all women's bodies weren't created equal
December 4, 2014 11:46 AM   Subscribe

 
The best part of this is the women's comments. "You had one job, jersey dress."
posted by corb at 11:51 AM on December 4, 2014 [44 favorites]


What ugly clothes. Women of all sizes and tastes should shop somewhere else. They deserve better. In fact, women and men deserve to be celebrated and feel empowered by the clothing they acquire, by what ever means, whatever emporium they choose. The world is not black, white and grey.
posted by Oyéah at 11:54 AM on December 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


Corb beat me too it. That was the sixth woman, Kristen. She had the best comments. I'm just going to put some more of hers here:

This feels like a piece of clothing that wanted to be a shirt but got bored and quit halfway through.

Why would anyone make a stretchy jersey dress with tightly sewn together, non-stretchy straps? You had one job, jersey dress.

I thought I’d be embarrassed about wearing this shirt. But honestly, the shirt is the one who should be embarrassed, for thinking that it could call itself a shirt, instead of what it actually is: one-fourth of a halter dress, on a good day, with the right bra.

This is hands down the fanciest diaper I have ever worn.

posted by emjaybee at 11:55 AM on December 4, 2014 [65 favorites]


I liked Kristin's “This is hands down the fanciest diaper I have ever worn.”
posted by Corinth at 11:55 AM on December 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


That girl Lara, on the top right, just looks so frightened of everything.
posted by ourt at 11:57 AM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


This is great not just for the photos but for the comments from the women trying on the clothes: "This is hands down the fanciest diaper I have ever worn."

Though one of them could use an anatomy lesson. Her vagina isn't at risk of falling out of any of those clothes barring horrific medical problems.
posted by asperity at 11:58 AM on December 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


Damn. I am slow typing on a touchscreen.
posted by asperity at 12:00 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


YO, BOOBS, stay in your assigned seat.

Every day of my life.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:00 PM on December 4, 2014 [40 favorites]


Now do one for hats!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:02 PM on December 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


The word "vagina," in common parlance, is frequently synonymous with the vulva. Forget it, asperity; it's Descriptivismtown.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:05 PM on December 4, 2014 [20 favorites]


Women don't call it that because they are stupid and don't understand their own anatomy. It's a culturally accepted shorthand that does not need to be sniffily corrected at every opportunity.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:07 PM on December 4, 2014 [135 favorites]


Lara's expression. So much disgust.
posted by GuyZero at 12:07 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Women don't call it that because they are stupid and don't understand their own anatomy.

You might be surprised. (Though I agree with the needlessness of falling over ourselves to correct it.)
posted by obfuscation at 12:11 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sheridan's comment about the dress: “I’m sure it would have looked great if it fit over my head — it probably would have been a crop top for me. I don’t see this working on someone who has curves; it’s very much a dress for the traditional model-type of body.” This is me every fucking time I want to buy a dress and end up in tears in the dressing room because I can't fit it over my bust. Like, it's totally cool to make a dress or top's bust area awesome for ladies with small boobs but anything over a certain bust size that doesn't have an accompanying smaller frame (I envy you, my large-boobed sisters that do not have a squashy middle) means I WANT TO BURN THE STORE TO THE GROUND.
posted by Kitteh at 12:12 PM on December 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


Step off my vag, Madge.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:12 PM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


This is why we have dressing rooms. I wish sizing was regulated by an FDA-like agency sometimes.
posted by oceanjesse at 12:14 PM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Pff. I can't escape the inevitable mental image of body horror/vaginal prolapse whenever I see that usage. Also, having different words to describe different body parts is useful, and I refuse to let popular usage erase mine.
posted by asperity at 12:15 PM on December 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


Women don't call it that because they are stupid and don't understand their own anatomy. It's a culturally accepted shorthand that does not need to be sniffily corrected at every opportunity.

The number of fights I have had taking this stance. It never, ever works, though it has convinced me to not use the word vulva just because it annoys people so much if I use the word vagina instead.
posted by jeather at 12:16 PM on December 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


thelonius that is a problem for women's socks too. (Although at least standard men's socks fit my big lady feet perfectly!)
posted by insoluble uncertainty at 12:18 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Honestly? This is dumb. Those stores are for teens. Having grown women, and larger grown women at that mock the clothing isn't very cool. There's enough hating on teen girls without a bunch of women who should know better ripping time for being young, thin and able to wear any daft thing their peer group decides.
posted by fshgrl at 12:20 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Though one of them could use an anatomy lesson. Her vagina isn't at risk of falling out of any of those clothes barring horrific medical problems.

Stop trying to make vulva happen. It's not going to happen.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:21 PM on December 4, 2014 [82 favorites]


What, you think teens don't come in size 10? I had hit my adult height and weight by freshman year of high school.
posted by ostro at 12:21 PM on December 4, 2014 [91 favorites]


Just wanted to point out that they're specifically wearing Brandy Melville, which only comes in one size.

It's less of a clothing line, more of a particularly sadistic misogyny in the form of crappy clothes sold to impressionable children.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:22 PM on December 4, 2014 [34 favorites]


It's not going to happen.

My undercarriage disagrees.
posted by asperity at 12:22 PM on December 4, 2014 [9 favorites]




Just wanted to point out that they're specifically wearing Brandy Melville, which only comes in one size.

Right. Average teenage girl size. I never could wear most of this stuff as a teen because I'm too tall but I don't see the need to hate on cheap clothes aimed at a pretty homogeneous group. And the styles are nothing a grown up should be wearing, barring possibly the t-shirt

To clarify the whole articles comes across as "fuck you young women, you deserve nothing that is just for you".
posted by fshgrl at 12:26 PM on December 4, 2014


Oh, I assure you, as a teen I would have fit in as much of these clothes as Kristin but would have had a much less appealing attitude about it.
posted by rewil at 12:26 PM on December 4, 2014 [16 favorites]


Honestly? This is dumb. Those stores are for teens. Having grown women, and larger grown women at that mock the clothing isn't very cool. There's enough hating on teen girls without a bunch of women who should know better ripping time for being young, thin and able to wear any daft thing their peer group decides.

The point of the article isn't to hate on teen girls. It is highlighting the absurdity of claims that one size would fit all/most of a decidedly non-homogenous group. The last time I was a teen girl, my peer group and I weren't all the same height, weight, or body shape. Far from it.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:28 PM on December 4, 2014 [62 favorites]


fshgrl, the problem is that this is a thing that is specifically and explicitly not for a lot of young women, namely the larger ones, who also deserve to have nice things.
posted by Andrhia at 12:28 PM on December 4, 2014 [32 favorites]


To clarify the whole articles comes across as "fuck you young women, you deserve nothing that is just for you".

