Friday, December 04, 2015

Why I Miss the Old Victoria's Secret


What has happened to Victoria's Secret?

I hesitated posting this tonight because it would technically be the second "rant" of sorts on Go Retro in one week. I hate to sound like I'm complaining or being cranky, especially when I really have been in a super mood lately. But the draft for this post has been sitting in limbo on Blogger for a few weeks now, and with the Victoria's Secret fashion show about to air next week, I might as well get on with it and get it out of my system. (Warning...this is kind of a lengthy post.)

And what I need to get out of my system is...Victoria's Secret sucks. It is so far removed now from the store I was a regular customer of in the '90s. I'm actually going to make a prediction here: I wouldn't be surprised if, five years from now, we hear about the demise of the chain. 



I first wrote about the downfall of Victoria's Secret here a good 5 or 6 years ago, but the topic is worth revisiting. A few weeks ago, VS sent me a new "Angel" card in the mail (their cutesy name for their store card) and a $10 birthday gift card. I thought I might be able to use it towards a nice blouse or at least a long-sleeved t-shirt. 

Then I started to notice something very weird as I went through their website. Hey, wait a minute. There were no jeans. No dresses. No suits. No blouses. Nada. There were some tops, but they literally looked like rags. 


What the bleep happened to all of the clothes?


I deferred to Google, and saw a news announcement from last year saying that Victoria's Secret was discontinuing a lot of their clothing line. Apparently, a lot equals everything but the undergarments, swimwear, and cheesy "PINK" line aimed at teens and college students. 


WTF, Victoria's Secret? Why? Most baffling about the corporate change is the fact that the clothing assortment made the company a lot of money; between $500 and $750 million annually according to sources. 


Now granted, it isn't the end of the world that Victoria's Secret no longer sells a wide variety of clothing; I've always had plenty of other retailers to choose from. But it's disappointing to me that they're choosing to cater to a younger, selfie obsessed demographic and ignoring the spending power of older women. (And by older, I mean women in their 30s and 40s.) 



And she's wearing gloves and earrings!
I realize, of course, that today's society has been dressing down so much with each passing year it seems. Young women are no longer expected to wear suits and professional clothing to the office, and corporate dress codes have been tossed out the window. It's all about wearing hooded sweatshirts, jogging pants, and other athletic "inspired" fashion, especially for those young 'uns. 

Sadly, that means today's image of Victoria's Secret is so drastically different than the one I was a customer of a good 20 years ago. I hate visiting their stores today. I only go just to stock up on cotton bikini panties, one of the few good things they still make. The music is loud, the stores attract girls who look way too young to be perusing sexy lingerie, and the shop itself with its techno modern interior feels cold. This is a stark 180 from what their image used to look like. 


Throughout the years the chain has been through so many owners and management that kept changing the brand's focus, and that's part of the problem. In 2000, the new chief executive at that time, Sharen Jester Turney, complained that the catalogs showed too much cleavage and were a dorm room Playboy substitute; I actually think that describes today's incarnation of the catalog more accurately. 


I tried to locate a photo online of what the shops originally looked like, with no luck, so I guess I'll just have to briefly paint it with words. Picture, if you will, a store that looked like a French or English boudoir from the 1900s. Pastel shades, cozy waiting chairs outside the changing area, and classical music softly being piped through the walls (in 1991, the company actually hired the London Symphony Orchestra to record a CD that was sold in the stores.) And the clothes were beautiful; sexy yet classy. It definitely wasn't a place that would have appealed to teenagers. You had to be a certain age to enter a Victoria's Secret store with confidence. I think I was 19 or 20 when I first walked into one and began buying their clothing through their catalogs. 


Interestingly enough, VS was founded by a man and meant to be a place where a man could comfortably shop for lingerie for the woman in his life. Roy Raymond and his wife started the company in 1977 after Raymond became dissatisfied with the dowdy selection of female undergarments and lingerie being manufactured at the time; push-up bras and other sexy selections during the '70s were considered tacky novelty items and mostly sold by the slightly sleazy Frederick's of Hollywood.


Until Raymond sold the company in 1982, Victoria's Secret was mostly marketed to men. After the new owner, Leslie Wexner, took over he changed the focus to female customers. That included revamping the colors and patterns of the product line as well as the look of the stores and expanding them into malls across the U.S. 


Only their sleepwear and undergarments were sold in the stores; the regular clothing line was marketed through their catalogs. Many of the items were credited to a manufacturer called Moda International and some of it was made in Italy and the U.S. When I worked at a hotel during my college years and then secured my first office job about a year after I graduated, much of my wardrobe was comprised of purchases from Victoria's Secret. The quality of their clothing at that time was quite good; I had dresses and suit jackets from them that were lined and tailored. 


Recently I dug up the following photos, that were taken about 13 or 14 years ago. (Yes, that's John Mayer with me; a friend at the time won free tickets to his show when he was just starting to make a name for himself and it included a "meet and greet" before the performance. Don't be impressed -- he acted like a douche. And I''m 99.9% sure he was stoned. Ah, memories.)




The reason I'm even including these pictures is because the dress I'm wearing there came from Victoria's Secret. It was lightly lined and had a kind of '60s paisley print and ruffled three quarter sleeves. I miss it -- I donated it when I went up a dress size and now that I've lost the weight, wish I had held onto it. 


Victoria's Secret also sold the best jeans, their London Jean collection which was discontinued some time ago. To this day I've tried on and bought many other denim brands, but I've yet to find ones that fit me quite like London Jeans did. And the nice thing about them is they came in a wide variety of styles and cuts...so if you don't like low-cut jeans that teeter on the edge of your hips, VS gave plenty of options!


And the models that were employed by VS back in the day compared to today...well, there's no comparison. Just look at my intro graphic at the top of my post. The models that made it into the catalogs were gorgeous and classy, and included Karen Mulder, Stephanie Seymour, Jill Goodacre (Harry Connick Jr.'s wife), Helena Christensen, Elle Macpherson, Tyra Banks and later, Heidi Klum. What used to be sexy and natural looking has now been replaced by over Photoshopped, underfed girls with no remarkable features in my opinion. Most of them are significantly younger than the models used during the '90s; still clearly in their teens. 


