I’m Guessing Victoria’s Secret Wasn’t Stretch Marks

NaNoWriMo Day 17 word count: 29,956

I have no idea what in my recent history caused me to be flagged as a person who should be receiving Victoria’s Secret, but clearly someone thought it was worthwhile for me or Current Resident (also me) to receive the catalog because there was one in my mailbox this afternoon. This is the first Victoria’s Secret catalog I’ve seen in, I think, about a decade.

Victoria’s Secret is a strange catalog. The women’s mouths are all partway open and everyone’s hyper-extending their backs. And I had no idea over-the-knee boots went with hot pants. But then, what else would they go with?

Perusing this catalog, I started wondering how nursing-friendly these clothes would be. Some, like the button-up PJs, would be quite nursing friendly. In fact, there was a model wearing some satin PJs the way I often wear my plaid flannel PJs (with the top completely unbuttoned and nothing on underneath). Maybe she’s a breastfeeding mom whose baby still wakes to nurse several times a night, just like my baby does. If that’s the case, I really want to know what exercises she did to get her belly so flat.

My mom actually wears as pajamas a velour warm-up suit like the ones they were selling in the catalog. She bought one for me when she was visiting. It’s quite comfy, but I have a suspicion we don’t look much like the models in the catalog when my mom and I are wearing our velour warm-up suits. My loose belly skin always kind of hangs over the waist of the pants more than these models’ tummies do.

I began imagining the catalog with real-life moms as models, something like a Victoria’s Secret meets The Shape of a Mother. In this imaginary catalog, stretch marks and green and purple veins radiate from the tops of push-up bras. Thighs are rippled rather than taut, just as nature intended. Calves resemble topographical maps with varicosities forming the contour lines. The exposed midriffs look deflated or doughy, depending on whether the model is contracting her transverse abdominals or not. Flesh yields to elastic waistbands. I know some of these models are moms, but I don’t understand how they’ve avoided stretch marks, cellulite, and that inelastic skin on their bellies that I thought was universal.

I think maybe I’m not getting adequate sleep. Combine this with the waking-dream state I enter when I’m working on my novel, and weird things happen. Weird, but kind of awesome, too. I would appreciate a catalog with models in it whose bodies look more like mine. Maybe.

11 Replies to “I’m Guessing Victoria’s Secret Wasn’t Stretch Marks”

  1. I’m too tired and up too late to write something coherent… but this made me feel compelled to tell you that I’ve seriously considered blogging about the underboob cleavage… that part of your boob that squishes out *below* the underwire of the bra when you are wearing a non-nursing bra after extended nursing… hopefully you know nothing about this. I also have stretch marks on my under-chin because my face got fat and then back to normal during my pregnancies. It only shows up in a certain bathroom mirror in natural light. So I just avoid that whole situation.


  2. You know what’s kinda ironic/funny? I couldn’t be a VS model even if they dropped any rules about height and flat tummies and such because they don’t carry my size-nursing means I still have a tiny ribcage (I’m 5’2″) but a ridiculously large cup size. Everyone thinks of them as the bra people, but they really don’t have a very wide range of sizes!


    1. That is a very good point! I’ve not been there for bras in ages because I’ve been almost seven years in nursing bras, but I do recall the difficulty of getting a good fit, even though my cup size is in the frequently used portion of the alphabet. Thanks for commenting!


  3. what i need is another photography project. . .if five other women with imperfect waistlines wanted to model for it. . .i’d show mine off too 🙂 we could wear our best nursing bras and grannie panties and velour sweat suits!!!!! and arch our backs 🙂 it probably wouldn’t even hyper extend them, we could just assume “huge pregnant lady pose” which I’m guessing most of us aren’t too far from anyway, aren’t our backs permanently swayed now?! 🙂


    1. With all of the beautiful and artistic maternity and nursing photos you take, I’d bet your skills are ideally suited to a project like this. Seriously. I’d be up for it.


  4. Love “Victoria’s Secret meets The Shape of a Mother”! I think there’s potential there.

    Have you seen the YouTube video of the Dove model? After the hair artist, makeup artist, & Photoshop artist are finished, she looks “perfect” — & nothing like her real self.

    I really enjoy your musings. Thanks for sharing.


  5. CJ – sorry to tell you this, b/c I like seeing plus-size models when I shop for plus-size clothes, but every study I’ve seen has shown that most people are more depressed looking at models who are more ‘real’ than when looking at the clothes hanger people normally used. I disagree, but apparently I’m in the minority


  6. that ALMOST makes me want to take on a photography project. . . . but i would NEVER model for myself!!!!


    1. Funny you mention that…I periodically consider having you take “after” belly photos in my ongoing process of letting go of perfection and trying to accept my body as it is. Not sure if I’d frame those and hang them in my house like I’ve done the other photos you did of us, though.


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