An Open Letter to Brandy Melville
I have a beef with you. If I’m being honest, I think you suck. Sure, some of your clothes are cute and probably comfortable, but I abhor what you stand for. You represent the opposite of everything I work on daily with teenage girls in my office. You body-shame young girls and as a mom and a psychotherapist, I want to shame you back.
You have created a market for young girls. Some love your clothes but many just love your name. It’s cool to wear Brandy Melville and you have become a household name. Girls want to include Brandy in their wardrobe and wearing you makes them feel fashionable. In my opinion, you have a chance to help young people embrace their bodies during a fragile time in their life. You have an opportunity to teach them self-acceptance, body peace and self- love. Sadly, you have failed.
Let me share my experience with you. Last week my healthy, athletic teenage daughter was over the moon excited to go shop in your San Francisco store. She was ready to spend all her birthday money on your little tee shirts and patterned miniskirts. Your store wasn’t just a place we stumbled upon; it was a destination. Ten minutes into trying on the clothes she had grabbed with excitement and enthusiasm, she was in tears. Big tears. You see, your crappy “one size fits all” philosophy is a joke and she was painfully reminded that.
The world is not one size. Everyone is different. Shouldn’t we celebrate that? Shouldn’t we encourage diversity and be happy everyone has a different shape? Shouldn’t we remind young girls of the world that beauty comes in all sizes and “one size fits all” isn’t realistic? Shouldn’t we encourage them to embrace their bodies and focus on being healthy, not skinny? Yes, the world is not one size, thank God.
Watching my daughter feel bad about herself and her beautiful body made me sad at first. I reminded her she was perfect, just the way she is. I told her that your clothes are not built for everyone and because she has a cute figure (hello boobs and a butt), your itty-bitty apparel isn’t made for her. But, the more I thought about it the angrier I got. My daughter is darling, and I would not change a thing about her. Your clothes, however, made her feel “too big” which is comical because she wears a size 4 at other stores. I’m furious that you planted a seed of doubt in her mind and caused her to look negatively on her body. In an age where we, as parents, combat the pitfalls and landmines of social media, the last thing we need are more reminders that cause them to think there is something wrong with the way God made them. Your store epitomizes what’s wrong with society today and emphasizes the harmful message to young women that we all need to be one size, small.
Why don’t you do teenage girls a favor and change your philosophy to “One size fits small”. Just be honest about your clothes. Save the average teenage girl the time and trouble to not put themselves in a position that makes them feel large, fat, or chubby (which they aren’t!) by stepping into your dressing rooms. Save us mom’s the heartache of seeing our precious daughters feel terrible about themselves by simply stating what you are: cute clothes for small people. Save our sweet girls from receiving the wrong message about themselves and their bodies by being truthful about your clothes and admitting that one size does not fit all, or even most. Save us by simply being truthful.
I dried my daughters’ tears, gave her a hug, and left your store empty-handed. We will not be back. And while I’m sure you won’t miss us, we will definitely not miss you either. You are the antithesis of what I believe in my core and I’m grateful my daughter wanted to go thrifting after our painful experience at your store. Finding hidden treasures was far more fun than feeling demoralized and body shamed.
Thanks for reminding us that one size does not fit all (or even most!!) and one store does not define who we are. What makes us different makes us beautiful and we need to raise young girls up, not knock them down because they can’t squeeze into a skirt sized for a toddler.
Body acceptance and body peace are a beautiful concept, you might want to do some research and reconsider your philosophy. Use your platform to help young girls appreciate their differences and embrace all body types. We are all meant to be uniquely different in our personalities, styles, choices, and body types. Life is not one-size-fits-all and neither are people.
A Mom Who Loves Her Daughter