Excuse me, Express?

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 a forgotten brand make a comeback?

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 Mini skirts were no longer applicable, yet a trendy workout top to wear to Equinox next week could reel me back in.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?”​