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Excuse Me, Express?

January 26, 2016

Over the past few weeks it’s been difficult to ignore the fact that a certain retailer, which hasn’t been a major player in my wardrobe game since c. 2001, has pushed itself to the forefront of my social media accounts. Guess who?

Instagram and Facebooks ads, Vogue Daily and Who What Wear articles have been serving up a slew of content from the forgotten brand, Express. It was actually a Vogue Daily article featuring the beloved Gigi and Kendall wearing matching Express Sherpa jackets that caused me to elevate this situation to straight talk with another fashion-forward co-worker of mine. How in the world is Express carrying the new “it” jacket, why is it only $60 and most importantly, since when is Express relevant again? It seems I wasn’t the only one of my girlfriends who had noticed the large amounts of marketing dollars Express had been spending. After the initial shock, I began to wonder…


Can Express really shed its slightly cringe-worthy reputation of $9.99 clearance bins and knock-off body-con dresses?

While the Sherpa jacket led me down this rabbit hole, it was the new “athleisure” line Express was promoting that made me actually throw a few pieces into my online shopping cart. “EXP Core” is the retailer’s new performance line where, “fashion meets fitness.” While the tagline lacked originality, I was willing to look past it due to the cute Lululemon-esque tops they had to offer, and in true Express form, a “BOGO 50%” deal attached to each one. After a week of regaining interest and scouring potential gym outfits online, I ended up purchasing two workout tops. One—because I thought they were cute, two—because of the BOGO (I’m a bargain hunter at heart). Whether or not Express is truly making a comeback has yet to be seen, but I definitely found myself feeling just a little nostalgic for those high school days roaming the mall and wandering into Express in search of a new top for the high school dance. Express may not be making a move to position themselves outside of mass, but they are rethinking what an elevated mass retail offering can evolve to be, and they definitely knew how to bring back a previous customer. It was as if they knew I had grown up. Mini skirts were no longer applicable, yet a trendy workout top to wear to Equinox next week could reel me back in. It made me wonder: maybe a few write-ups in my favorite fashion sites and a 50% discount really can do the trick. That said, I think it will take a sustained effort from the brand for more millennials like myself to put Express in their active-wear or fashion consideration set. How do I know Express still has a long way to go to relevance? When another girl at the gym asked where my new top was from and I told her she responded, not surprisingly, “Excuse me, Express?”

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