Open Letter to Victoria’s Secret

Dear Ms. CEO of Victoria’s Secret,

I recently read an article about your company, about how stock is going down and women just aren’t buying your products like they used to. You are quoted as saying the brand has gotten “too sexy for it’s own good”.  As a woman in your supposedly target demographic, I can tell you exactly why your products aren’t exactly flying off the shelf these days, and it has nothing to do with ‘sexy’.

You are looking at everything *but* the customer and what they need.

You want my business?

Explain to me why your panties are only sold up to size Large, which according to your website is about a size 14. Have you read the statistics lately? Do you realize the average woman in the US is a size 14? So what about the other half, the ‘above average’ sized contingency? Are they just SOL in your book?

Explain to me(and my more amply-endowed friends, lucky gals) why your bras only to up to a DD?

Explain to me why despite the hundreds upon hundreds of letters you’ve received over the years, you still deem us unworthy of a line of attractive nursing bras? The market is there, and women will shell out the $$$ for a comfortable, pretty bra. Why not capitalize on this, instead of focusing only on our bodies between the ages of 17 and whenever we have our first baby?

You may think you are being progressive and open minded by using super models who are in their 30’s in some of your ads, but we aren’t fooled. We don’t look like those women, and we don’t have the plastic surgeons of those women who are able to have a tummy tuck along with their month-early c-sections so as to avoid the stretch marks that plague the rest of us. (On that same topic, how about making underwear thats not so low cut you need a Brazilian wax just to put them on?)

Better yet, explain to me why a catalog shows up at my door every month that you claim is to make me want to buy your products, but is clearly intended for my husband’s viewing? It must be, because last I checked, I have a hard time shopping for a bathing suit when the top half is..errr…missing. We don’t have a lot of topless beaches in Alabama, and I’d have the devil of a time trying to swim while holding my breasts in my hands like women in your pictures. 

Long story short, quit worrying about what you think men want, and start listening to the people actually pulling out the cash. Women spend 80 cents out of every household dollar. Thats all women btw, not just the size 2 ones, or the super model types. We would be more than happy to throw some of that your way if you’d cut us a little slack and start giving us the attractive, well-fitting underwear we want.

We’ve been telling you for years what we need, now it’s up to you to start listening.

Posted in Old

70 thoughts on “Open Letter to Victoria’s Secret

  1. I think the reason Victorias Secret doesn’t sell things in larger than the sizes you mentioned in the VS stores is because they sell it under the Lane Bryant line. Not that it really matters because a) most people don’t kow that they’re the same brand and wouldn’t know to go to LB for VS-type stuff and b) they don’t sell nursing bras in LB either and c) all your other points still stand.

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  2. You hit the nail on the head. Victoria’s Secret started marketing to teenagers some time ago and lost their initial core group: WOMEN. I remember my mom telling me about VS when I was a kid because it was a classy lingerie store. Not that she and I were in the habit of discussing lingerie or anything. I won’t step foot in that store anymore because I’m embarassed I won’t find that bra I need because I fill out a DD well on a good day, and bulge out when I’m bloated. Plus, I’m overweight at the moment and even their “Large” underwear is not large enough. Their size 14 is only large to a 14 year old.

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  3. Well said! The sizing on all their products is off. The way they measure you for a bra and the way other places do is different. Nordstroms does a wonderful job of fitting bras. The size they tell me fits me, no matter the brand. The same size at VS is too small. VS seems to believe that most women are a small size and need extra padding. I’m an average size and really don’t need any additional cleavage!

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  4. Oh, girl! You rock. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Amen.

    I hate that dreaded Victoria’s Secret catalog that comes monthly and more. My husbands whips it away and then buys me everything medium like when we were married, when today I an extra-large at the least. Then he’s hurt when I don’t wear it because the thong fits on my big toe. The camisole doesn’t fit over my backfat.

    I never go into the store anymore and all I buy are their thigh high stockings.

    They need to get real. They’ve become lately all about college and high school fashions (which the thought of a teenager in lingerie makes me ill) and nothing about romance and marriage-worthy negligees.

    Nope, they don’t get my purchase and my husband’s paltry attempts are in a cardboard box in my closet.

    Thanks again!

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  5. I wrote a really great comment totally agreeing with you, but the time I finished I realized I had actually written my post for the day 😉

    Thanks for the inspiration!!!

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  6. seriously. amen.
    and it’s not actually just all the women bigger than the sizes they offer, believe it or not, they actually don’t make things small enough for some. i’m about a medium in their panties and what not, but when it comes to bras… i’m teeny up there. i’d like to buy a cute lingerie set, or a corset to wear for my boyfriend and they don’t make them smaller than a b cup in most cases!

    so therefore, yeah, i haven’t spent any money in that store. lol.

