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Universal Standard Clothing Review: A Size-Inclusive Brand

Kelly Wright
ByKelly WrightJul 16, 2021 | 9 comments

Universal Standard Clothing Review: A Size-Inclusive Brand

Universal Standard Clothing Review

The size-inclusive brand that is trying to change the fashion industry

Pros:

  • Universal Standard is a body-inclusive clothing line with sizes ranging from 00-40.
  • Only the highest quality of fabrics are used to give you pieces that will truly last.
  • Their Fit Liberty line allows you to return your clothing within one year if your size changes, giving you true “Fashion Freedom”.
  • They have a virtual styling program that allows you to book appointments with a stylist. Appointments last anywhere from 15-60 minutes.
  • Within the domestic U.S., Universal Standard offers free shipping and free returns.
  • They give back to the community and donate clothes to organizations that help women return to the workforce.
  • Their packaging bags are 100% compostable and actually help the environment as they break down.
  • They have a Reset, Recycle, Refresh program that enables you to send in your old clothes (any brand!) to be recycled by Marimole, a clothing recycling company. For every article of clothing you send in, you will receive a $25 coupon (up to 4 items allowed) to purchase new clothing at Universal Standard.

Cons:

  • Their clothing basics are at a higher price point than many other brands.
  • The majority of Universal Standard’s clothing does not offer a large variety of color options.

 

by Kelly Wright, MSA Reviewer, T-shirt and Jeans Fashionista
July 16, 2021| 9 comments

I’m one of those people who have always felt more comfortable in a cute sweatshirt, jeans, and flip-flops. Growing up in Florida, you were strange if you didn’t have sandals and tank tops in every color of the rainbow. As I got older though, I realized that I would have to try and branch out a bit from my casual and comfortable style. That said, I always strayed back to my comfort zone. You can take the girl out of Florida, but you can’t take Florida out of the girl! Thankfully, brands have started to realize that you can be both stylish and comfortable. My goal in life is to literally find the most comfortable clothes for every occasion!

I was excited to review the Universal Standard brand as the clothes all looked flowing, soft, and yet still stylish enough to go from comfortable day-time wear to night-time wear chic. Plus, I was super curious as to whether the size inclusive brand would work for my body type.

My Subscription Addiction paid for this product. (Check out the review process post to learn more.)

Size-Inclusive – All of us. As we are.

Universal Standard started with two friends, Alexandra Waldman and Polina Veksler, who were frustrated with the options of clothing for women who didn’t fit into a certain size or type of body. They made it their mission to create a brand that would include clothing for “All of us. As we are.”

Today, Universal Standard is the largest size-inclusive clothing line in the world with sizes ranging from 00-40. Every single piece in their collection can be purchased in any size, taking the stress out of finding something that will fit and in a style that suits you.

Their website also showcases normal women in every size and shape giving their customers a realistic idea of what a certain piece will actually look like on them. Today, Waldman and Veksler, are proud of their accomplishments, but are adamant that their work is not done until the entire fashion industry makes clothing accessible to everyone regardless of body type. They want true “Fashion Freedom” to be the Universal Standard.

Fit Liberty

The Fit Liberty line of clothing within the Universal Standard brand is a trailblazer when it comes to the fashion industry. In a world where returns are seemingly increasingly harder to do, Universal Standard came up with an ingenious idea. Buy your size now, but if it changes within a year’s time, you can exchange it for your new size.

We all have those pieces of clothing hidden in the back of our closet. You know them – the ones that are either too big or too small and are just waiting for the day when our weight fluctuates enough to wear them again (does that day ever actually come!?). But with the Fit Liberty line, you can confidently purchase an article of clothing knowing that you have an entire year to return it for a different size.

Virtual Stylist Program

Not sure what you want to buy? Looking to completely refresh your wardrobe? Book an appointment with a virtual stylist and let them help you decide! Appointments are available between 15-60 minutes and currently are about a week’s wait out.

Price Point – Is Universal Standard Worth The Price Tag?

I’ll be frank here… these clothes are definitely not cheap. T-shirts are upwards of $50, while lounge pants can tip a $100. At first glance, it’s a little rich for my blood. However, after receiving a few pieces to try, I quickly realized that these are not your run-of-the-mill mass produced pieces.

