The Limited, a staple in American shopping malls and a go-to for workingwomen on the hunt for an affordable power suit, is at death’s door.
On Thursday, Racked reported that the Limited stores across the country — which have been around for more than half a century — are closing. Beginning as soon as Jan. 7, locations in Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, and elsewhere will close, according to reports from local media. Sun Capital Partners, the Limited’s parent company, did not respond to requests to comment on this article.
The news echoes the larger death knell heard around the country, as mall mainstays like Macy’s and Sears announced store closings of their own.
While the Limited is a victim of the shopping mall decline, Susan Scafidi, Fordham Law School professor and founder of the Fashion Law Institute, says stores that have a backbone in professional work wear for women have struggled in recent years (think: Ann Taylor.)
“Our work lives and home lives are blended now; we work around the clock from a computer and we don’t see professional wear as a separate category anymore.”
Still, Scafidi says not to write off pantsuits completely. If you’re stumped on where to find your professional Power Look, these seven retailers (some you’ll find at your local mall, others you’ll find online) are your best bet.
MM LaFleur, an online personal shopping service, isn’t for someone looking for a $50 blazer, but rather for those who want investment pieces.
Signing up for a “Bento Box” means one of the company’s personal stylists selects a handful of items for you based on responses you give that detail your style, body type, and budget. Once you receive the box in the mail, you can try the pieces on and decide which you like and which you’d like to send back, free of charge.
Most importantly, MM LaFleur isn’t a subscription service, so you don’t get sucked into the never-ending cycle of credit card charges you can’t be bothered to cancel. But if you want to retain control of your clothing choices, you can also shop for individual items (like the $240 wrap dress that had a 1,400-person wait list.)
If you live in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, or Dallas, you can order online or set up an in-person appointment.
It’s a smart, nearly effortless system — if you can afford it.
Price: Items range from $155 for accessories to upwards of $400 for a silk skirt
Modern Citizen’s aesthetic is minimalist chic, perfect for those who prefer neutrals to noise. According to founder Jess Lee, the company’s idea of a modern citizen is “probably a white-collar professional leading a really busy life, and her aesthetic tends to be more polished.
And polished professional doesn’t cost a ton at MC — a relaxed blazer costs less than $100.
If you live in the San Francisco area, you can visit a showroom or make an appointment. Otherwise, this retailer sells mainly online.
Price: Starting around $50, wrap sweater
Don’t give up on shopping malls just yet. For those looking for well-tailored, affordable office wear, Express remains a shopping mall staple that’s yet to go under and is probably the closest you’ll get to the Limited if your local store closes.
The retailer frequently runs its “Buy One Get One 50%” promotion on classic work button-ups and their Portofino blouses, starting around $45 and easily paired with work slacks or jeans.
What’s more, the shirts come in dozens of different prints and cuts, perfect for when you’re looking for a bold splash of color or eye-popping print to contrast with your neutral-hued coworkers.
Price: Suit pants start around $70
While adding J.Crew to a list of workplace-friendly retailers isn’t novel, it is important to give the brand a look-see if you haven’t lately: The retailer is suffering and has slashed prices on its website and in stores to make up for a sales slump.
A $168 standout red corduroy blazer is listed for $99, with an additional 40 percent off offered, making it roughly $60 before tax or shipping if you’re ordering online.
But tread with caution: Buying a J.Crew jacket puts you at risk of becoming accidental twins with your coworker. Instead, take a look at the retailer’s accessories to punch up your work look.
Not every workingwoman wants a pantsuit, we get it. But if you want luxury that never ages, consider a DVF wrap dress to add a bit of iconography to your closet.
The wrap dress can be styled for day or night and comes in myriad styles and prints. Before you balk at the price, remember that these never go out of style (they’ve been around since 1974, after all).
FWIW, DVF’s got great tailored pants and blazers too.
Price: Starting around $360 and ranging to nearly $600
Shopping at a department store comes with a certain ease of being able to sift through dozens of retailers at one site. Nordstrom’s work-wear section offers just that, for both affordable and luxury brands.
Other great work-wear brands Nordstrom carries: Theory, Elie Tahari, 3.1 Phillip Lim
For a brand whose name means “money” in French, this online collective’s right on it when it comes to fashionable work wear. The catch is you’ll have to spend a bit of it to buy in.
Items are for sale online only, but if you’ve been browsing for hours and still lack inspo, hop over to Argent’s curated Pinterest boards for everything from casual to ultra professional looks.
Argent’s pieces tend to be trendier — and not fast-fashion Zara cheap. A gray-plaid blazer is $378; paired with the matching trousers, the outfit will cost you just under $630. The twist? The trousers and blazer are both reversible, so you’re really getting two suits for the price of one, albeit one that’s pretty expensive.
Price: Tops start at $52-$148