Victoria’s Secret Must Die

by Cara on August 28, 2008

in products, random

This is a completely off-topic rant about how I hate Victoria’s Secret with every fiber of my being.

Why?  They’re expensive.  They stopped carrying the underwear I like in stores.  They rarely have the bras I wear in the right size/color in stores.  Their shipping prices from their website are outrageous.  Their website is impossible to navigate when they have a sale on.  They have atrocious customer service.

Example: my mom bought me a new bra offline for my birthday.  She couldn’t get me the color I wanted because it said “this item is no longer available.”  What they meant was that it was no longer available for the sale price and that they weren’t going to be selling it again until after the sale is over.  But of course it didn’t say any of that, so she took it very logically to mean that the bra was discontinued.  Once we got that sorted out, we returned it for an exchange for the color I like.  And then?  And then they charged her the difference between the sale price and the full price on a straight exchange.  I don’t think I’ve ever in my life heard of a company refusing to take a straight exchange of an item because it was on sale at the time — at least when they didn’t have a “all sales final” policy to start out with.  And especially when the receipt says they will not charge for a straight exchange.

And why have I put up with all of this shit for years?  Because I like their bras.

So imagine my surprise when I try on the new bra today to find out that they’ve completely changed the style.  If you wear an IPEX Demi, do not buy it again without trying it on first. In addition to changing the material, making the back smaller, and turning the strap adjustment upside down, they’ve also made the cups bigger. Not as in, I now need to go down as a size — as in they’ve made the top of the cups bigger, as though women’s breasts actually look like they do in the ads, super round and full at the top and spilling out over the edges.  Even though, you know, their models’ boobs don’t actually even look like that, and are airbrushed to look that way.  (Hey, there’s some feminist content after all!)  So now there’s this big empty space at the top, making it completely unwearable and leaving me without a bra that I really, really needed and with no immediate replacement.

I’ll be checking out Cacique ASAP.  And Victoria’s Secret can just fuck off and die, preferably by drowning in their own evil corporate blood.

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{ 40 comments }

1 Pop Feminist August 28, 2008 at 1:33 pm

Man, Victoria’s Secret is so bogus. They charge a fortune and frankly, their bras are cheaply made and poorly designed.

I recommend investing in Calvin Klein bras. They are always subtle under clothes and supportive. Plus they really last forever. Just my two cents.

2 Crystal August 28, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Is there a physical store that sells these Calvin Klein bras? I always end up going to JC Pennies or other stores that focus on older individuals for bras and jeans because quite frankly it’s gone out of style to make/sell clothes that fit my body type. *makes a face* Victoria Secret is an awful place… I’ve tried to find bras that fit there… yeah, nope.

3 Jemima August 28, 2008 at 1:40 pm

I can recommend Fantasie and Prima Donna. I swear by those brands. And sometimes Triumph, too. I have to go buy the expensive stuff because the cheaper lines don’t make bras for a bigger bust – like mine.

Victoria’s Secret has always been anti-woman and anti-feminist, don’t let it surprise you that they’re also assholes in economic matters x_x

4 Cara August 28, 2008 at 1:47 pm

Do they sell Fantasie, Prima Donna and Triumph in any stores?

5 Cara August 28, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Oh okay, nevermind. They seem to be UK brands? And also the Prima Donna ones at least were very expensive.

6 Cara August 28, 2008 at 1:54 pm

But online at least it looks like Macys carries Calvin Klein bras, so I’ll check there, too. Thanks Pop Feminist.

7 Kristen August 28, 2008 at 1:59 pm

Also, fwiw, you might try these custom fit bras. http://www.customfitbras.com/

They aren’t beautiful, but they are very comfortable particularly if you’re large busted.

Plus you can support small WOB. Which is always a good thing.

8 frau sally benz August 28, 2008 at 2:01 pm

Frankly, I’m amazed you were able to put up with them for so long! I only ever bought things at the store (to avoid shipping) and if there was an awesome sale.

