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.


Two thoughts:

One of my joys in life is scoring Ann Taylor stuff from Goodwill.

ARGH the button-downs. I used to think I just hadn't found the right one. Then I realized I just hate them.

We do almost all handmedowns, out of financial necessity. My daughter gets a ton of handmedowns from the family I used to nanny for. I will occasionally buy new when we have gift cards or something. And there are just some necessities that we may have to fill in the gaps on (underwear, her gymnastics clothes - I try to get those off of ebay, sneakers, soccer uniforms, etc.) About the only thing I will spring for full-price ($12) are a particular pair of jeans which are the ONLY pair we have found that we can adjust to fit her very skinny waist without being too baggy in the legs, or too short.

I keep a yearly budget, and from January 2011 to this month, I've spent $453.17 total on clothing for the two of us. I don't have it broken down completely as to exactly what was bought when, but, I know that included an outfit (and shoes - I'm a size 10, hard to find used) for a wedding, a formal interview outfit, 3 years of soccer uniforms plus 2 years of gymnastics, new sneakers for me as my old ones wore out, two new bathing suits for me (one got shredded in a waterslide/wardrobe malfunction escapade), winter boots (for me) /gloves/balaclavas (for both) (didn't have any, and I'm outside 2-3 hours a day in almost weather), etc.

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