In 1980, The Limited, Inc. opened the first "Limited Express" store in Chicago. One location quickly grew to eight and the new venture became so popular that Express was spun off into a separate division of the company. In the first 10 years, Express reached $1 billion in sales. A successful men's line called Structure was eventually folded into the Express brand to create a dual-gender entity. The Limited, Inc. changed its name to Limited Brands and continued to retain control of Express until 2007, when it was sold to the San Francisco-based investment firm Golden Gate Capital.
After the new owners organized an IPO, Express went public in 2010. Traded on the stock exchange as EXPR, the company has continued to thrive, though Golden Gate Capital gave up its remaining interest. Today, the company is headquartered in Ohio and New York City, and it employs more than 20,000 people. With more than 600 locations across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, Express has carved out a unique niche for itself. The brand does about $1.8 billion in sales each year between its Express women's stores and its Express for Men locations.
The Express women's line offers a wide range of styles. Most of the brand's clothes could be considered upscale casualwear, though it also manufactures some garments that could be worn for more formal occasions. Tops include tees, tanks, camis, blouses, Portofino shirts, and more. Though many of these garments could be considered basic essentials, when made by other brands, Express approaches even everyday designs with a stylistic flair, and its fabrics and cuts always put fashion first. Sweatshirts, sweaters, and cardigans are available in a number of different patterns and styles.
Dresses can be worn casually or can make for the perfect outfit for a night out. Different styles include babydoll dresses, sheath dresses, trapeze dresses, sweater dresses, skater dresses, fit-and-flare dresses, and more. Jumpsuits and rompers go along with the dress selection and can be worn for a variety of occasions. Jeans are among the most popular garments featured by Express, and they are available in all the trendy cuts, including legging, boyfriend, skinny, boot cut, flare, and more. Other pants include trousers, chinos, editor pants, and leggings--many of which feature unique patterns and colors. Shorts and skirts round out the selection of standalone bottoms, but you'll also find full suits that include pants in addition to a blazer or vest. The Express line of activewear is known as Exp Core, and it includes popular options like running shorts, workout tanks, sports bras, and yoga pants. Finally, Express features plenty of shoes and accessories.
Considering its complicated history of changing ownership, Express has offered consistent apparel for more than three decades. Its clothes are certainly a step above regular casualwear (and they have higher price tags to prove it), but they manage to be relatable to many women. Whether you are looking for clothes to wear to school, work, a party, or a date, the brand has options for practically every occasion. Express is upfront about its company values, and it is committed to making a difference in the communities it serves. In addition to supporting the national charity Dress for Success, Express also provides grants to non-profit organizations across the country. The company adheres to strict sourcing and labor standards for all of its manufacturing and ensures that its clothes are made humanely. On the whole, we give Express 4.5 stars out of 5.