The last time I went there was 2 years ago. I bought about 5 bras b/c I noticed that my size had changed slightly. The bras barely lasted me any time at all! They got all stretched out and unwearable just after a few wears. They’ve really forgotten all about quality, which used to be the only reason I liked them in the first place.

Unfortunately, I haven’t found a good replacement so I am also open to suggestions. =/

9 Kristen August 28, 2008 at 2:34 pm

Errr….also if you are interested in buying Fantasie or Prima Donna, I’d recommend http://www.amplebosom.com/ They are also a WOB and their customer service is wonderful.

10 dewey August 28, 2008 at 3:25 pm

I tried one of their bras ONCE on the recommendation of someone I know. I always avoided them just on principle, but I thought ok, if these bras are so great, I’ll try one. And it was like some kind of fucking torture device. I don’t care what the current style is, I do not want my boobs pushed up to my chin, thanks.

11 morganp August 28, 2008 at 4:30 pm

That, and the fact that the panties are sent to Jordan, assembled by Palestinian women who make about $100 a month for their labor, and sent off to the U.S. with the label “Made in Israel”. Pretty atrocious company.

link

12 GallingGalla August 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm

wrt to how and where the garments are manufactured, the frustrating thing is that every damned brand pulls shit like that, so what brand to you switch to? Ok, maybe some other brand will say “made in Jordan”, but the brand is still exploiting Jordanian women, y’no?

The *only* exception that I’ve found is Decent Exposures (http://www.decentexposures.com/), they make their clothing in-house, handmade to order. They have the only bras that fit me (I have some), however, they are not stylish. And they sell “underpants”, not “panties”, and I’m not buying “underpants” (they look like that word sounds). So I guess I’ll avoid VS and try to investigate manufacturing practices before I order anything more.

13 Cara August 28, 2008 at 5:33 pm

Yeah, I’m with GallingGalla on the sweatshop stuff. It’s really difficult to not use that stuff, especially when you’re on a tight budget. It sucks.

Went out shopping today, had absolutely no luck. Who knew that a 36D was so fucking hard to find? Because I was unable to find it in absolutely any bra that I actually wanted to try on in 3 different stores.

So I’m screwed. Also, thanks to everyone for the links, but I’m not at all comfortable with ordering a bra offline without being able to try it on first. Even if you can return it, you’re still almost always out shipping costs.

Sigh.

14 morganp August 28, 2008 at 6:21 pm

I agree that almost any company that manufactures reasonably-priced stuff is engaged in the same practices, and know it’s impossible to completely avoid it when cheap is all you can afford. I really can’t suggest a totally legit and affordable alternative…just meant to point out another dimension of the multi-faceted shittiness that is VS.

15 GR Julian August 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm

I am a large-busted woman and have had excellent experiences with Roamans.com. Their return policy is extremely lenient and their sizes range from the tiny to the gargantuan.

16 Alana August 28, 2008 at 7:53 pm

I highly recommend Donna Karan (not DKNY) bras. Surprisingly they’re not much more expensive than Victoria’s Secret and will definitely last longer. They’re so consistently sized that I don’t even try them on before I buy them anymore.

17 Peaches August 28, 2008 at 9:18 pm

When I worked at Lane Bryant, we would get women in the store– about once a month– who had been sent to us by the Victoria’s Secret in the same mall.

Often these were women who were a size 10 or 12, too small for our clothes. Since I did a lot of the bra fits at the time, I would talk to them, and consistently, they would say, “I went to Victoria’s Secret and they said I was too big, and that I should come here.” More than once, they added that the salesperson had told them how Victoria’s Secret sold all their “plus-size” bras to the LB. Quotes on that because VS doesn’t sell anything above a certain size– and because if you know LB or Cacique, you know that’s patently untrue.

And that’s one of my biggest reasons for hating VS.

18 mestiza August 28, 2008 at 9:29 pm

i have really small boobs so i don’t wear a bra most of the time. i only wear one when i have to go to work and i HATE it. when i went shopping for my work bras it was so tedious and a total carnival of body shame.

