I've had a hatred of Victoria's Secret for a long time. It started to fester after I'd spent $100 on two bras that only made me miserable and uncomfortable. Sure I looked great, but I felt terrible. I was young(er), and I guess I figured that being uncomfortable all day was part of being a woman. Or at least part of being a woman who likes lace and pretty patterns on her underwear.
Then I got a little older and read one of those omnipresent statistics about how 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. Hallelujah! I thought. Maybe life (and underwear) isn't actually supposed to be this painful. Maybe I just need an expert with some measuring tape to make all my problems disappear.
So I march back into Victoria's Secret and ask for one of their complimentary bra fittings. I won't bore you with the anatomic details, but suffice to say that the saleswoman did her magic-measuring-tape-thing and confidently announced that I should be wearing something three sizes smaller than what I already owned. Skeptical, I told her that I thought the one I owned was too small, not too big (hence the discomfort). "Our bras fit differently," she insisted.
I'll gloss over the next thirty minutes that I spent half-naked and frustrated in those annoying pink changing rooms trying on bits of lace and wire that came nowhere close to doing what a bra is supposed to do. I kept asking for the size I suspected I needed, and the saleswoman kept insisting that I couldn't possibly need a bra that big and refused to bring what I asked for.
So I walked out and swore never to return again. I decided that Victoria's Secret is a trap meant to lure money from the unsuspecting and naive. In truth, it is a store allegedly "for women" that was founded by a man who wanted to create a store where men could buy the sexy lingerie they want their wives to wear. Not kidding.
(On a side note, I discovered Calvin Klein's underwear line not long after. This is not a sponsored post. Calvin Klein bras are simply amazing. I'll happily spend $50 on a bra that makes me look good AND feel good.)
Ok, so fast-forward to last weekend when I needed to buy a bathing suit for my upcoming holiday. If you saw this post, you'll know that I found some amazing ones online, but I procrastinated and didn't order anything in time to have it shipped before my vacation.
I find swimsuit shopping even worse than I used to find bra shopping. Since I'm someone whose body looks like it was intended to reproduce, most of what I try on in the popular shops doesn't cut it. I just can't get away with wearing a flat little triangle of fabric held together with string.
So I bitched and moaned about that until someone recommended Victoria's Secret. And then I bitched and moaned some more. Then I did some pre-shopping online. More bitching. A little more Googling. More moaning.
Then I drank some prosecco, screwed up my courage, and walked into the dark pink cave they call Victoria's Secret. Think skinny thoughts, I said to myself.
I had already decided that style I wanted and I'm confident that I know my size now, but I was still overwhelmed by the colours, the shapes, the sounds, and the fact that everyone there calls you "sweetheart" or "love". But I am here today to confess: I had one of the best shopping experiences I've ever had. And it was at Victoria's Secret.
I think the part of the trick is that I have the confidence now to know what I want and to pick my size for myself. The other part of the trick was that I lucked into an amazing salesperson. She understood exactly what I wanted and didn't try to push me away from what I asked for. I walked into the change-room with six or seven different bikinis and they ALL looked great. They all felt pretty comfortable too and they all made me reasonably confident that there will be no wardrobe malfunctions on the beach. I guess that's the point of shopping for a bathing suit at a store that specializes in underwear. All I had to do next was pick the one I liked the best.
So now what? I'm ready to admit that Victoria's Secret has a place in the world. Although I'm still not convinced that they design their bras with comfort in consideration whatsoever so I remain a Calvin Klein devotee. But I guess there's really something to be said for second chances. Even with a cult-like lingerie store that was founded by a man for other men.