*trigger, sensitive topic warning.
"We can satisfy almost everybody, but not everybody," Longo said, in the now-offline interview. "The one-size-fits-most clothing might turn off somebody if they don't walk into the store, but if you walk in you'll find something even if it's a bag." Given that the brand is targeted specifically at teenage girls, it's understandable that there are concerns over its size exclusivity. The brand's "one size" typically corresponds to a size zero, with waists around 24 to 25 inches. Meanwhile, the CDC's numbers in 2016 study suggested the average waist size for females between 13 and 19 years of age is 32.6 inches."
-Jessy Longo, Executive of Brandy Melville.
I think the first time I remember hearing about Brandy Melville as ‘brandy’ and the notorious ‘one size fits most’, I was a junior in high school so like, 2013. The clothes were so cute and everyone was wearing them. But, I couldn’t even go to the store. I was terrified.
See, the girls who were wearing them were all of a specific ‘type of body’, and I, as a 15 year old with hormonal problems and a budding eating disorder, was not of that same type of body. I remember a friend of mine worked there, and she told me that she would have people come in with 10-15 items in a dressing room, and when they would leave the dressing room she would ask, “How’d it go?” and they would respond, “Well, not a single thing fit me.” And there was nothing she could say.
Now, in 2019, the store has SOME SIZE OPTIONS! Yeah! Instead of just one size, you can now find pants in a size SMALL or MEDIUM. WOW! OPTIONS!
I understand the store is catered to fit teenage girls. But the quote I have posted about shoes that not even teenage girls are fitting the clothes. So then, what’s the fuckin’ point?
Anyway, why am I talking about this? Well, as I have been open about, I have been suffering and in recovery for Anorexia Nervosa, with other symptoms, a disgusting, horrendous eating disorder.
And in no surprise to me at all, this store had a little part in my story. In the summer of 2018, where I was at one of my all time lows and diving deep into my sickness, I began to get an infatuation with this store. It showed me that all my hard work went into something. Because even though every single part of my life was crumbling, and all I was consumed with were symptoms of my anorexia, restrict, binge, purge, restrict, over work my body, etc. * being able to finally feel comfortable and like I belonged to this idea that I had become attached to at such a young age as to what ‘ONE SIZE’ should look like was, sadly, worth it to me.
One day at the store, I was checking out at the counter, and one of the workers asked to take my picture to post on their instagram to endorse their clothes.
I did, I smiled, I left. And I felt disgusted.
I finally got a goal that I, as a lonely 15 year old girl made, and I felt sick to my stomach. I was nothing like I wanted to be. I was not inspired by myself at all. Younger Erika would not be proud of what I was becoming. Infact, I disassociated myself with her entirely that I was not even connected one bit to that part of me. It all flashed in front of my eyes.
And, therefore, this was a tiny point in my story. But, an important, vulnerable, one to talk about that has still been on my mind to this day. I try not to shop there anymore, I don’t want to endorse a store that clearly has no compassion or drive to body inclusivity, but still a lot of the clothing is/was a part of my daily wardrobe since, I’m a broke actress and can’t afford to buy new clothes.
These clothes ruin days of my life over and over again. And then, some days they’re just clothes. And don’t mean shit. None of it makes sense, and still it’s something I have to struggle with and manage on a weekly, random basis.
One of the hardest things in my recovery right now is letting go of my “sick self.” See, I make a conscious decision every morning: to start a new life again with new habits and try my best to do so. That doesn’t mean old habits don’t crawl back, they do. But I consciously decide, “If I wanted to, I could go back and do all the symptoms that led me to go to Residential Treatment last year. That made me have Refeeding Syndrome. (which I will explain in another post SUPER FUN LEMME TELL YA) But I won’t. And that is my personal power.”
That decision carries me with grace through some days, and other days I fall. But still it hasn’t been enough for me to let go of those clothes.
My mom told me a story. When she was pregnant with me she would always wear these certain pair of shoes. She told me after she had me, any time she would put the shoes on again she would feel physically and mentally pregnant. The mind is a very powerful thing.
So these clothes, these pants- I should say, to be specific- do the same thing to me.
Because I am not following the ‘rules’ of my ED, every time I wear the clothes, they make me feel terrible about myself. I have left public events and hanging out with friends because I couldn’t stand being in my body anymore, I would cry and have panic attacks that made me late to work because I would get stuck in such a mental fixation on my body.. I would go and get high and forget about it. Try to run away.
Then, there were days when they did fit. I’d try them on and I’d be like “Oh okay, I’m fine. “It’s all in my head, based on when I’m in a calm mood or anxious mood.” It seemed to make sense.
And then the next day, I would put the pants on, with the lovely accompaniment of an hour long anxiety attack.
Anyway, I talked to my therapist about these pants, and she brought some light to my otherwise dark situation.
She told me, “It seems to me these pants were there for you when you didn’t have anything else in your life. You were so low and so broken, but your sickness was all that you had. But, that isn’t all you have anymore. You know the person you are and the strength you have in you. So maybe, instead of completely being vengeful in getting rid of the pants, thank them for what they did for you in the time in your life when it felt like it was all you had. They are now not good for you anymore and need to be let go of. I will be full on my own and better off.”
This rocked my fucking mind. But that was, 6 months ago? And still here I am, afraid to get rid of them.
It’s so strange. It’s just a symptom of my disorder to want to have the security of a pair of pants to “check” myself in, but I don’t need that anymore. Check what? I am more than a body. I don’t measure my worth on the way a company decides to make their clothing and label the size.
So yesterday I went to the Levi’s store (and now I can’t buy groceries lol), BUT, I had never felt more comfortable. I tried on all the pants I wanted and found the ones that fit me in the way I wanted them to fit. Every worker on the customer floor was searching and helping people find the perfect fit and pants for them. They even tailor your denim in store for you with purchase. Hell yeah inclusivity!
As I left the store, I stopped in Brandy Melville next door and found a couple things that I wanted as basics (they’re easy and cute shut up.) But, as I stood there, I decided that I couldn’t do that anymore. Not just because I needed to save the money (HA!), but because I had put that past me. I don’t want to be any part in a store that brought me and many others I know trauma and discomfort in our physical and mental health. I left the store and I don’t think I’ll ever be go back. :)
So, I got my Levi’s, and now, I am writing this post in them. Cozy and cute as ever. The “pair of pants” are in the other room. And I am ready to move the fuck on, and enter another crazy chapter of this recovery shit.
Thanks for reading! I will be posting more of my recovery story and more topics that I feel passionate about, because sharing your voice is always important.
Happy Sunday, I’m gonna finish my coffee and snuggle my doggie Winnie.
PS: These pics are the aftermath of the ceremonial massacre that took place. Bye bye jeans. Hello freedom.
*As a writer of serious topics, I try my best not to include any specifics that may be harmful to sensitive viewers. A lot of my sickness developed from reading things online and getting new ideas. I want to prevent what happened to me to as many people as possible. Xo.