It seems the exact opposite to me, more like, "fuck you, stupid clothing line, for being so contemptuous of your target market."
posted by Mavri at 12:30 PM on December 4, 2014 [58 favorites]


Making fun of things sold to teens isn't the same as making fun of teens.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:30 PM on December 4, 2014 [30 favorites]


Right. Average teenage girl size. I never could wear most of this stuff as a teen because I'm too tall but I don't see the need to hate on cheap clothes aimed at a pretty homogeneous group.

Um, because teenage girls come in all different sizes, and a 'one size fits most' store is even more exclusionary than regular stores targeting teens?

Because is encourages disordered attitudes toward bodies at a very impressionable age?

And it does so for money?
posted by leotrotsky at 12:30 PM on December 4, 2014 [59 favorites]


Average teenage girl size.

Can you imagine being a size 10 or 12 teenager whose friends want to shop at this store and you can choose to head off to Sears or to awkwardly look through racks of clothes, knowing none of it is for you? Because that would have been me in HS, if such a terrible concept store had existed at the time.

Also, size 0 is not really average, and yet the woman who has that size is the only one who consistently looks semi-normal in all of the clothes.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:30 PM on December 4, 2014 [67 favorites]


Do I understand this correctly. The current trend for guys' clothing seems to be well fitting, practically tailored bespoke* 18 piece suits with oh hell, White Rabbit vests and watches, or flannel and beards grown only in the Canadian Shield under a full moon that were harvested with a homemade ax, complete with shaving stores just for them and their minuscule patch of skin, and the new trend for women's clothing is. . . one size fits all stores? And I'm supposed to wrestle my boobs into this idea?

And the thread about it devolves into a discussion of vagina versus vulva usage?

Geez, I don't care, I'm going to take the rage cultivating in my vagina and my vulva and my poor, poor boobs that have been twisted into old school telephone cord tangles for far too long with regular clothing and burn this store to the ground.

That is, if I understand this correctly.

*No idea what bespoke actually means. Is it something that happens to sailors when they misbehave?
posted by barchan at 12:31 PM on December 4, 2014 [46 favorites]


> And the thread about it devolves into a discussion of vagina versus vulva usage

We're having fun with one of the funny comments. It isn't a derail.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:34 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Average teen girl size" is 5' 3" and a 0-2?

Ha ha no. You are wrong.

Fifth and sixth grade girls maybe, but I still suspect not.
posted by Squeak Attack at 12:35 PM on December 4, 2014 [24 favorites]


Also, it annoys some of us when women are mocked for using absolutely fine vernacular speech about their own bodies. (Though this case wasn't specifically mocking.)
posted by jeather at 12:36 PM on December 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Those stores are for teens. Having grown women, and larger grown women at that mock the clothing isn't very cool.

Kristin: "This literally would not have fit me as an 8-year-old."
posted by Etrigan at 12:37 PM on December 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


The current trend for guys' clothing seems to be well fitting, practically tailored bespoke* 18 piece suits with....

For teen guys? I work with college freshmen and the teen boys uniform is, as it has been for years, a t-shirt and baggy shorts. Especially those synthetic floppy basketball shorts. God, I hate those.
posted by Squeak Attack at 12:37 PM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


I do not get why any clothing store would sell only one size. Why are they limiting their market share so drastically? Don't they want to make money?
posted by orange swan at 12:38 PM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Those stores are for teens. Having grown women, and larger grown women at that mock the clothing isn't very cool.

So are we allowed to mock anything aimed at a demographic, or does it always devolve into mocking that demographic itself and not the company making that thing?
posted by jeather at 12:39 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


I do not get why any clothing store would sell only one size. Why are they limiting their market share so drastically? Don't they want to make money?
posted by orange swan at 2:38 PM on December 4


My guess is that someone did some math somewhere and calculated how much money they would save in design, production, and marketing by having to design, cut, manufacture, label, store, ship and display only one size. They then probably added in some novelty concept value. Then they deducted how much business they would lose from those who fall outside their audience, and the scales showed it was a good idea.
posted by dios at 12:43 PM on December 4, 2014 [26 favorites]


I do not get why any clothing store would sell only one size. Why are they limiting their market share so drastically? Don't they want to make money?

A lot of fashion does seem to be driven by hatred of anybody outfitted without the perfect model's body.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:46 PM on December 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


Kristin: “This feels like a piece of clothing that wanted to be a shirt but got bored and quit halfway through.”
A++
posted by verb at 12:46 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jeather, I apologize. *glumly* I expected more mocking at the company too and my attempt at humor was in poor taste.
posted by barchan at 12:46 PM on December 4, 2014


Right. Average teenage girl size. I never could wear most of this stuff as a teen because I'm too tall but I don't see the need to hate on cheap clothes aimed at a pretty homogeneous group.

So wait, you clearly were aware that "teenage girl" was not a homogeneous group when YOU were in it, but now, it is somehow?

FWIW, none of this shit would ever have fit ANY of my friends when we were teenagers. Because none of us were exactly 5'6" and a size 0 with absolutely no boobs whatsoever.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:48 PM on December 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


I do not get why any clothing store would sell only one size. Why are they limiting their market share so drastically? Don't they want to make money?

It's a prestige thing. It becomes "aspirational" to fit into the clothes. So the girls who do fit the tiny size will wear it, in part, specifically because the other girls cannot. It means they are better.

This is why the store should be shamed and burned to the ground.
posted by ohisee at 12:49 PM on December 4, 2014 [77 favorites]


I do not get why any clothing store would sell only one size. Why are they limiting their market share so drastically? Don't they want to make money?

Aside from dios's excellent points, I wonder how much "One Size Fits All" is intended to communicate to women, "If this fits you today, it will still fit you when you put on a few pounds over the holidays / lose a few pounds for swimsuit season."
posted by Etrigan at 12:51 PM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I do not get why any clothing store would sell only one size. Why are they limiting their market share so drastically? Don't they want to make money?

Because the one size they sell, in stretchy fabrics, DOES fit the majority of their demographic. I am not part of their demographic but as a teenager, probably 75% of my friends could have fit these fine.

Remember 5-7-9? It's the same thing but with more spandex.