Usually, I have to go each season to re-purchase my favorite tank tops or under garments due to small holes, pilling, or just my straight up clumsiness with red wine! These pieces are made to last though. And with the majority being staple wardrobe pieces you should be able to wear these for years to come. So, while yes, there is a bit of sticker shock when first ordering, my opinion is that it’s worth it due to the high-quality and construction of the clothes.

Sizing

If you have never ordered from Universal Standard before, the first thing you will want to do is check out their sizing chart. 

*They are not your usual sizes, so be sure to check the chart first!* 

I am 5’4″, approximately 120lbs, and usually wear a size 4 or 6 in most clothing brands. This translates into either a size 3XS or 2XS for the Universal Standard sizing.

The clothing looked a bit roomier from the photos on their website, so I decided to take a chance and requested the 3XS. After receiving the clothes and trying them on, I actually could have gone even one size smaller. I like my clothes to be comfortable, but still hug my body in certain areas. The majority of clothes I tried on were larger than what I would usually purchase .

Stick to the recommended size when ordering though if you want them to fit as they are made to!

Size chart via Universal Standard

Care Instructions

The label on all of the clothing I received clearly states to wash in cold water with like colors. The sunny swim shorts and nailah tunic can both be dried on low, but the other pieces need to be dried flat.

As this was a review, of course I did the exact opposite and washed them in extremely hot water and dried them in the dryer. They did shrink a small amount, but not as much as I expected and are definitely still my size. The fabric held up great which is a huge plus for the linen pieces. These are not articles of clothing that I am worried will fall apart anytime soon!

Definitely follow the washing instructions – I only wanted to test their durability in the event one accidentally gets thrown into the wrong wash… which I think has probably happened to all of us at one point or another!

Returns and Exchanges

If not purchasing from their Fit Liberty line, their returns and exchanges are pretty standard compared to other brands. All unworn and unwashed clothing is eligible for returns within 30 days unless they are final sale or a mystery box purchase. You can start a return through this link. (Have your order number handy!) If returning via internationally you will need to ship to the following address: Universal Standard, Attn: International Returns, 625 Broadway, 4th Floor, New York, New York 10011 and then email them with your order number and tracking details. Be sure to include any original packaging that came with the item.

Universal Standard Clothing Review

Sunny Swim Shorts – Black – $58

The sunny swim shorts were my absolute favorite! I thought about saving this review for the end, but honestly I love them so much, I didn’t want to make any of you wait to read about them!

At first, I was confused by these swim shorts. However, they have now become one of my favorite pairs of shorts I have in my entire wardrobe. The description on the Universal Standard website describes them as “ready to take a dip in the pool, do lunges on the beach, and then head to a cook-out with you.” The first thing I noticed, however, was that there was no lining. When I think of anything that can “take a dip in the pool”, I would immediately assume they would have a liner so that you wouldn’t have to wear anything underneath them.

They were much too loose in the leg area for me to wear them as actual swim shorts. I have two young boys, so I have to stay pretty active with them while at the pool or beach. I’m pretty sure I would have been flashing everyone while sitting and building sand castles had I worn these with nothing on under them. However, after I took them out for a spin, I realized that despite not having a lining, these swim shorts actually were pretty freaking amazing. 

They are absolutely perfect to throw on over your normal bathing suit bottoms on those days that you just don’t have time to shave. Or the days when you get a surprise visit from Aunt Flo and are feeling a little out of sorts, but still don’t want to miss a day out on the water with friends. They are incredibly comfortable, have deep pockets (I could fit my very large phone fully in one of the pockets), and an adorable cut that takes them higher on the outside of your thigh.

The Universal Standard swim shorts feel extremely durable and well-made. The material of the shorts is nylon and definitely feels heavier than usual swim-wear, but surprisingly they dont feel heavy while wearing them around and actually keep you quite cool. I wore them to go shark tooth hunting in a river (I know, really odd thing to do, but I have two shark-obsessed kids!), and despite definitely getting splashed quite a bit and getting them wet, they actually kept my underwear totally dry. I also wore them again to go boating as well as just around for the day in Florida. 

They took about the same amount of time to dry as a regular bathing suit once fully wet, but they actually had an almost water-proof quality to them as they did not absorb the water as easily as a material like cotton does. This made them ideal to wear around water.

