The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Community News Network

February 14, 2013

Teen lingerie luring ever-younger girls

NEW YORK — When Kathleen Jordan stopped at a Victoria's Secret a year ago to buy something for herself, the visit had an unintended consequence: her 13-year-old daughter got hooked on Pink, the lingerie brand's young collegiate line.

"Now she has more bras than I do, in every color under the sun," said Jordan, a principal at design and architecture firm Gensler in New York. "She's not alone — all her girlfriends are into Pink, too. I recently overheard one of her girlfriends excitedly sharing the details of her favorite Christmas gift from Pink."

Limited Brands Inc.'s Victoria's Secret isn't the only retailer generating sales as it becomes more acceptable for middle-and high-school girls to show off bras under clothing and buy intimates. Teen chains are, too.

Hot Topic Inc. is testing an edgy lingerie line called Blackheart, and Urban Outfitters Inc., which has said intimates could eventually make up 10 percent of sales, has bolstered such offerings across its brands. Even Justice, the store for 7- to 12-year-olds owned by Tween Brands Inc., is selling $21.90 tie-dye bras and $9 flowered panties online.

Retailers are taking care to present the garments as cute versus sexy, said Marcie Merriman, founder of retail and brand strategy consultancy PrimalGrowth in Columbus, Ohio.

Stores are "all going to say they're targeting 18- to 22- year-olds, but the reality is you're going to get the younger customer," she said.

A decade ago girls had little choice in underwear; a first bra was typically a plain garment bought at a department store or discounter such as Target or Kohl's.

"Sensuality and body image continues to be a message that young girls are seeing and are being exposed to in a much less controlled fashion perhaps than even 10, 12 years ago," said Dan Stanek, executive vice president at brand consultancy Big Red Rooster in Columbus, Ohio. They're aiming to imitate the lingerie styles worn by role models and celebrities seen on the Web and social media, he said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo