Panty Raid

Once upon a time I had a pair of lucky green panties. They were dark green, size small, purchased from Victoria’s Secret while I was in college. They were my “lucky” green panties because for some reason, they just wouldn’t die. I had those damn things for over ten years — during which time my weight fluctuated up and down by about 35 pounds. AND THEY STILL FIT. ALWAYS. These were magical panties. No two ways about it.

I liked Victoria’s Secret underthings. They were well-made and comfortable, and they came in a variety of styles — most of which I had no intention of trying, ever. I’ve generally shied away from both of the spectrum’s extremities; I don’t go for the high-leg briefs (full belly-button and tramp stamp coverage) nor the string thongs (cooter-floss). I’ve always preferred the bikinis and the briefs. All I ask of a panty is full cheek-coverage and a disinclination to creep up my crannies.

Check, and check.

My underwear drawer is loosely organized in tiers. I have three tiers of underwear: (1). Nice, new underpants to delight any emergency first-responders, (2). middling underpants which are maybe a little old or faded, but are structurally sound, and (3). the old beaters for wearing once a month, or on the absolute last day before laundry hits critical mass.

Historically speaking, these tiers cycle through once every few years (except for that lucky green pair) — and the cycling occurs when I’d wander into VS and hit the table with the “Five pairs for $25!” sign.

Because I’ve been such a regular, faithful customer, VS sends me intermittent coupon cards redeemable for one free panty. I have acquired many a pair in this fashion, and I’ll admit, the marketing tactic has worked on me more than once. I mean, if I get one FREE panty, and the panties are already 5 for $25, then REALLY I can get SIX pairs for $25 — which is a perfectly respectable price for almost a week’s worth of something I intend to keep and wear for awhile.

So. To make a long story short, for most of my paycheck-earning adult life — approximately 20 years — I’ve owned virtually nothing but Victoria’s Secret underpants.

But I think this is going to change. The reasons are primarily two-fold.

    (1). The older I get, the less respect — nay, simple civility — I receive from their sales staff. It’s as if anyone over 22 is invisible, and utterly unworth their time. I’m thirty-four, and they act like I’m teetering around the sales floor with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. But I’m not. I’m a civilized adult customer with credit cards and decades of brand loyalty in my britches — and I don’t deserve the nasty attitude and eye-rolling. On the rare occasions when I see a girl trying to offer good customer service, she’s usually shouted down by other employees. (No shit. I saw this today, actually. That’s why I didn’t pick up a free panty, and threw the coupon away.)

    (2). The panties are no longer any good. I don’t know if the quality dropped off a cliff all of a sudden, or if it happened gradually — over the year or two wherein I didn’t buy any, shortly after moving to Seattle and being so broke I was rolling pennies for tampon money. But the quality has definitely gone to hell.

It’s not as if I didn’t give them the benefit of a doubt. I didn’t do a spot-check via free panty acquisition; I’m talking about a total of twelve pairs of underpants that are virtually unwearable, acquired at different stores (in different STATES), for pretty much the same reasons across the board.

    PROBLEM THE FIRST: THE FIT. Something about the cut of the briefs/bikinis changed – and now I can’t get them to successfully cover my right ass-cheek to save my life. Now, as those of you who’ve met me can attest, my ass is not particularly uneven. I mean, one cheek might be a little fuller than the other — people are a little asymmetrical sometimes, okay, fine. But I’m not such a lopsided butt-freak that people stop me on the street to point and laugh. For that matter, all my older (second- and third-tier panties) fit just fine. They cup both booty halves without comment, complaint, or incident. No crack-ward creep occurs. It’s only the new ones that fail me.

    PROBLEM THE SECOND: THE INTRODUCTION OF A SECRET POCKET. Yeah. If that sounds weird to you regular panty-wearing types, it ought to. I don’t want a secret pocket in my panties. I don’t ever intend to carry anything in my panties — least of all, cradled halfway up my hoo-hah. But as far as I could tell, all the styles now have this handicap.

Here. It’s time for pictures.

(Though first, I’m going to put in a page-cut because this is running long. Click the link below in order to get a gander at the visuals — unless you’ve followed a link directly to this entry, in which case, just keep scrolling.)

Below you shall see a perfectly ordinary (though hideously flawed) pair of Victoria’s Secret panties, size medium. Lime green with white polka-dots. Kicky, non?

pantyraid 001

Well, I rather liked them. That’s why I bought them — that, and an eternal sense of optimism. Hey, maybe these panties wouldn’t suck! Maybe they’d cover both cheeks, instead of cruelly leaving one to hang, and galloping merrily toward my southern tropics. Yeah, and maybe monkeys will fly out of my ass.

(They’d better not, unless they want to get clothes-lined in a peculiarly literal fashion.)

Anyway, these undies don’t just suffer from the poor cut. They suffer from the SECRET POCKET.

pantyraid 003

What has basically happened here is that Victoria’s Secret has decided that stitching the cotton crotch all the way to the main body of the underpant is entirely too much trouble. So they’ve left the top edge open. Note, if you will, how that top seam has curled inward. That’s from one washing. ONE WASHING and the damn thing feels like sitting on a jump rope if I’m wearing anything more form-fitting than a sleeping bag.

No, it isn’t a HUGE SEAM, though my experience with other pairs over several washings proves that the seam begins to roll even tighter, and become even more uncomfortable. And the point is, it’s a significant seam in a VERY SENSITIVE PLACE, which is to say, it DOES NOT BELONG THERE.

I assume this is some kind of cost-cutting measure on Victoria’s Secret’s part. I bet they save a whopping three cents on every panty they fail to stitch up to completion. Way to screw up a perfectly good pair of panties, Victoria. I hope your three cents per pair keeps you warm at night.

But then again, maybe I’m misunderstanding the situation! Maybe it’s not a bug, it’s a feature. Here are just a few of the things I had hanging around the apartment — things which easily fit in the secret pocket.

My favorite lipstick – left hanging half out of the pocket lest you think it’s some kind of toy.

pantyraid 004

My Nano. One day I’ll be able to control the shuffle mode while practicing my Kegels.

pantyraid 006

A flash drive. GET IT? I’D HAVE TO TAKE OFF MY UNDERPANTS TO SHOW IT TO YOU! SO IT’S A LITERAL FLASH DRIVE! Get it? [:: cough cough ::] [:: initiates shuffle mode ::] [:: oops ::]

pantyraid 007

So. Yes. Anyway.
That’s basically why I’m taking my business elsewhere.

Oh, there are a few other reasons, don’t get me wrong. For example — to add a footnote to the problem with the Secret Pocket seam, it’s very difficult to get a pad to stick to the crotch surface when the seam is coiling around all over the place. And I kind of hate the direction that the store’s decor has been going in the last few years.

Back in my day [:: rattles cane ::] Victoria’s Secret was a fairly classy, low-key place for grown-up women-shaped people of taste — not a storefront that looked like the interior of a pedophile’s favorite van. I don’t know what’s up with that PINK line, but it makes my eyes bleed. No thanks.

* * *

Well, I’m sure I’ll find a suitable replacement eventually. Jockeys have come quite highly recommended, and the Gap has nice underwear for about the same price. And for now, I still have enough of a stash of the old VS styles to last me a bit longer.

It’s a shame, though. I’m going to miss those polka-dots.

Last Modified on April 18, 2010
this article Panty Raid

128 thoughts on “Panty Raid

  1. Diane

    I found this web site while searching for other women that have complained about Hanes panties and the “secret pocket” as you call it. I, too, decided it must be a cost saving idea and a bad one at that. My cheaper panties have all the same problems with this new style feature as your more expensive VS panties. I went as far as to stitch the front of the liner myself though I feel if I buy a garment it should be completely sewn and not required to be finished by me at home.

  2. Zed Zoe

    Thanks for the description of your dedicates drawer. Please send more pixs.

  3. Erin

    I am still wiping my eyes from tears of laughter! Thank you so much! I will be sharing this with 5 sisters, my girlfriends, and my husband who has been listening to me laugh out loud since I stumbled upon your panty rant. I definitely feel your pain!

