Dressing the 1%

A critical examination of the brand we all know and love.

Scrolling through Brandy Melville’s website, I am bombarded with images of slender limbs, thigh gaps, and protruding ribs. It is obvious the models displaying these qualities have never had to practice that awkward dance move familiar to any woman who has mastered the art of squeezing into an ill-fitting pair of pants. No-- these women effortlessly and gracefully showcase seemingly perfectly-sized clothing. The image is, undeniably, alluring. In one of my favorite books, Ophelia Speaks, Sara Shandler writes, “I realize the way the clothes hang on the tall, slender figures is almost as fascinating as the clothes themselves.” But by indulging in this narrow representation of women, we risk damaging our own self-image. Not only that, but supporting such businesses does not correspond with the common goal of making the fashion and beauty industry a more inclusive atmosphere.

The brand “Arie,” on the other hand, supports this intention. Models on the company’s website exhibit cellulite, stretch marks, and other “imperfections” most women consider a part of everyday life. Observing this diverse array of bodies leaves me feeling refreshed and appreciative of inclusivity. Humans come in a myriad of colors, shapes, and sizes-- companies should recognize this diversity.

Admittedly, it is difficult for petite people to find flattering clothing. Larger people experience this same complication. However, the solution for this dilemma is not to create brands which only provide options for both extremes, but to create brands which advocate for women of all sizes-- XXS to XXL. As consumers, we have the power to support businesses that do so. Hence, next time you are tempted to click the checkout button for the brand you both worship and resent, think twice. Instead, search your dad’s closet for that half-zip sweater you have been dying to order, or your local vintage store for that spring-themed tank top that caught your eye. Ultimately, the world of fashion should feel like a celebration, rather than a pity-party.