On December 8, several of those girls will strut their stuff wearing over-the-top costumes that look like they came from Elton John's yard sale in the annual televised Victoria's Secret fashion show, which is the only thing the company seems to be known for these days, sadly.


Ironically, Frederick's of Hollywood appears to me to have better quality clothing these days, and they still use attractive adult women for their models. 


I've done enough grumbling; the brand's old image is gone like the wind and it'll never be back. But my memories of the older catalogs have been saved online; here's some scans I found on a Tumblr page showing what Victoria's Secret used to sell and what the image looked like. Just take a look, and then visit the retailer's website to see what I mean. Talk about a fall from grace.  




Stephanie Seymour modeling a top and leggings that I seriously would choose over anything I saw on the Victoria's Secret website the other day. 




Jill Goodacre. 




Claudia Schiffer also modeled for the catalogs. 




A beautiful nightgown and robe being modeled by Tatjana Patitz for the catalog. Why they still can't sell clothing like this is beyond me. 






Honestly, this suit would still be in style today. I remember that I wanted it -- but $189 was a splurge for an office Christmas party outfit in the '90s!


Cafe Retro!


This is adorable. I would totally wear this sleepwear in the summer. 



I had a riding jacket from VS along with one of their turtleneck sweaters and wool skirts. 




Like I said, their London Jeans were the best...and that price! Seriously, you couldn't get better quality for the cost at the time. 




Heidi Klum modeling winter accessories. I still have (and wear) the white fur headband and gloves. 




Those London Jeans again...the best. 

90 comments:

  1. Yes, yes, yes—I'm disappointed too. I STILL wear a couple of amazing cashmere sweaters I bought there almost ten years ago. Today it's been years since I've crossed the threshold of one of their stores. And I absolutely agree with you: I wouldn't be surprised at all to see them start shuttering stores in the next few years. They've made themselves irrelevant to the very market that can fuel real, sustainable growth for the company.

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    1. I have $150 in gift certificates and no way to spend them. I was saving them for jeans but alas, that is no longer possible. What a waste.

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  2. Thanks for you comment, Allyson, and thanks for reminding me that they used to sell cashmere sweaters! Last time I looked at their sweater selection online it appeared to be made up of mostly sub-par styles, colors, and quality for what seemed to be outrageously high prices. I could do a lot better for the price at Macy's or the Limited. They've basically turned themselves into an Abercrombe & Fitch competitor for the dorm room crowd.

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  3. I enjoyed your article. Very nicely written. I never got into Victoria's Secret, and I didn't even know they carried a clothing line. It's funny how some companies evolve to their demise, isn't it?

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  4. Agree – virtually all my first classical music was Victoria's Secret. The store completely felt like a "Secret." A classy respite to Frederick's of Hollywood.

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  5. Yeah, as a guy, I'll put my two cents worth in - the old VS models were MUCH more "Sexy." Sorry, these modern lassies just don't do it for me. Have women forgotten how do look seductive?!?

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  6. I am so pleased to have found this article and I couldn't agree more! Victoria's Secret was a class act many years ago and it has turned into trash. I never shop there, but now I am curious to go back into VS just to see what's been going on lately. I am a Baby Boomer and have fond memories of the "old" Victoria's Secret. Frederique van der Wal (Dutch model) was my all time very favorite VS model and you do not mention her name (that I noticed.) She is about 48 years old now. Gorgeous face and figure and would probably be considered "heavy" by today's standard because she was/is curvy... Incidentally, I have the same issue with Bath and Body Works. They used to have high quality products and now everything seems to be cheap and geared toward teenagers. The fragrances and containers are kids stuff. They stopped carrying high quality Slatkin candles and Coconut Lime Verbena was my favorite. They also used to carry a French fragrance line in green glass that was lime something - it was great! Thank you for the blog and the walk down memory lane.

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  7. I just read your post and yes I loved the London Jean and Moda collections as well...but I did find Stetson jeans for women on Amazon and absolutely love them, they fit great and I can get a smaller size because the cut is normal cut!!!

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    1. Hi Kim - Thanks for the tip! And Stetson is a retro brand. :)

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  8. I found this blog because I just found out that they did away with most of their clothing! All they sell now are low-quality beach wear and lounge wear. It used to be that I bought most of my clothes from VS b/c they had great work wear and casual wear that actually fit me. But I stopped buying from them a couple of years ago b/c I noticed everything I bought was of significantly lower quality. But the last time I checked, they at least had the best fitting t-shirts (both long and short sleeve). Imagine my surprise when I went on their website only to find that they no longer even sell their awesome t-shirts. It's all just oversized, gauzy type stuff that starts falling apart after a few washings. Ugh. I hope they realize the error they made.

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  9. I also found this blog in searching for VS clothing. I am sad but really not surprised. I shopped VS in my 30s, 40s, and 50s and have steadily watched the clothing quality sink to the bottom. Years ago, I along with my friends, kept a huge supply of cotton panties; they were the best quality, flattering, never rode up, and came in great colors. Again, the quality deteriorated so badly I stopped buying completely. The old "tee shop" had terrific quality tees in vibrant colors, with quality cotton material, and I bought dozens. Now, everything is tissue paper and sheer, ugly and bad quality. London jeans were great, again I bought dozens of those. VS clothing was really a quality line when it first came out. What a shame, but again not surprising to hear of the demise after watching the quality continually decrease. Who makes these decisions?

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  10. I was also disappointed about this. I always bought Victoria Secret clothing and now only that awful pink line. I like classy and elegant clothing so when I saw Victoria Secret only having the pink line I was like ok not everyone likes to have graphic designs on there clothing and not always you want to be dress as a cheerleader or a school girl. Yet we are the ones that work and spend money and these teens not all of them have a job to buy Victoria Secret.

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    1. I agree completely !! I called them the other day and told them not everyone wants to dress like a little girl wit PINK written across their chest, butt, etc... She said Pink isn't just for little girls. I said , " Well, a woman in her 40' s looks pretty classless wearing PINK ".
      Just my opinion. I do wear the most lived yoga pants but those may be discontinued as well. Not childish enough I guess. Very disappointing.