  4. Kris

    I was thinking of starting a business making panties of the older Victoria Secret style that worked so well, but then I found some panties that fit just about as well, 90% cotton, very comfortable. They are called “the Best Fitting panty in the World!” They are only $2.96 at Walmart and available at The HICUT style fits like the Victorias Secret bikini style used to fit. The Size L/7 is similar to the Victoria Secret size L. I think you would like them!

  5. VS Employee c. 2009

    The piece of fabric sewn into most non-cotton panties is called a “gusset.”

    I was a VS retail employee when the company transitioned its cotton panty line in 2009. This change followed an earlier change (pre-2008) that cheapened the panties (thinner fabric; narrower elastic on waist; elastic exposed around leg area; possibly skimpier). Starting in 2009, the panties are no longer 100% cotton. They changed the fit of the bikini (skimpier all around) and increased the number of styles of “cotton” panties. The gusset is no longer sewn down in the front (“floating”), and the crotch is significantly narrower. I think they assume that women generally wear panty liners; I find the bare gusset very irritating to my genitals. They effectively eliminated the High Leg Brief (the new High-Leg panty is closer to the 100% cotton bikini!), which is astounding considering that it was extremely popular and what most middle age and older adult women reliably purchased. I think VS was trying to cut incremental costs due to lowered demand (than in the pre-2008 economy) and maximize consumption by very younger female consumers (an impressionable demographic that is OK with disposable clothing and who are drawn in by the juniors sized PINK brand and novelty items), at the expense of losing age 21+ customers.

    While I worked there, I bought out the 100% cotton bikinis – over 20 pairs – hoping the new style would flop. I don’t think they’ve reverted, and if they don’t by the time my panties kick the bucket, I’ll be moving on to a new brand (or returning to Jockey for Her and Vanity Fair).

    Controversially, they also changed their Body by Victoria bras, and over 5 years ago, they stopped selling high quality nylon-spandex briefs with matching bras. It was hard to put together a bra-panty set that an adult woman would feel comfortable wearing day-to-day by the time I worked there.

  6. Julie

    Oh my gosh! I thought I was imagining things when I too went in for my 5 year bundle purchase of bikini panties this year and none of them fit! The VS sales girl knew nothing of a design change and suggested it was my weight that had changed. (In her defense, I was actually 9 months pregnant at the time but all my old medium bikini panties from VS still fit perfectly!)

    But I digress… the BIG problem I have now is what to buy. After 4 failed attempts at different styles, I have yet to find a replacement! Have you found a suitable replacement you can recommend?

  7. Julie

    I obviously didn’t read through all the posts in my haste to find new panties! So, please delete-ignore my initial post about finding replacement panties.

  8. ADifferentJulie

    Thanks for the chuckle on a cold winter’s day spent searching the web for seamless no show panties. I have some Commandos on the way but thought I might give VS a try.
    Maybe the secret compartment is so we can always have our ” angel cards” on us !
    There is no excuse for you being treated as invisible. It is rude and bad business.

  9. I am just stumbling upon this. Thank you so much! My daughters and I have been so frustrated with the quality of the “newly styled” panties, that we have moved on but still can’t find something exactly like we used to buy in bulk. That’s right: with three grown daughters and myself, we patronized our local Victoria’s Secret and used it like Sam’s Club or Costco–20 pairs at a time! Then the oldest tried one and discovered that the fabric had changed. It is now clingier. They also cut the butt section, I’m guessing for the hip crowd who like those things cutting across their cheeks and riding their cracks. I called, wrote emails, and complained at stores every time to no avail. This same daughter figured out that we could go up a size and be fairly comfortable. It still pisses me off to have to buy size Large panties when I can easily wear a size Small. Will they ever learn?

  10. Jessica

    Omg! I thought I was going insane!!!! I haven’t been able to find the old style for YEARS now and every time I buy more I just think it’s because I gained some weight from when I was 21 years old and so I JUST bought all larges and tried them on and was soo mad!!!! They are riding slightly along the edge of my ass still! This is when I just realized they changed the cut of them! I just started running low on my stash of the old style and I have been DESPERATE trying to find more underwear that just sit nicely on the bottom of my tush without giving me a wedgie every five seconds! I think I have literally tried everything you can think of trying to replace the VS ones and I’ve probably spent close to $500 trying to find a replacement. I hate every single one. I’m spoiled because I know what good underwear feels like! The only ones that are slightly tolerable are the gilligan& o’malley ones from target. Needless to say I will probably be returning the bunch of larges I just ordered from VS as the fabric is awful and the cut is even worse! I’m officially depressed. Wish I bought out the store when it was better quality. This underwear issue is stressful. But glad I’m not the only one/going insane.

