Plus-Size Women Need Undies Too—So Why Won’t Victoria’s Secret Make Them?

A campaign is asking the lingerie retailer to expand its collections beyond a size 16.

(Photo: Victoria's Secret)

Feb 2, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

Back in October, Victoria’s Secret found itself in some serious hot water over its “Perfect Body” campaign, which plastered the phrase across the long and lean torsos of a parade of supermodels. A petition started by three women from the U.K. accused the retailer of promoting an unrealistic standard of beauty, and the backlash on social media was so huge the fashion brand ended up changing the slogan to “A Body for Every Body.” So could another petition get the company to start producing underwear for, well, everybody?

That’s the hope of a new campaign from a Westminster, California, woman who is asking the Columbus, Ohio–based retailer to make good on its new wording by manufacturing lingerie and clothing for plus-size women.

“While I believe every company has the right to market however they wish, I also believe all women, including plus-size women like me, have perfect bodies and deserve to feel sexy too,” wrote the petition’s author, Dana Drew. “That’s why I’m asking Victoria’s Secret to introduce plus sizes to their collections so women like me can wear their products.”

The biggest underwear size at Victoria’s Secret is a 16, which will fit a woman with a 34-inch waist and 44.5-inch hips. That means plus-size women such as Drew—or Tess Holliday, who wears a size 22 and was recently signed to a major modeling contract—are out of luck.

Despite not being able to sport the brand’s skivvies, Drew is still a huge fan of Victoria’s Secret. But she’s had to settle for purchasing non-clothing items from the retailer.

“I love Victoria’s Secret so much that I even have their credit card,” she wrote. “My money and my credit are good enough for them, but the fact that I can only buy items like perfume, lotion, and body spray sends the message that my body is not.”

Drew also points out that “there are over 100 million plus-size women in the United States, and we spent over 17.5 billion dollars on plus-size clothing last year.” Of course, doing the right thing shouldn’t be motivated only by profits, but if there’s a market for plus-size undies, why not meet it?

Victoria’s Secret hasn’t responded to Drew’s petition, which has 512 signatures as of this writing. Unless more supporters sign on, the retailer’s recognition of diverse body sizes might remain limited to slogans.