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    2. I agree completely !! I called them the other day and told them not everyone wants to dress like a little girl wit PINK written across their chest, butt, etc... She said Pink isn't just for little girls. I said , " Well, a woman in her 40' s looks pretty classless wearing PINK ".
      Just my opinion. I do wear the most lived yoga pants but those may be discontinued as well. Not childish enough I guess. Very disappointing.

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  11. They deserve to go bankrupt and shut down. The VS catalogs were always great and I remember always looking forward to receiving them and buying from them. They also had great shoes. Now they have discontinued everything (even their lotions and signature fragrances) and offer nothing but underwear and lounge wear. It is a shame.

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    1. Yep, the Garden line has REALLY gone downhill lately. They keep discontinuing the classic scents and adding new ones only to discontinue less than a year later...changing the design of the bottles, too. Last week, they had a bunch of different fragrances. I go over there today to purchase some, and most of them are gone! And the ones that are remaining, most of them I already own. They REALLY need to get a grip.

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    2. Yep..their Garden line has really gone downhill. They keep changing the design of the bottles, then discontinue a few of the classic scents. Even recently...a week ago, they had a decent selection. I go there today to purchase some of their products & half of them are gone! The other half, most I already own. So ridiculous! Am about to call their customer service number and complain.

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  12. I miss the old VS so much. I think 90% of my wardrobe was bought from them in the early 90s onward. I also loved the fact that they carried pants in longer inseam lengths. Being 5'10" it was never easy to find pants that fit me properly. I have not bought anything in a few years now and find their selection appeals to teenyboppers and yoga enthusiasts only. I don't know why VS would have ever made such a decision. There are obviously many former disappointed fans out there!!

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  13. I miss it too, was searching on google for info as to why VS had decided to discontinue its clothing line and found this article....I used to order from them since the mid 90's and adored receiving the catalogs, my favorite line was the "bra tops" the few tanks and dresses I currently are always my go-to summer pieces, again, so disappointing.

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  14. Ladies (and gentlemen) I just posted this post's link to Victoria's Secret's Facebook page, where it can potentially be seen by millions of people. I asked them to at least read our comments at the end, even if they don't plan on reading the entire post itself. Power to the people! We want the old Victoria's Secret back.

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  15. I really enjoyed this article as someone who only recently bought her first VS bra. I do remember seeing the "Old" Victoria's Secret catalogues many years ago but never shopped from them because the clothing was way out of my budget and the undergarments were as well. I had always bought my bras and panties from the mall stores when they had clearance sales or Ross or similar stores when they had my size. I never even considered shelling out VS prices for a bra! Then I had a teenage girl who was full-breasted and cheap bras just didn't offer her support. So we went to VS and got her properly fitted. She shops in the PINK department for bras and the ocassional yoga pants when they have sales. A little pricey for bras, but we wait for promotions. I only discovered VS bras for myself recently and I love the Body By Victoria bra line personally. About 95% of the store is irrelevant to me as a woman in my late 40's, but I do like those bras! I agree after seeing the photos from the older catalogues how much classier VS's image was going back a decade or two (or three)?

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  16. Yes, VS used to be very classy! I bought a lot of elegant clothing from them before the great shift from classy to...something else. It's terribly sad. But this is rather a reflection of U.S. society, as well...at least in general.

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    1. Icompletely agree ...their LOndon jeanand some of their business classy sexy waer was over the top awesome....now as you all have said who is going to wear the words PINK across your backside uless your are teenish or early 20's not an appealing look so what I guess is that they are not concnerned about the mother's of these kids that they are advertising tooand I think we need to put our foot down and boycott...beisdes who holds the purse strings hopefully it is not a pedophile

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  17. I am so glad I am not the only one!!! I never understood why the VS stores did not carry the clothing as that was the best, most unique, stuff they carried. Sad to think I won't be able to find that kind of clothing easily again. Such a wonderful mix of sexy and classy.

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  18. I hope they fire the managers who decided to get rid of Moda International... What an idiotic decision! They could have at least sold it... I used to shop at VS (and was always grateful for gift certificates) but not any longer.

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  19. Is there any company selling clothes like this today?

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  20. Bravo! You said exactly what I have been feeling about VS and their spiral from class to trash. I also wore a lot of their clothes when I first started working in the early 90s and loved their lingerie and accessories. It was a treat to go into those gorgeous perfumed stores with clerks who were always helpful and really knew the merchandise. Have a hard time going in now and only order the cotton panties online. So sad but clearly they don't care.

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  21. I have a bra-top dress that I wear all of the time from their old line and I get so many compliments about it. I used to pine for those clothes. The work trousers in all of the different cuts and colors. The sexy date/evening dresses for a night out. I only buy panties from them now because all of the fitness inspired clothing they offer can be found at better prices and with more eye-catching designs through other brands. If you have a TJMaxx near you (or you can go on online (www.tjmaxx.com)), I suggest checking it out because that would be the closest comparison I have found.

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  22. Many of us young ladies have quickly wised up to VS's game, too. I am 26, barely old enough to remember the VS you're talking about. I have fond memories of the very short and classy tv spots they used to have and the catalogues I used to browse in high school. I loved the look of the cozy sweaters and thought when I started working I'd like some VS separates--their dress shirts had such lovely soft colors and flattering cuts. Even as recently as 2009 it was still worth it to check out the semi annual sale. My mom got me some yoga pants then that are seriously still holding up. The ones I bought last year? Not so much. And don't even get me started on their horrible bras. Stiff, creaky cups, inconsistent sizing and bands that are always too stretchy to give any support. They've gone the way of so many big businesses --slave labor overseas, market the hell out of a low quality product, jack up the price, don't pay your salespeople. Maximize profits for as long as you can get away with it. And as the largest share of the market for lingerie, they are. Until someone challenges them.

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    1. I have a few moda international yoga pants that I still wear. I'm not sure I can fit into my London jeans. I loved there old pjs,but mine wore out. I have some velour that I love. I just looked on the website and found out that they don't
      have what I'm looking for. I may buy a sleep shirt,but other than that i don't think they have any clothing that I like anymore.

