Lingerie: Secrets and spending

Victoria's Secret runway shows are legend; the catwalk Angels flaunt astounding physical gifts and great big...wings. The show, with models, music and spectacular sets airs on CBS next Tuesday evening, December 4th. (Happy to hear VS and CBS have donated $1M to victims of Hurricane Sandy, some of whom can probably use new lingerie, too.)

It's not often that unabashed sexiness meets whimsy, like the Crazy Horse, but here, you can buy the alluring ensembles!

Orchid wings, green opera gloves...

Flou meets tattoo...

...and a poppy walks the runway

But is VS a choice for grown women?

Years ago, I bought VS bras to coordinate with silk chemises. Then they discontinued the richly-coloured, reasonably-priced Second Skin Satin line, and I left. 

I logged onto the site to see if there might be anything to offer those of us who don't want a bra that feels like wearing a small stuffed animal on our chests. I found several saucy secrets, hiding among the push-ups and thongs.

Secret #1: A leopard can change its spots

VS might have done some scouting in Paris; the pyjamas are classic luxe. Deja Pseu has to have these! Pink and black leopard-print silk pjs; price $158. They also come in a refined grey/pink dot, subtle stripe and two solids. 

Secret #2: Lace for larger (and smaller) sizes

VS does skew toward asset growth, and if you like pushups, you'll be uh, amply served. Not needing to add two full cup sizes, thank you very much, I focused on the new full-coverage styles, because the intimates departments here never seem to have my popular size in both the bra and the panty. 

I adore lace, but if it stretches, a costly bra is in the bin. This Full-Coverage VS model is made with a thin, light Memory Fit foam lining that molds to the body, retains shape, and is seamless. Colours include classic black, soignée midnight navy, lemon-drop yellow, and piquant hot tamale. Women who usually can't find such colours in lace, like 32DDDs, can be caliente mamacitas! Price, about $50.

I also liked this Body By Victoria full-coverage bra in an elegant white lace on black, sized from 32-40, B to DDD, $50.

Secret #3: Longjohns and flannel in perky prints 

Seductive negligées dominate the sleepwear section, shown (barely) on lissome models. But women have lives beyond the boudoir, and a click on the "Snowed In" collection shows options for making pancakes in the kitchen or reading in bed.
I liked the Fireside Long Jane's colours and $50 price tag. Shown, red poppy print. 

And flannel!! Even my most-tailored friend can wear the red foulard-print flannel pjs for her family's Jammies Christmas brunch. Sized in short, regular and long lengths, too. Price, $50.

 What to buy: Luxe or mid-priced?

You can find more upscale lingerie online (Mary Green for luscious silks, Bare Necessities for hard-to-find brands like Freya, and luxury merchants like Fleur of England, who design raffish refinements like the high-waisted shortie with a leopard panel, shown above. 

There is a place for such gorgeousness, and some women are lucky enough to dwell there. But most of us are price-conscious, and if you crave a non-standard colour (VS' include dark charcoal, deep mint, arm-candy pink), live in an area not well-served by lingerie boutiques, or simply want to refresh your collection with a few clicks, VS provide a boost top and bottom for under three figures. 

Cheap scanties that fray and flop aren't worth the sales tax. At the other end of the spectrum, luxury lingerie can be fragile. (Don't save your best for special occasions. Time erodes elastics and spandex; perfume and deodorant degrade silk.) 

Like lipstick, you can pay a little or a lot, and sometimes a flirty treat for not too much money is just right. I believe in lingerie therapy, a mint green bra and tap pant lifts my February funk.

Whether a fresh 3-pack of cheery cotton bikinis or a sumptuous silk cami, slipping into fresh, pretty intimates is a particularly feminine pleasure.
Next Tuesday, I'll watch those angels sass the runway, and think not only of their heavenly perfection but also of VS, and whether to return for a few trial pieces.


Susan B said…
Ah, you know me Duchesse! Love the PJ's! I wish they carried silk items in their stores here. I've not had good experiences with VS bras (or inexperienced bra fitters whose sizing philosophy was along the lines of "a nod's as good as a wink") but I did used to buy nice cotton underpants there. I know some people have also had good luck with some of their clothing items (sold only through catalog/online). I wish they or ANYONE made nice matching bra-and-panty sets for those of us in the E, F, G and beyond cup ranges.
KSL said…
Thank you Duchesse!!! Just ordered from your link, 6 pairs of flannel PJs - 3 for me, and the others are gifts.
I chose the pink toile, the red foulard, and the black with red poppies.
I lounge around the house in the evening in flannel PJs and these are really great looking. I had totally had VS off my map for shopping.
Kristien62 said…
My all-time favorite pj's were a simple pair of white cotton VS tailored. I wore them until they were threadbare, but they were soooo comfortable. I may suggest a gift card to Mr. K as a Christmas gift. I would hate to get his hopes up, but the flannel red foulard sound interesting.
Lingerie is one thing that I spurge on...
I hand wash it so it lasts.

