Jerrold and Ronnie Rosenbaum founded Body Central in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1972. For more than 40 years, the brand operated locations under the Body Central and Body Shop monikers. Under the control of the Rosenbaums, the business flourished and expanded rapidly--to the point where there were more than 250 stores in 28 states by 2013. In 2006, a controlling interest in the company was sold to a group of investors from WestView Capital Partners, L.P., and the owners took Body Central public in 2010. Solid stock performance in the first two years spurred continued growth, but the company hit its peak share price in May 2012.
Business took a downturn in 2013 and 2014, which led to the closing of several of Body Central's least profitable stores. Efforts to save the floundering company--which included bringing in two new CEOs--eventually failed, and Body Central officially declared bankruptcy in January 2015. Overzealous growth is typically blamed for the demise of Body Central, which had most of its stores in shopping malls and had trouble bringing in new business. Still, the brand's apparel continues to be known its high quality, and Body Central is popular via resale.
During the brand's heyday, Body Central particularly targeted teen and twentysomething women looking for the latest fashions at affordable prices. Tops included basic tees and camis, as well as fashion-forward blouses and tunics. Cardigans and sweaters were popular for cooler weather, while croptops and tanks could keep you cool during the summer months. In dresses, Body Central offered casual options for daywear, in addition to flashier, sexier dresses for a night on the town. Outerwear options melded function with fashion, and they included peacoats, vests, fleeces, denim jackets, and more.
Leggings, jeggings, and denim were among the most popular categories of bottoms. In jeans, you could find cuts like skinny, boot, high-waisted, and straight. Skirts (mini, midi, and maxi) and shorts were also available for warmer days. Lingerie was another major category for Body Central--including basics like bras and panties, as well as bustiers, corsets, teddies, and shapewear. The company also offered footwear under its two exclusive labels: Body Central and Lipstick. You could find a range of different styles, including pumps, sneakers, boots, booties, and more. To complete your outfit, you might also opt for one of the brand's accessories, such as handbags, wristlets, and belts. Jewelry options included necklaces, rings, bangles, bracelets, and chains.
While some companies go out of business because of mistakes made with their product lines, others simply encounter management troubles--and Body Central falls squarely into the latter category. As a result, you'll find that the brand's clothes are still high quality even though new designs haven't been offered for a few years. Luckily, most of Body Central's apparel is relatively timeless and won't go out of style any time soon. The brand offered more conservative and traditional outfits to appeal to some shoppers, in addition to clothes that put an emphasis on "sexiness" to target others. All things considered, we give Body Central 3.5 out of 5 stars.