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    2. https://www.thredup.com/product/women-cotton-moda-international-dark-green-yoga-pants/3555409

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  23. I was just in my closet choosing a dress for work tomorrow and pulled out one of my favorite black dresses and it made me look at the label "Moda International" so I had purchased at Victoria Secret. I used to buy most of my clothing there for so many years and am so disappointed that they stopped selling them. They used to have some gorgeous clothing and much nicer sleepwear and loungewear. I hardly recognize the website and have not bought from them other than a couple of shelf cami's since they dropped their clothing line. Such a shame!

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  24. Hi Pam,
    Thanks for the post, I came across it because I was looking to buy a new pair of the best jeans I have ever owned (VS London Jeans) :( Sadly I stopped going to the stores about 5 to 6 years ago when the quality of the bras, I had purchased had seriously declined. The under wires were popping out after just a few wearings, The colors were not as vibrant after only a few washing's, and the fabric was just different in a cheaper sort of way. so I started shopping elsewhere, Still unhappy because nothing was as nice as what I was use to with VS I still have some of the bras I purchased before the change and they are still perfect. I wish whoever was running the company then still was today. I am wearing a pair of London jeans that I purchased about 10 years ago, and they are just starting to fray on the seams, Love these jeans and really want another pair. Long story short I got tired of garments I was getting elsewhere, lasting even less time, and just not being close to the quality of VS I had to see if it had gotten any better, so I went back a month or so ago and unfortunately:( No jeans, (or clothing; which I was not crazy about anyway), but the undergarments panties, thongs , and shorties can not be beat. Also there is the Sport line now which is Fabulous, I repeat fabulous! I won't speak on the strapless bra yet, as I have only used it once since purchase except to say after looking at more than a few places it was the best find as far as fit, without all the crazy padding. As stated above I do love the sport line, we will see how it holds up, it too is online as the clothing was before. I did also go into the store and it was not horrible, I did miss the old look which i noticed right away not crazy about the new look, but I understand things have to change but yes this was a disappointing. What I found horrible was the way the young sales girls were dressed (not all but most) the one that waited on me had on old black leggings that were worn (yes worn meaning more in some spots than others) and a ratty oversized olive green worn shirt she just looked like she should have been in the park, not selling intimates. I missed the Class the store personal use to have. They really need to bring the London jeans back:( I am 6 feet tall and there tall was perfect.

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  25. So sad about this. I am 30 and I can still remember going in to the vs stores with all the smelly body sprays. I would run around like crazy while my mom tried to get my older sister something lacy and beautiful. Spraying fressia and plumeria all over the place. I was so excited about tje gum and mints they jad later when I was a teenager. My closet is still 25% Express tricot and 90's vs thanks to sister hand me downs/stolen out of sisters closet. So upset about the disappearance of the clothing. My favorite was the fall enlish looks and cotton sweater dresses. I heard they are now getting rid of swim which is the last straw...even though their swim wear has been tacky for the past few years anyways. Now you go in the store and there blasting crappy pop and the bras already have boobs in them. Real bummer. If anyone knows where else they sell moda international, please share.

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    1. Had no idea the swimwear is now about to go! Sounds like they truly don't have a brand left!

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  26. Me too. The old VS had the nicest career clothes, and awesome tees & jeans. I just wish Moda International would pop up somewhere else.

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  27. Truly miss the VS jeans...

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  28. I agree with everyone here.....I'm 42 and loved the VS clothing and catalogs of the 90's. And now I make a good amount of money that I could spend *(and I suspect there are many women like me).....but sadly some idiot decided that it would be a good idea to cater to broke, grungy college girls. What distinguished VS was always the class and assortment of classy/sexy clothing and undergarments. There's no shortage of places catering to the former, so nothing distinguishes VS now.

    Now they're just a step up from Old Navy and way more expensive. I buy an occasional bra and cotton underwear from them and that's pretty much it.

    And all of the models now look like 14 year old crackheads.

    We'll see how long it takes them to go under.

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    1. I too mourn the demise. And yes I am now making great money and would love to be buying clothing from them as well. I do have a closet full of their dress slacks and jeans. I loved the fact that I could buy longer inseams. My 22 year old daughter doesn't even care for them. Oh well I will just have to take extra care of the the beautiful closet full of "vintage" VS clothing that I own.

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  29. Well ladies, the number of comments I continue to receive on this post on a fairly consistent basis still amazes me! Thank you for throwing in your thoughtful an heartfelt two cents. I posted this blog post a while ago to the Facebook page for Victoria's Secret. No surprise, they had no comment. But they really should be listening to what their customers want, don't you think? And thank you to the person that compared them to an Old Navy store now -- spot-on description!

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  30. totally agree!! i am 32 and i started purchasing clothing from VS at age 24/25. they had the best clothing, with just the right mix of sexy and class. it truly was the BEST CLOTHING OUT THERE. it was original, beautiful, well fitted, there WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH IT! moda international used exceptional quality material! i know because i own clothing belonging to moda international VS, I HAVE PROOF! the london jeans were the best! the quality and the fit were superb! they would fit and look perfect regardless of what body shape and size one could be. i even loved their skinny jeans from 5/6 years ago! i have 4 pairs in different shades! those london jeans and their clothing in general, was the best that was out there, bar none! AND I DO MEAN THAT! what A SHAME VICTORIA'S SECRET! keep this up, and unfortunately, and inevitably, your demise will follow suite!

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  31. OMG! Someone feels as I do! 90% of my wardrobe wss from them. I bought from all seasons, formal to swimwear. I actually thought their clothing were by far superior to their underwear which were just pretty but didn't last. I bought some one of a kind pieces and enjoyed window shopping even when I wasn't buying. Their old mags had an aspirational quality to them, the staging of the scenenery, the beautiful models...you just wanted to be that girl. Prepubescent isn't aspirational to most women.

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  32. Found this article wondering about what happened to the VS Moda International line. I am sad they are gone too and am not interested in buying VS either...
    BUT there is a line where a person starts to sound like DAMN KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN and you cross it enough to come across as grumpy. Also, your ideas about beauty and women are outdated and sexist. And let's face it, nobody looked classy or good in a turtleneck and riding jacket. Let's not mourn it's loss.

