On this blog’s Facebook page (go here to “like” me on Facebook; the WordPress widget keeps switching over to my personal Facebook profile so I had to kill it. I’m working on a fix for that) a reader asked me to explain the difference between purchases made at Victoria’s Secret vs. Wal-Mart. That’s a great question because there are plenty of differences between the two. And there are problems with both.
If you’re wondering about the quality of bras from either place, well, that’s hard for me to answer. I’ve purchased plenty of bras over the years from both places but I didn’t hand wash them and I ::gasp:: put them in the dryer. I’ve explained how that causes damage to the elastic and makes bras wear out quickly, so I really can’t give an objective answer. But I will say that I have generally found little difference in the quality or construction of VS bras in comparison to some of the brands carried at Wal-Mart. Maidenform and Vassarette come to mind.
Two points that are in Wal-Mart’s favor are the price (though depending on how you feel about their business practices, it may not be) and the brand selection. VS carries VS bras; Wal-Mart’s website lists 15 different brands. One thing that definitely is not in Wal-Mart’s favor is size availability. Let’s look at the sizes available: 32 A-B, 34 A-C, 36 A-DD, 38-44 B-DDD, 46 C-DDD, 48 C-DD. As a 32E I literally cannot buy bras at Wal-Mart unless I sister size up to a 36 band, which would be way too loose.
Victoria’s Secret doesn’t fare much better. While they do carry larger cup sizes in smaller bands, they do not carry bands above 40. What sizes do they have? 30 A-D, 32-36 AA-DDD, 38 A-DDD, 40 B-DDD. So that’s 37 sizes to Wal-Mart’s 22. Better, but not great. And if you want something besides a plunge style from VS? Tough cookies. I checked their website and there is not one bra that doesn’t have a v-shaped neckline. So even though they do carry my size, Victoria’s Secret is still a no-go for me. Much too much plunging going on. I mean, look at what they refer to as “our fullest coverage.”
Now, hey, if you can wear a plunge there is absolutely nothing wrong with those bras. They’re perfectly fine bras. I don’t have a problem with VS’s products. I have a pretty big problem with their fitting methods. Here’s how they suggest you find your band size:
” Standing in front of a mirror, wearing a non-padded bra and using a soft measuring tape, bring the tape across your back at band level, under each arm, around the front and measure just above the bust (a good guide is where your bra strap meets the bra).”
That actually hurts my mind, you guys. How is measuring at an angle that finishes several inches above where the band goes gonna help? If I measure myself their way, I end up with a 36B. You guys remember what I look like in a 36B, don’t you?
So why do they measure that way? They say they’ve found that it gives the best fit. Cynical Me thinks that what it actually does is place more women into sizes that VS carries. Want some evidence that their fitting method is flawed?
Why you shouldn’t go to Victoria’s Secret for a bra fitting from Bratabase
In-Store Bra Fitting:Victoria’s Secret from Boosaurus!
Victoria’s Secret Bras Aren’t Special from Sophisticated Pair
Victoria’s Secret:Crappy Fitting Techniques from Weirdly Shaped and Well Photographed
I don’t hate Victoria’s Secret; I just hate their contributions to bad bra fitting. I still buy panties and perfume there, after all.
To sum up, as long as they carry your size and you like plunges, both Wal-Mart and Victoria’s Secret are perfectly fine places to purchase your bras. Also, if you can buy your bras at these places I’m super jealous; oh, the money you save!
Any other reader questions? Let me know.