One-size-fits-all

One-size-fits-all is an idiom that has been in use for decades. We will examine the meaning of the idiom one-size-fits-all, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

The idiom one-size-fits-all describes an item, situation, or policy designed to accommodate a large amount of people. Something that is one-size-fits-all will not be an exact fit and is not tailored for every circumstance, but it will suffice. For instance, many municipalities have rules about how large a yard must be to accommodate a dog. A small dog will need less space and a large dog will need more space; a sedentary dog will need less space and an active dog will need more space; but the rule will only consider the minimum needs of an average dog. This one-size-fits-all solution will be sufficient for most dogs; however, outliers must revise the standards for themselves. The expression one-size-fits-all comes from the garment industry. By the 1970s, many retailers carried items that were oversized or billowing; they were designed to fit a range of sizes. By the 1990s, companies experienced a backlash from people who did not fall within the range of sizes for a one-size-fits-all item. Most ready-to-wear designers began using the designation: one-size-fits-most. It was just about this time when the popularity of the idiom one-size-fits-all really took off. Note that one-size-fits-all is hyphenated.

Examples

Sen. Jim Perry, a Republican from Kinston who represents two of the eight eastern counties asking Cooper to reopen more quickly, said the state no longer needs a one-size-fits-all approach to coronavirus. (The Raleigh News & Observer)

“The people of North Carolina will suffer needless health and economic harm if the State continues to treat its diverse population with a one-size-fits-all approach.” (The Charlotte Observer)

“One of the biggest mistakes a leader can make is blindly following a prescriptive list of one-size-fits-all tips and solutions for remote work,” says Stan Vlasimsky, Vice President at consultancy Pariveda Solutions—a firm focused on digital transformation, helping clients leveraging technology to achieve business outcomes. (Forbes Magazine)