In all honesty I probably wouldn’t have ever ventured to the disco-balled, multi-floored, shopping extravaganza had I not been on a work comp-shop. It is most definitely aimed at tourists and teenagers so in their defence, I’m neither.
The store feels a bit Hollister with lots of black surfaces but thankfully better viewing light and more ambient music. You’re hit with lots of pink and sparkle and some of the styles can look a bit chav-tastic en masse (although the buyers probably call the collection: ‘fun & flirty’). Mannequins wear costumes from the high-profile Victoria’s Secret shows which, we all know, look utterly spectacular on the actual supermodel, however the mannequin versions look like cheaply made fancy-dress costumes. Note to visual merchandisers: it really doesn’t translate well. I’d go as far as to say they look nylon-y and a bit creepy.
Staff (and security) are plentiful and eager to help at just a hint of a glance in their direction. Customer service has obviously been established as priority one which (although totally, like…American) is refreshing as unlike a clothes emporium, lingerie is more technical and requires additional guidance. Staff are armed with a measuring tape poised to perform a swift-bra-fitting right there on the shop-floor for ladies on-the-go.
I opted for the fitting room, one-to-one consultation. You’re assigned a ‘store associate’ (who wear head-to-toe black and come fully equipped with a headset) to measure you up and then give you some demo-bras to try on and check the fit. Despite the waiting list being busy, my name (which was exotically pronounced Johanna) reached the top in super-quick time. There are enough staff to allocate one per fitting room so there’s no-one outside shouting ‘who needed the 38DD in the soft beige’, everything is slick and quick and you don’t have to awkwardly peer out with the curtain around your head to get someone’s attention.
I was worried my store associate, Lauren, might ignore my rather bland requests and perhaps come back with some oversized wings and a diamante tanga thong. To my relief, she returned with 5 styles, all of which fitted me and my criteria. Your preferences are then noted on a ‘Your perfect Fit’ card and you’re free to explore the store with your card on-hand to choose your selected styles in the ocean of colours provided. Lauren (now we’re mates an all…) even wrote which floor I could find each style on. Too easy.
Although with this uber-service comes some American ‘have a great day’ clichés and a compulsory interactive experience, we seem to need it, as many of us walk around wearing ill-fitting bras. The Starbucks style over-use of your first name took some getting used to but the service was quick and the staff are knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
Had I not gone in for the fitting service, I would never have purchased anything as where would one start? I like to think I’m an experienced, savvy shopper, but the sheer scale of choice is enough to make you walk out again. With literally thousands of bra options, this scale of service is essential for a place like Victoria’s Secrets and I can see it catching on, even amongst the Brits.
Follow me @joanna_knowles