Until yesterday, I haven’t gone into a Victoria’s Secret store in quite awhile. I still buy their products, but I do it online, and I don’t browse around online very much. So it wasn’t until yesterday that I realized how far they have fallen. I remember going to Victoria’s Secret twenty years ago, when I was in high school. Back then, the store had a hushed atmosphere, subdued lighting, paint, and carpet, and an upscale ambience. Even the salespeople were classy. Buying lingerie was an experience. It was relaxing, easy, and seemed appropriate to spend $40 on a bra.
At some point, that all changed. At the Victoria’s Secret on Michigan Avenue, you enter a room with black and white tile, hot pink walls, and flashing neon signs. The underwear and pajamas lining the walls and on the tables are in bright fluorescent shades of pink, yellow, and blue. Dance music blares from the speakers. The sale tables near the door are covered with bras and underwear from “Pink” line, which is supposed to draw in the younger crowd. Brightly colored panties with “take a bite” and other crass sayings on the butt are in piles. The pajamas , rather than being subdued and cute, have huge lettering down the legs, on the butt, and across the chest. The other rooms aren’t much better, especially the perfume/body lotion room, which is also excruciatingly bright and tacky. The décor is like the Rave clothing stores from the 1990s, bright lighting, bright floors, neon lights, and everything indicative of a cheap store. You might as well be at Kmart.
It honestly made me dizzy. There was just so much going on. My 2 ½ year old nephew loved all the colors and action, but I couldn’t wait to leave, which should be the opposite reaction of what they want. Could it be that I’m just getting old? Do I just not “get it” anymore? Am I not cool? True, I’m probably not their target audience anymore. (Which never makes sense to me anyway, since when I was in my late teens and early twenties, maybe if I saved up for weeks I could afford to buy a bra or two, whereas now I have plenty of money to buy $40 bras.) The schizophrenic atmosphere in the store isn’t one that makes me want to pay full price for anything. Maybe I’ll spend $10 or $20 on a few pairs of underwear (minus the sayings in the rear end), but any exclusivity or classiness is completely gone. I mean, when I’m dying to get out of the store, chances are slim that I’m going to drop any serious money.
Obviously people are still spending money there, though, since Victoria’s Secret seems to be doing better than ever, and even I will probably continue to buy online occasionally. But the stores themselves – ugh. I will not be going into a store again anytime soon.