style

Why Victoria’s Secret is Trash (and 21 Brands to Wear Instead)

Victoria's Secret 2018 Fashion Show All Models

…and 21 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.

21 Alternatives to Victoria’s Secret

Victoria's Secret Alternatives

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.

2. Bluebella
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.

Victoria's Secret Alternative

3. Thirdlove
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).

Victoria's Secret Alternative

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.

Alternatives to Victoria's Secret

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.

6. Intimissimi
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.

Alternatives to Victoria's Secret

7. AdoreMe
AdoreMe is not only celebrated for its fun, flirty and sexy vibe but also a great knock off victoria’s secret pink fans really love. The lingerie brand was founded with the mission to become the first company to offer extended sizing across a wide range of styles ten years ago. To honor their commitment to support every woman who wants to celebrate her best self, AdoreMe is ready to outfit us with cute florals, too-hot-to-handle lace vets, gorgeous cropped bustiers and so much more.

8. Aerie
If you’re on the lookout for bras like Victoria’s Secret, look no further than Aerie. The brand known for its oh-so-flattering jeans has tapped into the lingerie sphere with an array of figure-flattering designs. From bohemian-inspired lace bralettes that are tempting to also wear tops, to classic high-neck bras that mimic the look of athletic wear and barely-there bandeau bralettes, the options are all in our favor. To top it all off, Aerie is also very size-inclusive.

Alternatives to Victoria's Secret

9. Agent Provocateur
Agent Provocateur underwear is Victoria’s Secret more high fashion, luxury cousin. The brand puts modern women with a busy lifestyle and a mission to succeed at the forefront with a bold and unapologetic aesthetic to match your “I mean business” vibe. Their collections run the gamut from Hot Desking *wink* styles crafted from lace to look-at-me- sets that leave too little to the imagination. If you’re in the mood for even more risqué, sexy lingerie, take a glimpse at the Naughty collection.

10. Fleur du Mal
For bras comparable to Victoria’s Secret, you should definitely take a look at Fleur du Mal’s collection. Who wouldn’t want to adorn themselves with lustrous ivory silk, subtle hints of elegant sheer tulle, and intricate floral embroidery? Founded by lingerie enthusiast Jennifer Zuccarini in Los Angeles, the brand is ready to spice up your days (and nights) with huge doses of French finesse.

11. Journelle
Another fantastic knock-off Victoria’s Secret Pink option is the luxury lingerie brand Journelle. Their extensive fit-tested, fashion-focused lingerie collection was designed by women, for women. Who could have imagined that itsy-bitsy thongs would look so chic and elegant? All sets feature striking lace and utterly soft silk to seamlessly fit your every mood both inside and outside the house, just saying!

12. Simon Perele
If you can’t wait to add more bras like Victoria’s Secret to your underwear arsenal, Simon Perele is the brand for you. While their styles are not as sexy and bold as the aforementioned lingerie above, the designers offer us soft stretch lace and delicate details in a slew of different colors to choose from. From graphic cuts to subtle see-through effects that can effortlessly hide under all your casual and evening looks, the brand caters to women who lead their lives with confidence.

13. Cuup
Your hunt for modern, minimal, unlined bras comparable to Victoria’s Secret is officially over. Cuup aims to challenge outdated industry standards with elegantly engineered options that enhance the natural shape of our bodies. From mesh bras that perfectly fit your body like a glove to satin styles with lustrous shine and an array of different bottoms like the flattering, vintage-inspired cut and Tap’s semi-sheer silhouette, consider it as the perfect upgrade to your intimates’ drawer.

14. Hanky Panky
Hanky Panky is very similar to Victoria’s Secret in terms of playfulness, variety of colors, and effortless sexiness. The brand, founded in 1977, has developed a unique, second-skin microfiber knit but also uses eco-friendly, lightweight stretch modal across their collections. Their women’s original rise thongs and low rise thongs have had a cult following for decades so you already know that quality is pretty much guaranteed. Additionally, you can opt for size-inclusive, super comfy bralettes, camisoles, and tops that promise to fit your body perfectly.

15. Dora Larsen
Many die-hard fans of VS claim that on Dora Larsen’s virtual shelves you can shop bras like Victoria Secret. The small, family-run business carries a slew of responsibly sourced everyday lingerie and underwear made from recycled or organic and natural fibers. If you love colorful, delicate lace overlays or utterly comfortable sets that feature soft, silky microfibre and ultra-modern contrasting lace trims with vibrant hues, this brand is for you!

16. Wacoal
Another great place to shop comfortable and supportive lingerie and bras comparable to Victoria Secret is Wacoal. The brand is proud to fit their bras on real women and has been offering sizes from A to I cup for more than 30 years. From whimsical botanical jacquard fabrics and wire-free bras for big-bust gals that are equal parts comfy and stylish, they have us covered.

17. Natori
Natori can definitely be considered a knockoff Victoria’s secret pink enthusiasts will appreciate. Founded in 1977, Natori puts much emphasis on sustainability since day one. No matter if you want to slip into a chic and sexy lingerie set to rest after a long day or treat yourself to a flirty yet elegant floral-adorned bra, the family-owned brand is here to help you do just that.

18. La Perla
La Perla is crafts otherworldly beautiful lingerie styles similar to Victoria Secret, but sustainable and ethical. The brand dates back to 1954, the year Ada Masotti created her first atelier of corsetry in Bologna, Italy. Since that day, La Perla’s expertly crafted luxury Italian lingerie and nightwear and swimwear, made by women, for women is universally-loved.
From sheer and sensual underwire bras and beautifully embroidered style to modern adaptations of the classic bra with removable straps that hug the torso, the subtle romantic details stemming from their Italian heritage are evident across their entire collection.

19. Parade
Young, modern, size-inclusive and sustainable, Parade is a bra similar to Victoria’s Secret yet vastly different in ethos. Their comfy, versatile, everyday underwear collection is made from recycled materials that are known for being breathable, temperature-regulating, and naturally anti-microbial. From thongs to briefs to cheekies, and boyshorts to an array of different bralettes, Parade’s line will certainly meet all your comfort demands.

20. Richer Poorer
If you browse Richer Poorer’s shelves, you will certainly spot some alternatives to Victoria’s Secret. The underwear collection comes in many different neutral hues to match your everyday looks with ease without compromising on comfort or style. You can choose your favorite high-cut bralette, classic bralette, as well as boxers, briefs, and shorts in many styles and colors, knowing that everything is made from organic fabrics

21. Nude Barre
Nude Barre is the epitome of color and size inclusivity. You can not only find bras like Victoria Secret, but also pick the color that most closely matches your skin tone with an array of options! From seamless panties and boyshorts to fishnet stockings, the brand has all our sartorial needs covered. As for their underwear, they are ideal for pairing with any wrap dresses, T-shirts, or camis thanks to their no-show seamless design.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase, we may earn a small commission. We only recommend products that we love and would use ourselves.

Featured Image via Fashionista

@nairanyc Which one is your fave? #womenofcolor #MadewithKAContest #lingeriefashion ♬ flashing lights jaz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Samille Bermanelli

15 Runway Models of Color To Watch

Our favorite new faces making runways more diverse.

Read More >
Sinead Bovell

How Sinead Bovell Is Taking Over Tech and Fashion at the Same Time

How the Canadian entrepreneur and model juggles fashion, tech and the non-profit world.

Read More >
Grace Cotton

Model Grace Cotton Talks Swimming with Pigs and Being Addicted to Donuts

We asked her about her favorite modeling gigs, places to visit and how she keeps her skin looking great.

Read More >