Trust me, as a woman who would be tall in Holland I get how irritating shopping is. I literally cannot wear like 90% of US women's clothing. But this is still extremely mean spirited mocking of a thing that belongs to teenage girls. And I don't like it.
posted by fshgrl at 12:52 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Aside from dios's excellent points, I wonder how much "One Size Fits All" is intended to communicate to women, "If this fits you today, it will still fit you when you put on a few pounds over the holidays / lose a few pounds for swimsuit season."

Hahahahahahaha nope. I promise you, no teenage girl's clothing store ever was designed with the idea of making teenage girls feel more comfortable about their changing bodies.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:52 PM on December 4, 2014 [53 favorites]


I always associate one-size fits all with either cheaply made, poorly cut, spandex-containing clothing or with items such as hats and scarves.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 12:54 PM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Average teenage girl size.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the idea of "average teen girl size" is totally bogus. Teen girls, like all other humans, come in a variety of sizes.
My guess is that someone did some math somewhere and calculated how much money they would save in design, production, and marketing by having to design, cut, manufacture, label, store, ship and display only one size.
My guess is that it's designed to make thin girls feel like members of an exclusive club because they're among the elect who can shop there. It's actually sort of brilliant, but it's evil and deserves to be mocked and criticized.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:54 PM on December 4, 2014 [19 favorites]


Related: This article about why Abercrombie doesn't (didn't?) stock XL or XXL sizes.

Quote from Abercrombie CEO: '“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids...A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."'
posted by ohisee at 12:54 PM on December 4, 2014 [27 favorites]


It's not mocking a thing that belongs to teenage girls, oh my god. It's mocking a thing that exists to make teenage girls feel bad about their bodies.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:57 PM on December 4, 2014 [87 favorites]


My guess is that it's designed to make thin girls feel like members of an exclusive club because they're among the elect who can shop there.

How does shopping at a place that advertises "One Size Fits All/Most" put you in an exclusive club?
posted by Etrigan at 12:57 PM on December 4, 2014


This isn't a thing that "belongs" to teen girls. It's a thing that is marketed to them. They're really not the same.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:58 PM on December 4, 2014 [33 favorites]


this is still extremely mean spirited mocking of a thing that belongs to teenage girls.

Are you implying that the founder of this company is teenage girls? Or that teenage girls design the clothes? Or run the franchises? Because we are not making fun of teenage girls. We are making fun of corporate decisions to try to appeal to teenage girls by implying that tiny is the best sort of girl to be.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:58 PM on December 4, 2014 [18 favorites]


How does shopping at a place that advertises "One Size Fits All/Most" put you in an exclusive club?

When the "one size" actually fits only the very thinnest and fittest, and more importantly, *everyone knows this.*
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:59 PM on December 4, 2014 [19 favorites]


How does shopping at a place that advertises "One Size Fits All/Most" put you in an exclusive club?

As it turns out, that particular line is not necessarily true.
posted by jeather at 1:00 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


When the "one size" actually fits only the very thinnest and fittest,

Not necessarily the fittest. I was an athlete in high school and my thighs were strong and substantial. I've never come close to fitting into a size 0.
posted by ohisee at 1:01 PM on December 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Not necessarily the fittest. I was an athlete in high school and my thighs were strong and substantial.

That's a good point--I was thinking more along the lines of the spandex in, say, those booty shorts/fancy diaper being unkind to anyone whose body wasn't like 88% muscle, but yeah, unless your muscles looked just absolutely right, you're *still* fucked.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:03 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Those clothes are hella ugly, even on Allison's size 0. Teenager-me would have enjoyed seeing this, instead of feeling depressed about not fitting into anything at Hollister, like Lara.

Anyway, I want to be friends with all these women! My favorite was Candace's comment: “I felt like I was wearing a small box. Like if I was SpongeBob and needed a gray crop top, it would be perfect."
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:04 PM on December 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


I expected more mocking at the company too and my attempt at humor was in poor taste.

I actually liked the first part, I just wanted to explain why I reflexively jump in to usage discussions. (Also I thought it wasn't nice to comment on the woman who gamely tried on all the clothing and took photos of herself for the internet's word choices.)

Anyways we're all on insulting the store now, so all's well.
posted by jeather at 1:05 PM on December 4, 2014


Quote from Abercrombie CEO: '“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids...A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."'

That man is so twisted up inside with contempt and self-hatred that the world will be better when he is in the ground. His obsession with youth and vigor has not served him well as he has aged.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:05 PM on December 4, 2014 [15 favorites]


"Trust me, as a woman who would be tall in Holland I get how irritating shopping is. I literally cannot wear like 90% of US women's clothing. But this is still extremely mean spirited mocking of a thing that belongs to teenage girls. And I don't like it."

I don't think there's been such a vociferous defense of Brandy Melville outside of pro-ana boards.

But you're flatly wrong: The median American girl, according to the CDC (PDF), would outgrow the 25-inch (63.5 cm) waist measurement of BM clothes by age 10. By age 13, it would fit only 5 percent of girls.
posted by klangklangston at 1:07 PM on December 4, 2014 [56 favorites]


Quote from Abercrombie CEO: '“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids...A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."'

Gee, I wonder where all the eating disorders, self hatred, and fuel for bullying in teen and adult society could possibly come from. But its all OK because it makes A&F lotsa money. Sleep well, CEO, sleep well.
posted by bearwife at 1:10 PM on December 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids...A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."

Is that real? That's horrifying.
posted by NMcCoy at 1:10 PM on December 4, 2014


Sure, this store caters to teen girls who are young and thin and able to wear any daft thing their peer group demands, but as many have pointed out already "young and thin and able to wear" and "teen girl" are two sets that do not in fact overlap as well as you say. So you end up with teen girls who can't shop at this store that so boldly claims its sizes fit "all", which makes them think about who exactly they are if they are not the teen girl they're supposed to be. As it happens this is well-worn ground and that path leads only to pain and self-hatred.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:11 PM on December 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


While I do think this store and the way it's contributing to body hatred among young women are bullshit, it was really interesting to see that some of the clothes did fit more of the women than others. Their conclusion that it's more a mystery size store than a one size store seemed justified. I'm not sure mystery sizing confusion is a whole lot healthier than just making every item tiny.

Unfortunately I think at this point all clothing trends we see in stores are driven entirely by cost. Quality is terrible, sizes are a mystery even when there's more than one, and also it's all super-ugly. Source: my mall dressing room angst last night.
posted by asperity at 1:11 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


If you are describing a female body with no breast development and no hips, you are not describing "a teenage girl", you are describing a pre-adolescent. That's what adolescence does. You don't suddenly get assigned your boobs and hips when you go off to college.

