Top 10 Clothing Stores That Don't Exist Anymore



Top 10 Clothing Stores That Don't Exist Anymore

VOICE OVER: Samantha Clinch WRITTEN BY: Taryn Crankshaw
It's hard to believe these clothing stores don't exist anymore. For this list, we'll be looking at our favorite former retailers that sadly closed up shop. Our countdown includes Barneys New York, Mervyn's, The Limited, and more!

Top 10 Clothing Stores That Don't Exist Anymore

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Clothing Stores That Don’t Exist Anymore.

For this list, we’ll be looking at our favorite former retailers that sadly closed up shop.

Before we get started, let us know in the comments what store you’d like to see make a comeback.

#10: Barneys New York

A Manhattan staple, Barneys New York was a longstanding haven for fashion lovers. Selling major designer brands like Armani and Comme des Garcons, the luxury retailer opened in the roaring 1920s. What began as a low-budget men’s retailer by founder Barney Pressman turned into a landmark for locals and tourists. After decades of dressing New Yorkers, Barneys became known as another b-word: Bankrupted. 2019 saw the closure of the fashion hotspot as Saks Fifth Avenue acquired it. Although there are plans to reboot the brand in pop-up shops, Madison Avenue will never be the same.

#9: Filene's Department Store

A landmark of Boston, Massachusetts, Filene’s Department Store was a New England institution. Built in 1912, Filene’s flagship store was an impressive architectural feat. The building was designed by the iconic architect Daniel Burnham, who created famous Chicago and New York structures. After the original Filene’s massive success, the business expanded into Filene’s Basement, a discount version of its predecessor. Eventually, the historic and much-loved retailer was absorbed by its competitor Macy’s. However, the prominent building remains, thanks to the luck of the Irish brand, Primark, who currently resides there.

#8: Mervyn's

One time this chain was in the top 100 American retailers. Founded in 1949 in California, Mervyn’s was an affordable department store that sold everything from apparel to houseware. The convenience and selection made the franchise a favorite for families, and the one-stop-shop even occupied some space in malls. Operating nearly 200 locations by 2006, the retailer started to reduce its stores over the next few years. With the weight of declining sales on their shoulders, Mervyn’s eventually was forced to file for bankruptcy. There were plans to pivot the business online, but over a decade later, that idea still hasn’t come to be.

#7: Gadzooks

What started as a t-shirt business in the 1980's Texas grew to be an expansive franchise. Marketed towards teenagers, every Gadzooks store featured a Volkswagen Beetle and clothing as youthful as their customers. Selling to both male and female genders, the brand completely abandoned their male clients and shifted focus to women's fashions in 2003. To promote the change, the store launched a campaign that was deemed sexist thanks to slogans like "Stop Equality" plastered across their signage. The bad move was the start of the decline of Gadzooks. Eventually, they filed for Chapter 11 and, in a wicked twist of fate, was bought out by competitor Forever 21.

#6: The Limited

In the 90s and 2000s, there was no better place to find women's business casual attire than The Limited. Dress pants, blouses, and sweaters were the bread and butter of the company that even acquired other retail giants such as Victoria's Secret. However, like many stores of the era, The Limited fell victim to online retailers, failing to keep up with their digital competitors. In 2017, it was announced that the brand would be closing up all 250 locations. Today, the store continues to operate online, but it doesn't replace the feeling of finding your next great workplace outfit in person.

#5: Arden B

Born out of the Wet Seal empire, Arden B was a smaller but much-loved version of its parent company. Prioritizing contemporary designs, the store sold to shoppers seeking trendy and sophisticated looks at affordable prices. A decade after its launch, the retailer had 80 stores in malls across America. In 2014, clients' hearts were broken when it was announced Arden B was out of business. The plan was for Wet Seal to move into the soon-to-be-vacant storefronts, but as any mall fan knows, the retailer didn't have a happy ending either.

#4: Wet Seal

Spread across the United States and Puerto Rico, Wet Seal was once one of the hottest and most popular shops for teens and young adults. Known for its trendy styles, it was initially called Lorne’s from 1962-1990. Spinning off other stores like Arden B. and Blink, Seal was a retail empire. But like many empires before them, there was a collapse. Beginning to shut down a handful of stores in 2015, the company filed for bankruptcy. A victim of the retail apocalypse era, Wet Seal disappeared from every mall in 2017 and pivoted to a more fruitful online shop.

#3: Esprit

In 2020, the world was changed forever by COVID-19. The ongoing pandemic has seen the demise of countless businesses. Retailers were hit especially hard, and one of those victims was Esprit. Since its inception in 1960’s San Francisco, the fashion line has sold everything clothing, footwear, and accessories. After enjoying being a global manufacturer with locations in malls worldwide, Esprit began to close stores. But the business took its biggest hit in 2020 when it announced the closure of all its sites in Asia due to the severity of Coronavirus. Still operating online, the company is just one of many that have found solace in the digital realm.

#2: Limited Too

The younger sister to The Limited, Limited Too was a spinoff retailer that was a preteen’s dream come true. Stocked with everything youthful, vibrant, and sparkly, Too made for the perfect back-to-school shopping experience. However, much like its clientele, the retail industry eventually outgrew the brand, and by 2009 the Limited Too was no more. That same year the business announced that several of its stores would operate under the new name Justice. Although middle schools kept the company thriving for many years, Justice was also forced to close their storefronts in 2020.

#1: Delia’s

If you were a teen between 1993-2010, chances were Delia’s was a staple in your closet. The youth-based retailer was the quintessential back-to-school shopping location and earned a dedicated fanbase that kept the well-oiled machine running for years. Founded by Yale University grads, the business became known for its iconic catalog, which featured their expansive selection of products ranging from footwear to clothing to cosmetics. But like all good things, Delia’s reign had to come to an end. Closing all storefronts by 2015, the fashioner found a saving grace online. Currently running under the retailer Dolls Kill, the website continues to service a new generation of teens carrying on the Delia legacy.