Whatever Happened To Limited Too?

What’s filled with sparkles, overpriced, and now considered majorly cheugy? That’s right, Limited Too. Let’s dive into what exactly happened to this popular early 2000s girls' clothing brand.

By Caitlin Shaw3 min read
The Limited Too

If you were lucky enough to be alive (or arguably unlucky if you were a mother at the time) during the early 2000s when Limited Too was popular, this article is for you. You may remember the thrill that surged through you when your mother said she’d take you to Limited Too – a time so special that every second needed to be cherished. But if you’re here and you have never heard of this brand, allow me to paint you a picture.

When you walked through the glass doors of a Limited Too store, also commonly referred to as LT2, you instantly had thousands of stimuli to take in – so many that your eyes may even have had a difficult time choosing where to focus. Everything from glitter, neon colors, animal prints, tie-dye, sparkles, patterns, and more could be found at LT2, and not just clothing. This place was like Claire’s if Claire’s had clothes – but better. Limited Too, described as “the epitome of ‘elementary school cool,’” was also known to have some of the best accessories and personal care products of its time. If you’ve ever walked into an Abercrombie Kids and smelled that infamous overwhelming scent of cologne, a visit to LT2 rivals it in terms of sensory overload.

Brand History

Limited Too was founded in the late 1980s by a parent company called Tween Brands as a children’s line spinoff of the adult clothing store The Limited. Its most popular years spread from 2000 to 2008, and at its peak, the franchise was home to about 600 LT2 stores. Around 2004, Tween Brands launched a sister brand, Justice: Just For Girls, a store that targeted the same tween girl demographic but at a slightly lower price point. Justice ended up gaining more popularity in the mid-2000s, which likely came at the cost of Limited Too’s tanking success. Around this time, Tween Brands converted all previous Limited Too stores into Justice in an attempt to salvage one of their brands.

In 2009, Justice was bought by a new parent company called Bluestar Alliance and managed to stay afloat for another 11 years. At the start of the pandemic, however, Justice had to file for bankruptcy. But don’t think for a minute that LT2 and Justice apparel are gone forever. Today, the brands are sold at vendors like Walmart, Amazon, JCPenny, and more.

The Rise and Fall of Limited Too

Limited Too was a recognizable name, a thriving business, and a status symbol for tween girls by the mid-late ‘90s, just a few years after it was established. But as we know now, its success was not sustained. The most likely reason for the downfall of Limited Too was its poor consumer marketing tactics. The store’s price point and target demographic – pre-teen girls – did not align, and mothers were not interested in paying LT2 prices for trendy clothes that their daughter would either outgrow or want to get rid of the next season. 

Another possible explanation for its demise could be that the tween store was associated with the adult store known as The Limited, which began to tank in the early 2000s. Since the two were so tightly associated, the closure of the original store likely had an effect on the spinoff, LT2.

Finally, Limited Too was also known to use vanity sizing, or size inflation. This means that a size 12 everywhere else would be a size 16 at Limited Too. Obviously, this has a damaging effect on a young girl's relationship with her body. As a parent, one of the last things you want to expose your fragile middle school daughter to is body image issues. This age group of girls already faces a multitude of growing pains when it comes to friends, identity, and their changing bodies, so to pile on another challenge is unneeded stress. Size inflation, in addition to the other reasons discussed, played a critical role in causing mothers to dislike Limited Too and ultimately motivate them to take their daughters shopping elsewhere. 

2024 Redemption?

Remember when we swore off bedazzled hats and cargo pants? It seems like early 2000s trends are making a comeback, which may give LT2 a chance to reclaim its spot on the fashion stage. Everything from glitter and parachute pants to bright colors and faux fur have been seen in 2023 New York Fashion Week looks, specifically Cynthia Rowley’s. In a less Limited Too-specific manner, many other staple items from the early 2000s have popped up recently in the fashion world – flared pants, low rise jeans, platform shoes, popcorn shirts, and more. It’s possible that the millennials who grew up with these adored trends are nostalgic for a simpler time. Although the average millennial isn't going to fit into Limited Too items as they are still made specifically for children, it's possible that the nostalgia will be strong enough to urge them to seek out the brand to dress their own kids. Limited Too items can still be found in select stores, and their social media is still active (although largely ignored), which shows they’re attempting to remain relevant. Who knows? The return of early 2000s fashion may just be the perfect storm to bring them out of retirement.  

Key Lessons

Whenever brands experience rapid growth and an even more rapid demise, a lot can be learned from a business perspective. Limited Too serves as a great case study into targeting the wrong demographic. Part of their downfall was catering too much to adolescent girls and not enough to parents. Since their target consumer, a pre-teen girl, is not able to spend her own money, drive herself to go shopping, or really make any financial decisions without her parents’ approval, LT2 needed to appeal to mothers in addition to their daughters. 

Instead, most mothers felt that the store was too expensive for the lower-quality product that was received. Parent company Tween Brands decided to pivot and convert Limited Too locations into Justice stores “to capitalize on the tremendous success of Justice and the changing trends in our economy and our customers’ preferences,” according to then CEO Mike Rayden in 2008. While both Justice’s and LT2’s styles were similar in nature, Justice was sold at a much more affordable price point, making both mothers and daughters happy. This is likely the reason why Justice had more lasting success than Limited Too. 

Closing Thoughts

While Limited Too seemingly disappeared into thin air, in reality, it was the overpriced product coupled with its failed consumer marketing that sent this beloved early 2000s brand into a downward spiral. They also showed how out of touch they were with not only their target consumer, but also societal trends in general, by employing vanity sizing – hence why the decision to establish Justice and phase out LT2 was a wise one. If you miss glitter, zebra print, and faux fur, you could be in luck because trends have a way of returning, and it’s looking like some of the LT2 staples are making their way back into fashion. 

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