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  7. This is awesome! And true! Although I would like to add: 1. Even if you do fit into stuff from VS, most of it is unattractive and overpriced for the quality 2. The salespeople – I know they are trying to do their jobs, but they’re way aggressive with the store card pushing and attempts at “service”.

    And the marketing to teenagers and such is just kind of scary.

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  8. I just want you to know, I only found your blog last week, but Sara — in the words of Keith Partridge himself, I think I love you 🙂

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  9. Amen, sister. I love matching bras and panties and they are just incredibly difficult to find in the larger sizes. Why don’t they realize that we older, slightly larger women are the ones with all the money???

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  10. Amen sister! Sing. It.Loud. I have never bought anything from VS because just me walking into the store all the sales people come up to me asking me if they can help me yet they have an evil face as if they expect me to rob them or open fire on the joint. I ran out of there to never return!
    Unless they start making stuff for woman like you and me and stop looking at us woman that clearly have had children in a better light…they will never get my money! Never!
    And the fact that they make stuff for teens makes me sick!

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  11. ROCK ON!!!

    You took the words right out of my mouth!

    You hit it when you wrote up until our first baby… I haven’t fit into one of their bras since.

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  12. Exactly. Ya know, I shopped for a bra there years ago (before kids) and a saleswoman came in dressing room with me, measured me, showed me several styles and explained a lot about bras in general. It was awesome. I went again recently hoping for the same experience and the woman all but rolled her eyes at me. She measured me OVER MY CLOTHES then proceeded to bring me one ill-fitting bra after another. Maybe she was just a poor salesperson, but I definitely got the feeling that I didn’t *qualilfy* for decent treatment.

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  13. Yes! I was having the same conversation in my head when I was unsubscribing from their millions of mailings the other day. I haven’t been able to wear their bras or underwear since having my first daughter.

    I used to buy as much of their crap when I was a single young chick. Now that I have a lot more money to spend on girlie stuff none of what they offer would fit me. It hurts a little bit, but I’ve just recently come to the realization that I am too old for Victoria’s Secret and Cosmo magazine. And to think I am just finishing up my 31 year this week.

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  14. Ayyyyyyyyy-men.

    I do on occasion buy bras there, though b/c I am a 38 B which is not often in stock at generic dept. stores. But the rest, fugeddabout it…I am too hip-y and broad for their stuff.

    The real feminine, quality, not so-sex-crazed stuff is found atSoma.

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  15. I just barely fit into the pantie’s VS sells – and even the ones I do fit into are unflattering, at a size 16, but thankfully I’ve always been able to squeeze into their bras, overpriced as they are, they sure are pretty.

    I do agree with Shannon’s comment above, though. Being a little overweight (yes skinny girls of the world, size sixteen is only “a little bit overweight”) I do get treated differently there. Sales girls don’t come up to help with anything as I am searching through the drawers looking for that 38D, and I can almost feel their eyes rolling when I buy their large panties. Screw em! We’re hot anyway!

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  16. VS used to be a better store because they used to have a larger range of sizes. I know because I still have my XL cotton panties (no longer sold) and my 38C bra (which apparently they no longer carry 38’s either).

    I was there last week in my attempt to buy some new lingerie. It was horrible. I think I’ll save the long story for my own post rather than clutter up your comments, but I can tell you that I didn’t find anything.

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  17. Delurking to say HELLS-TO-THE-YES.

    If they say a large is equivalent to a size 14, my size 14 arse is laughing at them. The L’s mock my size 14 arse. My arse is angry at the size Ls. It’s not a happy releationship.

    Honestly, I used to work at Frederick’s of Hollywood, and while they may have this “trashy” reputation, my God, they carried real-people sizes. Sizes that were cut in flattering way for real-people sizes, too. I miss them.

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  18. Amen. I recently went to Soma for new bra’s and even if VS went through major re-branding AND offered the products I need in “actual” sizes as a opposed to pre-teen girl version of the sizes I still don’t think I’d go back. Soma is the VS for real women.

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  19. Heck yes! Thank you. My little tiny friends (you know, those sized 2s?) they don’t get why I won’t go in there for shopping. Pffft. Now tell us…did you send this over to them? Maybe we should all send it at once and see what happens.

    I do have to say though…I’m a Target girl for bras and undies. And I’ve found some REALLY pretty ones. 😉

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  20. As a former employee I say “Well Said!”