  11. Katherine

    I am STILL trying to find vintage ones around the web as I still cannot find high cut panties that don’t ride up or have super thick panty lines. I so miss my VS vintage high cut briefs :=(

  12. Anthea

    So glad to learn I’m not the only one! As with others, I thought *I* was the issue with the fit. And the “secret pocket” is the worst, plus it’s not in the right area for me either. I found this searching to see if I was the only one whose crotch doesn’t match the panties. What a relief! I am not alone! Glad for suggestions to try. I feel sorry for the younger generation, they may never know the quality we are missing.

  13. Albizia

    I’m not from a country with VS stores so I rarely get the chance to buy anything from them and don’t have much experience. I had to google panty reviews to see what other women had to say.
    I have no complaints about the style because the panties I bought are very pretty and cover my rear end well (I guess I’m not even size S as I thought so that might explain the good coverage). Unfortunately, the fabric quality is worse than the crappiest $1 Chinese panties I’ve owned in the past. The first signs of pilling appeared after wearing them only once. Once! Are they going for disposable? How can the bras last for years and the panties look as if I’ve grinded my ass on a fence after 2-3 wears? I don’t know how they were in the past but the current ones are not worth the money at all.

  14. Darleen

    I found your “blog” (?) while trying to search for Felina bikini complaints. I really, really enjoyed the humor & sarcasm! I’m an OLD lady of 53 years so I wouldn’t be caught dead at VS. Anyway, I was wondering if anybody has the same frustration that I do with Felina bikini underwear? My main complaint is that they must not put any elastic in the waistbands because they slowly work their way down every time I move. If I weren’t wearing pants they would be at my ankles in the blink of an eye. There’s nothing more annoying than tugging at the waistband every few minutes because you feel them bunched below your butt. My next problem with this brand is why they had to make the back panel in two pieces so there is a seam running down the middle?

  15. The old Michelle

    Thank you sisters, I no longer feel confused and alone in this endless return of the “perfect panties” search. I loved the old VS, and as another old lady of 53 have been around the panty block a few times. I noticed a few years ago everyone seems to be changing their pantie cuts and the rudeness of its young staff. I use to use good old Jockey French high cuts during that time of the month, needless to say I no longer need those back up underwear, but I noticed they even changed. I know my ass is not up where it use to be in my 20’s but it’s not dragging on the floor either. I had the same problem with my right ass cheek with every single pair of those jockeys, you could see the way the whole side of the undies were all bend abnormally out of shape. So being married for 32 years I gave up and went with nice comfort cotton boy shorts, Fruit of the Loom no less, called “shorties”. Very comfy and there is no riding up in these babies. Problem now is I think they have been discontinue because they are getting harder to find. So please corperate American men leave our panties alone, and if you notice your wives getting cranking you might want to ask her how her panties are fitting these days.

  16. Jenna

    This is such a great article. I too hate the new style, though the secret panel doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is how freakin’ thin the fabric has become.

    Most of my VS panties have runners in them, mostly on my hips where my hands pull them up. I also have a few pairs with runners near my “man in the boat”!!! And it’s not like I’m going around rubbing myself on my nethers.

    So glad I am not alone and your blog is hysterical.

  17. Catherine

    I gave up and have turned to Europe for panties. Buying Sloggi’s from Amazon. Think the company is English.

  18. I’ve decided I must stop with the VS cotton panties as well. The past couple of years have been dreadful. I get the same one-cheek-sneak. Also, they shred now at the edges. SHED. I have a long elastic stand hanging from A BRAND NEW PAIR after one wash. DONE. Thanks for your post, it was hilarious. :)

  19. Lorraine

    Hmmmmm just bought two pkgs of jockey cotton French cut size fives, which I have been buying for 20 plus yrs and they feel very thin……?

