From Upper Left, Belt: Leopard Haircalf Belt ($39) // Skirt: Flared Knit Skirt ($98) // Top: Removable Tie Neck Blouse ($79) // Bag: Signature Tote ($98) // Coords: Tweed Fringe Top ($79) and Tweed Pencil Skirt ($89) // Bracelet: Lapis Disc Bangle ($39) // Top: Mixed Media Split Neck Blouse ($59)
The fashion elites consider Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, and their ilk to be “generic mall clothes.” What they forget, when they take a swim in their pool of condescension, is that most of America can’t drop $2k on a jacket or dress. And their aspersions seem to disappear when the large brands ask them to take a turn designing their collections (Zac Posen for Brooks Brothers, Jenna Lyons for J.Crew, etc.).
Ann Taylor hasn’t gone the designer route. Instead, they promoted their new creative director from within the company (from their athleisure line Lou & Grey). And his first collection is killing it.*
Tops. Their selection of tops couldn’t be better for working woman. Silky, feminine, in a wide selection of colors. The two tops above caught my eye; but I am especially enamored with the ash violet blouse. I own this twist top, and it’s super flattering. And they have a small selection of 100% silk shirts for sale.
Skirts. This flirty knit skirt is a fun piece; a nice alternative to the pencil. I love the fun, summery print on this shadow floral pencil. And this flirty lace skirt is the perfect thing for drinks or dinner after work.
Coordinates. I love this red tweed outfit. It’s chic and fun with a slightly vintage feel. AT is offering a few coordinated top/skirt sets. I own this grey, peplum outfit, and I really like it. I’ve also been considering this bright orange outfit, though it triggers thoughts of hunting season, I can’t entirely suppress.
Bags. AT is offering one tote in two sizes right now. And, ladies, this bag is so cool. It’s versatile, chic, and comes in a myriad of fabulous colors.
I love Ann Taylor but I have a hard time getting their clothes to fit my 5’9″ frame correctly. Combine that with lack of free shipping/return shipping and I am hesitant to try my luck with them online, since it is likely I would need to return/exchange often. If only the closest store wasn’t a 2 hr drive away!!
AT needs to do something about their brick and mortar stores– the stuff is styled terribly and the bright white walls and lighting is awful. It doesn’t read as successful professional at all. Their website is a pain to navigate as well and doesn’t show off their stuff well.
Agreed on both counts.
Alison @ jolie x laide says:
It’s clear that there is a huge market for clothing that is modern and fashion-forward but still affordable. Pieces that are meant to be loved and worn for years, because they’ll hold up well and won’t go violently out of style. I thought Gap and BR would step up to fill this void (maybe they used to), but I think Loft and Ann Taylor are seizing the opportunity, and good on them.
Jennifer D says:
Gap came out with their “Perfect Pant” in 2010, and did a hard sell on their workwear with a coordinating black blazer, boot-cut pants in the same fabric, and professional blouses. They seemed to switch their fabric in 2011 to a cheaper blend, then abandoned in-store workwear for only the pants which are available online. I guess the more conservative aesthetic didn’t resonate with their demographic? Beyond the pants, and the one pencil skirt (also only available online), anything in their Wear-to-Work section is appropriate only for a business casual environment. Except for loungewear and activewear, I abandoned them years ago 🙁
I love Ann Taylor! Their pants fit me (love the petite sizing in stores) and they have really beautiful blouses that hold up with lots of wear. Sometimes their stores are a bit overstuffed, but I usually have good luck if I want to find something that is both professional and pretty and modern looking.
My two cents after purchasing the bright orange outfit you mention: I agree it is a lot of look, but it could work on someone. The skirt is cute and fits well. The top is super boxy and I found it extremely unflattering. With a color that bold it has to fit impeccably, and I have had mixed results when tailoring knit pieces.
Hi Belle – Have you considered having your links open in separate windows? I find myself shopping so often from your posts, but it’s kind of annoying to go back every time after I click on a link. Thanks!
I know I’ve been saying this for months, but I’ve been saving up for a new design. They used to open in new tabs, then something broke, and we’ve never been able to fix it. So when the new design comes in, which I have no idea when that will be, it’s top of my list.
I just ordered the new double breasted coat https://www.anntaylor.com/double-breasted-coat/392363?skuId=20293895&defaultColor=5458&colorExplode=false&catid=cata000017, and am loving most of the rest of the collection.
What I don’t love is their treatment of overseas customers. I live in Australia and while they ship here, I use a mail proxy to send from the US because a) their Australian prices are way more than the currency conversion would be – e.g. a $228 US coat is $448 Australian – when it should be about $320 Australian. b) They don’t let us use promo codes at all (J Crew, madewell etc do) – so if there’s 30% off all new stock, I can’t apply that. So I get it shipped to a proxy address in the US – instead of $448 AUD, the cost was $223 AUD including promo. Wish they would make it easier for us!