What do you get when you combine 2 spicy runners, $2.50 glasses of wine, and a trip to VSX Sport, the new athletic apparel store from Victoria’s Secret? The answer? A movie montage a la Christina Applegate and Cameron Diaz in The Sweetest Thing.
The Salties had been tossing around the idea of a review of the new line of sport apparel at America’s most popular lingerie outfitter, Victoria’s Secret. After a few (too many) glasses of wine Ginkgo and Rosemary were up for the challenge!
In a gutsy show of competitive spirit, the VSX at our mall is strategically placed next door to fellow luxury athletic retailer Lululemon. When we entered, pink walls and cabinets felt very familiar, the brightly-lit displays reminding us we were in Victoria’s house. We were greeted by the familiar pink torso mannequins, only this time they were wearing push-up sport bras instead of push up lacies. We giggled at the ostentatious colors and felt magnetically drawn to the sparkly adornments. After a few exchanges of “can you believe…” and “Oh my look at…” Ginkgo and I made eye contact . We knew exactly what to do… VSX dressing room montage! How else would we know if all that padding could really perk up and support the girls for a run?
Ginkgo on Body Image: I continue to strive for full recovery from eating disorder, so I thought this would not only make a good feature about “sexy” apparel and its practicality for true runners but also wanted to mention body image. If you’re recovering like me I would not recommend going into VSX unless you’re in full recovery mode. The airbrushed models and work-out videos could be triggering. A few short years ago, I never would have set foot in a lingerie store, let alone “model” their newly-released exercise line and take photos to later post on a public blog (eek)! But I can proudly say I was able to complete this challenge without much panic. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but was HUGE for me. It definitely helped to have a little liquid courage and a running buddy on my side!
It took less than five minutes for each of us to grab three outfits. Rosemary opted for a more practical approach, and Ginkgo grabbed three of the most “out there” combinations she could find, thinking they would never make it past that dressing room door! Nonetheless, we present you with evidence! Our reviews of the gear we “modeled” are below.
Knot-Back Sports Bra: A sassy little number, this one out-beat the showtime bra. At $39.50, I probably would spring for this one in the future, minus the “special edition” knotted back design. Though cute in theory, I don’t think it would hold up well in a 8 mile plus run. I’d guess the strappy straps would dig into the back and become uncomfortably itchy once the sweat got flowing.
Hooded Sport Jacket (in GOLD): I felt like an astronaut in this number. Can we say Space Jams?!?! Though comfier than generic pleather, the arm length ran short and the material seemed like it would stick once the sweat started rolling.
VS Runway Short (in GOLD): Surprisingly, these weren’t “booty” shorts. I liked the length and the material was comfy. Jogging in place, they didn’t ride up. In another color, I might actually treat myself to these in the future.
Showtime Bra: I got past the “va-va-va VOOM” effect and jogged in place a little. I wasn’t impressed. Even with all the padding and push-up, this bra didn’t seem to have “medium” support, and I wear a size small in the bra department if you catch my drift. I wouldn’t be able to run in it for two reason: I’d look like a tramp and, more importantly, it would be painful.
Supermodel Capri: I loved the style of these capris! But they flared just enough at the bottom to drive me biz-onkers just jogging in place. They’d be perfect for yoga or after-run wear. Did I mention how cute they are? Is it possible to have buyer’s un-remorse?
Showtime Bra: I opted for the Showtime Bra in a size medium (I typically wear a 34 B to C…so my girls need a bit of support) in the shade of Electric Orchid, since it said it provided “Medium Support”. Medium support? Try voluptuous push-up bra camouflaged with a sport-bra(ish) halter strap! I felt extremely uncomfortable just standing in it, let along running in it. The cups were incredibly padded. Way too much for my taste.
Knockout Capri Tight: For $66 bucks, I think not. The material was high-quality, but the pants rode up and had potential for an extreme wedgie alert!
Studio Skirt: Even though I now own four running skirts, I don’t typically wear a skirt to run. But if I did, this would be the skirt to run in. Why? Because the shorties underneath (are the same color as the waist band!) felt perfect and the skirt on top was so light! I barely noticed it was a skirt.
Supermodel Racerback Sports Bra: I loved this bra. I am a sucker for bling and VSX had me right where they wanted me with this bra. It’s categorized as “minimal” support, but it held everything in place better than the Showtime Bra. I bought it at $32.50, reasoning that my favorite seamless Reebok bra is $25, without the bling. The bling was easily worth the extra $7.50.
Supermodel Pant: After slipping these babies on, I was SOLD! They came in regular and long lengths and accentuated my body’s natural shape. The best part was that they weren’t too tight. At 5’ 9” I actually went with a regular length because I don’t like yoga pants too long, for fear of tripping over myself in a tree pose (remember, I’m a klutz).
Sleek Sport Jacket: From the reflective details to interior storage pockets and thumb holes and sleeves that double as mittens, this jacket screamed LuLu at me, and I loved it! It fit like a glove and the heathered grey color was super stylish. But at $89.50, I couldn’t justify purchasing it this time.
Supermodel Short: As much as I am a sucker for bling, I am equally, if not more, a sucker for boyshorts. I have no idea why, but I love them; I easily own fifteen pairs! So I really wanted to like these. Why didn’t I? First, I wasn’t convinced they’d stay in place for running, and no one needs bunz that ride up in the crotch. Second, pockets. Specifically, one measly key pocket, so tiny it could hold a house key but not a car key. If they’d been flashy like the bra I maaaaaybe would have bought them anyway, but at $42.50 I don’t need an extra toe, know what I’m saying?
Double Layer Tank: Fitted tanks were my go-to top in college, and I liked the look of this tank both on the rack and on me. It reminded me of the No-Limits Tanks from Lululemon, but surprisingly with more support. The tradeoff was the material. The heavier spandex sent me into a flashback of sweat-drenched material clinging to my stomach. It was a no-go.
Ginkgo: Victoria’s Secret and running bras? To say the least, I was a skeptic walking into the store, which looked like it threw up pink. All in all, I wasn’t blown away by the VSX Sport line, but I am not as skeptical of it as I was at first. In fact, I left the store with some yoga pants that fit better and were higher quality than any others that I already owned.
If you like your running clothes a little on the “sexy” side and don’t mind investing a decent dollar on your work-out clothes, you might really like this gear. If you’re more of a practical gal on a budget, I wouldn’t recommend spending much time here. Even though I love my new pants, my original skepticism was proven true. I think I’ll stick to my $16 neon sports bras from Target. Better support. Much cheaper.
Rosemary: The VSX apparel was definitely flashy and I have no doubt that the products were durable and high quality, but I felt a little beat over the head with marketing. The slogan “Train Like an Angel” was everywhere. A workout fashion show video was playing in the dressing room above the yoga mat and ballet bar. I received a flyer promoting online “Runway Workout” videos, weekly fitness challenges, and a Facebook community.
My takaway? I didn’t plan to compare VSX to Lululemon, but it was pretty apparent to me that Victoria’s Secret (much like the GAP with its Athleta brand) is trying to horn in on the market for luxury athletic wear. But overall, I think Lulu is the OG in this market because the products are great quality and just…smart. If I feel the need to splurge on a sleek jacket or pretty shorts, I think I’ll stick with the original.
Disclaimer: No one at Salty Running was compensated for this review. It was strictly something we wanted to do: get tipsy and try on sexay running clothes!