Aerie store associate Mercy was an #AerieREAL girl from day one. That’s why her managers at Aerie knew she had to join the team! Two years later, Mercy is one of the newest members of our fall bra campaign.
Read on to learn how Mercy went from storefront to photo studio in our latest bra photoshoot.
What made you want to join the Aerie family?
I applied to American Eagle the first month of college while I was looking for a job super last minute and AE just happened to be hiring! I honestly knew nothing about Aerie and very little about American Eagle but I still applied in hopes that I would get hired haha. Well I got hired into American Eagle and was selling jeans for like a month before one of the managers in Aerie was like “I want her. She needs to be an Aerie girl” and every shift I worked, they put me in Aerie for like two hours until eventually I was reporting straight to Aerie. Aerie family is a great way to describe the environment. The women I have worked with are all so supportive and loving and they genuinely care about you as a person not just as a co worker or employee. Two years later I have the best Aerie family. Some days I question if my job is real because I’m basically working with all my girlfriends! If someone told me about the #aerieREAL message, the work environment and that I would be surrounded by strong confident women, I would have applied to Aerie directly and I would have done it sooner.
What can Aerie girls expect when they visit an Aerie store for a bra fitting?
The biggest thing Aerie girls can expect when they come in for a bra fitting is support from the team. A lot of the time that I’m fitting someone for that perfect bra, I like to get input from other bra experts on what to recommend and how to problem solve. To the Aerie girl, it’s a one on one experience with a well trained bra expert but behind the scenes there’s like three other girls recommending styles they like and fit alternatives. Although we are all well qualified to individually fit our girls, we all try to ensure the girls leave confident and comfortable! A lot of the time we’re recommending styles, it’s not always for sale purposes but to make sure our girls are leaving happy and comfortable. My favorite days are when I get to put a customer in a completely different size than what they have known because I know it made their day.
What is your favorite bra from the new collections? Why?
Do I have to choose? Real Me lightly lined will forever have a place in my heart. I own 4 now and two are the same exact shade! I call it the bra for people who don’t wear bras but sometimes have to. It’s so comfortable and light that I can wear it all day without ripping it off as soon as I get home. Another unique feature that Real Me has and I love is the nude shades that match a range of skin tones. thats pretty neat 😉
What makes you #AerieREAL?
My go to response would be my level of confidence that has gradually increased through the years but I feel that there are other things that make me more real. Defying society’s expectations of me and how I should behave, speak and react are things that I believe make me the most #aerieREAL. I see myself as unique and someone who can’t be put in a box.
Feelings change. Bodies change. We’re changing with you. Finding a bra you love should be empowering. That’s why we’ve created a new bra fitting experience. We spoke with the Lead of Store Operations, Christina Daniels, about the experience. Read on to see why you should head to your local Aerie store for a free bra fitting from one of our BFF’s (Best Fit Finders).
Tell us about the new bra fitting experience in store! What makes it different from anything Aerie girls have experienced before?
I think one of the problems is the stereotype behind bra fittings. We did A TON of research as a brand and our girl was saying it was overwhelming, she felt super critical of her body, she was anxious and overall it was just unpleasant. But when you have a good, comfortable bra (and an awesome bra fitting experience)- you feel Ah-mazing and that is what we want for every girl. And I worked in stores too- there is seriously no better feeling than changing a woman’s confidence by just helping her with a bra. It is one of the reasons I’ve been with the brand for so long!
Our new BFF (Best Fit Finder) measuring technique is so quick & easy! Tell us more.
I am SO EXCITED for this tape. Usually you see associates kind of fumbling and trying to do quick math with the measuring tape (which I am seriously terrible at so I feel their pain), but those days are gone. This tape tells you EXACTLY what your band size is and what your cup size is –no math required. It also tells you your sister size, which is a game changer. For those that don’t know what a sister size is, it is a comparable bra size to the one you measured. It holds the same amount of breast tissue but the band size differs. So sometimes girls find a better fit with their sister size, but this info is also good to know if your measured size in your fave color is sold out and feel like your heart can’t go on without it, in which case, again, I can relate.
When you say “BFF” you probably think of someone supportive, honest, fun and understanding. So our Aerie BFFs, or Best Fit Finders, are exactly that. They are the best of the best in our stores (I clearly like the word “best”). These are our associates that have a ton of experience and are truly the bra fitting pros. They know all of the in’s and out’s of our collection, fitting and troubleshooting. So if you are in store looking for a fitting- look for the girls with “BFF” on their name badge + booty bag (our new fanny packs)!
