The Real You is Sexy: aerie Stops Retouching Lingerie Models

    aerie, the lingerie division of American Eagle, is taking a step in the right direction towards slashing the idealized definition of beauty.

    The brand, whose target demographic covers young teens to college women, is taking an oath to stop retouching their models in ads and in-store displays. They’re letting everything hang out— boobs, tattoos, bellies and butts— and celebrating the variation, and beauty, of every girl’s body.


    Not only will we see a change in their campaign models, but also the online shopping experience. When browsing the different bra styles on their website, you will be able to see a different model for each cup size. So if you’re searching for a Double-D bra, you’ll see a girl who actually fills out a Double-D bra. I mean, how many times have you taken something into the fitting room only to be disappointed that it looks completely different on you than it did on the model? Now young women will be able to get a more realistic depiction of the fit.

    The Real You is Sexy: aerie Stops Retouching Lingerie Models

    aerie hopes that by taking the leap and leaving “reality” in their lingerie ads, young women can feel more comfortable in their own skin. It’s been proven that the depiction of beauty seen in media greatly affects the confidence of young women. The models are certainly more relatable than the impossibly flawless VS Angels, don’t you think?

    The Real You is Sexy: aerie Stops Retouching Lingerie Models

    Now, I hate to be the “yeah but…” person, but I really do wish aerie included ladies of different body types in their #aerieREAL campaign, like we saw last year in the Debenhams Look Book. We see slender, athletic, and busty girls in these photos but none with so much as a pooch for a belly. However, I extremely appreciate the effort they are displaying in eradicating impossible beauty standards that young women are held to… many of which are are caused by digitally transforming models into someone even the models themselves don’t look like.


    I truly hope that more US brands follow in aerie’s footsteps and start embracing the diversity that exists when it comes to bodies, and normalize them. I’ve always been a fan of American Eagle (they were the only “cool” brand of jeans that I could comfortably fit into when I was heavier) and this makes me want to support their company even more. I also hope that aerie follows through on their promise of not retouching their models throughout later campaigns once the hype dies down.

    Maybe one day, having a campaign like this will be normal. In the words of aerie, “There is no reason to retouch beauty. The real you is SEXY.”

    What do you think of the aerie campaign?


    Images courtesy of


    1. Thank you for sharing! There’s still a lot more to do in terms of media and “real” girls but this is definitely a start. I featured you in this article in my newest blog post. I hope you don’t mind. Have a great weekend!

      Mary (

    2. I was shocked to find out how much *everything* is photoshopped – this campaign is definitely a step in the right direction. I agree with you, though – more body types need to be represented!

    3. Good for them! It’s definitely a small step in the right direction…now if more companies follow suit, that would be great! Thanks for the great info Miranda!

    4. I think it’s a step in the right direction, though I’m not sure campaigns like this are really representative of “real” beauty – curvy models are still models after all, and tend to have certain types of facial features plus proportionate frames that not all of us have. Also, as Mai pointed out there’s not really a lot of ethnic diversity. But seeing more realistic body shapes is encouraging.

      • It’s very true. I feel like a lot of companies who do this type of ad (also Dove) choose to not stray TOO far from the path because they’re afraid of how it may affect sales since our society as a whole has to change before each person’s individual body is 100% accepted.

    5. I’m in that yeah…but category because there are not nearly enough women of color (as in much deeper skin tones) in the campaign at all. Everyone just looks like the same shade of beige and there’s not much other representation.

    6. Wow, this is amazing. I’m seeing more and more of this lately and even in magazines they’re using girls who aren’t stick thin. It’s about time!

    7. While I think this is great, I think we should remember that companies don’t do anything that they think will adversely affect their bottom line. Hopefully the more people support these campaigns, the more companies will do things of this nature.

    8. I think it is a tiny baby step in the right direction. Clearly the models are all very young, slender and fairly fit. I am not seeing any “plus sized” (don’t even get me started on that label) girls. But it is nice to see models who are not Photoshopped into oblivion. You see little bags under their eyes, natural little pooches in the tummies, folds where bodies bend and flex, tattoos, natural variations in skin tone, early fine lines and so on. I commend their efforts. I’d like to see them go further and I would love to see more and more companies follow in their footsteps.

    9. I think these women are beautiful even without retouching, and I commend aerie for making this change. Hopefully more companies will follow the lead.


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here