What Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty show should’ve taught Victoria’s Secret

This Victoria’s Secret customer is reevaluating her shopping choices

Sep 21 · 4 min read

I’ve been shopping at Victoria’s Secret for more than a decade. With a 36DD (homegrown, not purchased), wearing cheap bras stopped being an option by my college years — when I needed a bargain the most.

Photo credit: Alexis/Flickr

Uncomfortable, ill-fitting bras are right up there with unknown particles on my contact lenses; it will mess up my entire day. With a jeans size that has ranged from a 6 to 12 over the years, I can still wear everything from yoga pants to hoodies to undergarments from Victoria’s Secret franchise. So there was a sense of entitlement when I’d hear women complain that Victoria’s Secret didn’t carry their sizes. My response was always the same: “Why not just buy stuff from other companies that do sell your size?”

But watching Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty show made me reevaluate that flippant “Just go somewhere else” mindset.

Photo credit: CelebrityABC/Flickr

Comfort is key. Rihanna didn’t just create a fashion show with models strutting their stuff in sexy lingerie. These models of all shapes, sizes and complexions were doing full-on choreography comfortably in bras and panties. Hell, it’s hard enough to walk on a beach in a swimsuit without subtly yanking the bottom area out of your rear end. Keeping it cute while hitting every mark in a two-minute high-impact dance routine is something else altogether.

Being confident in your skin. Jaden Smith, Omar Epps and a host of other celebrities have long challenged what constitutes men’s clothes and women’s clothes. (Omar Epps even gave followers a history lesson.) While men wearing skirts still doesn’t appeal to me, you know what did impress me? Transsexual model Laverne Cox rocking the hell out of Savage lingerie. That’s no knock to a very handsome Christian Combs, sporting Savage sleepwear. But Laverne Cox kicking, hair twirling and switching across the stage made me yell out “hey now” loud enough to be heard from my living room windows.

The ability to dismiss disabilities. I cannot remember ever seeing a fashion show (that’s not to say it hasn’t happened) in which I saw models with amputated legs strut their stuff the hardest wearing lingerie.

Photo credit: Paul VanDerWerf/Flickr

No shade to all shades. I’ve already been vocal about “nude” shades being a joke in pantyhose and shapewear, specifically for African-American women. While there are quite a few apparel companies who are catering to brown-skinned women, Savage x Fenty gave it to us all at once. We can visually see countless models dancing, walking and posing. We recognize how our own chocolate skin tones would look in that fabric and that color instead of ordering it online and hoping for the best.

Sure, I could enjoy seeing Jasmine Tookes, Leomie Anderson, Winnie Harlow and one of the most well-known Angels, Tyra Banks, on occasion in Victoria’s Secret clothing. However, they were usually wearing bright colors or something that didn’t really match their skin tones, so that still left me nose deep in Victoria’s Secret bins trying to find shades that match my complexion. But Rihanna picked everyday women — the bulk of lingerie customers. And in Rihanna style, she didn’t just put these random women onstage to show off the clothing. She showed them how flattering their diverse skin tones really are in the sexy sleepwear.

Photo credit: Courtney Coviello/Flickr

For years I wondered why not just shop some place else if a lingerie store didn’t have products (or colors) in your size. But after watching the Savage x Fenty fashion show, I’m now wondering why anyone should ever have to.

Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Written by

14-year journalist; freelance writer/editor (Upwork); Wag! dog walker; Rover dog sitter; Toastmasters SAA & member; cohost of Do Not Submit; Shamontiel.com

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