How is the #AerieREAL love being shared by our BFFs throughout the bra fitting experience? (ie. body project training)
This new experience is quick and easy, but our goal is to have you leave feeling more confident and more beautiful than when you walked in. We know shopping for intimates is a super vulnerable experience- and we’ve all been there. So we’ve armed our associates with some tools to help make you feel good. We’ve trained associates to take the focus off of the number and size and just focus on how she feels. Sometimes your bra is the first thing you want to take off, but that shouldn’t be the case! At the end of the day- we want her to feel good and more importantly, feel comfortable. We’ve also given associates training on what to do if they are hearing customers feeling insecure and how associates can combat it. Working in stores, you have women whose bodies have changed, they gained or lost weight, just had a baby or have just gone through puberty- associates need to be comfortable handling all of that and the emotions that come along with it. We’ve also amped up the information we’ve given associates on our bra collection so they can truly help find you the right bra to make you feel good.
What would you say to someone who is nervous about coming into our store to get a bra fitting for the first time?
“Just do it”- Nike, but also…me. Bra Fittings are more fun and easy than what you probably have pictured in your head. A fitting is truly key to finding your best most comfortable size and style. Plus our Aerie associates are seriously so amazing. I have been in a ton of stores these past few months working on this new training program and it astounds me how passionate each and every associate is. They are going to find you a bra you’ll love and have you walking out feelin’ like Beyonce. So seriously, just do it.
Feel good inside and out.
Evie is a history student at the University of Toronto, an active member of the type one diabetes community, and she just so happens to be fearless wearing a bra in front of a camera! Read on for more of her story and why she wanted to join our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot.
What made you want to join this #AerieREAL bra photoshoot?
Aerie has been my favourite store for many years. I started out with wearing their clothes, and then ended up loving their message. I often looked at their photos in store and on social media, wondering if I could ever be a part of their movement, but at first I thought my Type One Diabetes would somehow disqualify me. After all, I had never seen anyone like myself represented before. I had faith, however, that if any store could change this, it would be Aerie! When I saw the contest opportunity on their Instagram, I decided to take a chance and apply. I hoped that I would be given the opportunity to not only make my dream come true, but to represent all Type One diabetics and give them a voice.
You’re on our site rocking a bra and an insulin pump, and people everywhere (us included!) are so inspired by you. How does it feel to represent the diabetic community?
It has been absolutely surreal! When I was diagnosed, one of the first things I noticed was how incredibly supportive the Type One community is. From the very beginning I have been an active member of this community, and I am forever grateful for the lessons, friends and opportunities it has given me. It feels amazing to be giving back, and be representing Type Ones within the #AerieREAL movement. I’ve heard from countless individuals saying how this campaign is the first time they’ve seen themselves represented in the media. I have received messages from tweens, teens, adults, and parents of young children. Many individuals have even sent me photos wearing their Continuous Glucose Monitors [CGM] or insulin pumps visibly for the first time. My hope is that one day soon it won’t be a single campaign representing the community, but Type One representation will be so normalized that we’ll see devices worn confidently, and blood sugar checks done proudly everywhere… until there’s a cure!!
Have you seen representation of people with diabetes in the media before? How has it (or the lack of it) affected you?
The only time I see Type One representation in the media is when I’m actively looking for it. That’s why the type one community is so important, because it provides us with examples of individuals thriving and proudly living with Type One Diabetes. Without these, there really isn’t representation within “mainstream” media. There is a narrative of general “diabetes” within advertising, which leads to many misunderstandings about the differences between Type One and Type Two diabetes. Because of this incomplete narrative I have received many rude or ignorant comments about my personal health. I have been subjected to comments from both my peers and strangers, ranging from my eating habits to their reasons for my diagnosis, and even my body type. This was not easy to deal with as a 12 year old girl already struggling with self-confidence and body positivity. This is why representation of Type One Diabetes is so important, because it can educate people and help breakdown harmful misconceptions. I know that this campaign would have meant the world to a me at 12 years old, and I hope that it will mean just as much to everyone else.
Tell us about your experience on the shoot!
