Outback Red vs. Forenza – Battle of The Limited’s Brands

Ahhh, back to school shopping in the 80s. I can just picture myself breezing in and out of some of my favorite mall stores – Rave, Limited Express, and Contempo Casuals among them.

But one of my favorites stores to hit on the most important shopping trip of the year was The Limited. Why? The Limited carried great clothes, scarves, jeans, jewelry, watches, hats, and two of my favorite brands ever: Forenza and Outback Red.

2 popular, trendy brands + 1 mall storefront = teenage girl shopping heaven.

And these two brands, sold in the same store, could not be more different. Were you a Forenza girl, an Outback Red girl or like me, a little bit of both?


When I think of Forenza, the first things that come to mind are those chunky cable-knit roll-neck and v-neck sweaters they sold in every color of the rainbow. I wore my favorite pink one for my senior photo:

Forenza chunky cable-knit roll-neck sweater   Forenza v-neck sweater

Up-close view of the Forenza v-neck sweater

The v-neck version of this sweater was a power player in the spring of 1985. Everyone had one; most people had several. As you can see in the picture, the v-neck was very deep so they required an undershirt. At my school, we wore tank tops under then in a complementary color. For example, I had a hot pink one like in the picture. I wore a baby pink tank top under it. The other totally rad thing we did was wear it backwards (but only sometimes) so that the deep v went down your back. Bitchin’.

Here’s a great shot of this ubiquitous sweater in action from a 1986 yearbook.  It’s best to appreciate this 80s fashion trend in its natural context, complete with the layered hair and the school bus.

Forenza v-neck sweater from 1986 - 80s fashion trend

I also think of a knee length skirt I had that had built in crinoline underneath – it was one of the coolest skirts ever and the closest I ever got to feeling like Cyndi Lauper. Forenza was a cool brand, a funky brand that did fun stuff – like flowery jeans and flowery cropped shirts with matching pants.

Forenza flowery crop top with matching pants

Outback Red

More sophisticated, more worldly, more preppy – welcome to the world of Outback Red. If you were a fan of the early Banana Republic brand or had an upcoming safari planned, Outback Red was for you.

Outback Red high waist pants  Outback Red jacket  Outback Red long skirt

Lots of khaki, lots of high-waisted chinos, looong skirts, and lots of mock turtlenecks – very “Crocodile Dundee”-chic. I had a dress very similar to this one, the classic shirtdress with the buttons down the front; I wore it with a giant belt I owned that had a huge clock face on it, yet another one of my favorite outfits ever, thanks to The Limited.

Outback Red dress

Both so great, both so classic, both so 80s, and both tags/logos are permanently burned into my brain.

Now that’s good branding. I love you and your style The Limited — TLA/TLF.

Outback Red label

Forenza label

Forenza label

Author: Lori Ferraro

Lori is a writer and actor living in Portland, OR. Her website, Drawn to the 80s, is where her 5 year old draws the greatest music hits of the 1980s. She is a blogger for The Huffington Post and her own blog, Once Upon a Product, is where she writes about important things like beauty products, music, her obsession with Mick Jagger and of course...the 80s.

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  1. The khaki pants under “outback red,” weren’t those things called “jodhpurs” or “plus fours?”

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    • Yes the were! I had them in khaki black & dusty blue

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      • I loved the clothes back then. The Limited had beautiful clothes and nice wool sweaters. I remember metallic jewelry at The Casual Corner. Clothes were made so much better back then. Today the quality is cheaply made.

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  2. Oh the Outback Red dresses were sooooooo cute! I had so many, including that pink one! (Also, so many Forenza clothes.)

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