That said, I think this place is especially worthy of mockery because it becomes obvious through this that the same woman--or teenage girl!--who comfortably fits some of their clothing may also find some of it laughably wrong. They say "one size fits most" and then they make a skirt that isn't even an elastic waistband? The crop top that isn't a crop top if you're average height for an adult woman? Hell, that one shows a problem here--if we were just going to say that this was clothing designed for bodies that weren't fully developed yet, the chances of them being tall enough for that shirt would be minuscule. This is, like, clothing that's designed to make you insecure, because things are never completely right. It's the Emperor's New Clothes--one size fits all, if it doesn't fit you there must be something wrong with you!
posted by Sequence at 1:19 PM on December 4, 2014 [15 favorites]


The clothes are ugly, and it would probably make more sense for the store to brand itself as a store for very small girls rather than "everyone," but honestly, as I read this, I couldn't help thinking that a store like this would have been a godsend for me when I was 14 and going into high school and five feet tall and 85 lbs and trying very hard to wear juniors' sizes instead of the babyish fashion in the girls' section. Even 5-7-9 was too big.
posted by millipede at 1:20 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


I understand the logical thread that says it's bad to mock things because they are aimed at teenage girls or mock things by saying that they are aimed at teenage girls. That is a very real thing, and I could not agree more that it is common and insidious.

But the mere fact that something is marketed to teenage girls doesn't mean that in order to avoid mocking girls, the thing is immune from criticism -- or ridicule. Very often, what is sold to teenage girls is not the thing itself but relief from the self-doubt that is supposed to drive the desire for the thing. The product is not clothing, it is conformity or acceptance or just adequacy. It's a general level of comfort with yourself that is first removed from you and then offered back to you in exchange for money.

It is not hostile to girls to ridicule things people tell them will fit them, things people tell them are for them, things people tell them constitute their cultural space. The message here is not "girls are stupid for wearing this," nor is it "I hate girls small enough to fit into these clothes" (since the women who fit into the clothes largely liked them no better than the women who didn't). The message is that the practice of further constraining what is normal, what is average, what is okay, what is mainstream -- and the practice of making more and more girls believe they are outside what it means to be "all" or "most" -- is noxious.

There is no healthier message for a teenage girl or anyone else than the message that it is your prerogative to take or leave what is being sold to you. And that doesn't only apply to clothes.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 1:23 PM on December 4, 2014 [73 favorites]


The problem with the idea of "one size fits all" is that if you don't fit into it, you're not part of "all". This store is basically telling many women and teenage girls that they are not people because these clothes don't fit them.

Even if you go with "one size fits most", you're telling anyone who doesn't fit into these clothes (and it seems like that is the actual number for "most") that they aren't like other people and don't count. That is a message teenage girls (and people in general) need to hear less, not more.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:31 PM on December 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


I'm 5'3" and size 0 and I thought it was really, really cool to see a woman my size modeling clothes. I don't think that's something I've ever seen in my life, so it actually made me get a bit emotional to see my size validated and recognized in that way, even if it's just on Buzzfeed. Kristin's frowny face FTW, though.

Everyone talks about how effortless it must be for size 0 women to find clothes that fit them, but it's an unceasing nightmare for me, because my adult height clocks in at 'shorter than most prepubescent middle school students' and my chest bears an uncanny resemblance to a 2x4. (And that's why I do 95% of my clothes shopping in the Goodwill boys' section.) So even when it comes to size 0, there's a hell of a lot of variation between bodies -- I've been the same size since I was 12 years old, but over the past twenty years, I still haven't managed to get any closer to figuring out how on earth sizes are assigned to women's clothing. Do they just put a bunch of numbered Post-It notes on the wall and throw darts at them? It's a goddamn mystery to me.

I just can't imagine the concept of a "one size fits all" store is anything more than a self-esteem-sucking nightmare built and marketed by adult men in order to extract money from the wallets of vulnerable young women while making many of them feel even more terrible and insecure about themselves and their bodies than they already do. Even if you start out at age 15 fitting into everything they sell at the "one size fits all" store just fine... what happens when you grow? Then you've been plucked from "all" and shunted off to somewhere just outside of it, you're no longer able to shop at that particular store with your friends when you go hang out at the mall, and at least a little part of you is going to start wondering what it's going to take to get back there, what it's going to take. Do you need to diet more? Exercise more? Starve yourself? I saw girls struggle with this every day growing up, and I see women struggling with it just as much as an adult. Women aren't exactly hurting for more reasons to judge ourselves and find ourselves lacking.

Implying that "average teen girl size" is an actual thing rather than an effectively arbitrary set of measurements pinned down by what I'm guessing is a bunch of dudes in a boardroom is a practice that encourages disordered eating, disordered thinking, shame, and self-hatred in a population that's already well-known for its tendency to succumb to those things.
posted by divined by radio at 1:32 PM on December 4, 2014 [29 favorites]


Remember 5-7-9? It's the same thing but with more spandex.

ah, yes, 5.7.9 - one of the first places i became crushingly aware that i was bigger than my peers and where had my first dressing room panic attack that wasn't related to getting stuck inside of clothes. later it would become a trigger for my anorexia, a reminder every time i was at the mall that i sucked. even when i got the thinnest i could without being hospitalized i still didn't fit into their clothes.

mocking the way that things like fashion contribute to how much it sucks to be a teen girl is not mocking teen girls.
posted by nadawi at 1:45 PM on December 4, 2014 [47 favorites]


And they look so shittily made. They're disposable clothes, barely one step up from a paper smock. But of course you don't make money from good quality clothes that last - you make money from crap that's thrown away after a season. Ugh.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 1:47 PM on December 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


Jeather normally I feel the same way and am thus chagrined. :)

What I know about fashion could fit on the head of a pin, no pun included. Does someone know why a really strong, affordable women's fashion brand hasn't emerged that addresses many of the problems women of all ages have with mass market clothing? I do know there's an incredible amount of sexism, but is there so much that such a large market share would be ignored? Is it partially the variety of women's clothing that makes it difficult?

My tentative example would be a Men's Wearhouse type of store for women, where there's some decent clothing in a range of prices, where people help you out kind of like a personal shopper, and there's an in-store tailor to get your clothes fitted to you. (Perhaps someone has a better example.)