    When I worked there in the late 90’s it was still know for it’s wonderful potpourri and signature classical music. The VS experience was supposed to be one of elegance not overt sexiness. You were supposed to feel indulged when you visited, not inadequate. Every piece of merchandise was not sexy. I remember the best selling item at Christmas was a wonderful thick fluffy robe. Nothing sexy about it but decadent to the extreme and it has a $$$ price tag.

    As a marketing professional I see this as a prime example of a brand losing their way. They tried to appeal to a younger demographic and left their core market behind. Too bad as most 17 year olds can’t pay $60 for a bra. Hence the downturn in sales. They’ve made their own bed, now they will have to lay in – alone.

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  21. You nailed it. I JUST posted this weekend on the clothes at Target being ugly as sin or made to look like something worn in an AARP meeting. VS lost me at the bras, too. I had to go to Lane Bryant (being a 40G stinks beyond the back aches…)

    I just found Soma in your comments..good stuff!

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  22. Ditto on the nursing bra stuff… although I found a full coverage nursing bra at Motherhood Maternity that looks identical to my full coverage bra from VS… could they have actually made one and just sold it to a different store? And, hey, it’s half the price or less! Hooray for finding something that fits, and I’m not going back to VS for years I’m sure…

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  23. first time reader here, and AMEN! I recently braved the wilds and went into a VS store – the only one within 2 hours of my house – a few weeks ago and was looked at with contempt by the staff. Now, I’m not thin, but I’m not THAT large either, and yet there was nothing there to fit me whatsoever.

    Go away VS.

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  24. Ha ha! I love this. I think my favorite part is about how EVEN NON-SKINNY women spend 80 cents of every dollar. Or, no, maybe my favorite part is how the catalogs are CLEARLY geared toward men: I don’t usually pull my pajama pants down with one thumb like that.

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  25. All good points! The VS in my home town would not let a woman breastfeed in their store. You know because no one in there wanted to see breasts. And it (rightfuly so) caused quite a riot. There was a “nurse-in” outside the store soon after.

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  26. i have a question for VS. why is it that i wear a size 2…but have to wear size MEDIUM v-strings. what does that say about women who wear a size 4. or 6. or 8. ????hmmm???

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  27. I totally second this. Couldn’t have said it better myself!
    Especially the part about nursing bras … the ones I have (38 DD or something uncomfortably large like that) could not look more hideous. Beige! Beige! Will I ever wear a NON-beige bra again?

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  28. to the poster above Lane Bryant is owned by Charmming Shoppes not the parent company of Vicky’s (who along with White Barn and Bath and Body, The Limited, Harry Bendel; are owned by Limited Brands)

    Anyway Victoria Secret has always gone for the smaller more petite woman… and no I am not one of them (I used to be) but their thing now is to go into the more ocmfy clothes not necessarily bigger sizes… there are other stores for that obviously that cater to larger women as well as dept. stores… do you really want to see size 16+ women plastered all over there stores in barely there material? I don’t and I am that size.

    Also the CEO is a Mr.

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  29. What Victoria’s Secret advertises is certainly an unrealistic expectation of a woman. The models are skeletal, and each of them subscribes to a regimen of extreme dieting, excessive exercise, elective surgery, etc…

    But women are being just as unrealistic if they are also going to continue to pound down the cheeze doodles. A woman above a size 14, frequently, is overweight, if not obese. All that extra fat is taxing her heart, forcing her children into a diabetic lifestyle, and shortening her life significantly.

    As a man, I find the lingerie to be secondary to the woman. I would much rather see a toned calf, a shapely thigh, and a stomach covered in stretch marks that only has ONE radius, than an extra wide lace black band of cloth, struggling to maintain its tenuous fathold.

    Dead isn’t sexy. Great blog!

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  30. The fancy stuff is fine if I’m trying to look sexy for a special occasion (Assuming it fit and didn’t pinch, scratch, or crawl up my a$$ crack like the kids do). I want cotton for everyday use – it washes better, lasts longer, and it’s MUCH more comfortable when pulled on and abruptly released (why yes, I do have a toddler…) They sell some cotton stuff, but their fancy signature elastic doesn’t last 1 washing before it’s a tangle of string. Quality counts! I bought some cheap (read: inexpensive) low rise cotton bikinis at Kmart after my c-section, and almost 2 years later they’re hanging in there. $1 a pair, came in 6 colors, S up to XXL, and they are comfy and stay where they are supposed to.
    ‘Nuff said.
    Blog Hopping

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  31. I’ve gotta tell you, I’ve never really put much thought into the whole Victoria’s Secret deal (being a man and all) but obviously you have. Quite compelling points and the comments are awesome as well.

