We all know that feeling.
That feeling when you suck in your stomach to make the button of your jeans fit through the loop, or when you take a picture and hold your breath. In this world, popularity and trends have made girls with rounder hips and thighs that kiss believe that one size can fit all.
This is false advertising. It’s a literal rip-off of women’s bodies. Morphing ourselves into clothes that can’t fit and believing the dream that advertisements sell us. Where we fit into clothes effortlessly without having to hold our breath.
It raises the question: why do we fall for the same tricks over and over? You can return a piece of clothing but there’s no return policy for the embarrassment you felt. Then again, not everyone’s round, so this doesn’t apply for those who fit this phrase, but many of us wish the warning on the tag came with a finer print of what we’re being sold: Lies.
We feed into the idea that drinking Coca-Cola can make us happier, that breath mints make you active, or getting a credit card means you can solve all your problems.
What is the correlation between these products and ideas? Between the clothes they are selling and the idea that one size fits all? Nothing, because there is no correlation.
Advertisements sell and phrases make us believe. They want to sell us the ultimate happiness but at what cost? You feel great going in to buy some clothes just to find out it doesn’t hug your skin in the comforting ways that you thought when you saw the advertisement.
Brandy Melville. A known brand especially for our students here at SAS. A line
of basic clothing that has become more and more popular over the years. There isn’t a struggle of shuffling through racks to find your size because most shoppers have the body to fit Melville’s clothing. Maybe it’s the first line of clothing to be exclusive of certain sizes. But is it the only one? It can’t be. Although their phrase says one size does fit all, the way it fits other body types proves otherwise.
One afternoon, I was walking past the countless shops in Orchard when I thought, why not interview someone who works at Melville and see what they might think of it? So I went inside the store and looked at a few selections of clothing. Instantaneously, I knew from the touch of the fabric, that they would not hug my body in a comfortable way.
I look at the fine print once again. “One Size”.
Maybe the word “fit” is a bit of a stretch.
Maybe you can put it on your body, but it looks unpleasing. I spot a worker who was observing everyone else as they pick the clothes off the racks, try them on, then throw them into plastic bins to be folded. I approach this lady and casually start a conversation. Halfway into the conversation, I tell her I’m here for the school paper and asked if she was okay with me keeping a record of our conversation. She agreed on the account of staying anonymous.
“Do a lot of people come in here and buy these clothes?,” I ask.
“Every day. These people spend loads and loads of money on these clothes, but I guess it’s because it’s simply stylish,” she adds.
“Yeah, I guess so. I don’t really shop here because most of the clothes don’t fit right, although it makes me believe otherwise,” I state.
“You have to keep in mind that it sells. It sells because you think it could fit every body type and to me, that sounds crazy. I’ve tried clothes here before because as a worker. We have to promote it by wearing it. The only thing that fit me in here was the crop top sweaters. It’s disappointing when I think of it–to cheat people,” she expresses.
“Is Brandy Melville the only store that’s exclusive to other sizes? I believe that it could fit the norm of Asian people; that they have tiny bodies. I don’t know anywhere else that this exists. Do you have an idea?,” I wonder as I ask her.
“Oh, but of course. I mean look at South Korea. Most of their stores have clothing that are solely one size fits all. Maybe that’s because the obesity rate is lower than the US. In South Korea, it’s harder for a woman who has a little extra weight because from what I’ve heard the starting point for a plus-size is a Korean 66, which is an 8 in the US,” she states.
“Wow, I didn’t know that. Thank you for speaking with me,” I said.
I walked back to the MRT, confused and lost in my thoughts. I went back home and started researching. In the search bar, I type “One Size Fits All, the only stores in South Korea”. I came across an article on RACKED and her facts checked out. [Article]
In the article, it states that although there are, “sweeping statements about body size are rarely accurate, there is some truth to that sentiment.”
They state that although South Korea has one of the lower rates of obesity compared to the US, it does not mean that plus size women don’t exist. The article highlights a plus-size American writer who lived in Seoul for nearly six years and described options for a plus size woman as, “garbage, acrylic nonsense that they markup.” What baffles me is the idea that, “many “plus-size” Korean women would be considered skinny by Western standards and still face a hostile, fat-shaming attitude in their own country.
By their standards, I’d be a plus size – despite being considered rather average by Western standards. Melville isn’t the culprit here, but an accomplice. An accomplice that continues to sell lies day after day. After my research, I concluded that it wasn’t fair to target Melville’s clothing solely. There are many other stores but this one was the most popular among SAS students. I completely agree that they have beautiful clothing and trendy accessories, but wouldn’t it be nice to share that with the rest of the women in this world? We have a voice and need to use it together. Otherwise, we’re no better than the culprit.