Style

15 Cool Clothing Stores Every ’90s Mallrat Misses

RIP beautiful parachute pants.

1. Merry Go Round

What they sold: Z. Cavarrici’s, B.U.M. Equipment, Skidz, Cross Colors, matching sets, vests.

Who shopped there: The most popular kids at your high school.

What happened to it: The chain shut down in 1996.

2. Multiples

 

What they sold: Stretchy, nondescript cotton pieces you could pair with one another — the pre-cursor to American Apparel’s basics.

Who wore it: New wave fans, moms, the lazy.

What happened to it: The stores went out of business in the mid-’90s.

3. Contempo Casuals

 

What they sold: On trend clothes for teens.

Who wore it: Cher and Dionne in Clueless. Teenage girls who wished they were Cher and Dionne in Clueless.

What happened to it: in 2001, it was purchased by Wet Seal, and the struggling chain was converted into Wet Seals and Arden B.’s

4. Gadzooks

What they sold: Mallternative apparel for dudes and ladies.

Who wore it: Korn fans, Collective Soul fans, Smashing Pumpkin fans. Girls who wore JNCOs.

What happened to it: Forever 21 purchased the chain in 2005 and turned its remaining shops into F21s.

5. 5•7•9

What they sold: Stuff in small sizes, including negative, sizes like -2 (how that works, who knows?)

Who wore it: Short and petite women who could squeeze into the mini-proportioned clothes.

What happened to it: Technically there is still one or two 5•7•9s around (there is apparently one at the Sunrise Mall in Massapequa, New York), but they are practically extinct.

6. Limited Too

What they sold: Clothes for baby Limited shoppers-in-training.

Who wore it: Cool tweens who’d begged their moms to spend an inordinate amount of money on trendy tween clothes.

What happened to it: Limited Too couldn’t compete against more affordable lines. In 2008, around 600 Limited Toos were converted into lower-priced Justice retail shops.

7. Chess King

What they sold: Gear for cool dudes. Striped button downs, chinos, and trench coats.

Who shopped there: The aforementioned cool dudes, hip construction workers, fake sexy Santa Clauses, and, apparently, Julian Lennon.

What happened to it: The chain went out of business in 1995.

8. Mervyn’s

What they sold: Everything. Mervyn’s was a catch-all department store.

Who shopped there: Your mom. And you, when your mom dragged you there with her.

What happened to it: The company went bankrupt in 2008, and Kohl’s and Forever 21 jointly bid on and took over the company’s remaining 46 stores.

9. Wild Pair

What they sold: Shoes, specifically of the WILD variety. Crazy high heels, rocker chick stilettos, and intensely sexy party girl shoes.

Who shopped there: Your tough older sister. Newly single moms. Suburban ladies out for a night on the town.

What happened to it: It still exists (YAY!) but only in New Zealand (BOO).

10. Thom McAn

 

What they sold: Sensible shoes your mom approved of.

Who shopped there: Kids preparing to head back to school. Moms looking for a deal.

What happened to it: The last Thom McAn closed in 1992, but you can still buy the shoes in Walmarts and Sears stores.

11. County Seat

 

What they sold: Knits, so many knits. And mostly in bright faux Aztec patterns. Also, shorts that teachers would wear during summer break. What? Teachers need off-duty clothes.

Who shopped there: Teachers, preternaturally mature tweens, Southwest fetishists.

What happened to it: The chain filed for bankruptcy in 1999.

12. Structure

What they sold: Bro clothes for the modern ’90s guy. The guy counterpart to the lady brand Express.

Who shopped there: Cool guys. Cool dads. Guys with GTOs.

What happened to it: Express sold Structure to Sears in 2003. You can still find a shadow version of its former self in some Sears stores.

13. Miller’s Outpost

 

What they sold: The latest fashions. Lots of denim. Graphic tees.

Who shopped there: Frat guys and their dads. Those guys’ girlfriends.

What happened to it: In the late ’90s they changed their name to Anchor Blue, but that couldn’t save it from bankruptcy. The company filed for Chapter 11 in 2009. You can still buy Anchor Blues fragrance’s online, though.

14. Casual Corner

 

What they sold: “Fancy” mall clothes for moms.

Who shopped there: Moms who had a special event to go to.

What happened to it: Casual Corner’s parent company (which also happens to own Petite Sophisticate, FYI) sold off its stores to a liquidator in 2005.

15. Kinney Shoes

 

What they sold: Shoes. So many shoes!

Who shopped there: Errrrrrybody.

What happened to it: In 1998, Kinney’s parent company decided to close the flailing retailer.

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