Body Positivity: Victoria Secret or Aerie?

It's that time again - you need new bras. Your bras have either gotten old, you've grown out of them (wish I knew that experience) or you just want a new bra. Where do you go?

For most of you, dear readers, I'm assuming your answer is one of these three places - Victoria Secret, Target, or a department store of some kind. Victoria Secret exclusively sells lingerie, Target sells literally everything under the sun for a reasonable price, and a department store has a lot of options. However, your answer may drastically change depending on your bra size.

I'm a B cup, which sounds nice because supposedly I can shop wherever I want. While I can shop at a lot of different places, there are some places I can't shop - namely, Victoria Secret. Now, if you have never stepped inside of Victoria Secret (or you're a C or D cup) you're probably confused. Victoria Secret has all the bras, you think to yourself, confused as to why I would not go. 

However, if you're smaller than a C cup or bigger than a D cup you'll understand why - they literally never have your size. Or, they're ugly nudes which, yes we all need, but I can buy a nude bra at Target for less than 10 dollars than opposed to the 37 dollar bra (or more!) that Victoria Secret will try to sell to me. 

Let me entertain you all with a brief story from last summer I attended a Filipino debut. A Filipino debut, for those of you who are unaware, is, essentially, a quinceanera or bat mitzvah in Filipino culture for when women turn 18.  I was wearing a strapless white dress and therefore, needed a strapless bra. My strapless bra was a bandeau that I'd had for a while, and I (wisely) decided it was time for a change. Also, that bandeau fell down my chest when I walked three steps. I wanted a bra that stayed on, as I would be dancing. 

So, with my limited experience at Victoria Secret, I visited the local mall. After some consultation with a Victoria Secret employee who resized me, my strapless bra was purchased. It was $49.95, which became 50 something dollars once tax was added. This was an expensive bra, but it was Victoria Secret, so I assumed it was going to be quality and do what I wanted it to do. Spoiler Alert: It did not. Like the bandeau that I bought from Target, the bra slipped down my body within five seconds of dancing.

After this experience, I expanded my bra search and came across a store I already knew well and had shopped at - American Eagle. For those of those you who don't know, American Eagle has a lingerie part to their store called Aerie. Aerie is comparable in price to Victoria Secret, but their bras are better--as are their models. Plus, the Aerie online store has sales going on constantly, which means once you find your size for their bras in-store, you can probably find that bra for cheaper in store. 

Aerie's models do not look like Victoria Secret's models - they range in body types and skin color. In fact, Aerie did a campaign last year featuring disabled women wearing their lingerie - something Victoria Secret has never done. This year, they're doing a campaign where they are promising to do no retouches in their photoshoots for their models. They have hired more diverse models under the campaign's slogan, "#AerieREAL Role Model." This campaign urged self-love and body positivity, featuring plus-size model activist Iskra Lawrence. 

Furthermore, Victoria Secret's Chief marketing officer Ed Razek has never even thought about it, as he doesn't consider "fat women or trans women part of the fantasy." Aerie in their campaigns and in their store does their best to appeal to all women of shapes and sizes. Of course, Aerie still has room to improve as their largest size is 36 DDD/40 DD. (If you are a larger bra size than that, Wacoal has a much larger size range and has some cute bras). 

Aerie and American Eagle are companies I'm proud to support through their efforts in body positivity. I have been pleased with every bra that I have purchased from them (plus, their underwear is super cute, and they always have the deal for 7 pairs for $27 dollars, which is fantastic) and their employees have always been helpful.

Companies like Victoria Secret will never truly go out of style, but I hope they improve their customer's experiences and their model ranges. Because, despite the change in skin color, all of the models are very reminiscent of one another. Body positivity is what we should be moving towards, not away from. 

Anyway, to close this article out, this week at Her Campus at CNU, we're focusing on body positivity. I hope this article makes you feel more positive about your body and that companies are moving towards the inclusion of all body types. What do you think about Aerie's campaign? How have your experiences at Victoria Secret been? Let me know in the comments down below!