  20. Patrice

    HILARIOUS blog!!! I had to stop reading, I was laughing so hard and my 6-year old grand daughter and my son-in-law wanted to know why I was laughing!!!

    All modern ladies underwear SUCKS, bras, camis, undies, slips (NOWHERE to be found!), and shape wear! It is ALL made for aliens from other planets; not humans!!!

    Thank you for the laugh!!

  21. Chuck

    Hmmm, this is a hilarious story …even funnier because it is written by a lady. I used to buy panties and other sexy lingerie items for my bride of 45 years. I encouraged her to buy at VS, ansd other sexy outlets… However , that is the operative word difference – I wanted sensual, se wanted practical, comfortable.

    Back in the day when I nervously and a little embarrassed would buy her my choice – usually within hours they disappeared …never worn for your famous multiple year lifespan. To this day, I still get “excited” walking through the lingerie department …imagining and fantasizing with my eyes closed …touching fabrics …still hopeful for what will never happen.

    Conclusion – maybe the VS designer is now a male, a horny, frustrated male …who thinks the entire female population needs to be tortured by the famous “pocket rocket” pocket …the unsewn gusset top …the right butt cheek that refuses to be panty clad…

    All I can say is ladies accept and joyfully wear our (men’s) sensuous choice, at least once a month. Then we “male lingerie designers will go back to the comfortable, durable, every day design. You know as a completely, horny all the time male, I would be thrilled to wear boxers, briefs, bikinis . heck, even thongs if I knew the wife thought they were sexy. Therein is the problem …men and women think with different “heads”!

    I did enjoy your post and comments. I smiled, and laughed silently inside or released a soft, almost “whispered” giggle. I have to remani undercover on this. U don’t want the wife to know about how amused and entertained I was reading this. She would wannt to know why was I even looking at this post. Hmmmmmm!!!! ?

  22. Leela

    Thanks for the post. I’ve been unhappy with VS for a few years now and am looking for cotton low rise bikinis – like their older version. Last year I purchased some panties from VS and they already have holes in them, they never fit right in the buttocks and they were thin and cheap.
    Where can I find panties like my old ones?
    Thanks :)

  23. Mary Kay

    Wow, you nailed it! I LOVED my old VS panties. I would buy nothing but VS hi-cut. I tried to contact VS and their reply was a coupon for my next order. Okay, first, I feel blown off like my comment didn’t really matter. If I wasn’t happy with the panties why would I be purchasing more!
    Secondly, I measured the rise on the last pair of “old” panties. The rise is almost 3/4” less than before. I knew that they changed it, in addition to the lower quality fabric.

    I am so happy to have come across this site because now I know that it’s not just me!!!
    Has anyone found anything close yet?

  24. Amanda Bickford

    The “pocket” is there as an extra soft layer for your “area” and some extra moisture control too. They don’t sew the front seam so there is not a ridge or seam pushing or rubbing against your clitoris. Smart fashion.

  25. Kristi Graham

    Came across this because I was searching to see if anyone else was having issues with VS’s extremely thin crotches. Although I like the VS sexy undies, I go for “DAAAAYMMMN” instead of comfort, this year VS has decided to stop using elastic around the legs and crotch area and instead replacing it with wide thin lace that hangs down instead of being form fitting. That, combined with the overly thin crotch leaves me hanging out of one side, or a bit out of either side. I wear a medium and a large is too big and the crotch hangs down. Hell, it does that a bit with the mediums even after you’ve worn them for 10 mins, but they still fit everywhere else. I don’t think I have a particularly fat vagina, hahaha, and compared to regular underwear (Hanes, Jockey, etc) the VS crotch’s are only half their size. I love skimpy, but not when you’re falling all out in areas you’re not supposed to. I’m not sure what they get out of doing this because no matter how young you are or how skimpy the panties are, they’re STILL supposed to be panties and cover your genitals. That’s kind of the point, is it not? This has been the case with their thongs, and their hipsters. In fact it’s more prevalent in the hipsters than the thongs and they’re supposed to be even more coverage than bikini style underwear. So what’s the point of wearing undies at all if the most important part allows you to fall out and rub on your pants?

  26. Marjorie martin

    I always thought the pocket in underwear was a good place to hide your money. I’ve done it.

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