I have a hard time understanding how stores like this still come about when there's a large portion of the population longing for a different kind of store - and where the solution of practical problems like tops tailorable for all bust sizes might also contribute toward solving the "medium is the message" problems to which Linda_Holmes and others spoke. Have previous attempts failed, or is the system so messed up that no women's fashion designer has been able to take that kind of leap? Because at the very least it seems like a market share with a sizable amount of money to be made. (Or maybe the sexism is so entrenched it's not thought of that way.) Or am I wrong?
posted by barchan at 1:49 PM on December 4, 2014


Everyone talks about how effortless it must be for size 0 women to find clothes that fit them, but it's an unceasing nightmare for me, because my adult height clocks in at 'shorter than most prepubescent middle school students' and my chest bears an uncanny resemblance to a 2x4.

Ooh, ooh, me too! My daughter is now in the "intermediate" side of her elementary school (4-5-6 grade) and I am the same size or smaller than the 6th graders, at 5' and 95lbs.

Size 14 girls pants FTW. Except that now they're coming in 30" inseam, which is too darn long.
posted by leahwrenn at 1:50 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


there are actually shops for women both of larger and smaller sizes than these types of stores - but they are generally frumpy or weirdly garish and at least the larger women stores are mocked in a way that make the people who shop there feel badly about themselves.
posted by nadawi at 1:56 PM on December 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


I like how men's clothing is numbered. There is a number, it represents inches. For the most part a 34-34 should fit all men with a 34" waste and 34" legs. Why can't women have a similarly sane numbering system?

The only way the system for men's clothes could be improved is if we switched to the metric system, but that ain't gunna happen in north america.
posted by el io at 1:57 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Barchan: I have never heard of an attempt to do something like that for women's clothes. A tailor on staff to show women what size you really fit? But then how do you navigate the assumed or real shame of fitting into a large size? How do you deal with the thing where women's clothing sizes have no apparent relation to the actual size in inches of womens' body parts? I am literally having a hard time envisioning such a store for women. And I certainly don't think of it as something that would be particularly affordable.

If I'm just young and naive and a magical retailer like this for women does exist, please oh god MeFi let me know where it is.

The closest thing that I am personally aware of is going to get bras fitted at Nordstrom, and bra fit is a different beast to clothes fitting. (And it's not exactly like Nordstrom sells bras I would call cheap, either--although Nordstrom Rack does.)
posted by sciatrix at 1:57 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


In terms of creating better jeans for women, here's someone who's trying.
posted by ohisee at 2:00 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


For the most part a 34-34 should fit all men with a 34" waste and 34" legs. Why can't women have a similarly sane numbering system?

I have bad news for you... I always thought it was suspicious that going from 135lbs in college (10+ years ago) to 175lbs today, my waist size didn't change a bit.
posted by mrbigmuscles at 2:02 PM on December 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


"I like how men's clothing is numbered. There is a number, it represents inches. For the most part a 34-34 should fit all men with a 34" waste and 34" legs. Why can't women have a similarly sane numbering system?"

Two things: One, men's clothes are now vanity sized too. Two, and I can't seem to find it in a casual google, there was just a member here who explained that the women's sizes are really for manufacturers and distributors, not consumers.
posted by klangklangston at 2:05 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


"I like how men's clothing is numbered. There is a number, it represents inches. For the most part a 34-34 should fit all men with a 34" waste and 34" legs. Why can't women have a similarly sane numbering system?"

Currently Levi stores do this for women. They also have the "Curve ID" sizing, which is basically a measure of how big your butt is. I'm still between sizes for them, but it was the most logical jeans shopping experience I've ever had.
posted by ohisee at 2:10 PM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


For the most part a 34-34 should fit all men with a 34" waste and 34" legs. Why can't women have a similarly sane numbering system?

As noted above, there's vanity sizing going on here - but actually think that the larger reason that this doesn't work for womens' clothing is that (in the US, today), womens' clothing is generally more fitted than men's clothing. When I try on jeans, it's very easy to find pants that are the right length and fit me in the hips. But, if that's the case, the thighs are usually too tight and the waistband gaps because it is too loose. If the jeans fit me in the thighs, the waist is even looser. If the waist is the right size, sometimes I can't even get the pants over my thighs. For a numbered pants size to be at all useful to me, it would need to have the length, the thigh size, the hip size, and the waist size + inseam length. Calf size would also be useful if the pants were fitted and non-stretchy.
posted by insectosaurus at 2:29 PM on December 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Her vagina isn't at risk of falling out of any of those clothes barring horrific medical problems.

Well, sure, if she just stands there. But if she tried running a marathon, who knows what might fall out?
posted by straight at 2:30 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I love this. I really appreciate all the women showing what the clothes look like when you put them on real bodies instead of a thin, leggy model with 5% body fat.

Plus, I want to go shopping with Kristin! Honestly, I think I want Kristin to be my best friend. She even reminds me of my oldest sister, who lives across the country and I don't get to see often enough. Reading this made me want to call her up and tell her I miss her and point her to this post, so she could enjoy it, too.

One of my pet peeves is this common trope in media, where a man and a woman are forced together under trying circumstances, and their clothes get ruined, so they have to be provided with odd clothes someone has lying around. Usually, the gimmick is that the young woman usually wears casual, comfy clothes, and she has to wear something that, while outdated, shows off how feminine she is and BAM! Suddenly the guy sees her in a different light as an honest-to-goodness woman.

That trope is just Yecch all around, for SO many reasons, but the relevant one here is that any woman watching those scenes, I think, rolls her eyes hard the moment the Stranger Woman says, "Oh, you poor dear! I think I have something that will fit you". Because no. No, nothing that fits you will fit me the same way. This is not a Thing that happens in real life.

I get what some of you are saying about Lara; I think she maybe went into this determined she would not like how anything fit her, and so she was not going to be happy no matter what. But even if she did, I can understand why that might be, so I'm okay with it. Clothes shopping as a woman is NOT the fun outing it is made out to be in movies and television, where friends spend the day together at the mall, gossiping and drinking lattes and admiring how great their butts all look in those jeans (do not get me started on the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants! ), and then come home laughing with bags and bags of lovely outfits that fit them perfectly.

