Ode to Ann Taylor


I never expected to be an Ann Taylor kind of person. I never expected to be that conservative. Or that formal. Or pay that much for clothes. But time and circumstances change and these days, Ann Taylor is the brand most often spotted in my closet. It's easily thriftable, it fits me well, and some of their clothes are great (some are frankly still too stuffy and formal for me, but not so often anymore). The majority of my Ann Taylor clothes are thrifted, but I also stalk sales, and they have great ones, particularly online. Recently, I hit a good sale (40% off already on sale styles, I think?), and since very little of my current wardrobe fits (post-nursing body changes, we'll leave it at that), I went a little wild. The order hasn't arrived yet, so I can't tell you what worked and what didn't, but I can show you what I ordered:

Trellis Print Banded Hem Boatneck Top
Trellis Print Banded Hem Boatneck Top.jpg
This top strikes several boxes for me. It's dressy enough for work without being a dreaded button down, it's patterned, but not busy, and it's navy, which is my current favorite color. I'm not 100% sure the banded hem will work--it depends on the length of the shirt--but I love the boatneck, so I'm willing to give it a try.

Marina Print Shirred Cuff Peplum Shell
Marina Print Shirred Cuff Peplum Shell.jpg
Another line I'm not 100% sure will work--I've tried and failed with peplums several times already--but I really like the black and white graphic print and the combination of the cowl neckline and the shirred shoulder, so we'll see.

Sunburst Imprint Cinched Waist Top
Sunburst Imprint Cinched Waist Top.jpg
I really want this one to work. I love everything about it, from the front-gather at the waist to the crisp look of the fabric to the unusual and striking black and white "sunburst" print. I'm hoping the gathering will work with a cardigan over the top, as well.

Geo Print Ruffled Neck Bubble Hem Top
Geo Print Ruffled Neck Bubble Hem Top.jpg
Once again, I'm unsure, but hopeful. If the top is long enough, the bubble hem should be OK. If it's not, then it will be a disaster. But because I love the print, and the neckline, I'll try it. Again, I'm picturing this mostly with a cardigan worn over it, since it's a bit too much shoulder for work on its own.

Tie Waist Sleeveless Top
Tie Waist Sleeveless Top.jpg
This one is a classic piece I've been after for ages. I'm crossing my fingers that it ties in the correct spot, since I'm so long-waisted, but if it does, I bet it will get tons of wear.

Geo Ikat Print Wrap Top
Geo Ikat Print Wrap Top.jpg
This is one that I am guessing won't actually work on me. Wrap tops never seem to hit the right spot, and in person I may well find the print too busy. Still, I have a thing for Ikat, I can't imagine it's not going to be dying out soon, and I wanted to try it.

Lattice Top
Lattice Top.jpg
I'm lately getting a ton of mileage out of "dressier" tanks worn under cardigans for work. They solve a lot of my huge arm fit problems. This one is an attempt to add to that collection, with an unexpected color (not a lot of orange in my wardrobe) and a nice graphic print.

Lattice Print Split Neck Bubble Hem Top
Lattice Print Split Neck Bubble Hem Top.jpg
Same cool lattice print, a color I'm more comfortable with (love teal!) and a more laid-back style. I'm picturing this one mostly with jeans, assuming the bubble hem works out.

Siesta Dot Print Banded Hem Top
Siesta Dot Print Banded Hem Top.jpg
This banded hem top checks all the same boxes as the first banded hem I posted, but in a slightly less subdued colored and pattern. If it fits, it'll be versatile and comfortable for a casual work look.

Crew Neck Short Sleeve Cardigan
Crew Neck Short Sleeve Cardigan.jpg
In my work wardrobe, there is no such thing as too many cardigans, and several of my current ones are getting to worn out/stretched out/etc. This peach one is half-sleeved, which makes it multi-season for me, since I tend to run a bit on the warm side in the office, and I like the unusual color.

Spring Cardigan
Spring Cardigan.jpg
It was very difficult for me to not to buy this cardigan in multiple colors and to just stick with this great raspberry shade. Why? V-neck. I LOVE v-neck cardigans, which are much more neckline-versatile than the crew neck variety, and they're kinda hard to find. I'm a wee bit worried about sleeve length on this one, though, so I stuck with just the one.

Woodcut Geo Print Halter Dress
Woodcut Geo Print Halter Dress.jpg
This dress was probably a mistake. It will almost certainly be shorter than I want, and the neckline won't work for work without a cardigan. But I love it anyway, especially the print, and it was on super-discount, so I decided to try it. Do as I say, not as I do, folks.

Ikat Striped Maxi Dress
Ikat Striped Maxi Dress.jpg
I've been after this dress--and too cheap to pay for it--all summer. But for $36 on sale, I'm snagging it and saving it for next summer. If I miraculously change sizes by then, I'll have it altered.

Whew! That's actually a little bit embarrassing. To be fair, though, there's no way that a bunch of it won't be going back due to fit issues. That's just how it goes.

I could seriously have bought twice as many things as I did. There are tons of things I like at AT right now. If you haven't checked them out lately, you may want to.


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And the thrift gods smiled


One of the "tips" I give to people who ask for advice on successful thrifting is this:

If you find one or two nice things in the size you're looking for, that could be a fluke. If you find three or more, you should consider it a set and keep digging.

Which is to say, typically people donate to thrift stores in bulk. You don't take just a few items, especially with kids' stuff--you take a big bag or a lot of big bags. And if you just brought in one or two things that are in the size/style I am after, chances are you brought more.

The other day, I had one of the most awesome thrift trips I've ever had, and it absolutely demonstrated this principle. I am after things for the next size/season for the baby (who really is a toddler these days...), so I started in the baby section. I immediately pulled a couple of 3T sized Tea Collection items off the rack. Oooh, I thought, this has potential. But alas, the rest of the baby section was bereft of anything that caught my fancy. Still, something told me there was more where the two shirts from Tea came from, and my store is really not good about having a clear line between what they consider "baby" clothes and what they consider "kids'" clothes, so I went to have a look at the big kids' racks.

And then it happened.

Y'all, my kid has a whole new wardrobe, from brands I'd never shell out for new. In his next three sizes. After I realized I'd found a goldmine, I sifted through all of the kids' clothes, then waiting as they brought out new racks. Someone had clearly dropped off their very well dressed young boy's wardrobe, and damned if I didn't leave that store with the majority of it.

From Jacadi, three polos, a button-down, a long-sleeved tee, a pair of long pants, and a pair of short pants:

From Mini Boden, five short-sleeved tees, three long-sleeved tees, a polo, a sweater, and a pair of shorts:

From Tea Collection, one short-sleeved tee, two long-sleeved tees, one polo, three button downs (one new with tags), one sweatshirt, one pair of pants, one pair of shorts, and one jacket:

Then, there were the one or two-offs. A Hatley raincoat. A new with tags Papo de Anjo button down shirt. An Olive Juice hoodie. Three Splendid polos. A pair of shorts and a t-shirt from Appaman. It just went on and on. In total, I got over 50 pieces!

This trip completely re-energized me for thrifting, and I once again really want to be able to say that all, or at least the great majority, of the clothes I buy for both myself and my son are secondhand. Has anybody out there done that--used clothes only? How did it go for you?


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