she isn’t trying to hide her figure flaws? So what? If someone is overweight and doesn’t feel like they like this store, go somewhere else. I personally loved not having to back and forth finding a million different sizes.

MaryF

I don’t get this debate or discussion at all. If the store is geared towards very small teen girls who have trouble finding trendy clothes in their sizes, what is the issue. I do not consider that to be “fat shaming”. I consider this to be a specialty store. Just like olus size girls/women have specialty stores. Just because they do not carry clothes for the average teen does not mean they are anti-“average” size girls. They should not have to accomodate or cater to any other sizes. Petite girls deserve their own store since for decades they have had to shop in the kids departments of stores because they couldn’t wear clothes sold in the junior/womens department of most stores. There are hundreds of stores for the average teen to shop in. Small girls have very few options. Specialty stores serve a purpose. Let them have their place. Geesh!

Karin

I would have loved Brandy Melville when I was a teenager/young adult, mainly because the clothes are exctily the style I wanted to wear then (late 80’s early 90’s). But also because I was tiny and skinny and many brands didn’t carry my size (even the smallest size was too big).
I’ve always been a big eater, but with healthy eating habits since childhood (thanks mum and dad for baking and cooking from scratch!), but the only time I brushed on an eating disorder was after I put on a lot of weight in a short time, weight that didn’t feel like me (I could’t run and jump like I was used to, and got really tired just walking in stairs). Fortunately that was only for a brief period (and no eating disorders since).
I had never heard of the brand until today when I needed a new t-shirt/top and walked past a shop, went in and realised I was the only adult who wasn’t there with a teenage kid (strange feeling!). Most clothes aren’t my style anymore but I did find a top that is, so I got it.
I have to disagree, you do NOT have to have a eating disorder to fit in the clothes, there are quite a few naturally slim women who need smaller sized clothes throughout life (I’m 48), but I do agree that it’s dismissive and must be offensive/feel discriminating especially for heavier built/larger framed teenagers. I wish they carried more sizes for all the young girls who are bigger than a size xs/s.
However, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s always easy for petite girls and women to find clothes that fit well (I learned to sew my own clothes because I got fed up with trying on too big clothes, only to find none left in my size or the smallest size too big). I do think this shop can be a relief for many, just like it’s probably just the opposite for others.

hey

this is coming from a tween, who’s 5’0 and 90 lbs. i own some brandy melville. but i agree, they should be more size-inclusive. almost all their models r white, and only like one is a person of color. they also pay their workers by their looks (if they r more “pReTtY” then they’ll get paid more.) brandy melville sets unrealistic expectations that you have to be skinny to fit into their clothing. and when someone can’t fit into their clothing, they might wanna lose weight in order to buy more from brandy. also, even though there’s so many one size stores out there, brandy melville sells xs-s (markets it as one size fits all, however one size obviously doesn’t fit all.) many girls and young women aren’t in the xs-s size range, which is COMPLETELY normal. however brandy doesn’t think so. also, some of their clothing are a size medium, like their jeans, and very few of their tops. and it’s a bit overpriced too. (hoodies r $35-$45, tops r $12-$25, and outerwear (overalls and denim jackets) r $40-$55.

hey

this is coming from a tween, who’s 5’0 and 90 lbs. i own some brandy melville. but i agree, they should be more size-inclusive. almost all their models r white, and only like one is a person of color. they also pay their workers by their looks (if they r more “pReTtY” then they’ll get paid more.) brandy melville sets unrealistic expectations that you have to be skinny to fit into their clothing. and when someone can’t fit into their clothing, they might wanna lose weight in order to buy more from brandy. also, even though there’s so many one size stores out there, brandy melville sells xs-s (markets it as one size fits all, however one size obviously doesn’t fit all.) many girls and young women aren’t in the xs-s size range, which is COMPLETELY normal. however brandy doesn’t think so. also, some of their clothing are a size medium, like their jeans, and very few of their tops. and it’s a bit overpriced too. (hoodies r $35-$45, tops r $12-$25, and outerwear (overalls and denim jackets) r $40-$55.

hey

this is coming from a tween, who’s 5’0 and 90 lbs. i own some brandy melville. but i agree, they should be more size-inclusive. almost all their models r white, and only like one is a person of color. they also pay their workers by their looks (if they r more “pReTtY” then they’ll get paid more.) brandy melville sets unrealistic expectations that you have to be skinny to fit into their clothing. and when someone can’t fit into their clothing, they might wanna lose weight in order to buy more from brandy. also, even though there’s so many one size stores out there, brandy melville sells xs-s (markets it as one size fits all, however one size obviously doesn’t fit all.) many girls and young women aren’t in the xs-s size range, which is COMPLETELY normal. however brandy doesn’t think so. also, some of their clothing are a size medium, like their jeans, and very few of their tops. and it’s a bit overpriced too. (hoodies r $35-$45, tops r $12-$25, and outerwear (overalls and denim jackets) r $40-$55.

Vanessa

I am quite tiny and honestly I like Brandy Melville clothes. I don’t like that it’s only one size and even though I can fit in most Brandy clothes I wish they had more sizes because even I have a hard time finding clothes that fit nicely and aren’t too big. And I hate to admit because I don’t support their ethics but I mostly buy Brandy for a number of reasons. To me it seems like after they faced a peak of backlash in 2020 they did change their sizes. I think they used to be more xs/s but now most their stuff is around a medium.

Ara Kim

Although I somewhat agree with you, I think that because the brand is based in Italy, and Europeans are generally very slim, I don’t think this is too out of the norm. Personally, as someone who’s 5’6 and 100 pounds and very slim, it’s nice to have a store that caters to people with bodies like me.

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