19 Pizza Diavola August 29, 2008 at 3:06 am

i only wear one when i have to go to work and i HATE it.

If you have small breasts, one thing you can try instead of bras is camisoles with shelf bras. It gives enough support/coverage for work situations and they’re not nearly as uncomfortable as bras. I HATE wearing a bra and only do it when I’m out of camisoles…no matter how perfectly they’re fitted, they work by exerting tension against my back and I end up with cramped shoulders and back by the end of the day.

20 eruvande August 29, 2008 at 10:17 am

Wacoal. Buy one. :)

21 clarice August 29, 2008 at 2:56 pm

My bra size went up recently (due to weight gain… boooo) to 40DD. Man that size is hard to find! I went bra shopping all over the place. Where did I finally find some winners? JC Penney. I found a Playtex that’s bomb (I bought 2 identical ones!), and a Bali I like. In the past I’ve been quite pleased with Wacoal and other “non-fashion” brands. I think the best stores to go to are ones with lots of selection (i.e. department stores). To me the two major differences between a cheap, unwearable bra and something I don’t mind wearing is materials and construction. I will pay more for a bra if the underwire flexes without being flimsy, and if the stretch materials really stretch. Properly reinforced seams, straight alignment of all parts, and no loose threads are a must in a support garment. Smaller breasted women or people with sensitive skin may have other needs like narrow backs, flat seamless areas around the nipple, strap adjustments in the right place, thick or thin straps, a variety of colors, and so on. A one-brand store is just not going to have the variety you need.
By the way I got three bras for $60 at JCP because there was a sale, so depending on your budget, wait for a sale! Also places like Ross and Nordstrom Rack will have variety in smaller sizes. Big boobed women should skip discount stores, as I discovered.
Whatever your budget just keep shopping until you find what you need. No one should have to wear uncomfortable underwear (or be uncomfortable due to a lack of underwear!).
Also if there isn’t a job called “bra engineer” there should be :P

22 montglanechess August 29, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Seriously, I’ve had great experiences at Von Maur, one of the larger (and unfortunately expensive) dept. stores in our mall. They sell Wacoal, which I’m currently wearing and find to be pretty, comfortable, and great support. They also sell Calvin Klein, Le Mystere, Chantelle brands that I’ve either tried on or purchased with great satisfaction. My problem has been a larger cup size combined with a tiny rib cage– the only bras that truly fit my rib cage have been the expensive and well-made brands. Which I will buy, because I like to *gasp* wear bras that fit. *eye roll* Apparently this concept is too far beyond places like Kohl’s and Victoria Secret.

I totally agree with you about VS, by the way. The last time I went in there (last month) I asked to get re-sized because I wasn’t sure if I had changed. The sales assistant whipped out her tape measure and measured me completely incorrectly. As I sputter, she brightly informed me that I’m an A Cup ( I wear a D). Even a person with two brain cells to rub together could tell I’m not an A *just by looking*. Never going back. EVER. I don’t know why I even tried. *sigh*

23 Louisa August 29, 2008 at 11:03 pm

I remember going to Victoria’s Secret and getting measured when I about 12. The sales lady told me that I was a 30A and would probably increase to a 32 when I grew more, but stay an A cup. Imagine being a developing preteen and hearing that your boobs aren’t going to grow anymore. Turns out she was wrong and I’m a DD now.
Other than that, I continue to shop there because the underwear are my favorite and the Body by Victoria bras fit me the best and have lasted for years. But reading all these comments, I’m not so sure I want to shop there anymore.

24 Becky August 30, 2008 at 2:31 pm

I’m sorry you had such bad luck, Cara. If you get desperate, Figleaves.com has free return and exchange shipping. If the bra you get doesn’t fit, you can keep exchanging it for free until you find something that does.

