Announced today: The Limited is closing all its 250 stores, laying off 4,000 people and abruptly sealing the vault on my ’80s-’90s fashion lusts. When The Limited opened in my local mall I suddenly felt hip, chic, with-it or whatever we called “being in fashion” at the time. The clothes were aspirational but affordable, stylish but not silly. The Limited began in 1963 in Columbus, Ohio, as a single store in a shopping center. It was named The Limited because it specialized in a limited amount of merchandise that turned over quickly. Founded by Leslie Wexner, the stores grew rapidly. Wexner then purchased Victoria’s Secret in 1982, followed by Lane Bryant, Lerner Stores, Abercrombie & Fitch, Henri Bendel, and Bath & Body Works. Wexner started Express, for younger women and men, and Limited Too as a much younger version. He turned Abercrombie & Fitch, once an upper-crust sporting goods and related haberdashery, into teeny bopper heaven and drained Henri Bendel of its sophisticated quirkiness.
But he was a huge success, the stores becoming fixtures in the retail firmament. Eventually Wexner sold off or consolidated many of the brands. The Limited itself was sold in 2007 and continued to limp along under new ownership. I only noticed my store was closed last week when I ran through the mall to check out the Zara sale. I just never thought they would all be gone. It’s not been given credit, but The Limited was an early example of fast fashion. The stores were fairly small with a finite selection of clothing, often within a theme of color or style. There would be a few accessories— belts, scarves, handbags, jewelry— to complement the clothing. You could never find an extensive range of anything (not a plethora of winter coats for example). The merchandise had a bit of a young French feel. Think Jean Seberg in Breathless. I remember once buying a brown tweed suit with a faux fur collar.
I thought it tres jeune fille. It was hot as hell to wear in the office, but I stubbornly did for a season or two. In recent years I would walk into the stores, go a few feet, sense too much polyester in the air, turn around and leave. They “lost it” so very long ago. There are a few other stores on life support. I hear Chico’s and Talbot’s are limping along. I think they’ve said that about Talbot’s for years. The Taylors are suffering, both Ann and her Loft. I always wonder how The Gap can still be in business, but I love Old Navy. Go figure. J Crew and Banana Republic may not hold the fascination they once did. Shopping in general has left me feeling a bit “meh” these days. But you surely know this yourself. All it takes is one lovely thing to catch your eye, and the (shopping) world looks bright again, the future—well— unlimited.
The Dandy is a form of lifestyle to some and the clothing is part of that autocratic soul. The dandy was formed to not attract attention for his flamboyancy but known for his sense of style, which are simple, yet, well thought out (colour wise, placement of the shirt, play of mix and match,etc.). The dandy lives his way be it the rich or the romantic wanderer, the dandy is the well-dressed man who lives his own way of life and communicates sophistication, playfulness, and singularity. The overall form that creates the dandy is nostalgia. If one were to try to point out someone wearing something ‘dandy’, it is always referential to the past. In Post Modern Society, and specifically fashion, everything is being a mixed match giving different connotation all at the same time, which can be confusing. But in different forms, we can still identify the overall understanding of the ‘dandy’.