Half the time--at least!-- it is an exercise in futility. You can't find exactly what you want, so you settle for something as close as you can get, and before you even find that thing you have to try on way too many things that don't fit, in dressing rooms lit by harsh fluorescent lighting. Sometimes it seems like the whole point of that is to wear you down so that you finally give up and settle. "Meh, this one is okayish, I guess I'll get it. Maybe I can make it work...".
posted by misha at 2:36 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm 5'3" and a size 2. I'm also a fully grown woman and I'm poor. I have bought clothes at BM for casual wear and been pleased with the fit. My daughter is 5'8" and a size 10. Her friend is 6' and a size 12. They have also purchased clothing there and been pleased with the fit. There's an awful lot of ageism going on in this thread, as well as judgement of what people 'should' be wearing that implies everyone can afford and should want 'grown-up' well tailored clothing. It's a store that sells 15 dollar tank tops in neutral colours and gauzy summer dresses, not a place to shop for a professional wardrobe, by any means. As such, their products are generally unstructured, meaning I can wear my daughter's tank tops and she can wear mine. I get that they can't fit everyone, but yes, they fit 'most' of the people in my acquaintanceship. They have plenty of products that would have fit all of the women's bodies in the piece, just not those particular items featured. It's not a conspiracy or anything, just a low-end retailer who sells cheap clothes that aren't form fitting.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 2:37 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is me every fucking time I want to buy a dress and end up in tears in the dressing room because I can't fit it over my bust.

Several years ago I decided to no longer buy or even attempt to try on dresses or tops that were not some form of knit or otherwise stretchy fabric, and I haven't looked back.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:40 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sciatrix, all those things stump me, too. That's why I envision a brand where they think of all those details and maybe just provide in-house brand clothes to overcome things like weirdly sized clothing at the beginning. If they can make it work for guys, why not the ladies? Like how Starbucks brought different size cup names to the public and made it work. It's probably naive or asking too much, but it seems like these are the problems good design, well executed, could tackle from the floor up and maybe even (idealistically reaching, now) spur innovation through competition in a trickle down affordability effect.
posted by barchan at 2:40 PM on December 4, 2014


The current trend for guys' clothing seems to be well fitting, practically tailored bespoke* 18 piece suits with oh hell, White Rabbit vests and watches, or flannel and beards grown only in the Canadian Shield under a full moon that were harvested with a homemade ax, complete with shaving stores just for them and their minuscule patch of skin...

I think you must have been spending too much time reading The Whelk's Tumblr or something, because that certainly isn't the trend anywhere I've been lately.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:46 PM on December 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


With absolutely no disagreement with the wry comments above I think the writer and photographer were rather poorly pushing the agenda. Do a reshoot with a great fashion photographer that got each woman to feel great then except for the extreme don't fits each woman could look at least good if not great. Would that prove these are great garments, ha no, but the article really does not prove the opposite.

In the last group photo where is the model? I call setup.
posted by sammyo at 2:50 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


His obsession with youth and vigor has not served him well as he has aged.

Oh my god, what happened to his face?!?!

What sort of anti-aging skincare treatments or plastic surgery or whatever causes that, so I can avoid ever getting it???
posted by Jacqueline at 2:51 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Several years ago I decided to no longer buy or even attempt to try on dresses or tops that were not some form of knit or otherwise stretchy fabric, and I haven't looked back.

Off-the rack dresses don't really fit a lot of people well, in my opinion, but you notice it less on smaller people. A little bunching or a too-long skirt is less objectionable to the eye than something that fits your butt but strains at the bustline (or vice versa). And then if you get into styles--buttons in weird places, odd patterns, long zippers that bunch up when put on a short-waisted person, a waistline too high or too low, weird sleeves--it's just never right. If I ever wear a dress (instead of separates) again, it will be custom-made or tailored.
posted by emjaybee at 2:54 PM on December 4, 2014


Does someone know why a really strong, affordable women's fashion brand hasn't emerged that addresses many of the problems women of all ages have with mass market clothing?

Some of the George brand women's clothing at Walmart is surprisingly not bad.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:56 PM on December 4, 2014


In the last group photo where is the model? I call setup.

is this a joke i'm not getting? setup of what? the models are the actual models for brandy melville.
posted by nadawi at 2:57 PM on December 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


This is me every fucking time I want to buy a dress and end up in tears in the dressing room because I can't fit it over my bust.

Ugh, it's the worst, it's totally impossible to find anything off the rack that fits my top half without making my bottom half look 127 months pregnant. Anything that fits the bottom half is at risk of my boobs hulking right out of it as soon as I inhale.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:58 PM on December 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


nb i know that the actual gestation period for humans is approximately 9 months irl, don't worry
posted by poffin boffin at 3:06 PM on December 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


Does someone know why a really strong, affordable women's fashion brand hasn't emerged that addresses many of the problems women of all ages have with mass market clothing?

I'm only a dude here, but isn't some of this partially to do with the increased variety of wardrobe that women are expected to have? You're a cis man at a business where you need to dress professionally and you can get two suits and they can probably look pretty similar to everyone else's two suits (unless maybe you make a lot or you work somewhere super fashion conscious). Also the trends seem to be a lot slower moving in men's clothing to my untrained eye and you're not expected to keep up with them as much.

Above is solely in my experience and from what I've heard, so it could be way off, but that's the impression I've gotten.
posted by ODiV at 3:15 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is me every fucking time I want to buy a dress and end up in tears in the dressing room because I can't fit it over my bust.

Several years ago I decided to no longer buy or even attempt to try on dresses or tops that were not some form of knit or otherwise stretchy fabric, and I haven't looked back.


Hell, I don't even go in dressing rooms anymore. I find a pair of jeans that fit, I buy that pair through the mail until they go out of style. If I'm feeling frisky, I'll get them in another color besides black or blue.
posted by bibliowench at 3:17 PM on December 4, 2014


Clothes fundamentally don't fit me, not off the rack. I am fat as hell, which is its own set of problems, but even beyond that I have big upper arms, GIANT boobs, and tiny narrow sloping Victorian shoulders. Even if I can find something to go around my Brobdingnagian rack, it's going to fall off my shoulders and walk backwards until the neckline is at my throat and hanging backwards like a reverse cowl neck. I just get all my clothes custom-made at eShakti now because I'd rather pay $30-$40 for one shirt that fits than $15 each for five shirts that don't.
posted by KathrynT at 3:21 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Or, frankly, $30-$40 each for five shirts that don't fit. Getting anything in larger sizes that doesn't shred itself the minute it goes into the wash is expensive.
posted by KathrynT at 3:25 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Do a reshoot with a great fashion photographer that got each woman to feel great then except for the extreme don't fits each woman could look at least good if not great.

I kind of think that the point is to show how real women look in these clothes in a real-life kind of way. I don't know about you but I don't wear my clothes exclusively in fashion shoots with a great photographer and a wind machine.

