How Aerie Continues to Send Mixed Messages with Its #AerieReal Campaigns

How Aerie Continues to Send Mixed Messages with Its #AerieReal Campaigns

Aerie prides itself on being a pioneer in the body positive and inclusivity movement but its campaigns send mixed messages to plus size women.

How Aerie Continues to Send Mixed Messages with Its #AerieReal Campaigns

Photo credit: Aerie

The lifestyle brand is one of the first brands to stop retouching their images, which they started doing in 2014 along with the launch of their #AerieReal hashtag movement to highlight “real” women in their campaigns. Curve model Iskra Lawrence was tapped to be the first #AerieREAL Role Model in 2016 as a champion for body positivity.

Lawrence is a size 12.

While the work that Aerie has accomplished in the last six years is notable and should not be dismissed, including their inclusion of women with disabilities in their campaigns and in the items they offer, there are still major issues with their #AerieReal campaigns involving their marketing language and the models shown. 

It seems that plus size women over a size 16/18 are left out of the narrative when it comes to Aerie’s mission statement, campaigns and assortment.

Their recent campaign, where they unveiled eight new #AerieREAL role models with the theme of making 2020 “the Year of Change”, really misses the mark when it comes to plus size women at a time where size inclusion is a hot topic. 

#AerieReal Campaigns

Photo credit: Aerie

Upon first hearing about the campaign, a potential plus-size customer may think, “YES! Let me go check them out and see what I can buy!” and upon visiting Aerie’s website, will be further enticed to buy after initially viewing their “Real You” Sizing landing page, which states:

“Feelings change. Moods change. Bodies change. Aerie is here to offer the cutest styles for the skin you’re in. Aerie is all about loving your body (!!!) so we offer sizes for every body (and every booty)! Extended sizes are here to make you smile.”

But then as you read on, you realize that they actually don’t offer sizes for every body and booty:

“Feel the WOW power and get moving in bras designed in up to 37 sizes, from 30A to 42DD. Feel good in the best fit. Looking for the prettiest bralette? Aerie bralettes are ready to go in sizes XXS to XXL, with D and DD cups in select styles. 

Whether you’re looking for total cheek, or maybe just a peek, we’ve got you covered in sizes XXS to XXL.

Aerie tops come in sizes XXS to XXL, so layer on the love. Aerie bottoms (like your fave leggings and joggers) are here in sizes XXS to XXL. 

Aerie’s amaze one piece collection comes in sizes XXS to XXL, with select styles available in two lengths. Bikinis are here for sunny days in sizes XXS to XXL and 30A to 38DD. 

Aerie is here for all girls and all bodies. Feel good, now in more sizes than ever in more styles than ever.”

Full stop. Aerie only offers up to a size XXL.

Yet, they state “every body, every booty, all girls, all bodies”. They say they heart our body and that their brand is all about us loving our bodies. 

If that’s true, what about the women who are above a size XXL? Are they not included in the “all bodies and every body” part?

For a company like Aerie, who has stated before that it “recognizes there is still work to be done and understands the importance of challenging the stereotypical standards of beauty, which helps give its customers a voice”, only offering up to a size XXL is extremely confusing since it is only catering to a certain segment of women, not ALL. 

That’s not challenging the stereotypical standards of beauty, Aerie.

When it comes to size inclusivity, you can’t pick and choose who you think is worthy. Aerie’s #AerieReal campaign carries an underlying “you can’t sit with us if we don’t offer your size” mentality that contradicts the very message they’re promoting.

How Aerie Continues to Send Mixed Messages with Its #AerieReal Campaigns

Photo credit: Aerie

The average American woman is now between a size 18 and 20, so offering a size XXL is not ground-breaking.

According to their size chart, Aerie’s size XXL equates to a size 20/22 but from what we have read on social media, Aerie’s sizing runs small. 

Ironically, their sister brand American Eagle Outfitters expanded their denim collection to a plus size 24 last year. 

As Aerie says in their new campaign, real change happens together; real change starts with you. And they want to create a community where we help each other do better. 

If that’s indeed the case, we hope to see a size expansion in Aerie’s future and larger bodies represented in their future #AerieReal campaigns. And we don’t mean just one sole size-18 hourglass body either. 

If Aerie doesn’t want to expand sizes above an XXL, that’s their choice. Just please stop using words such as “ALL bodies”, “Inclusive”, “for EVERY body”, “ALL women” and so forth.

Use language that matches your size assortment so that no one is left feeling excluded.

Let’s see if the year 2020 is indeed the year of change when it comes to Aerie and them truly embracing and celebrating ALL bodies and women.

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