Considering how many new etailers and trendy boutiques seem to crop up by the minute, it's easy to forget the brands you simply had to have ten years ago — or even one year ago. Retail is a constantly changing industry, and as soon as you've formed an abiding love for your Juicy Couture tracksuit or flower-printed Limited Too t-shirt, the stores are suddenly closing down for good.
It makes perfect sense that the most revered brands of the '90s and early aughts aren't feasible for today's consumers; after all, honest-to-goodness grunge went out the window some time ago and wearing synthetic metallic materials outside of a club atmosphere was a trend destined to fail eventually. However, there are a handful of adored, now-defunct brands which are so reminiscent of childhood, middle school, or those terribly awkward teenage years that thinking of them still makes you want to run to the mall and snap up $20 chunky slides or futuristic earrings. Here are six beloved retailers no one expected to shut down, and why consumers fell in love with them in the first place.
1. C. Wonder
From a business standpoint, C. Wonder's shuttering was not entirely unexpected. The brightly hued and heavily patterned wares sold in the store's multiple locations were simply not enough to keep the store afloat, and after several years of rapid expansion, the Chris Burch-owned company burst. Despite C. Wonder's fairly significant resemblance to the patterns and motifs utilized by Burch's ex-spouse Tory, I plead guilty to adoring the preppy plates, golden statement necklaces, and oh-so-cozy slippers the brand offered.
2. Juicy Couture
Despite closing all of its United States stores in June of 2014, Juicy Couture may be 2015's biggest brand resurrection. The brand's coveted terrycloth tracksuits in an array of cotton candy hues and printed tee's were all anyone could talk about in the early aughts; indeed, the style even appeared on the trend-setting soap The OC. However, at some point in the brand's decade-long run, consumers remembered that stepping into public in your sweatpants isn't actually acceptable at all — unless of course they're made of silk and worn with stilettos. After being sold to Authentic Brands, the company underwent a serious round of analytics, which may result in a crop of more streamlined, urbane stores entitled "The World Of Juicy." As long as the stores keep terrycloth to a minimum, Juicy has my full support.
If you count yourself a millennial and have no recollection of Delia's sprees, you missed a significant phase of your tweenage years. In addition to selling mid-'90s and early aughts staples including slit maxi skirts and bell bottom jeans, Delia's also issued its loyal fan base much-anticipated catalogues. Better yet, the brand's models actually smiled. After a 21-year run, the brand's formerly devoted teenage patron base doesn't relate to the brand in the present day. However, there will never be a brand with quite the same selection of hair clips, printed tanks, and funky eyewear.
4. Kate Spade Saturday
Though Kate Spade aficionados will be delighted to learn that the much-adored midcentury-inspired company is still alive and well, its subsidiary and more affordable divergent brand Kate Spade Saturday is taking a bow. Considering the brand's economical price point and considerable investment in retail locations and pop-ups, Kate Spade Saturday's store closures are not entirely mystifying. However, Saturday's quirky basics for a song and punchy neon pattern-infused store designs will be much missed.
5. Limited Too
In the '90s, there wasn't a denim jacket design or glitter-infused shower gel you couldn't snap up at Limited Too. Peace signs abounded on neon t-shirts, tankinis and perfectly paired flip flops asked to be purchased as a set, and the plush pajamas were beyond words. However, in 2008 Limited Too was overtaken by the more reasonably priced Justice brand. With all due respect to Justice, I would choose Limited Too's shimmering lotion, a charm necklace, and a pair of butterfly clips over bland basics any day.
No early aughts store was quite as tantalizing as the deliciously kooky Zutopia. Targeted to "Generation Z", Utopia's '70s-infused designs were a groovy synthesis of the past and future. A simple v-neck t-shirt wasn't Zutopia-appropriate without a dash of metallic embroidery at the sleeve and a tie-dyed print, and pajamas were emblazoned with cartoons, scribbles, and doodles. However, nothing was quite so thrilling as Zutopia's carrier bags and packaging, which included bubbled metallic envelopes and sunburst-design plastic bags. The Wet Seal-owned store flailed for several years before announcing its exit in 2004, but not without breaking the hearts of a million millennial girls.