My nine-year-old tween daughter recently declared that she had nothing to wear. Since I’m usually behind in the laundry department, I figured she might be right. Upon inspection of her closet, however, I found several outfits hanging up, washed and ready to be worn.
“They’re Gymboree,” she told me with the same disgusted, I’m-too-old-for-that tone she might have used if I handed her a Dora coloring book to occupy herself. So Gymboree is apparently out, and Justice in is. It’s not going to be long before she’s going to be shopping for more grown-up undergarments either -- and into the debate about Victoria’s Secret for tweens we go.
Victoria’s Secret’s Pink line markets itself to the collegiate market, but seems to be joining a growing group of other chains in marketing to younger and younger girls -- even middle schoolers. Hot Topic is testing a lingerie line called Blackheart, Urban Outfitters claims that “intimates could eventually make up 10 percent of sales,” and Justice, the store marketed specifically to the 7 to 12 set, is selling tie-dye bras and flowered panties.
All of a sudden, I understand who fits into those XS bikini briefs that taunt me from the table at Victoria’s Secret. I knew no one past puberty could fit into those! Anyway, as the mom of a girl that is soon going to decide she doesn’t want cartoon characters on her underwear, and will be wearing a bra sooner rather than later, I’m going to have to figure out where we’re going to purchase them.
It’ll probably be Victoria’s Secret -- and I have no problem with that. I even like that fact that they are marketing toward a younger audience. What’s wrong with having fun, bright-colored underwear? Girls change all the time in front of each other -- for sports or recreational activities that require it, at slumber parties or camp, for the school play … no one wants to be the girl with the ugly underwear.
Besides, they offer a high-quality product, knowledgeable salespeople, and cushy changing rooms with lighting that won’t make my girl even more freaked out about her changing body. And there’s something grown-up and special about shopping where the Big Girls shop, almost like being inducted into the Sisterhood, as cheesy as it sounds.
That being said, if I ever see a lacy red bra or g-string marketed for my kid, you can bet I’ll have something to say about it -- and it won’t be pretty.
Do you think it’s appropriate for teens and tweens to shop at Victoria’s Secret?