Why I'm over trying to figure out Victoria's Secret.
Wearing: Old set from Victoria's Secret
Basically, on the first day of school, we were asked to go check out a few different stores for a little compare and contrast exercise. I believe it was meant to open our eyes to the various markets of the lingerie industry. Of course, Victoria's Secret was amongst that list (because why wouldn't it be?). I won't lie to you, even despite my mini hatred towards this company I have a major crush on their London Flagship location. Possibly could be their best, just saying. There's a lot of high energy going on in the store. Previous shows are airing in the background. Music is blasting. And even pieces from the catwalk are on display for viewing. It almost feels like you're about to walk backstage and be handed your own set of wings.
I'm sure we can all agree, you don't exactly feel that way walking into the store at your local mall? It's more like a hot mess trying to avoid the panty bin explosion and digging around to find the right size. Definitely, not my cups of tea.
Completely mesmerized after wandering through the multiple floors of their flagship store I wondered if it was time to let my guard down and let Vicky tell me her secret. I know many of you lacers are big fans of the brand. You tell me all about your latest purchase what you loved and why the brand is so great. Trust me, I get it. It's easy, accessible, and the marketing strategy is incredible (re-read the first paragraph for proof) and the price point is relatively fair. And there were a few styles that certainly tickled my fancy. So, I'll play along if this is a brand you guys want.
Because my personal lingerie collection is currently growing faster than a teenage boy, I decided to hold off on buying anything. I now make myself go through the ten-day process. Meaning if I am still thinking about it in tens days, obviously go back to try it on. And if the product slips my mind, apparently, it didn't tickle me hard enough.
Sure enough, ten days later, I found myself scouting around the store searching for a black bustier. Detective mode on. Five minutes into 'search and locate' I was making my way to the changing room trying on two different styles:
Very Sexy Faux Leather Bustier
Very Sexy Faux Leather Malibu Bustier.
Trying to find the changing room was a little much. Reminded me a little bit of shopping at Gilly Hicks circa 2008. But eventually, I found it hiding in the back corner. Now I attempted to try on the Very Sexy Faux Leather Bustier, in my size 32D. However, there was NO WAY in hell that thing was coming close to buttoning up. Tried on the Malibu Bustier in a medium and it was a KNOCKOUT (looking back this should have been the piece I purchased). Very comfortable, edgy and slightly revealing but nothing over the top. Though I have to admit my heart set on the other one. Time to phone a friend. I rang the doorbell (each changing room has one to alert the attendant if you have any issues) hoping someone could get me another size. The attendant, rightfully so, insisted we did a fitting (which honestly was the right thing to do). She measured me up, sure enough, 32D.
Side note: THIS IS WHY WE DON'T MARRY THE SIZE, BUT THE FIT (that goes for a lot of things in life).
She went and grabbed me the bustier in a 34D and 34DD. Again, the 34D was entirely way too small, and the 34DD was an okay fit. The cups were a little too big, and the band was a little bit tighter than I would have liked. After this whole thing turned into a 30 minute + odyssey I just grabbed it and left.
Still should have gone with the Malibu, but whatever it's too late now.
Ironically, a few weeks after my new purchase, the filming began for this years VS fashion show in their home location of NYC. I mean, I guess it's a big ordeal. They invited almost all the “big” influencers like Rocky Barnes, Shae Marie, Rosie Fortescue and even my girl Lauryn from The Skinny Confidential. Quite curious, I watched each of these girls like a hawk to see just how "influential" they were during the event. I get every influencer has a different target audience so they will focus on different things.
Lauryn briefly brushed up on the fact she received a fitting, which most women do not understand the importance of this process. And Rosie actually brought us inside the changing room. Posing in a few styles, she had picked out for herself. Other than that, everyone else had their focus on the Angels. As if they were the actual product. So what was the point of having all these mainstream influencers in the first place? It would have been so much cooler if someone did an "underneath my look, look." Or explained which one of the VS products they were wearing underneath their party dress. Nope, there was nothing remotely related to the product. Which is why this whole scandal doesn't surprise me one bit.
And slightly laughing how the world is surprised and didn't see this coming.
Backstory: Roughly ten years ago, I watched the VS fashion show for the very first time. Must have been a senior in high school, or something like that. I remember watching how these models strut down the runway with such confidence in their underwear and thought: EVERY WOMAN DESERVES TO FEEL LIKE THAT WHEN THEY PUT ON THEIR LINGERIE. And let me tell you it indeed is a magical feeling. Anyways, it comes to the end of the show where all the models are out there doing their final walk, coming together, dancing, what totally looked like girl power from the other side of the screen. Right from the show, it goes directly into the VS holiday commercial. Speaking directly to men, saying something along the lines of "what your women want for the holiday season." Because apparently, this is 1952 and men still have a say, go figure. I remember becoming super angry over this. Asking "why does it always have to be about the men, why can't it be about the women?" Selfish, don’t you think? Totally Sounds like a present I would want. It was a total BUZZKILL. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to be in the lingerie industry. To help women understand that lingerie and their bodies aren't just for pleasing men. It took me a few years, but here I am.
Where was I? Oh, right.
The press articles that were being released the day after the show was filmed were quite the statement.
Just a few clips from the article written in Vogue by Nicole Phelps
"We’re Nobody’s Third Love, We’re Their First Love”- The Architects of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Are Still Banking on Bombshells
In response to
Are you putting more emphasis on diversity now?
"Many of them work out at the same gyms; they have complex routines. They shouldn’t have to apologize for that. Everybody keeps talking about Rihanna’s show. If we had done Rihanna’s show, we would be accused of pandering without question."
And my personal favorite:
I want to talk about the Instagram generation. I assume you have lots of data; do you see a shifting desire or shifting needs? Are they looking for something new from Victoria’s Secret?
"So it’s like, why don’t you do 50? Why don’t you do 60? Why don’t you do 24? It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is. It is the only one of its kind in the world, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us. And they carp at us because we’re the leader. They don’t talk about each other. I accept that. I actually respect it. Cool. But we’re nobody’s third love. [Editor’s note: ThirdLove is a competitor that has received investment from a former CEO of Victoria’s Secret stores.] We’re their first love. And Victoria’s Secret has been women’s first love from the beginning."
First off, let me just fill you in a little secret that very few people know about VS. Their ENTIRE business model is built off of MEN shopping for WOMEN. So, naturally, the show, stores, product and so on are going to be about fulfilling a fantasy for the straight white male. They've NEVER BEEN inclusive.
Models are models, regardless of their skin color, size, gender. It's 2018, why is this still happening?
Second off, if you're the "leader" of the industry. Why are you so concerned with other brands and publically bashing them?
Third off, (now I am making up my own phrases), NOTHING ABOUT THIS BRAND IS ABOUT WOMEN, it's about fulfilling a fantasy for straight white men. Let's not pretend like you care about the women wearing these products. Does this mean if you're not a female born bombshell D cup and a model face, you're deemed unworthy of being a fantasy? FUCK OFF.
Fourth off, just because you're a straight man doesn't mean that your definition of FANTASY is above all.
And though they have really helped rid the taboo stigma attached to lingerie, their current ways have outdated.
As consumers, we have the right to choose where we spend our money. There are soooo many great brands out here so I won’t waste my time breaking down a company that bashes other brands/people who don’t fit into their fantasy world.
I'm still on the fence of watching the show this year. My hear is saying NO, but the curiosity in me is screaming YES. But I will confirm that until further notice, and serious changes are made, I WILL NO LONGER BE STEPPING FOOT INSIDE A VS STORE.