The shoot was absolutely incredible! One of the most empowering, exciting and fulfilling days of my life! Every single person on set genuinely believes in Aerie’s message. Their first priority was making sure all the models felt comfortable and safe. Wearing just a bra and underwear can be intimidating, especially with flashing lights and cameras pointed at you. This being said, I never felt anything other than comfortable and was surprised how natural it all felt. As someone with Type One diabetes, Aerie made sure there was always food in case I went low, and were all eager to learn more about how my devices worked. I arrived beyond excited yet very nervous, and by the end of the day, left feeling like I had a new family.
What makes you #AerieREAL?
I’m not perfect, far from it, but I’m trying my best! I’m real about this, and I want people to know it! When it comes to my Type One Diabetes, I don’t want to pretend that it’s not difficult. Growing up I was always a perfectionist, but type one has helped teach me that there is no such thing as “perfect”. Having a chronic illness means learning to accept both the highs and the lows, and being content with knowing you’re trying your best. I wear my insulin pump and CGM proudly, because without it I can’t grow, mature and live the life I want to.
Not only does Sarah Ribble design Aerie bras, she rocked them in our latest #AerieREAL photoshoot! Find out why Sarah wanted to join the shoot and how #AerieREAL has influenced her work here at Aerie.
I wanted to show that Aerie bras are made by real women for real women! In the design office, we talk a lot about body positivity and how to make our customers feel empowered, but I experience self-doubt and insecurity as much as the next person. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about this photoshoot. I don’t make a habit of dancing around in my underwear in front of cameras! But I had such an amazing time and everyone on set was so encouraging and uplifting. I hope that by participating in this campaign I’ll inspire other women to love and appreciate their bodies as much as I’ve come to love and appreciate my own.
Has #AerieREAL influenced your bra designs?
Absolutely! #AerieREAL is all about comfort! There’s nothing worse than an uncomfortable bra. We’ve all experienced a too-tight band, a pokey underwire, or a strap that digs in. At Aerie, we design bras that our customers will love to wear! For example, the idea behind our Real Me bra collection was that the bras should feel “painted on” – almost like a second skin. Every time I design a bra I ask myself, “Is it comfortable? Is it functional? Is it beautiful?” An Aerie bra has to be all three!
What is your favorite bra from the new collections?
My favorite bra is the Real Sunnie Lightly Lined Wireless. It’s such an effortless style!
How does that bra make you feel?
The Real Sunnie Lightly Lined Wireless bra makes me feel so confident! I truly love this bra ❤ It supports me all day, but I honestly forget that I’m wearing it – it’s so comfy!
What makes you #AerieREAL?
I think #AerieREAL means loving the things about yourself that other people might not. Loving and proudly displaying anything that “society” tells us to be ashamed of. For me, that means freckles, cellulite, stretch marks, etc. These things are a part of who we are and we should embrace them whole-heartedly. Loving your imperfections… That’s #AerieREAL.
We asked: Want to wear bras that make you feel real good? You said: YES!
Our newest #AerieREAL faces came from all across the country (and Canada!) for a bra photoshoot unlike any we’ve ever done. Over 10 days of shooting, 10 groups of women came together to shine and share their stories.
“Everywhere you have women just, it seems, tearing each other down. But this whole experience has been nothing but positive and encouraging. We can celebrate things about each other that we love and admire.” –Anna
“#AerieREAL is more of a mindset than anything. It’s feeling comfortable in your own skin and realizing that your flaws aren’t really negative things. They’re things that make you special, they’re things that make you an individual. #AerieREAL is just that mindset, just radiating through.” –Rachel (feeling real good with her sister Shannon!)
Photographers Andrew and Alex shot each woman in multiple outfits and most importantly… bras that they feel real good in.
“For me, #AerieREAL is just completely loving yourself and finally being able to accept who you really are. Because your body loves you. And every cell in your body is working to take care of you every single day, so you need to love it back. Everything that you are, all your stretch marks, all your scars, are there for a reason.” –Grace
This photoshoot wasn’t just about the images— each person had so much #AerieREAL love to share. Every group did their own Real Talk, sharing their advice for other women, what the experience of the shoot was like, their thoughts on change and so much more. Stay tuned for our Real Talk series on Instagram.
Pretty soon, it was all filled up with LOTS of #AerieREAL inspo.
You can see all of these amazing women at Aerie.com and in stores now! We’ll be sharing lots from our photoshoot all month long.