25 MissKate7511 August 31, 2008 at 7:01 pm

Cara, how recently was this shopping experience? Like, is the change in sizing really recent? B/c VS 34Cs are the only thing that seems to hold my boobs properly, and I may die if I have to go through the torture of finding another line of bras that might fit sorta.

Oh, and Peaches, what is up with salespersons sending all women over a size 4 to Lane Bryant? Been there — asked a saleswoman at the Limited if they had this pair of jeans in a size 10. Her response was to look at me like I was rotting beached whale and tell me people of my size are better served by Lane Bryant. Which is weird, b/c I’m not particularly buxom, just rather tall.

26 Cara August 31, 2008 at 7:45 pm

Layne Bryant doesn’t even carry a size 10. They start at 12.

And I just got the bra the other day. They had a sale, from which I got another bra — the only good one I have — which is fine. The one they sent me this time came out after the sale, once they got stock back in. So you can run out to the store and cross your fingers.

And I wish you luck, because I am having the time from hell finding a replacement. Second shopping trip today. I’m kind of out of places to look and am not sure what exactly I’m going to do and seem to have no real options other than buying a bra I don’t like.

27 Anna September 1, 2008 at 2:35 am

Maiden Form bras have never failed me!

28 Jadelyn September 1, 2008 at 2:36 pm

Actually, LB starts at size 14. I’m at that horrible cusp where the 14 at LB is a little too roomy, but the 12/14 at other stores is too tight.

For bras, I’m a 38DD/DDD (depending on the brand). And I’ve found great success with Cacique and surprisingly, with Frederick’s of Hollywood bras. I dropped in because my younger (and much smaller) sister wanted to look at some stuff, but ended up trying on and buying like four bras. They fit great and have held up well for the past six months. So I’d definitely recommend FoH if you’re looking for larger sizes, good construction, and still sexy/stylish.

29 Cara September 1, 2008 at 3:17 pm

Yeah, LB’s website says they start at 14. The ones in the malls here say 12 in their window. *shrugs* Maybe it’s a regional thing? I don’t know.

Layne Bryant didn’t have any of the bras I was interested in in a 36D. And unfortunately I don’t think we have a Frederick’s of HOllywood here. Hmm. I remember one being in the mall when I was a kid, but it closed and I haven’t seen one since.

I think I’m actually going to try out the Fig Leave’s thing, order a whole bunch of bras and then return the ones I don’t like.

30 Sarah September 3, 2008 at 2:18 am

I totally feel your pain. My best friend works at VS, and she was totally excited about sharing her discount with me, until I told her they don’t sell bras in my size 40dd. She keeps me updated if anything comes in at my size but she seems to be the only one in that store that knows anything about lingerie. I still like some of their lotions and body sprays though.

31 Shakti September 3, 2008 at 3:10 pm

Victoria’s Secret is terrible. I bought bras there 3x in the 90s — none of them fit properly, and this was when I was below a C cup. Forget anything if you’re C and above. I’ve never been sized properly. All their “sexy” stuff is itchy and scratchy is made in limited quantities. Now, the window display is set up to look like the red light district in Amsterdam.

32 diane September 5, 2008 at 10:48 am

Wow–They are such a rip-off, unfortunately all these teenage girls are lovin the pink stuff. Hate that frickin store!!!!!!!!!!

33 Jack Weber September 7, 2008 at 11:39 pm

VS doesn’t carry anything in a 36DDD. The size listing on their website considers “full figured” anything in a DD or size 38 or 40. I couldn’t shop there if there was one within 1500 miles or I wanted to.

