When Missy Rogers, a 20-year-old woman from New Jersey, went shorts shopping at American Eagle this past weekend, she noticed something was amiss.
Expecting to fit into a size 4, as she had last year, Rogers was disheartened when she couldn't get the current style of that same size past her knees. "Having to go up to a size 10 made me question just how much weight I gained, but once I brought the shorts home and compared, I realized that size is literally just a number," she wrote in a Facebook post that has since been shared over 63,000 times.
Rogers explained in her post, "This is a photo of two pairs of shorts both from American Eagle. The black pair is from two years ago and the maroon is from this year. The black is a size 4. The maroon is a size 10."
However, one can see from the photo that both pairs of shorts have the same waist line and thigh width. Rogers noted that the only differences between the pairs were the year she purchased them, the leg length, and their "slightly different" styles.
"How is it that what was considered at size 4 is now the same dimensions of a size 10? How small has a size 4 become?"
Despite discovering that clothing size isn't always an accurate reflection of body type, she still worried about the message the media sends to young girls with their idealization of "the perfect skinny body."
"I think it's important to show that clothing size should not define your beauty," she continued in the post, "If a size 10 is what a size 4 used to be, what message are you implying to younger girls?"
Interestingly, American Eagle is one of the few young adult clothing chains that has incorporated the body positive movement into its brand message — and capitalized on it. Many attribute Aerie, AE's lingerie and swimsuit brand's, 20 percent sales growth last year, to the impact of its #AerieReal campaign.
"This marketing campaign [is] really starting to take hold," Aerie head Jen Foyle told BuzzFeed. "The #AerieReal campaign is so authentic, and it's really resonating with this young woman today." In contrast, American Eagle's overall sales only rose 7 percent in 2015.
Rogers also pointed out the size discrepancy that often occurs from store to store, making it possible for a woman to be "a size 0 in one store and a size 12 in another ... A size 2 is never going to be the same in every place or mean the same to every person."
With everyone striving to attain one idea of the "perfect" body, Rogers wrote, they were missing the bigger picture. "A specific size is not a number to describe your beauty, health, and body. It is literally just a number printed on a tag."
She encouraged those who read her post to "find clothes that make you feel confident, comfortable, beautiful, and most importantly yourself rather than worrying about the size."
"You are more than a number," Rogers concluded.
Chad Kessler, American Eagle's Global Brand President, responded to the Facebook post in an official statement to A Plus: "We agree fully with Missy that women are so much more than numbers, which is why we are so strongly committed to body positivity. Like every retailer, we strive for consistency and clarity to help our customers make decisions. We've reached out to Missy to get her feedback on her shopping experience and look forward to engaging in a discussion around this important issue."
Though Kessler did not announce any concrete plans to reevaluate and improve its sizing practices, the company does seem receptive to its customers' thoughts and suggestions in light of this incident.
A Plus has reached out to Missy Rogers for comment.