Why Victoria’s Secret is Trash (and 6 Brands to Wear Instead)
…and 6 alternatives to Victoria’s Secret to wear instead.
Confession: there was a time when I really liked Victoria’s Secret. Their prints were playful, their stores fun, and the models were #goals in every way. However, each year that has gone by I’ve become less drawn to the brand for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, the quality of their products went down and they forfeited everyday items for exclusively sexy stuff. While I love a lacy thong, I also like to wear normal underwear from time to time (I don’t need to be Very Sexy when I’m asleep in my bed) and all of their stuff seemed to be exclusively frilly, garish, and made in synthetic materials. Then I realized that they were really, really bad at showing diverse beauty and I couldn’t unsee the fact that approximately 40 percent of their models were identical blonde clones of each other. Lastly, it never felt like the brand made any effort to sell underwear in any other way than it had been doing for decades. As Business of Fashion put it Victoria’s Secret is still advertising to women like it’s 1999. Here are five reasons I’m no longer buying Victoria’s Secret.
1. They’re Transphobic
Last week, a Vogue interview with Victoria’s Secret Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek surfaced, and let’s just say it didn’t do the brand any favors. In it, Razek said that transgender women weren’t aligned with the overall “fantasy” of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show which is why they had yet to hire models any transgender models. As a business they are entitled to cast whoever they want, of course, but why brand yourself as non-inclusive in a time when inclusivity is both the right thing to do and marketing gold? And if you have the power as a brand to make non-binary gender roles more mainstream, why would you stand on the wrong side of history?
2. They Have a Bad Labor Record
The brand infamously used prison labor in South Carolina in the 1990s to sew their wares. Luckily they abandoned that practice but were still accused of using child labor just a few years ago. A recent report also outlined that they have sub-standard labor practices.
3. Sexy Through the Male Gaze
Victoria’s Secret has always made sexiness about the validation of a man. I shudder when I think of their old, ostentatious Michael Bay commercials in which the models would beg “tell me you love me” or “tell me you want me” as if there’s nothing greater in life than to be coveted by someone else. While sexiness today is more about feeling confident about your body, Victoria’s Secret still focuses on the validation of others to tell you that you look hot. Their most recent 2018 commercial was still all about laying in bed longingly waiting for someone to acknowledge you and your seductiveness.
4. They Lack Body Diversity
On top of the transphobic quotes, Razek also said that plus-sized models weren’t part of their brand. Looking at the Victoria’s Secret model roster for the show, almost all of them have an identical body type —very thin and extremely athletic. The models all work out agonizingly and there are rumors that many of them don’t eat/drink anything for 24 hours before the show. There’s something odd and outdated about needing to be in pain to look good. While the message two decades ago was “you don’t look good enough” today it’s more “you look great the way you are.” Apparently, Victoria’s Secret didn’t get the memo.
5. The Look Hasn’t Evolved
We’re not the first people to comment on how narrow the concept of beauty is at Victoria’s Secret. It’s very white, very thin and according to NYMag it comes with the almost identical hair style for decades. Maybe the overall aesthetic isn’t diverse, fashion-forward or inclusive precisely because it’s designed to not make you feel like you’re not good enough and that you can only attain sexiness by wearing Victoria’s Secret. Chromat designer Becca McCharen-Tran said it best in her article for Out, the Victoria’s Secret empire is built on on women hating themselves.
6 Alternatives to Victoria’s Secret
1. Savage X Fenty
Of course, the lingerie line by the queen herself is going to top our list. Rihanna has created a brand that is inclusive of all sizes and shapes, with an array of fresh prints and colors that look unlike anything else on the market.
If you love lace, then Bluebella is the brand for you, serving up sexy lingerie in an array of colors like yellow, orange, and periwinkle. Their pieces are stunning and resemble works of art with whimsical patterns and revealing cutouts. Their classic black Irena Bra is a masterpiece.
This one is funded by a former VS executive and unlike the former brand is all about inclusivity. Comfort is key and the color palette is muted and beautiful. We love their lace contour bra, perfect everyday T-shirt bra, and sexy balconette bra (pictured below).
4. Nubian Skin
For a long time, nude used to mean beige (looking directly at you Victoria’s Secret) so this brand evolved their color palette to feature more caramel and brown tones. Check out their beautiful T-shirt bra below which is comfortable for everyday wear for all skin tones.
5. Understatement Underwear
This Swedish women-founded brand is all about comfort — no painful underwire, no weird padding, no itchy materials, instead everything is made to complement women’s bodies. Check out their beautiful website which features women from all races, body types and ages.
This is an underwear brand that is sexy without being annoying. Come here to find great lacy thongs and bras that won’t break the bank.
Featured Image via Fashionista
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