You know what I’m talking about. Those words are seen in many a brochure and catalogue. Okay, it may not always be exactly like the photo above. But you may recognise it as “Free size” or “For all sizes” or “Fits from small to extra large”. Whichever way you say it, they all mean one thing:
"One size fits all.“One size fits all” is a fashion industry term for a garment that may be worn by a variety of sizes, from Keira Knightly skinny to Maria Sharapova athletic to Tyra Banks curvy to Queen Latifah plus-sized. It is designed to fit all women, no matter what shape they are. It’s one garment for all.
For a designer, making a “one size fits all” garment is a lot easier than what is usual: making different sizes his design. You need not need to remember all these numbers and proportions for different sizes since you need to make only one size for everyone. It’s also relatively easier to cut cloth for the garment since you just need to copy the size of your first piece cut. And of course, you need not worry about your garment not suiting your clients since they are supposed to fit everyone. That is, provided your “one size fits all” thing is actually of quality, is suitable for all. That is, provided that it being “one size fits all” is actually good for all who wear your thing. And that’s my problem. And guess what? It’s yours too, as well as the problem of all women across the globe.
No, I’m not going to complain about something free size I bought from some catalogue and now hate. I’m not going to write about some department store that deceived me into buying their merchandise fit only for waifs. (Please! I’m not going to publish to the world a hate rant about anything unless society will benefit from it!) It’s about something else that is “one size fits all”. Only this time, it’s affecting all women and their self-esteem. And it’s not just about whether you can walk down a runway wearing this dress from Blah-Blah or not. Well, it kind of is but in a different way.
Whether we admit it or not, media, as well as the beauty and fashion industry, has influenced us on our perceptions of beauty and what is beautiful. We’ve bought that tube of DuWop’s Lip Venom. Why? Because it plumps your lips like Angelina Jolie’s. We’ve all walked around a mall wearing headbands with bows that would put Minnie Mouse to shame. Why? Because Blair Waldorf wears them all the time in Gossip Girl. We all have a pair of those Maximus/Roman gladiator sandals. Why? Because every store from YSL to Y-SM says they’re hot.
There’s really nothing wrong with that. That’s really how trends start. And hey, admittedly, those sandals are pretty cute! But when 13 year-old girls burn holes in their oesophagus after binging and purging just to look like that “perfect” girl on the cover of Seventeen or Girlfriend or whatever , things go awry.
Just what is “perfect”, anyway? It’s usually this: 5’9” but 110 lbs; ribs showing from her jersey dress; face caving in between her poky cheekbones and jaw; lips looking like a swarm of bees just attacked her; hair as straight as an electric post; skin smelling of newly-applied bleach.
Not so harmful? Well, consider the fact that probably just 1% of the entire female world population looks like this. Consider the fact that media and the beauty industry vocally sells this look as perfect. Consider how the rest of us women get fed this message and imbibe it. Consider how many women (and even more frightening, little girls as young as 9) go to drastic measures such as plastic surgery or bulimia just to get that cover girl look. Consider how many women have committed suicide or slashed their wrists because they feel not pretty enough or unworthy. Consider how this “one size fits all” ideal of beauty has blinded us from the truth.
The truth is all women are beautiful. And that’s ALL women; black or white, tall or short, size 0 or 24. We all have great talents, abilities and strengths. We were all made unique by God. And God never makes trash.
And what about those features we consider flaws? Man! If we only knew that those are considered features in another’s eyes! That’s why Caucasians long to be tan whilst Asians long to be white. That’s why Chinese girls get surgery to open up their eyes whilst some Filipinas wish to be chinita. That’s why voluptuous girls want to be Kate Moss and waif-ish girls want to be Beyonce.
The truth is beauty should never be “one size fits all”. It should encompass all shapes and sizes of women. To exclude one is discriminatory. But to stop this ideal, it must start with us. The next time you look in a mirror (Well, first thing’s first, go on. Look in a mirror!), try to see that bloom in you. No, not just in Natalie Portman or Heidi Klum. But in you. No, you don’t look like that girl in the magazine. But yeah, you’re still beautiful.
The truth is beautiful isn’t “one size fits all”. But beautiful is “one adjective fits all”.
Now, why do some “free size” clothes in the mall not fit me again?!