Transporting thongs and push-up bras isn’t the only purpose for a Victoria’s Secret shopping bag. Some women turn theirs into a purse. Others store their lunch in them. And now new research hints at a universal rationale for the bags’ second lives as accessories. Women feel sexy simply holding it.
The study, to be published in December, is the work of Deborah Roedder John, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. In one of four experiments, John and a colleague approached 85 women in a mall, asked them to fill out a survey — embedded in which were questions about their self-perception — then gave the women one of two shopping bags to walk around with for an hour. One of the bags was from Victoria’s Secret. The women in that group reported to the researchers that they felt more sensual and glamorous simply for the carrying.