Chantelle and Prima Donna as well as some of the Triumph lines make pretty matching sets that have stood up to several years of serious suspension.
(DD and E)

I prefer to try on bras as the exchange policies are rather limiting to non existent.
Anonymous said…
Interesting post! Years ago I shopped at VS, when I think they used to have, for lack of a better word, "classier" merchandise. I still have a beautiful silk charmeuse nightshirt that I received as a gift from there. I also used to buy all my cotton underwear there, as they had such pretty prints.

Now I only go in there with my teenagers, who like the "Pink" label. My perception is that it's a lot of cheap fabrics, garish colors, and foam-filled bras, and since both daughters & I are all pretty busty, we don't need extra padding!

I have lately been buying undies from Gap Body, which has nice cotton panties in pretty prints. I find bra shopping to be very daunting; Kohl's, for instance, has a very big selection, but the racks are crowded and confusing. I'm considering trying the "Intimacy" shop, which I've heard has excellent fitters, who I assume could help me find the styles I like.

One more comment, on the matching bra & panty concept: I rarely wear anything other than a nude or black bra, but would be bored with only nude & black panties. I like pretty colors & prints! So that rules out the matching set for me. I try to match or coordinate the panties to my outfit instead.

---Jill Ann
Duchesse said…
Une Femme: I found some of their bras better than others and am wondering if any current ones match the good quality of the Second Skin Satin.

Kathy: I hope you are happy with them.

Kristien62: If they are smart they will pay attention to quality to recapture the "grown woman" market.

hostess: It is not so much washing that is hard on my most delicate lingerie, it is simply friction, stretching due to weight changes, and normal day to day wear. And my sweet old cat would eat lace if I left something on the bed.

I find that after a year, even the best bra needs replacing and I am a C.

VS' return policy, 90 days for full refund, is fine with me. Lands' End once made good lingerie but apparently did not sell enough and dropped it.

Jill Ann: I find Pink cheap, too! (I suspect that is deliberate, using the Zara model of cheap, disposable fashiony things). But I am willing to check them out again for one of those lace bras.

And- I extend "match" to include a coordinating print!

SewingLibrarian said…
Jll Ann, I have shopped at intimacy. I got very good service, but the bras are quite pricey. I bought two and used the knowledge of my size to purchase more at Nordstrom on sale. I favor the Chantelle brand, but intimacy showed me several other brands as well.
Anonymous said…
Sewing Librarian, thanks for the comment. I haven't been to Intimacy yet, but have heard good things about it, and don't mind paying more if I get a good fit (and don't have to struggle through the racks at Kohl's or other department stores.) i can usually make my bras last a while too.

---Jill Ann
Anonymous said…
This (putatively) grown woman has taken her lingerie budget to Soma -- their bras fit consistently well, often come in very cute prints, and are available in a nice size range. (Plus matching panties!)

I also highly recommend Wacoal, which I treat myself to at Nordstrom, though it's harder to find the matching panties -- the size range is more limited.

Duchesse, I'm having fun imagining a Christmas gift mash-up of "fluffy undies" and a frilly apron from Pseu's post today.
Duchesse said…
rubi: Soma is owned by Chico's. Has mail order and up to DDDD which equals G.
Gretchen said…
I'm a Chantelle fan, and can attest that their size ranges astonishingly fit practically everyone as I don't have much to speak for in that area. I've heard good things about Soma, and their pajamas look very cozy...J Jill also makes nightwear that's quite comfortable. I like Fleur'T nightshirts and chemises too. VS doesn't seem to want customers over the 25 market anymore, which is a shame. They used to have nice things and really good service.
Mardel said…
The silk PJ's are lovely, but I have a hard time getting VS bras to fit and they've been off my radar for a while now. Soma has at least one style that fits me well, they introduce pretty prints and colors often, and I can usually find the matching panty. They often have cute PJ's too. I love Wacoal and Fantasie but they are more expensive and finding a matching set can be problematic. Since bras don't seem to last much more than a year (I hand wash), I'm happy to have Soma.

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