They come in black, red, and blue and while I received the black swim shorts to review, I’ve decided to purchase these in the other 2 colors as well. It takes a lot for me to order the same thing in multiple colors, but these are definitely worth it! Literally, the only thing that would make these even better would be an underwear liner so that I could truly just put these on and nothing else. 

Nailah Button Down Tunic – White – $98

When I pulled the nailah button down tunic out of the box, I wasn’t really sure what to make of it. It’s very long, totally sheer with a collar, and buttons up and down the sides. I immediately thought of trying it on over my bathing suit as a swim cover-up. It worked great! It was super light-weight and the buttons along the sides made it so that you could show as much or as little skin as you wanted.

I opted to open the buttons up to my upper thigh which gave it a flowy, summer appearance. I also unbuttoned all except one on the top which enabled me to keep my stomach covered, but allowed air to flow through the top. This gave the button down tunic a resort-style appearance, and that’s how I preferred to wear it. If you want something more conservative, then it is easy enough to button everything up and keep it as more of a sheer cover to wear over other clothing. 

The nailah button down tunic also comes in the colors, black, storm, azure, and plum.

Dawn Linen Hi Low Tunic – Black – $94

The dawn linen hi low tunic was the first piece of clothing I tried on after receiving my Universal Standard box. The first thing I noticed was the weight of the fabric. Although the shirt is a mixture of linen and rayon, it felt pretty heavy in my hands. Once I opened it all the way up, I realized it was a long sleeve shirt which probably explained why it felt heavier than I was expecting. While this is probably great for a bit of a cooler summer climate, I knew I would not be able to wear this while on my trip in Florida. Just quickly walking outside with it on for a few brief minutes and I had already started to sweat.

The shirt also had an extra long back to it, which I usually like, however the back was abnormally long and was too much fabric to really do much with. Tucking it in was really my only option, but the large amount of fabric in the back made that difficult as well.

Overall, I actually like the shirt quite a bit, but it just wasn’t cutting it for the hot weather. I will be saving it for when it cools down a bit however and have plans to wear it in the cooler autumn months with a pair of leggings and boots!

The dawn linen hi low tunic also comes in the colors golden sand, washed indigo, and white.

Juniper Linen Easy Pull-On Shorts – Black – $74

I was really looking forward to getting these Universal Standard linen pull-on shorts, as nothing can really beat a nice pair of linen shorts in the summer. Unfortunately, these were a miss in my book, as the shorts reached down to my knees, which are much longer than I prefer when wearing shorts. The longer length also meant that these would be hotter and less air flow through them. These would be great however for someone looking to show less leg or to wear in a cooler summer climate. They would also be great during a shoulder season between spring and summer or summer and fall.

The shorts also had an elastic band at the waist, which is great for sizing purposes, but not so great if you are trying to dress your shorts up. The elastic band definitely gives the shorts a more casual appearance. Overall, these shorts did not work for me due to their length, but if the longer length is your style then these would really be a great, casual addition to your closet! 

The juniper linen easy pull-on shorts also come in golden sand, washed indigo, and white.

Dune Linen Shirt Dress – Deep Aquamarine – $118

The Universal Standard dune linen shirt dress is one of those versatile pieces that can be dressed up or down. I was sent the deep aquamarine color, which actually seemed to be more of a khaki green to me, but either way it was a pretty color. The linen again felt heavy and was not appropriate for daytime wear in the humidity of Florida.

The dress was quite roomy and I ended up using an oversized belt to cinch it at the waist, to give it some shape and style. If I were to order this dress again, my preference would be to get one in a smaller size, however that’s only because I like my dresses to have a tighter fit. If you are looking for something with more room… then order your size as is!

My only other complaint about this dress was that it is too long. I am not a mid-calf person so I prefer my dresses to either be long down to the floor or knee-length. I find anything in between a little awkward looking on me. This dress unfortunately hit right at mid-calf, and I felt made me look shorter than I was. I’m 5’4, so making me look any shorter than that is not something I would willingly sign up for!

The dune linen shirt dress also comes in black, ocean blue, and white.

My Universal Standard Review Verdict

Before anything else, Universal Standard struck me as truly caring about their customers. From their high quality fabrics to their fit liberty line, the company has truly thought of everything that makes shopping for clothes difficult and provided an easy answer for it.