34 lauren September 8, 2008 at 2:39 pm

is there a specialty bra store in your area? i promise the selection/fitting is worth the extra price, plus they are usually WOBs. i know when i lived in st. louis i went to ann’s bra shop (i think they have an online site as well)…i am hoping there are more of those types of stores in other areas, so good luck…

35 Chloe September 10, 2008 at 3:03 pm

I have to share a bad experience I had with VS. I once bought two bras there, and distinctly remember paying for them. How else would they have let me leave the store?! Anyway, a couple of months later I started getting harassing phone calls from an unidentified zip code up to four of five times a day, with people telling me that I owed VS $90 for my two bras. When I bothered to pick up these harassing calls, I continually told these people that I had paid for the bras, and they couldn’t extort more money from me. They of course just gave me the line that they didn’t actually have the power to stop the calls. Because, you see, they’re just a bunch of morons in Ohio who sit at phones and harass people all day while mispronouncing their names. Anyway, I eventually ended up changing my phone number because four or five times a day was getting to be too much to deal with, and I saw no end in sight unless I paid the $90 that I didn’t even owe them. The funny thing is, I still buy their bras, although thinking about it, I probably shouldn’t now that I know they’re assholes.

36 Alison November 15, 2008 at 5:07 pm

Most bras SUCK, plain and simple. Underwires snap and stab you in the boob, they get stretched out or fall apart and they’re damn expensive to replace.
Well endowed ladies of the world, I have an answer!!!
I have recently found some of the most comfortable bras I have ever worn in new lines from Bali and Spanx.
The “Bra-lellujah” by Spanx ($36 at http://www.spanx.com)is an wireless, hookless, all hosiery bra that is SO comfy!
It gives you a bit more separation than a sports bra and a LOT more comfort than any underwire could dream of.
My favorite bra, however, is the Bali Concealers Wirefree Bra ($20.99 at onehanesplace.com)It comes in sizes up to 44D and gives amazing lift and separation all WITHOUT wires! I have had 3 for over a year now and they are still going strong!
I will never suffer through underwire bras again!!

37 bint alshamsa November 15, 2008 at 7:52 pm

I don’t buy anything other than toiletries from VS. For years, I didn’t wear any sort of bra at all. Camisoles or muscle shirts usually work just fine if I feel the need to put something between my skin and whatever top I was wearing. About a year ago, I went to VS and tried to buy a bra. I couldn’t find a single one that felt right. They were all either too tight around my rib cage or too full in the cup area.

I don’t know why I even bothered there in the first place. None of their underwear works for me. My bum is just too big for most of them. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who finds their stuff completely unworkable.

38 niecey June 3, 2009 at 8:34 pm

I’m somewhat satisfied with Victoria’s Secret but not completely. I have gone from a 36 B to a 36 C and now a 38 C. The only bra that looks right on me is the Very Sexy full coverage push up. That Bio Fit and any other brand of theirs gives me no shape or fit. I have gone to cheaper stores like Ross and Sears but no luck there as well. I did not get the desired round full shape that I want for my perky breasts. The only thing that I have to say is one time the girl on the register forgot to give me my receipt. We looked for it before I left the store but it was never found. Oh, well. At least it was only 42 dollars. I just took the gift certificate and sold it to someone for 30.

39 alicia July 2, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Victoria’s Secret is way overpriced. And some of the girls don’t know how to measure properly for bra sizes. That’s why I only shop there during their semi-annual sale or whenever I get a coupon. I wear a 36DD. They carry a DD in band sizes 34, 36, 38 and 40, thank God. My younger cousin wears a 32 E. They carry up to a 32 C so she shops on line for bras most of the time.

40 amber July 11, 2009 at 4:08 pm

I also hate Victoria’s Secret. I’ve always had small boobs and wore A cups forever, but one day decided I’d try on some new bras. Victoria’s Secret measured me at a 36B, so I bought a few BioFit in that size after trying them on and thinking they were awesome.

After a few weeks, I noticed I had some HUGE gapping at the top of the cup. If I moved certain ways, my breasts would be COMPLETELY EXPOSED. Most of the time the cups were never touching my boobs. I went back to VS and asked them about it, and one person suggested that I try a LARGER SIZE. Why the hell would I wear a larger cup size, if this one is already too big?

So, I left the store braless, and have switched to Gilligan O’Malley bras, sold at Target. Yes, they actually cover my boobs and I don’t have to worry about being exposed while bending over anymore!

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