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    1. Oh, there's plenty more "get off my lawn" posts here on Go Retro. Clearly, you're new here. That's who I am. And this post remains one of my most popular ones a year after I wrote it. If you don't like it, you can move along...

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    2. This article is Still sharing on fb... because this article is TRUE ....some folks need to start back wearing turtlenecks if you ask me. ..llbean catalog lol some moms just don't know where to stop with the cleavage and the stretched out P..I..N..K... on the bum

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    3. Thanks, Liz -- the funny thing is, I don't see the "grumpy" tone this person is griping about and I certainly wasn't angry or anything like that when I wrote it...nor do I see how saying I have a preference for the look of the models VS used to use and the clothing when compared to today is "sexist." She sounds like the angry one if you ask me...and it probably bothered her to see dozens of comments left from people that agreed with me or something. I didn't realize the post was getting shared on Facebook...thanks for letting me know!

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  33. I too really miss their clothing line MODA INTERNATIONAL.... had great coats as well! I also had an Awesome classy jumpsuit from Victoria Secret that's back in style that I would loved to have ordered again ... so sad

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    1. I love jumpsuits! I remember their nice coats, too. I recently went on the VS site and was surprised at how pared down the clothing line is now.

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  34. I am so late to discover that they ended the clothing line!!! I too stumbled on this article after searching for their clothing, which I had no idea was discontinued. Its kinda funny that my 11 year old loves PINK, and I can't stand it. It is overpriced and doesn't fit the modern woman in my opinion. I actually thought the clothing was very classy with a little sex appeal. I guess it's true what they say that less is more;). I hope that this works so they can bring back the clothing line I so dearly miss. Does any one know if the clothing by Moda international is still manufactured? I don't care if it even comes from VS.

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Kendra. I Googled them and it looks like pieces are now only being sold via eBay, etc. but I did see several nice items on a site called Tradesy. Do a search for Moda International on a search engine and several resale sites should pop up. I don't think the label of clothing is actually being made anymore, sadly.

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  35. I came across this site when I found out Victoria's Secret no longer sells clothing. I noticed I hadn't been getting any catalogs lately and thought perhaps it was just because I changed my address. As a traveling consultant, it was nice to be able to order from the catalogs with complete confidence that what I was ordering was not only quality but would fit me. It was a very rare occasion that I would ever have to return something because the size did not fit and when they did fit, they always fit perfectly. I loved being able to have the option of low-cut, hipsters, or high waisted jeans. Being a person of only 5 foot 4 1/2, I also loved the fact that I could get my jeans in a short length without having to take them to the tailor to hem them. Not that I couldn't do it myself, but I as a traveling consultant, I had very little time on weekends and didn't want to spend it sewing clothes. I have not actively ordered clothes from Victoria's Secret for probably the last five years because the clothes last a long time because of the quality. I have to agree with the other women on this site that even though I ordered jeans and tops, I also ordered a lot of shoes and suits and real quality clothing I would wear to the office and or out on a date . I added up all of my purchases over all the years I have been buying Victoria's Secret catalog and it was well over $100,000. So I can't imagine why, if someone as myself has spent that much individually, they thought they were losing money on their clothing line. I am very sad to see that in the name of progress moving forward that it is actually taking something that was a quality experience both in visiting stores, ordering clothing, and the quality of the clothing has gone forward to go backward with cheap, teenage focused lingerie and sportswear only. The last couple times I have visited the Victoria's Secret store in the mall, I literally put my bag down and had to walk out. The young sales representatives were clearly too young to understand how to talk to a customer about buying personal items. Most of the time they were not be able to find what I was looking for and would waste my time trying to get me things I didn't want to when I would clearly explain to them what I was looking for. I will not be back to to a Victoria's Secret store anymore because the service is just terrible. Loud music, teenagers, teenage sales reps that are unskilled and unknowledgeable is not the kind of quality classy shop and shopping experience it used to be.

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    1. I cannot tell you how pleased I was to find this blog!! About a quarter of my wardrobe is from VS! I started shopping there some 20+ years ago and still wear some of the dresses, skirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, and jeans. The styles were classic and really don't look dated at all.

      While placing an order there today for yet another pair of leggings (because it is the ONLY place I can find them long enough for my super long legs), I shared the link to this blog with the saleslady. She thanked me and suggested that anyone who misses the clothing line and now the swimwear line should call customer service and tell them.

      My hope is that the company rethinks its plans to discontinue selling so many popular items. I's hate to see it go the way of Frederick's of Hollywood...

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  36. I loved this post and agree with everything you wrote, I found this lovely blog when I put this in google search "What happened to VS? I remembered those amazing quaint special VS boutiques and how special one would feel shopping in one. Even the last of the Angel Models with any tie to the past like Adriana Lima etc.. don't appeal to the "M" generation. For me there is nothing I am super compelled to buy their anymore! I too drooled and purchased many items from the old amazing catalogs of the 80's & 90"s and and even up to a year ago. I am a black Angel card holder. But for how long I just don't know. Thanks for this post!

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  37. Yes! I had a great white pantsuit from VS I wore for interviews/auditions that was well made and looked great and a pair of London jeans that always got compliments. I really didn't realize they stopped making clothing until recently, when I checked the tag of my favorite cut-off denim shorts that are getting a bit old and saw they were London Jeans and went online to see if I could get another pair.

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  38. It will be missed. I was a VS clothes junkie. I have some very wonderful pieces from their. So sad. I have called customer service to voice my disappointment, but the decision has been made. I will just add pieces to my wardrobe to wear with my pieces for VS and keep it moving. Their clothes are timeless.

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  39. Researching London Jeans, couldnt remember who made them and they fit me perfectly so wanted to get another pair and found you! Hey what is your next go-to jean now?
    Your article is hilarious!
    I met John Mayer, too. You had the same exact experience and Im cracking up! SO NOT IMPRESSED. It was more recently though, probably 2011? Exactly as you said, a total douche and stoned or high. If I can find the picture I will send later. He could not have been more bothered by our meet & greet. Train on the other hand were AMAZING and could've hung out with them all night, great guys. Train was new then and the opening act.
    Take care and I would love a reply!
    ~ niki

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    1. Trains been around since the 90s. Lol.

