Hayley DankeComment

One size

Hayley DankeComment

Fits all? Stop lying to us. 

 Photo: Brandy Melville

Photo: Brandy Melville

One size most certainly does not fit all. I love a basic sweater from Brandy Melville as much as the next; however, sometimes my attempt to achieve that basic bitch look everyone seems to yearn for, is ceased by the company's "one size fits all" policy. 

This issue is not recent, however. Their size policy has been one size since and before I began shopping at their stores. I can recall as a middle schooler shopping at their stores. My pre-teen body was considerably smaller than my body today. I didn't have breasts, hips and booty, but I fit into their clothes effortlessly! I confidently sported the dresses, shorts, skirts and crop tops - to my mother's dismay. Then at age 14, puberty hit me like a train. The breasts, hips and yes, booty, came in full force.

In the Newport Beach Brandy Melville dressing room, I became self conscious with my appearance for the first time in my life. As I attempted to fit the "Addison", "Bianca", "Crissy" etc. tops over my new additions, I felt like a failure. I failed to mirror the beautiful and radiant in-store models. If you didn't live under a rock you knew this store was the shit. If you were not and could not be a Brandy bitch, who were you? Not a beautiful person, I convinced myself.

We graduate onto high school and Brandy Melville is still the epitome of style. Shopping at Brandy made me anxious and avoid shopping altogether. I couldn't escape it even if I tried. I would see the one size tops, shorts, skirts, pants and dresses I so desperately wanted to fit me, on my friends and the models. The marketing team behind Brandy really was genius. They did and still do picture young and "relatable" girls on all of their social media accounts, tagging the models who sponsor the brand on their own accounts. You can see the life these girls have and it undoubtedly reinforces a young girl's mind that the clothes and body were the ticket to happiness and furthermore, social acceptance. The pictures portray girls that have it all. They appear* young, beautiful and what I was seeking most: happy.

I could work with the sweaters and "flowy shorts", but when it came to everything else nothing was right, everything was tight. I tried every tactic in the book - and then some - to fit in the clothes: wearing too-tight bras, taping the girls down, not eating almonds for two years (I thought they promoted breast growth) and even begging my mom for a breast reduction. My mom didn't budge, but the girls did.

While I accepted my fate, I still didn't accept myself. There were constant reminders of everything I wasn't and never could be that haunted me everyday in high school. Brandy Melville's appeal eventually faded to my friend group as we got older, but my insecurities remained persistent. I couldn't wear anything, go anywhere, even in my depersonalized and frumpy school uniform, without feeling insecure. It was an unhealthy mindset I let fester for far too many years. Sure, not everyone I knew at the time was Brandy Melville model level genetically gifted, but I still felt dissatisfied and there was nothing my loving mother could say or do that would help. I didn't love myself on the basis of trying to conform to the standards of Instagram models. 

It took a very, very, very long time for me to begin to feel comfortable with myself - a year ago I don't think I would have shared this. I can't pinpoint exactly what or who helped spark a small flame of confidence and self worth in myself, but I'm glad it happened. I began to realize that one size does not fit all and that is a damn good thing. How absurdly boring would that be if we were all the same? It breaks my heart that the one size policy is still in effect, inhibiting young, and healthy, I might add, girls from feeling beautiful in their own skin. I found clothes that fit all of my body and made me feel like the brilliant, bad-ass and ballsy woman that I am, and so can you!

I HAVE BIG BOOBS, HIPS THAT DON'T LIE, AN ASS.... AND I'M PROUD AS HELL! It's in my genes and should I be lucky enough to raise a daughter one day, I will do everything in my power to make sure she knows that there is no standard for physical beauty; true beauty radiates from within. I will celebrate and encourage her and every woman size 0 to infinity to love their undeniably beautiful and unique body!

The very best,

H