Hello there! Welcome to my fashion and lifestyle internet diary. Regularly I post about my day to day regarding personal experiences, but of course sharing my outlook on fashion trends and building my wardrobe around them and myself. I do post the odd foodie related posts, plus my finds and discoveries of amazing independent business in my local city of Cardiff.



How working at Victoria's Secret opened my eyes

As some of you might know I once worked for Victoria's Secret and today I'm going to share with you my experience of working in a store but also a couple reasons on why I also left the company.

Some girls would dream to work for Victoria's Secret with all the pretty lace underwear and always leaving work smelling amazing as you can't help but spray yourself with a tester every time you walk past the beauty room. While working for the company I was trained to be a certified bra fitter and when I say trained I mean I needed to know every apart of the bra, what each part of the bra does in the sense of lift, hold and fit... it's function. plus also knowing the different style of bras and what they offer, for example we have the BBV which is my personal favourite known as the Body By Victoria it's the perfect everyday bra but it also comes in 4 different lining levels, so you can imagine how much information we had to store inside our heads. At this point I would like to say I'm a professional boob fitter. So overall it's about a months worth of training to get a great understanding of what you're talking about when explaining a fit of a bra to a customer, which now leads me onto the topic of customers. For my whole time working in retail I've always strived to make every customer feel welcome but also leave the store feeling million dollars and I seriously needed to step up my game to achieve this at VS (Victoria's Secret), what do I mean? WELL! A week wouldn't go by without having a customer cry about how they personally feel fat, not sexy or too small for a bra.
This is what truly opened my eyes, I'm going to list some situations that I witnessed while working in the fitting rooms and fitting customers for bras and even 2 years later it still bothers me and I want to share this as it made me realise that we're not alone but also how much of a problem it is too.

Teenagers wanted to buy bras that made their boobs look double the size they are, when I asked why they said because all the girls on instagram have big boobs which makes them famous... yikes. Half the time these girls haven't even developed enough breast tissue to even fill an A cup so we would send them away and ask them to come back in 6 months with a parent.... the amount of unhappy parents that would turn up and kick off about letting their daughters buy push up bras, ek!

Women crying because they don't feel sexy, with this one I felt this to a personal level as I've always personally struggled with this one. A couple occasions I would even cry with them because their feelings truly hit home but you know what? I would always manage to find them something which made them feel sexy and half the time they didn't feel sexy was because they was wearing the wrong size in the bra - so it wasn't going them any favours. I fitted one lady to the correct size and she was blown away on how much of a difference was made to the shape of her breasts she didn't want 'sexy' lace she just wanted simple everyday bra because it made her feel sexy because the bra did so much for her. It never fails to amaze me how some women don't get fitted for a bra they just grab whatever looks nice and looks like it will fit and leave then come back complaining about backaches or the underwire digging in. Everyone body is different specially boobs! Did you know everyone as one boob bigger than the other and to 'fix this' all you need to do is adjust the straps - tighten the strap on the side that as the smaller breast until the cup is against the skin and then loosen the strap on the side of the bigger breast. So simple but it would blow customers minds, I think us women always try to perfect everything and we just simply line our straps up to be balance because it looks like the right thing to do, when actually the whole point of adjustable straps is to adjust them to your own body shape etc.

This one completely blew my mind, when we thought social media was effecting young girls when actually it can be the parents being mean to their own daughters because they've gone up a bra size so they must be putting on weight.... lies! I remember one mum saying 'you need to stop going to the chippy after school with the girls, because I'm not going to be buying you more bras when you get even fatter, specially not at £40 a pop'. And you've be surprised that I heard conversations like this more often than I would like to admit. I would have to step in and ask the daughter how old she is and then explain to the mum that her daughter is in the age range of development so her body will be changing for the next couple of years and have the time the mum would snap back saying well it's her back side (band size) that's gone up and it's because she's eating too much shit after school... The band side can go up with the cup size, some girls have a larger rib cage than others, specially girls that do a lot of sport. Trying to explain to a mum that thinks she knows best was always such a struggle.

Young ladies upset that they don't fit into our bras and that their 'fat' when matter of fact they are truly bless with amazing curves that loads of women wish for and also pay thousands for. For my time working at Victoria's Secret I was just 1 size away from being too big for their bras so I knew the frustration, because as soon as you're in H cups it's very hard to find sexy and pretty bras in that size range that also doesn't cost over £80. Before I left VS there was talk of them extending their size range but in all honestly I haven't been back since I left, so I'm not too sure if they have already but I do hope they do - specially with this new spot light on them currently.

And the topic of them being in the spotlight brings me into a couple reasons why I wanted to leave, I do have some deeper private reasons which I won't be going into but the reasons I'm willing to share are pretty straight forward and most likely wont shock you.
1. Always displaying thin models around the store with unrealistic body shapes and sizes, which also includes the fashion show which I'm lowkey happy that they've now cancelled it. I do believe it was showing the wrong message but it also was the same old too.
2. It's all about the 'fantasy' and forgetting that others want to be apart of the fantasy but being pushed to one side because they don't tick the boxes. The amount of transgender customers that would come in-store to be fitted for a bra and they would always say they wanted to be apart of the fantasy from a young age but never will because they are trans would break my heart.
3. After the company got backlash about not being open to having transgender models because it's about the 'fantasy' they then signed a transgender model, I felt it was all done to save their own backs - it shouldn't have never got as far as that. Don't get me wrong I'm glad they're open to it now and I hope to see more in the future.
4. The brand doesn't line up to what we offer in-store, like mentioned before we're so open to helping young customers, pregnant mothers, transgender, cross dressers and even elderly women, just didn't sit right with me that it's all a big show when actually in-store we do so much more - I hope this makes sense.

I guess what I'm trying to get at with this post is don't be too hard on yourself when it comes to how you feel in underwear, but also don't shy away from the idea to getting fitted for a bra too. Wearing the correct size doesn't only improve how the body looks but as so many health benefits too. I learnt as I'm a 34DDD (34E) it's better for me to wear my straps crossed at the back to help spread the weight of my breast and ever since doing that I don't get back pains as much as I use to - getting fitted to a bra as so many perks trust me. If you want some tips and tricks with bras don't be afraid to ask me, I'm more than happy to help and answer any questions.

I do miss working for the brand and having such a positive impact on women and making them feel empowered and sexy. I would love to hear some of your comments and thoughts on this topic, feel free to reach out to me over on instagram @iamcharlottemaisie
Much love, Charl .xo

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