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  40. Bought Victoria's Secret clothing for years - best quality, best fit, best styles. Bought ALL my jeans, shoes, and coats from them - wouldn't even waste my time looking elsewhere. They had great customer service - returns were easy and never any screw-ups! I am so disappointed that they have discontinued their clothing line. The high quality glossy page catalogs came almost daily - it was annoying and definitely wasteful. I wonder if it ever occurred to them to just cut back on their print and mailing costs - they obviously had a loyal customer base and did not need to send out all those catalogs! Does anyone know of a website that is selling their discontinued clothing?

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  41. About 75% of my clothes in the late 80's into the mid 90's were from VS and I always received complements whenever they were worn. I still have a few items such as a beautiful eggplant colored jacquard dress and even a pair of denim overalls. Still have my Miracle bra! Being now middle aged, it would be really nice to still buy some pretty lingerie to 'push up' the self esteem but unfortunately, the quality isn't there anymore...and like it was stated, the stuff you see now is meant for undiscerning teenagers...

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  42. You've expressed my VS angst perfectly. I used to get a lot of my professional wardrobe pieces at Victoria's Secret. The Christie Fit pant in seasonless stretch was my jam. The material was so great, you could wash in the washing machine, pop in the dryer and they'd come out like brand new. And they came in a 36 in inseam which was so hard to find. I still have about 12 pair but they are gradually wearing out and being retired. Sigh...
    It's up to ladies like us though to keep "Classy" alive so chin up. There is still style and quality to be had out there, just harder to find. Stay the course

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  43. Basically what happened was the the original Victoria's Secret was sold to The Limited. They apparently just wanted the name. They dumped the original concept and replaced the high class merchandise with their own private label stuff rebranded as VS. So, it is no longer a place for men to purchase a gift for that special woman. Very sad.

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    1. That's not new....Victoria's Secret was sold to The Limited in 1982.

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  44. I have been a VIP member for over a decade now. My first cc was the VS card. I absolutely loved this store, especially the shoes and clothing. (Dresses & sweaters) I'm afraid I'm going to lose my status with the company, and frankly I don't care. One can only have/need so much underwear/lingerie. As you stated, it's not like it did t make the company money. I'm just so frustrated because it was one of my favorite places to shop. I have angel rewards and Birthday rewards I'm still holding on to, because honestly there is just nothing I want. Which I might add, has never happened!! I hope VS gets their senses back and brings the clothing back!

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  45. You guys!! Yes!! I miss the old VS so much! I'm so scared something is going to get spilled on my awesome built-in-bra shirts that I'm scared to wear them! They're my favorites! And I can't find any good replacement lines of clothes. So so sad.. We should find the old manufacturers and start our own company. Who's with me?

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  46. Found this post trying to see if my all-time favourite oversized sweatshirts (think Jennifer Beals in Flashdance) were still being made by Moda Intl. Best rant ever! My husband had to hear the same rant about 5 years ago when a friend gave me a VS gift card. Tried going into the store for the first time in many years and was so dismayed by what it had become. Ended up buying fragrance and skin products because the clothing was SO tacky and cheaply made. I actually worked as a salesperson at VS in the early '90s and would regularly blow my tiny part-time paycheque in the store. I still have the cotton terry bathrobe I could only afford with my employee discount. There was always a 'luxury' dressing gown robe on display (changed seasonally) that was the most expensive item in the store. That was what you sold to the men shopping for a wife or girlfriend...although a lot got returned by the ladies later ;)

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  47. I see that I'm late to this party, but my sentiments totally agree with you! I am another one of those who had the jeans, slacks, sweaters, dresses, shoes, and swimwear. And of course my bras and panties were exclusively VS. Plus I miss the "pantyhose store" - there was a separate store that sold all their different lines of pantyhose, stockings, and garter belts...as well as a small selection of lingerie. I really miss the pantyhose. I've never found another brand that I liked as much (and sometimes you really need to wear pantyhose, like to a job interview).

    Thanks for the great post!

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    1. I miss the pantyhose as well. They were the best.

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  48. I had completely forgotten that VS sold clothes in the 80's and 90's! (A lot has happened since then!). But now that I've been reminded, it's all coming back to me. So sad. What a loss. I guess it's the whole trade with China deal. VS saw that the market was going to be flooded with cheap clothes, and they decided to end the clothing sales and focus on what they could make cheaply and sell lots of. I'm sorry about the clothes we have to buy today. Badly made, badly fitting and a lot of dark, depressing and weird patterns.

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  49. I too have shopped at VS since the 90's, and still do. I have noticed their bras are not the same quality, cheap fabric and underwire popping out! The pricing hasn't gone down though. I also can't stand that VS changed their employees to get commission on sales. If I had a dollar for every girl that gave me the sales pitch while walking through the store. Just leave me alone and let me shop. Getting the catalog in the mail was a highlight for me. The London Jean shorts in so many different colors and all of the sweaters! I too have emailed VS and told them of my disappointment and they told me to wear their PINK clothes! I'm 42 years old, I'm not wearing something with PINK going down my leg. I have a hard time believing they lost money!! So sad.

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  50. Well I agree. VS has gone down hill in my opinion as well. I am just shy of turning 31 and used to love buying clothes from VS. Their clothes really seemed to strike a balance between classy and sexy. The stores were pleasant to go in as well. I went in our local VS store this past Christmas season to get some new very sexy bra's. The ones that can be worn with or without straps. Anyway I looked and looked for them but could not find them anywhere. I finally asked a sales clerk and she began to lead the way. As she is walking to the drawer they were buried in, she hollers out to me asking what my bra size is. The store was full of men just standing around (probably taking in all the free porn on the walls) and I was horrified that I had to almost yell out my bra size in front of all of them. It was a totally uncomfortable experience. What a shame!

