Going shopping for female-presenting people who wear a size 12 and lower is easy. They can shop all over the mall and don’t have to worry if anything is not going to fit.
Even though the average American woman’s “normal size” is a size 16-18, it’s an agonizing and humiliating experience to not find clothes that fit you.
We both don’t wear conventional sizes and understand the struggle young women have faced. We all have felt a wave of emotions during a multitude of shopping trips. These experiences are never perfect, and we are often left empty-handed. This makes everyone feel invisible and not valued.
Companies brand themselves as being “size inclusive.” Size inclusive means that companies are producing more sizes above an XL in stores. But most companies are on the opposite end of the spectrum. These brands only go up to a size XL, which only fit a small number of people. According to an article by Hillary Geroge-Parkin, “Plunkett Research estimates that 68 percent of American women wear a size 14 or above.” In most stores, XL is the biggest size.
We understand how most young women feel when a retail employee tells them that an XL is their biggest size in stores and online. We all want to shop in these trendy places like our peers , but are discouraged when we learn XL is the biggest size.
One clothing brand that isn’t size inclusive is the newly launched Kylie Swim. The store was designed to be a new line of swimwear with adjustable features that was advertised with women of all different shapes and sizes. Yet, the biggest size offered is a size 14.
Looking closer into Kylie Swim’s size chart, there is a flaw with the sizing. When looking at the sizing chart in its FAQ part of the website, XL is within a range of size 14 to 16. However, looking at each individual swimsuit, there is a different size chart which shows an XL only going up to a size 12.
One clothing company that grinds the gears of all plus-size women is Brandy Melville. The European brand claims it is “one size fits all,” which isn’t true. Influencers, parents and teens have called it out countless times for being a one-size-fits-all.
“Brandy Melville’s one size is creating a reputation which applies being small or extra small is a reward for wearing their clothing” said Mia George in a Medium article. Females who are larger than the one-size-fits-all shape are shamed into being an outcast in the brand’s eyes.
Companies like Brandy Melville are body shaming women and telling the public that we have to be S or XS to wear its clothing.
This type of influence on young women causes all sorts of problems in the long run. They could develop mental issues and eating disorders. Images from social media are often the cause of body dysmorphia, a complex disorder which is characterized by one’s obsessive idea of being severely flawed.
Companies have been advertising with what they think are plus-size models who just wear a size 10. While models who are plus size, are being put on the back burner because they are too big. Most girls who are plus size look up to these models but not to the media. Social media and companies convey that being small is better. But in reality, this concept is messing with the young and impressionable minds of American plus-size youth.
The impact of having non-inclusive clothing doesn’t just affect whether or not people on the curvier side are able to get fashionable and trendy clothes, but it also leaves a mark on society.
When today’s youth see people who don’t reflect them and the people around them, they may begin to question themselves. Many of us have experienced personal thoughts telling us that we were too big for nice clothes. Why should we shrink ourselves to fit into a fashion society that wouldn’t accept us?
However, something positive has come out of this. Body positivity is a social media movement about loving the bodies we are in. A recent trend of the last nine years coming from companies trying to expand their brands. Now, companies in 2020 like Old Navy, which expanded their store line from a size zero to 28 in stores. And Target is selling its entire size range in stores.
Future generations of teens hopefully won’t have to experience dreadful shopping trips like we did. Hopefully, they can shop in every store in the mall — unlike us.