    Let’s hope Ms. CEO finds her way here.

    Blog Hoppin’ – Chas

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  32. You are so right! And another thing I don’t like about Victoria Secret’s is the ads in the windows at the mall….a little risque for the kiddies. I have to cover my young son’s eyes when we pass!

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  33. I, for one, find the names of the bras absolutely hilarious! “Biofit”? “Pout”? WTH!!

    I totally agree about the sizes. I can’t find anything there (except pretty perfumes and lotions), but I guess it’s my fault for being a fatty. 😛

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  34. I agree with everything you said! And would just add that price is a factor – I used to pay $20 for five pairs of cotton knickers (now it’s $25 I believe) but not anymore since I can go to Target and get a six pack of Hanes for a whole lot less! lol!

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  35. So well said and well written! It’s amazing how little people know about how powerful the mom and woman consumer is. Your post touched on so many great points, I couldn’t agree more or have said it any better. Well done!

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  36. I don’t know why they call it Victoria’s Secret, there’s no secret left to it. I don’t know how they get away with sending out this pornagraphic magazine thinly guised to sell underwear or other “ho” looking clothing. I stopped receiving it a long time ago realizing that (a) I will NEVER be able to wear anything out of it and (2) to protect my husband.

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  37. Amen! You tell ’em sister!! I haven’t shopped at Victoria’s Secret since…..well, ever! I have always been a 14+ and I can guarantee their 14 ain’t no 14!!

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  38. I really do think you should print not only the letter but the numerous comments as well to the CEO. I am a size 6, but I agree with your complaints, and also feel that the bra sizes are not in line with what women’s bodies are really like, nor are they worth the price. I recently ordered some underwear from them that is not comfortable, and also doesn’t fit me right. I keep finding myself in the middle of sizes; too big for a small, too small for a medium.

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  39. *GREAT POST* Bras are meant to hold the girls up & sometimes make us feel a little better about ourselves – not give our husbands an easy way out of gift-giving with scratchy, ill-fitting nighties. Hell, if I want to look like a stripper I’ll buy my own damn stuff at Fredrick’s of Hollywood, VS used to be much classier.

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  40. I completely agree with every sentence in your post! It is the company’s own fault they ended up in this mess, and they should deal with the consequences. I used to work there, and I know too well the pushing of credit and service. It has gotten worse, I won’t even go in anymore for fear of being stalked by the sales people.

    While I am a small, I have to say that even on my end of the spectrum, VS does not offer any choices. I never find A cups in pretty bras. If you are not a 34C, which most women aren’t, you cannot shop there. Bras are not meant to cater to the sexual desires of men! Thanks for this well-written post. Send it to VS please!

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  41. My thoughts exactly. I especially like how you pointed out that the catologs are designed in such a way to be pleasing to the male’s sexual organ. That’s so true! When I look at a VS catalog, I just get annoyed because the women have large, perfectly rounded breasts, perfect waists, and absolutely no love handles. Come on now! This is not an accurate representation of the average American woman. I just want to know how many of these models have had multiple children because a lot changes after that. Even if they do have children, they probably have nannies to watch their kids while they spend hours in the gym each day. Amen to your post!

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  42. Amen to that! I used to love VS bras because they were the only pretty ones that came in DD’s. Then I got pregnant, my boobs got bigger, and I have been wearing depressingly dull bras ever since. I would love to see VS make bras in bigger sizes. And I plan on breastfeeding, so I would love to see them make a nursing bra too. But I guess nursing bras just aren’t sexy enough for them…

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  43. I just wanted to make a comment to Geoff (the first post listed)….I read your post and it completely pissed me off. It is obvious to me that you have no clue what a size 14 looks like. I was skinny all my life but towards the end of high school and into college I started to fill out. But I filled out in all the right places. I modeled as a size 14…I was a 14 and had a 6 pack stomach. I am just a curvy girl and have a lot of boob and and a lot of butt. So you might want to do some research on the sizes of women, because in my experience guys don’t have a clue when it comes to size and proportion. If you are so smart….when is the last time you actually looked a woman that was a size 14? Did you ever consider that a woman that is a size 14 could actually be fit and not obese like you say…and a size 14 could even have a six pack stomach? You probably never even considered it…because guys look at the numbers and say “wow that number is high, she must be fat”. A number means nothing, you need to look at the whole picture before you start flapping your gums again. All you did was make yourself look like an asshole.

    ***To the author of the actual BLOG…I am so glad that someone finally spoke up on behalf of us women who are not a size 8. I really hope that you mailed your letter off to the CEO.***

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