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  51. Well I agree. VS has gone down hill in my opinion as well. I am just shy of turning 31 and used to love buying clothes from VS. Their clothes really seemed to strike a balance between classy and sexy. The stores were pleasant to go in as well. I went in our local VS store this past Christmas season to get some new very sexy bra's. The ones that can be worn with or without straps. Anyway I looked and looked for them but could not find them anywhere. I finally asked a sales clerk and she began to lead the way. As she is walking to the drawer they were buried in, she hollers out to me asking what my bra size is. The store was full of men just standing around (probably taking in all the free porn on the walls) and I was horrified that I had to almost yell out my bra size in front of all of them. It was a totally uncomfortable experience. What a shame!

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  52. Wow! You just brought back good memories. VS has gone to the dogs so much that I had forgotten how much I used to like them. I agree with everything you said. I remember seeing Jill Goodacre with Harry Connick, Jr. at Jazz Fest in New Orleans when they were just dating. She had on one of those cute VS tops. I immediately ordered it. The models were so beautiful then. Now, there's such a sleazy element to it all.

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  53. I just had to throw out a beautiful forest green Victoria's Secret nightshirt I bought back in the 1990s-- too many holes in it where the fabric finally wore through. Unfortunately VS doesn't make them anymore-- long-sleeved, cotton, knee length and the nightwear they do make does not have the same quality of fabric, full long sleeves, nice colors, and simple name/logo on it (the newer 'graphics' are simply ugly, have tacky slogans, etc.)

    I still buy the basic bras and underwear and would happily buy the pjs again if they made them the way that they used to (and I am under 40.)

    I still listen to a CD that came with a VS purchase back in the 1990s-- nice, classical, relaxing CD. Nothing like that now. And the stores themselves don't have the same classy, relaxing atmosphere they used to have.

    I wish I had stockpiled a stash of the great pajamas they used to have, as well as the thicker cotton underwear they used to make!

    --EM

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  54. I'm throwing in my two cents. I loved this post and agree with everyone here. I am in my mid 50's and have been buying VC clothing since the 1980's. What I loved about their clothing line was that most of it was very high quality and most importantly, it fit me! I am petite but have (or used to have, LOL!) an hourglass figure. The VS London Jeans were the only jeans I used to be able to find that would fit both my hips and waist. Other brands were either too tight in the hip, or way too big in the waist. Now that my waist has spread a bit, I can wear Levi's and a few other brands, but I still miss the London Jean, along with the Moda International tees, shorts, skirts and dresses. I still have a closet full of them, with no way to replace them now as they wear out.
    I do have to say that I still love their bras, especially the Angel and Body lines, and their sports bras are the only ones that give me enough support for the horseback riding I do. I kind of stopped buying most of their other clothing several years ago because the quality has gotten so bad and most of their clothes were either too sloppy/baggy or too frilly/foofey. Ugh!

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  55. Hi - I never bothered with VS until the late 90's, because I thought that all they sold was lingerie, and I wasn't big on that. But once I learned of everything else they offered, I gave them a try and was hooked (eventually buying lingerie as well). I ended up here after spending more than a year unsuccessfully trying to replace my favs by shopping on Ebay, Tradesy, etc. Wouldn't it be terrific if someone came along, read all of these posts, and opened a business modeled after the old VS? And if you are that someone, please take heed that many of us are willing to pay more for higher quality merchandise.

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  56. I have found my people! I agree with everyone except the one (obviously not over 30) poster who thought the blogger was "grumpy." The blogger isn't grumpy, perhaps, but I sure as hell am, seeing how few choices young women have now. Everything has stupid-looking, unoriginal graphics or giant skanky ass-lettering. (Lettering across your ass is skanky, no matter what age you are. And seeing type of thing on little girls is just … ick. But I digress.
    It was fun to call VS to order clothes, and hear the recorded "Thank you for calling Victoria's Secret Catalog," in a posh British accent. That excessively civilized-sounding, polite voice made waiting on hold much easier to tolerate!
    I loved the two-piece outfits -- mainly the little skirt suits I wore to work, usually a short skirt with matching blazer-style jacket in a stretchy cotton blend that clung to my then-cute little bod (come to think of it, I miss that cute little bod even more than I miss VS!). Sometimes it was a cotton blend, casual skirt and top in an almost sweatshirt-type of material. And the slightly stretchy cotton V-neck T-shirts! So cute and flattering. I remember on vacation with my mom when I was about 33 years old and still pretty slender, I pulled out one of those tiny, white V-neck tees and my mom said, "That looks like something (my 3-year-old niece) could wear!" I put it on, and it stretched to fit without looking stretched out or indecent in any way, it was just a great little T-shirt!
    I bought work clothes, play clothes, the sexiest wide/deep-necked light sweatshirts, night clothes (sexy and/or comfy), shoes, boots, leggings … most of my wardrobe in the very late '80s and '90s was VSC. And I looked damn good. *finger snap*
    One more thought on the models back then: Another one I liked, in addition to those mentioned, was Laetitia Casta. She and the earlier-mentioned Frederique van der Wal were curvy and stunning; they and the other earlier models somehow managed to convey personality in still photos. Thanks for the trip into the past.

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  57. This just in, ladies...shocker. (And sorry that I cannot respond to every comment posted here about this particular post, but I read every single one!) http://money.cnn.com/2017/02/23/investing/victorias-secret-l-brands-sales/index.html

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    1. Poor sales? Gee, go figure. I wish they would read your post. That would tell them everything they need to know. Then they can read the comments that keep coming in. If they went back to what made them great, their sales would go wild.

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  58. I've shared the post on their Facebook page and tweeted it at them. Of course they ignored it.

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  59. I'm one of the young'uns who Victoria Secret is trying to market to (24.) When I was in High School I spent $15 for Candies bras. When I entered college, i decided I needed something a little better fitting. I spent $50 per bra for a couple bras. Found out later that I was not fitted correctly, AND they were poor quality and my older Candies bras lasted longer than these overpriced pieces of garbage.

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  60. I totally agree with most of the comments here. I purchased business suits, cocktail dresses, sweaters, shirts - even winter coats and boots - and yes, those FABULOUS JEANS!! I still have many of these items in my closet, and find they're as much in style now as they were back then. Please VS - bring back your clothing line (particularly London Jeans and Moda International)!!!

