One size fits all

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"One size fits all" is a description for a product that would fit in all instances. The term has been extended to mean one style or procedure would fit in all related applications.[1][2] It has been in use for over 5 decades. There are both positive and negative uses of the phrase.

History of the phrase[edit]

The term "one size fits all" has been used as a common, cliche phrase for over 5 decades. It was already a popular term, in 1975, when Frank Zappa recorded the album One Size Fits All.[3]

Positive views of the phrase[edit]

There are several positive views of the phrase "one size fits for all":

  • A wristwatch could be considered as fitting all people.[3]
  • In women's clothing, a flexible or open garment can be labeled as one-size-fits-all; however, the size is typically a medium size (able to expand), rather than actually fitting petite or extra-large (XL) sizes.
  • A neck chain could be designed to be worn by men or women.
  • Bicycle helmets with ring fit systems allow for a single size, also known as universal fit.[3][4]
  • In military gear, some items have just one size (but smaller or larger people have already been excluded from military service).
many baseball hats available for commercial purchase are labeled "one-size-fits-all" 

Negative views of the phrase[edit]

There are many negative views of the phrase "one size fits all" including:

  • Many customers prefer to have custom-tailored clothing.
  • Men's dress suits typically have specific sizes for chest & waist measurements.[3]
  • Shoes are an example where sizes (and widths) vary depending on the specific person.[3]
  • For the U.S. GI Bill in education, options and coverage will vary depending on each person.[3]

Politically, the phrase has come to mean that methods of administration or political beliefs in one country should not necessarily be applied to another.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tool targets faulty, 'one-size-fits-all' computer interfaces", July 2008,, web: EETimes-259.
  2. ^ "Arsenic contamination lacks one-size-fits-all remedy", Jill Sakai,, December 10, 2007, web: WISC-14545.
  3. ^ a b c d e f For source references, refer to each nearby linked article.
  4. ^ "One Size Fits All Bicycle Helmets", BHSI, April 2009, web: BHSI-onesiz.