Universal Standard’s clothing is meant to be staples for your wardrobe, however I do wish they had more variety in color options. The majority of colors are pretty muted, so if you are looking for bright, cheery staples these might not work for you.

Their clothing is not the cheapest, however the fabrics are extremely high quality and in my opinion, worth the price. As a total Universal Standard newbie, I was pleasantly surprised by this. My biggest complaint with most brands is that they don’t make them like they used to! It’s clear though that the founders at Universal Standard really took the fabric into consideration and made these pieces ones that you could really live in without having to worry too much about wear and tear. 

Overall, Universal Standard is definitely a brand worth trying if only to support their mission of size-inclusivity and help bring change to the fashion industry!

 

Have you purchased any Universal Standard clothing before? What did you think of it? Are you happy with the sizes and styles offered? Let us know below!



 

Universal Standard is a body-inclusive clothing line with sizes ranging from 00-40. Only the highest quality of fabrics are used to give you pieces that will truly last.
Kelly Wright
Kelly Wright
Kelly is a travel-loving mom to two very active little boys (3 if you count her husband!) and loves finding new products or subscriptions that will fit into their family's active lifestyle. When she is not planning their next trip or outdoor adventure, you can find her on the couch in comfy pants, drinking a glass of wine, and hunting down her next binge-worthy series.

Kelly Wright
Kelly Wright
Kelly is a travel-loving mom to two very active little boys (3 if you count her husband!) and loves finding new products or subscriptions that will fit into their family's active lifestyle. When she is not planning their next trip or outdoor adventure, you can find her on the couch in comfy pants, drinking a glass of wine, and hunting down her next binge-worthy series.
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9 comments

CDG

They have great sales at various times throughout the year. The latest will be July 21 – Aug. 2nd, an annual sample sale.

Brittany

As someone that is 00(and not by choice!) and can’t ever find clothes, it is ridiculous of the prices on this site!

Sarah

I’ve purchased multiple pairs of jeans from them. I usually have to get them hemmed because the ones I like don’t come in a shorter inseam, but otherwise they fit perfectly. They’re the only brand I have that hasn’t shrunk as I’ve washed them over the months, and the material isn’t super thin. Plus, they actually have functional pockets!

Tracy

I’ve been a fan of US for quite a while and love every single thing I’ve bought from them.

Abigail

I’m a size 8-10 and 5’3″ found their sizing to be quite odd (jeans size 8 were tight and very short) but then became super baggy later in the day with wrinkles across my knees.

All of the clothing is cut boxy and is extremely unflattering (makes you look much larger than your actual proportions). Items don’t fit in the shoulder area.

This is an easy pass…never again.

Tolin

I want to love this brand, but they are sadly not very size-inclusive when it comes to petites. I’m 5’3” and normally take a size 0 or 2, and their 4XS swims on me. I don’t even think of myself as extremely tiny, since I know a lot of women who are my size or smaller. I wish that more of their line came in petite sizes. I usually expect this from clothing companies, but for a brand that’s all about size inclusivity, it’s disappointing.

Em

I really appreciate this comment. I have a full sample sale shopping bag on the US site but did not trust that the 4xs would be flattering. I’m 5 even at 100 lbs and like you said, inclusivity often leaves my body type out of the range. Truly a bummer, they have some beautiful pieces.

Jennifer

I’ve tried a few pieces (shirts) through the mystery box sale last year. They kind of remind me of a nicer version of Lularoe clothes. They over-rely on stretch, vs. good construction or tailoring, to fit different body types. This ends up with slightly wonky fits – especially on the arms, shoulders, armpit, and bust areas. While each piece does have a large size range, which is nice, there don’t seem to be any considerations beyond increasing measurements about different body shapes and sizes. The design decisions themselves are often odd and unflattering.

As to the fabric – It’s moderate quality (definitely not, “only the highest.) For the t-shirts and shirt I got, the fabric was quite thin/sheer. It also was “fussy” – you can’t put it in the dryer if you want to keep it looking nice (another similarity to Lularoe, there.) But, the material itself is quite comfortable.

I’ve heard their actual leather pieces are much better in quality, so it’s possible their luxe options are much better than their basics.

Mary

They also did not take preferences into consideration for the mystery box last year. I won’t risk it again.

Our reviewers research, test, and recommend the best subscriptions and products independently; click to learn more about our editorial guidelines. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.