Fear not, my itchy sisters — ditch Victoria’s Secret and try Ambrielle bras

Not by virtue of any actual plan I set in place, this blog has unofficially become the “Boob Blog” — not as a celebration of our lovely breasts, but because it has become a place where women who have been suffering from mysterious breast rashes have discovered that A) they aren’t alone and B) it’s not a disease — it was their Victoria’s Secret bra.

The cure for the horrid, itchy, unsightly rash is simple: Stop wearing VS bras and see what happens. If your rash clears up… and comes roaring back immediately when you put it on again, it’s the bra.

No, you don’t have some weird form of breast cancer! You can exhale now!

A 2008 ABC news investigation indicated that the source of the issue apparently is formaldehyde in the Chinese-made fabric in some Victoria’s Secret bras. VS, of course, denies all of this, but will take back any rash-inducing bras and give a refund, no questions asked. That’s a LOT of bras returned. I’m sure they know about the issue, but fixing the problem might be interpreted as an admission of culpability, so they just keep selling these bras — yes, even NOW! — and women keep buying them.

Part of the problem, of course, is there’s just nothing else like a VS bra. Many of the women responding and commenting on this blog have verified this. We can find comfortable bras, sure. But… they look dumpy. The cute, sexy ones are cheap or don’t provide great support. Everyone is searching for a satisfactory replacement — it’s the question I’m most often asked — and we’ve all come up empty. (How sad is this… all these loyal customers, and VS isn’t interested in supplying us with a product that doesn’t cause those with a formaldehyde allergy to suffer miserably.)

Well, take heart, my itchy sisters! I think I’ve found something. The line is called “Ambrielle” and has lots of cute styles and a wide range of sizes. The bra is available on the JC Penney website. I followed the fitting directions, and although I was a bit shocked at the result, I gulped and ordered. For a site unseen fitting — not bad! In my opinion, the cup size runs a bit big, but not enough to send it back. Will I order more? You bet!

Another woman who comments on this blog also discovered Ambrielle. She’s been wearing her bra for several weeks, without any rash! I wore my new one all weekend – nothing! We both ordered cotton blend styles.

So, former VS customers… if you’ve been searching for a replacement, maybe we’ve found it! Give Ambrielle a try! You can buy two of their bras for what one VS bra costs!

11 thoughts on “Fear not, my itchy sisters — ditch Victoria’s Secret and try Ambrielle bras

  1. Yay!!!!
    Finally an acceptable substitute. And I forgot to mention I wore the bra (Ambrielle, wire free, cotton) in the heat which I remember made the VS bra rash even worse – no reason with Ambrielle!
    Oh and for record, Victoria’s Secret never got back to my e-mail complaints. Every time I pass their store, I shake my fist at them and say something loudly about rashes. My fiancé hasn’t hid when I do that in public so I consider that a good omen for our future together.
    The Gap also sells a bra that caused another rash but they actually seemed mortified to find out (which I took to be a good sign at least) and gave a gift card in apology.

    But for $13 (which is what it amounted to, on sale), I practically praised the existence of JC Penney to the cashier, but she works in a border city so I’m sure she hears it all the time………

    Canadians still have little to no other options that I know of…..


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  3. Well I recently had a reaction to some bras I purchased in March from good old VS but they wouldn’t take them back. They gave me a number to call instead. You bet your bucket I will call on Monday during normal business hours. The small fortune I spent for these bras is insane and to have the sleep altering itch that wakes me up at night is unbearable. I was encouraged by your blog and I am hopeful in getting my money back. Also having my skin back to normal would be amazing. Wish me luck!


  4. Dear Lauren, I certainly DO with you luck, and maybe it will be some consolation knowing that most of us have spent a small fortune on VS products and sadly, it is money down the drain. VS has so many customers that the small number of us who have an allergic reaction to their products simply don’t matter to them.
    The good news is that yes, your skin will heal and the itching will stop. It will take about three weeks. And also, you know what the symptoms are and can immediately stop wearing anything that makes you react.
    GOOD LUCK! 🙂


  5. This is more than just about a rash! About a month ago I purchased 3 victoria secret bras and broke out with an itchy rash on one breast. I came across your blog when researching rash. I immediately stopped wearing the bra from china but continued to wear the bra from Sri Lanka. But soon realized that that one was a problem as well. Stopped wearing all victoria secret bras. The rash cleared up but the breast began to swell and tissue changed. I have recently seen my primary doctor who found some nodules and a mass. I will be having a mamo and biopsy in a few days. I am infuriated that accompany that I have spent plenty of money with is selling a product endangering my health and many other women’s for over 10 years knowing there is a problem. My doctor has put me on a antibiotic that seems to be eliminating what was happening. Is this a coincidence? I think not!


    • Hello Theresa – what a horrific experience!! It sounds like you are super allergic to whatever chemical is in that fabric! I’m not surprised that the bras from Sri Lanka also cause a reaction because it’s no longer where the BRA is manufactured… it’s where the FABRIC is manufactured. So, the fabric arrives at the factories already infused with whatever it is that causes the allergic reaction, and then they make the bras. That’s why VS can state that they don’t add any chemicals to their bras in the manufacturing process – because they don’t. The fabric arrives that way;
      That said – VS is fully aware of this problem but they continue to blame the customer and take no responsibility for this situation. They won’t even acknowledge the situation, and I know they’re aware of it because I had a phone conversation with one of their reps!
      So frustrating, and I’m so sorry you have had this experience. I am glad you went to see your doc – get this all documented! Also, please tell your doc about this blog and offer to her/him that what we all believe our condition is: contact allergic dermatitis. If your doc confirms that diagnosis, antibiotics probably won’t help unless you’ve developed a secondary infection.
      Good luck in your search for a product that doesn’t cause you misery. At least now you know what your reaction looks like and if any product causes it – you must stop wearing it. There’s no other solution. :/


  6. Thank you for this article. I bought some VS bras over the summer. Loved the fabric so buttery soft. Then in Dec. I started developing a rash. I stopped wearing them for a month. Then tried again. Yep! They did it again. Thank you for the info for a new bra to try. Wonder why it took so long to develop a reaction? Hmmmm.


    • Hello Sauni, that’s how it was for me as well. I didn’t react immediately to the bras when they were new, but once I started reacting to them, I would react as soon as I put them on. I don’t know why there is a delay, but maybe the chemicals bread down with exposure to heat or sweat, or lotion or skin? Or maybe the development of the allergy is a cumulative reaction? Bottom line, however, is that if you react to the bras, there’s no solution other than to stop wearing them.

      Thanks for writing. It troubles me to realize that new people contact me every week about this, even though the problem has been going on for years. VS just doesn’t care.


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