Working in retail can be pretty cool. Being employed at PacSun gets me a 50% off employee discount for five items every month (every item exceeding that is 30% off), and I get to see new arrivals right as they come out of the box on shipment days, sometimes making me the envy of friends. The people I work with are pretty cool, and the overall chill California vibe makes shifts stress-free most of the time.

But you know, I guess every job has its ups and downs.

All positives aside, working in retail has exposed me to a few unsettling things every shift: skinny models with perfect complexions, full body mirrors that I swear are comparable to those at the circus, and Brandy Melville and her “one size fits most” clothing.

These things really shouldn’t be considered unsettling, but when I’m expected to wear, enjoy, and promote clothes worn by these models that I look nothing like, a harmless thing easily turns discouraging. We give things power over us when we let them make ourselves feel inferior, so my time at PacSun has challenged me to learn from these things rather than let them bog me down.

1. Brandy Melville most certainly isn’t “one size fits most”

body image

Photo courtesy of @brandymelvilleusa on Instagram

Sure, the alien shirts and t-shirt dresses are super cute and give off that sought-after California vibe, but the “one size fits most” mantra is far from true. Most styles undeniably are intended for girls with a petite build, leaving the rest of us either questioning our life choices, pinching love handles, or envying those who can rock those tiny shorts.

But hey, this is life.

This is just another reminder that we’re all unique. There are those rare times where you find something that fits you perfectly, and in that case, live it up and love Brandy. But when that tiny cropped sweater could very easily double as a bra, there is no reason to get down on yourself for the simple face that it’s not worth it.

2. You might wear a large, even when you think you wear a small

body image

Photo courtesy of @pacsun on Instagram

I’ve noticed that shirt sizes get smaller and smaller with every season, and it’s not because I’m gaining weight. I’ve concluded that this is on the manufacturer’s end. A “small” now isn’t what a “small” used to be.

The lesson here? Don’t squeeze into anything that doesn’t really fit. No one knows what size shirt you’re wearing except you, so wear something that is comfortable and makes you feel confident, not an extra small just for the sake of wearing an extra small.

3. The above lesson also applies to jeans

body image

Photo courtesy of @pacsun on Instagram

I used to be embarrassed about my jean size because I’ve always been a tad self conscious about my thunder thighs, but guess what? I wear a 29, and I don’t really care. I had quickly gotten frustrated that the majority of the sizes stores kept in stock could maybe fit my big toe, but after manning the register for a while after talking to other customers, I found that they felt the same way.

Again, no one knows your size except you, so rock whatever pair of jeans your heart desires.

4. Always try things on

body image

Photo courtesy of @pacsun on Instagram

Just because you may or may not like something on the hanger doesn’t mean you won’t like it on your body. I never used to wear crop tops because I thought I didn’t have a flat enough stomach, and I used to not like v-neck t-shirts because I thought I didn’t have a busty enough chest.

Then, I actually tried both of these on and now they are two essential parts of my wardrobe. Take note: never underestimate or make assumptions about your body. You may think you know best, but sometimes you need a mirror to tell you that you look great.

5. An outfit that fits a coworker might not fit you

body image

Photo courtesy of @pacsun on Instagram

Again, this is a reminder that we as humans are all beautifully unique. As awkward as it can be to try on the same crop top as a coworker, and for them to love it and you to feel like a stuffed sausage, just know that your time will come too.

Not everyone’s build is the same, and if it were, the world would be a boring place. This is good news for the models on the store window’s posters, and also for you.

The Take Away?

Clothes are a beautiful thing because they can accentuate beautiful people, but they do not by any means define who you are, or your body. Everyone in this world is unique, and that’s what makes everyone’s styles and fashions one-of-a-kind. Regardless of the clothes we wear, nobody’s body is any better than another’s.