Uncovering Victoria's Secret: Exploring women's luxury perceptions of intimate apparel and purchasing behaviour

Margee Hume, Michael Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Given an increasingly volatile and competitive fashion environment, the purpose of this paper is to qualitatively explore current consumer behaviour and psychological perspectives of luxury in women's undergarment fashion purchasing, with specific examination of whether this under-investigated area of discrete or inconspicuous fashion appraisal is consistent with other luxury purchases. Design/methodology/approach: The study employs an interesting methodological approach using multiple qualitative techniques including research interviews, group forums, and narrative capture, to investigate women's undergarment purchasing in a changing fashion environment in relation to the issues of branding, self-image, perceived self-image, motivational perspectives, and consumer behaviour, as identified by 119 female consumers aged between 18 and 60. Findings: This study supports in part previous research that indicated consumer behaviour is determined by the congruency between the consumer's self-image and the consumer's image of brands, although early research suggested this only applied to conspicuous products and social consumption. The current study confirms the self-image link in the area of inconspicuous fashion, and strongly relates inconspicuous products consumed privately to self-esteem and perceived sexy self. Practical implications: The findings indicate that for intimate apparel marketing to be effective and credible, the marketed fashion items, and actions taken by designers, and retailers need to be consistent with the consumer's personal style, value perceptions, and self-image. Originality/value: This research examines several neglected areas in fashion and consumption research, and contributes to our understanding of key motivational elements important in the consumption of inconspicuous fashion, and the relationship of self-image to inconspicuous consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-485
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Fashion Marketing and Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Inconspicuous fashion consumption
  • Luxury
  • Motivation
  • Undergarments


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