When you go into a store, you may be unaware that finding your size and feeling included is something that is not to be taken for granted. But on the other hand, it may be something you have to consciously think about. Size inclusivity is a pressing issue, and one that has large ramifications on the concept of body image. What comes to mind when you think about a store that maybe feels exclusionary? Maybe it’s something like Brandy Melville’s “One Size Fits All,” a simply false and damaging narrative .
However, there have been some positive strides. Old Navy is one brand that has launched a body positive initiative, called “Bodyequality.” According to Marketing Dive, the sizes range from 0 to 30 and the sizing is priced equally. Old Navy CEO Nancy Green said, "BODEQUALITY is not a one-time campaign, but a full transformation of our business in service to our customers based on years of working closely with them to research their needs. I'm proud of the collaboration across our Old Navy teams to evolve the retail experience for women.”
When taking a look at the website, I was first intrigued that all the sizes were listed together, with the title “Women’s & Women’s Plus.” Traditionally, I feel as though I have mostly seen titles such as “plus size,” always listed separately. This brings up a fundamental shortcoming in traditional sizing. There is an overall prioritization of smaller sizing over larger sizing, therefore separating the items and choices. I also found that the sizing went up to 4XL online. Old Navy passed the test on their website.
I looked at their TikTok to see if this campaign was embodied on their social media. I came across multiple videos featuring Emily Bibick, Bodyequality Customer Lead, speaking in short but informative videos about how the way you feel is more important than how you look, “bodsplaining,” where people equate weight with health, and how Old Navy has changed their “secret slim pockets” to “secret smooth pockets.” They also feature a video of people of different sizes wearing the same outfits, captioned “3 looks, 2 sizes, 1 set of besties.” This caption brings home the message that we should shift away from hyper-focusing on how we look, but rather, celebrating on how we feel in the clothes we choose to wear. This TikTok solidifies the campaign, and shows that Old Navy is following through on their commitment to body equality and positivity.
Another company that has taken body inclusivity measures is Athleta. They now offer more inclusive sizing too, such as more cup sizes for sports bras and crop tops. Similar to Old Navy, you can find all the sizes in the store and online. Women’s Health Magazine puts it perfectly, saying “By simply putting together all sizes, and placing them on the same rack, Athleta is helping create positive feelings so many of us never experienced in the past.”
Strides toward body inclusivity is more important than ever. For so many, it is a missing piece of feeling good in their own skin. When you are able to enjoy something as simple as a shirt or a pair of leggings the same way someone else always has, it makes a difference in the way someone views themself. It has a domino effect on what is considered a “standard” or “beautiful,” helping people to realize that everyone is unique and beautiful by just being who they are.