I have to go shopping for an outfit for my graduation next week and I'm dreading it. Heavy arms, small waist, long torso, short legs and an arse that defies all manner of cuts and shapes. Not one of these items would do anything for me so trying any on would just add to my feeling of "if this fits all then I'm not normal". Man I wish muumuus were hot right now.
posted by billiebee at 3:51 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


The "Milly Top" is a weird outlier. Sheridan liked the shirt a lot, and it looks good on her. But check out the model, especially on the product page.
First photo: "Am I really supposed to be wearing this?"
Second photo: "Maybe if I pull the hem down it will look better. I can just walk around like this."
Third photo: "Or like this, with my neck twisted around so I can pretend to be a totally different person hiding behind a grey sack."
Fourth photo: "Yeah, the twisty thing can totally work. I will have imaginary conversations with grey-sack person."
Fifth photo. "Oh. The crappy t-shirt just needs to be arranged in artful folds. Yes, it does less hideous this way. Now please remove it without letting it touch my body."
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:03 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


In the last group photo where is the model? I call setup.

The models are from the catalogue shots for the items, they aren't part of the BuzzFeed group. The models were not involved in this -- notice how they also don't provide any of the comments?
posted by jacquilynne at 4:21 PM on December 4, 2014


That said, that purple diaper was weird, and no one should wear it.
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 4:48 PM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Ahh, this store just popped up in my neighborhood and I didn't know what it was. I've been complaining that my neighborhood is going full-bore on mixed-use development but still mainly caters to tourists and this is what I get? I think I'm just going to buy a suitcase and cut holes for my arms, legs and head.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:57 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I liked the article a lot and loved the comments. Clothes shopping for women is absurd and I'm not sure there is a solution other than being wealthy enough to have everything custom made. That the skirt didn't fit even one of the women was ridiculous.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:58 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, I think the "Mary" tank looks great on Kristen. It clearly needs a different bra, but I think it could work under a jacket or something since bras are a separate kind of hell.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:05 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have literally shopped at one online ordering place for the last eight or nine years and I am never looking back. 80% of their clothing looks good on me, it fits my style, it's under 40$ a pop, I can get it in ten million colors, and sometimes there are sales!

The only problem is they don't sell jeans, so I go to a thrift store for those. This most recent time I ended up with a pair of pants with boy pockets (mid-thigh length? Keys and wallet in one pocket? Extra pocket on the top for car keys? Extra pocket inside for coins? OMG I WANT THIS FOREVER AND EVER) and for the first time I'm contemplating trying to find the store and order the exact same thing.

Clothing sucks, yo.
posted by Deoridhe at 5:08 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


How does shopping at a place that advertises "One Size Fits All/Most" put you in an exclusive club?

Two things:

1: The sign in the article actually says "One size fits most," not one size fits all, which sends the subconscious message that these clothes don't fit everyone, but anyone they don't fit is a freak.

2: The clothes only fit the sizes carried by mainstream stores who have sizes, i.e. 0-4 always, 6-8 sometimes, 10-12 if you're lucky, and 14+ never. Which means that not only do they save money making only one size, but the people who buy their clothes are the same people who would be buying them even if they offered a "wider" range.

This article sends me right back to being a size 16 fifteen-year-old, crying because I couldn't fit into anything at Express.
posted by heinouslizard at 5:10 PM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Linda Holmes put it beautifully upthread:
There is no healthier message for a teenage girl or anyone else than the message that it is your prerogative to take or leave what is being sold to you. And that doesn't only apply to clothes.
Our society is so colossally fucked up about women's bodies that this simple axiom is a revolutionary thought. It really is.

MetaFilter, for all of its flaws, is enormously atypical in the general level of awareness about women's body issues. As a community, we're highly informed about the issues, the language surrounding the issues, the underlying sociology and toxic patterns behind the issues, and so forth and so on.

But MetaFilter isn't typical for the vast majority of women, or of girls. Many, perhaps most of them, have had the relentless drumbeat of this shit piped straight into their brain since they were old enough to consume media.

Because they've marinated in this stuff for literally their entire lives, they don't know they have agency. Until someone like Linda Holmes, a grown-ass, successful woman whom they admire, says something like "by the way: you don't have to put up with this shit."

All of us are sleepwalkers until we are wakened, because that's what it takes to survive in the face of a relentless onslaught. And the more people who speak up, like Linda, and say "I'm in charge here, and I say you're trying to sell me toxic waste", the more women, and the more girls, will realize that they do have the power to say "enough". That the only people telling them "this is what EVERYONE wants of you" are the companies. That it is a basic business decision to fuck up their lives so that they provide a steady stream of revenue.

We cannot have enough women, from every single walk of life, screaming this loudly enough from the rooftops.
It is your prerogative to take or leave what is being sold to you. And that doesn't only apply to clothes.
posted by scrump at 5:16 PM on December 4, 2014 [15 favorites]


Ugh, this whole premise raises so many terrible issues for me, thinking back to my experience as a fat teenager (and lifelong fatty, actually). I have never, ever been the person who could--in case of wardrobe malfunction, sitcom-level clothing shenanigans, or lost luggage emergency--borrow clothes from a friend. (See also: my tendency to overpack on trips. Because no, I'm not guaranteed to find replacement clothes if the shopping options are limited). On rare occasion, as we got older, maybe I could borrow someone's boyfriend's clothes, but the whole "oh sure, here's a shirt/jeans/dress!" was absolutely never in my experience. Nor was that teenage girl ritual of going clothes shopping together something I ever did--again, the way that most retail stores are designed to either exclude or shame "non average" sizes made the prospect of shopping with my friends (all of whom had very different body shapes but none of whom were plus-sized) an absolute nightmare.

I'm a full-on adult now, and much more confident about my body and with a better sense of what actually flatters my body. But I still won't shop with my friends. It's a sure ticket back to the bad mental state and disordered eating of my teenage years.

So I do not see this as "mocking teenage girls" at all; it's doing a brilliant job at pointing out that while something may, in theory, fit "most", that definition of "most" will still be limited and actually, the clothes will probably look shitty on you. If only the marketing to teenage girls--all women, actually--emphasized learning how to happily dress the body you actually have, rather than encourage more conformity that's largely unflattering.
posted by TwoStride at 5:17 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


> When the "one size" actually fits only the very thinnest and fittest, and more importantly, *everyone knows this.*

See, this doesn't really work either though. I was a scrawny teen and am now a fairly slender grownup (I wear a size 2-4), and "one size fits most" clothes are both too big and uncomfortably-fitting. It's all like....a shirt that's like potato sack with a tight neck; or a dress that fits my bust has incredibly long straps ; or a skirt that is too big in the waist, too small in the hips, and hits the floor.
posted by desuetude at 5:31 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I wish they had included someone shorter than 5'3. I have several friends around or under 5' who have huge problems buying clothes anywhere. Especially if they have you know, hips and boobs. That's a huge percentage of the world population when you add in countries outside the US, and the people who move here from them too.(there's plenty of shorter-than-us-average ladies from various parts of asia, south america, mexico, etc).