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    1. To this day I've yet to find a brand of jeans that fit me quite like London Jeans did. In fact, I still have a pair of VS's London Jeans in my closet and I only wear them sporadically these days because I don't ever want to wear them out! (Previous old pairs would eventually get threadbare around the knee area and develop a tear.) You can find a lot of Moda International pieces on eBay -- I'm tempted next winter to look for one of their winter coats.

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  61. I used to love moda international clothing! Victoria Secret sucks now. It's like how the Gap absolutely ruined Athleta.

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  62. Every season in my search for new clothing I visit VS site and after much frustration send them an email telling them what an awful business decision they have made. My card is paid off & I have no desire to purchase a bra with ten extra straps going across my back & chest. I love the comfortable tee shirts but DO NOT want PINK plastered across my chest, or my 40+ belly button peeking out from my waist. So disappointed in the selection offered, they can't get a bra style that is simply beautiful & comfortable. Email them, write them if I could I would show up at a stock holders meeting and present the comments on this site. I'm so disappointed but will find something comparable I'm determined.

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  63. Thank you so much for this article. Reading the comments, I feel as though I've stumbled into a support group. Janna, you've nailed the problem. Women don't want to dress like sorority girls. We want to look classy and sexy, professional but stylish. The old Victoria Secret made that achievable and it was relatively affordable. Women who don't want to look as though they just rolled out of bed but also can't afford haute couture are such a missed target market in clothing.

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  64. I bet if they brought back just the London Jean collection, their sales would drastically improve again. Does anyone else remember when they put out a "Country Collection" catalog that featured the jeans, casual wear, athletic gear, outerwear, etc.?

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  65. Excellent read & completely true ! Victoria's Secret has changed a lot as have other places. Victoria's Secret owns Bath & Body Works as well & I have stood by over the years watching them discontinue some of my favorite body sprays and lotions. I always wonder in those situations why they would purposely cease a financially lucrative situation? Who is in charge of the purchasing & merchandising contracts that supply the stores? At times it has felt as though it has been someone young, hip, & classy, while other times it has been clear the person in charge hasn't a clue what women like. Solely majoring in panties, bras, lingerie, pajamas & perfume is not enough when other competitors have all that and more. They are just not that exclusive & original as they used to be. They lost that "edge". As far as their future, interest is slipping away from the mature crowd but are the teens & 20 somethings actually obsessed with this stuff? It all is pretty boring to me, especially in comparison to other stores which sell edgy, youthful & sexy merchandise such as Dolls Kill, TopShop, Yandy, Rainbow, H & M, Forever 21 & Charlotte Russe, Etc. Classic stores like Frederick's of Hollywood and Playboy have both closed all of their retail stores & now do business from a lack luster website. You can't get a fraction of the good stuff you used to be able to in the "good old days", so they are pretty much worthless. It is March 7, 2017 & as of today all regular clothing & swimwear is absent from the Victoria's Secret website, however you can find a small selection of those things in the Pink section. I am one of those people with an old body & youthful spirit (a Betsey Johnson type lol) so at first I made the transition well from the classic clothing of yesteryear to then being addicted to the Pink brand. I loved the pastel colors, the glitter, the sequins, hoodies & yoga pants Etc. I looked forward to stocking up on these things every holiday & especially directly following the December fashion show. However the last few years have been a great disappointment. They have majorly toned down, all the way down. Also I am growing frustrated with their choices in how they design certain tops, for example, while in the store last weekend, my eye was drawn to the now rare sparkly shirt yet the sleeves ruined it for me. It was not a tube top, spaghetti strap top, tank top or cap sleeve t shirt. It had these macho ass cut off at the shoulder like sleeves. Yuck! I am in VS to surround myself with all things feminine, not plumberesque muscle tops. I swear, I can't even with them sometimes. The one positive thing I will say is that I noticed that while they still don't produce clothing for the plus size gals in size XL or larger, they have made the measurements for the sizes more generous & that is greatly appreciated. While it may be a refreshing change for my wallet, it's sad not being able to watch my collection of cute, girly stuff grow each year. Thankfully my hoarding tendencies have provided me the opportunity to still be in possession of many treasured items, if not there is always Ebay. It's funny, the reason I even found this article was because I was wondering what the heck happened & if I was the only one who felt this way, so I googled it. LOL.

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  66. Pam, you've expressed how I've been feeling about Victoria's Secret for quite some time now. I was a sales associate - or "Bra Specialist" - with VS in the late '90s to early 2000s, when I was in my early to mid-20s, and fortunately I still have a smallish collection of bra and panty sets from that time, as well as a few clothing items from the catalog, especially nice jackets/coats. I looked over their website just now, and it's a good thing I've been collecting some of their older real silk items via Ebay, because they don't have ANY now. Victoria's Secret has NO SILK. I don't even know what to say about that. Not to mention the lack of the nice clothing lines or the great variety of swimwear being gone. They've also discontinued one of my favorite bra lines from recent years, the Fabulous. And of course, there's the near-total lack of the elegance that used to define all aspects of the brand. It's almost as though someone is purposely trying to drive the company into the ground. SUCH a shame.

    For awhile I'd turned to White House Black Market for stylish, elegant-yet-sexy clothing that fit my curvy hips well, but they seem to be going downhill too. Their customer service leaves just about everything to be desired as well. Sigh.

    Ebay, Bonanza, Tradesy, and thrift stores it is, for now...

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  67. So glad I found this site...I used to buy from them back in the 1990s and early 2000s,but their panties and bras were being made of inferior quality...so I just stop going to the stores. Just yesterday I went on line to look for some of the light fragrances and maybe a pair of jeans, and sure enough they are depleted of the beautiful dresses and jeans they used to offer. I agree 100% with your article,the PINK line is mostly for college girls who dont have the buying power that women over 30 and beyond do. It is a shame since I have many of the London jeans and one or two dresses of theirs from the early 2000s and 1990s still in my wardrobe. What I miss most is the full coverage bras from the'90s,sadly I havent found any other store that is like theirs.

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