In terms of good fit awareness and availability of D+bras, it’s probably fair to say that the US is at least 10 years behind the UK high street – possibly more. It’s shocking, but not hard to believe: I was in New York last weekend and witnessed a lot of Very Bad Things being done to boobs. Cruel quadraboobs. Painfully inept sports bras. Shoulders sliced by straining spindly straps. And not a D+ bra in sight.
My one weekend in New York is backed up by the very many e-mails, tweets and Facebook messages I get from US girls asking for help finding a good fitter. Nordstrom, one of the only mainstream retailers to carry DD+ lingerie, is reportedly hit and miss on the fit front – leaving swathes of women either trial-and-erroring their way to a decent fit via mail order, or simply in the dark that lingerie can – and should be – more comfortable than they know. (US fit specialists – let me know where you are so I can pass on your details – your country needs you!)
I digress. Whilst in New York, presiding over this (very awesome) city of squished boobs, was Victoria’s Secret. Everywhere. Huge billboards. Enormous shops. Hundreds of women clutching the pink glossy bags stuffed with VS lingerie and tissue.
Man, I hate Victoria’s Secret.
I hate that such a huge and influential lingerie company was founded to make lingerie shopping easier for men, with a system that works on estimation (for men), and the ridiculous overbust measuring technique (which is basically the plus-four method, but weirder).
And I hate the bland, boring, homogenous version of ‘sexy’ they uphold. Very Sexy – in VS land – is ‘pushed up, often to the point of strangulation’, with a good dose of fake tan and airbrushing thrown in for good measure. The sultry, straight-from-Playboy pouts are about as convincing as a Playtex bra makeover video, and there’s something oddly inanimate and dead-eyed about the women after they’ve been posed, styled and assembled in to a VS poster. Mr B4J says ‘they literally take the titillation out of tits’ – and he’s right. Lingerie should be well fitting and supportive, but it is also playful, fun, and sexy. Victoria’s Secret is not.
But mostly, I hate that nothing about the bad fit advice, the awful fit on show, the irresponsible airbrushing, and their boring Nuts Magazine-style artwork is done to support, empower, or celebrate the women the business relies on for its $5bn revenue. It’s exploitative, it’s irresponsible, it’s a relic… and it’s businesses like this that keep American women in the wrong sized bras for life.
Women deserve more than Victoria’s Secret. It’s time to start demanding it.