Some of the really long drapey stuff would basically be an evening gown on some of my shorter friends, was what i was thinking as i read it.

that said thisisgood.jpg i'm not hating in any way, it's just something i've noticed from checking out several things like this, it doesn't tend to include tiny women... and somehow i know a larger-than-average amount of tiny women, who love to talk shit about clothing stores. Like full grown adults who have to shop at brass plum and shit because of this "one size" nonsense.
posted by emptythought at 6:50 PM on December 4, 2014


Due to depression & getting older/changing metabolism, my body has changed. And it's been weird. I've had to figure out what my size is and how to dress myself again. This has been fraught.

I loved this. I loved that most of these clothes looked bad on the regular women (or at least, they didn't look how they did on the model). I think that's important.

Like ... I know my measurements and I'm happy to shop online according to them (and I have pretty good luck there). But when stores lie -- that's upsetting. When I go into a store and pick up pants of the same size but not all of them fit -- that's upsetting. It just feels like the reality of trying on clothes is one that makes you feel bad about yourself.

I like seeing clothes on non-model women in real-world settings. I have a good sense of what looks good on me but it's always good to see it on someone who might be closer to my size/shape.

And yeah, the whole "one size fits most" is gross. Body shapes are important and different! Even at my smallest, I still had hips and a butt. Some things looked good on me, some things did not. Some things can't -- and shouldn't -- be changed.
posted by darksong at 7:29 PM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I am so confused by this thread. I love shopping! And one size fits all most definitely does not fit all, but it has made it convenient to buy and wear fleece leggings throughout all my fluctuating sizes. Perhaps it would be better to be clear that these are the lower to middle end of the spectrum. Usually denoted by "misses" or something like that. I know it can cause a lot of bad feelings and I do empathize on a personal level (going up multiple sizes in between shopping trips is not great for the ego) but the concept of the store is not that terrible, IMO, nor engineered to create an in- and out-group as far as I can tell (??). It was probably just a business decision that led to a store that creates some hideous clothes and some cheap basics.

I do agree about the stupid insistence on "vulva," though.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:41 PM on December 4, 2014


I haven't read all the comments yet, so deep apologies if someone has already posted this link -- but this is hauntingly similar to this HuffPo article:

What happens when you order cheap clothes From Singapore

Spoiler alert: her 8 year old daughter gets a whole new wardrobe, even though she ordered what was supposed to be her size, according to the measurement charts. The 'coat' is a shrug, the 'dress' a crop top. I assume this store is just an extension of the same thing: factories make one size, more or less human-shaped, and sew various size labels in it. And if 87% of the world's population can't fit in it, fuck 'em, we've already got their money.
posted by jrochest at 11:03 PM on December 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


This is why learning to sew makes a great deal of sense.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:22 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I agree with Ideefixe, learning to sew is great. Yes, it takes time, and the clothes you make may even end up being more expensive, but you have clothes no one else has that fit you perfectly. I learned to sew as a kid, but gave it up for many, many years. Then a year or so ago, I read a book called "Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion," and I decided to take it up again. The book convinced me that I wanted to change the way I'd participated in the global fashion industry. I took up sewing again, and it has been so much fun. I've made five shirts and will be making my first pair of pants soon. People even make bras, but I haven't been quite that brave yet.

The web is full of sewing tips, if you'd like to get started, and I recommend Craftsy, too, if you can afford their classes (they often have sales). Sewing really is a wonderful hobby.
posted by merrill at 1:28 PM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


but the concept of the store is not that terrible, IMO, nor engineered to create an in- and out-group as far as I can tell (??). It was probably just a business decision that led to a store that creates some hideous clothes and some cheap basics.

Well, but that was kind of the point of the article, as I read it - not that anyone has actually set out with malicious intent to make a lot of women feel bad, but that this company came up with a kind of clever idea (make clothes in ONE size to reduce costs, make 'em (mostly) out of stretchy material so they can theoretically fit a bunch of different people, market it as "one size fits most") and then turned around and made their "one size" something in the 0 to 2 vicinity. Which is not a size that most women wear, and probably (although I've got no data to back this up) not even a size that "most" of their target market of teens and early-twenties can fit into.

So just by trundling along in the well-worn path of standard cultural assumptions about what size "normal", "attractive" women are or want to be, they have in practice (even if inadvertently) created an Abercrombie & Fitch-style message of "We only want the hottest girls wearing our clothes, and the rest of you can fuck right off."
posted by soundguy99 at 4:57 PM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Every time I hear the phrase "one size fits all" I think of Dr. Science's complaint about pants that say "one size fits all" but burst at the seams after only four people.
posted by MrBadExample at 8:28 PM on December 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


All this reminds me of is the change in the Babysitter's Club series, where the teens went from a "perfect size 6" in the earlier series to a "perfect size 4" in the current version. I'd never have read either series but WTF.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:11 PM on December 6, 2014


I'd just like to add that as a man, I feel pretty sorry for women and the sorry state of women's clothing sizes in general.

I can go into any store and get a pair of pants that will fit me just fine and I almost don't have to try them on, just by looking at two numbers on the pants. The numbers on women's clothing are, to me, an utter mystery.

It also puzzles me why no clothing manufacturers make clothing for women with breasts. You know, considering that women actually have them. My wife is not monstrously busty but you'd never guess it based on how few items at the store will actually reasonably fit her. It's as if they designed everything for an A or B cup, and above that you'll just have to settle for the mumu.

I still fear to buy clothing for my wife as a present because I don't know whether it would fit or not. And this is the worst part: if my wife gets me something and it doesn't fit, either because it is too large or too small, my first reaction is not to think that there is something wrong with me or my body. But I'm fairly certain if I got my wife an outfit that was too tight, there would be part of her that would be upset about her own body rather than the fact that whoever made that dress did not take into account the normal shape of a woman when designing it.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:28 PM on December 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


only noting it here because he came up in the thread - the long-time ceo of abercrombie and fitch has retired/stepped down/been forced out due to poor business performance. banking on in group and out group works right up until ubiquity turns you into an out group.
posted by nadawi at 7:26 AM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


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