...quiet, about a lot of things...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Random observations, at Victoria's Secret

Today, I participated in the ritual of back to school mall crawling, with daughter Mags and Comrade in Arms, Cy..also thirteen. I trailed behind, catching whispers of conversation. This for many American women, I suppose, is a way of life..For me,...not so much.

I am a shameless bargain shopper...loving the hunt for style much more than the kill. I worked on the "wholesale" side of the biz for many years...When I saw "Devil wears Prada" recently I howled the whole time. i was not a Fashionista...no, I was one of the designer "show room Girls"...pandering our wares, for the many buyers for dept stores across the country. I'd trot out spring lines and fall lines and cruise collections and outerwear. I worked for a down home American brand....with our biggest accounts being Mervyns and Kolhs...not Saks and not even Nordstrom. We just put denim on the shapely hips of middle class USA..(back when there was a middle class..long long ago..But AGAIN, I digress). Point being here,there was a lot less glamour and Paris...and a lot more sweat and Fresno, CA...but still a whole lot of kissing tooshey.

I love vintage clothing..and wish my girls loved the same...but tis not to be...So today..into the pink and black, semi-whore house facade of a store,I went..dragging my checkbook behind me. WHAT??...you say...do Victoria's Secret and Back to school shopping have to do with each other?...well...4 words... 13 year old girls.

While Heidi and Giselle still grace the provocative add banners that adorn the front windows, the first things one encounters, in this strange new world, are sweats...and little short shorts..all with a decidedly "girlish" feel to them...with the word "PINK" written anywhere you can imagine it would be written. Victoria's Secret, you see, has a BACK TO SCHOOL SEASON!!! Hard to imagine, but true....

To respect Maggies privacy...I won't go in to what we bought there. But I will pass on these interesting observations

1. There was a young man, about 19'ish who worked there...NOW that's a bold occupational choice, huh!!!

2. Men in Victoria Secret (except for the 1 who works there, as I found out) look HYSTERICAL!!! When the 13 year olds notice how funny they look in there...you know its Pretty BAD!! Hey guys...slip $100.00 into a card...with a note that says..."Surprise me" with a mapquest to the store. Please. Do not Pick out the lilac and black bustier set with matching garters and fishnets...(DONT ACT LIKE IT WOULDN'T HAPPEN EITHER!! IT WOULD...and we all know it).

3. I watched a woman of Muslim decent stroll through the store. Her beautiful brown eyes were visible, not much else. While this is very different from my own way of dress..I must say..I admire the HECK out of these women...There is a bravery about not presenting your beauty to the world..not posturing on perception...However...I was really really curious about what was running through her head...as she walked through that store... But then again...Panties are panties...aren't they?

4. I finally let my eyes rest on the mannequins... In semi sexual poses...Some demure, some defiant....all IMPOSSIBLY THIN....and felt very...soiled. Soiled to be in there...purchasing. That was until we went looking for...um..a "foundation garment" of certain sz for mags...It seems they keep the "smaller" sizes in back, by the fitting rooms, in bins. The "C's and D's" are front and center, baby...but you have to rummage a bit for the more Human sizes. I glanced back at those impossible plastic relics of PERFECTION...with their painted on, come hither looks. Then I looked at the two lovely young girls, standing at my side...and I spoke out. For them. For me.

I told them loud enough for anyone to hear...that I found it really PERPLEXING.. that the sizes modeled by the mannequins ...probably a 32 if that...were no where to be found in the actual store...and the actual CUP size sported by said "dummies"...well, that was the work of pure imagination, augmentation..that or a Genetic Fluke.. (and you can't build a business model on a genetic fluke!!) My daughter, though embarrassed, gave up, and left the store without...um..what she had really wanted....

As we headed down to JC PENNEYS, (where I used to get my undies as a girl...three to a pack)...I knew she got my point. Marketing was one thing....reality, another thing all together. She wasn't happy about it at all... but I won this battle...and led her victoriously in to the land of many sizes...into JC Penny's lingerie dept. NO, it wasn't "PINK"....but it fit everyone...and better yet..it was on sale!!!
posted by wendy at 9:19 PM

5 Comments:

I find myself so concerned about what is being marketed to our children. And a 13 year old, really, is still a child. It must be very difficult, as a parent, to so finely balance the child with the emerging adult, the need to fit in with the need to be oneself. My admiration to you for teaching and indulging so well.

8/14/06, 11:43 PM  

as i am finally off to bed after working too late as usual, i appreciate the smile this brought to my face.
thank you.

8/15/06, 12:21 AM  

I feel your pain. I hate going into Victoria Secret, especially when I can find what I need, for less money, at Macy's or JC Pennys.

Good for you for showing your daughter that alternatives sometimes can be better options.

8/15/06, 4:03 AM  

Vicky's Secret does not even carry A-cup bras in their stores, and this pisses me off. Especially given the high traffic of young teenaged girls in their stores. The message is that if you don't have big boobs you don't exist. Grr.

8/15/06, 5:29 AM  

Your post had me laughing, particularly picturing the embarrassed men and the Muslim woman in the same store! I actually love VS's bras--they're super comfy and don't show under T-shirts. But as a "less endowed" woman, it is a little perplexing that they hide the As and Bs in the drawers. And their mannequins make me blush--and I don't have kids to take with me to the store!

8/15/06, 10:24 AM  

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